All posts by Douglas Kauffman

Presidents Announcement – June, July, August 2018

While there hasn’t been any head to head completion in the STRA in the past two months, our members have been busy in other venues in the trials world.  The last message posted was a “call to arms” for help with the STRA hosted AMA/NATC National event at the Trials Training Center on June 9th and 10th.  What a response from our members!  I had planned to recognize all of the people in our organization who spent time working at the TTC to clear sections, cut a loop, manage the grounds, making awards and working as technical inspectors, section observers and runners during the trial, but there are just too many!  A “shout out” to all who helped make this event what it was.  Everyone in the STRA should be proud of the event that Francois Saint Laurent organized in conjunction with those at the Trials Training Center and the NATC.  It had an overwhelmingly positive response from the riders and the sanctioning body.

Not only did we have people representing the STRA on the organizational and operational side of 2018’s first East Coast AMA/NATC National event but we also had a good showing of riders.  At the Trials Training Center we had twenty-three riders representing the STRA across all the competition classes.  The following weekend (June 16th and 17th) at the second East Coast event in Arkansas (Oklahoma really) the STRA again had a presence with twelve riders competing.

A special note must be made that two of our riders, Laura Peters and Maddie Hoover, were recently selected to represent the United States at the Trial des Nations (TdN) event to be held in Sokolov in the Czech Republic on August 22nd and 23rd of this year.  Ray Peters was also selected as team manager and minder.  As described by the AMA website, “the Trial des Nations (“TdN” for short) was conceived in Europe in 1983. The intent was to bring the best trials riders from each country together to compete as a team rather than individually. This TdN is the pinnacle of trials competition and is held after the last round of the World Championship Trials Series.” It is an honor for our association to be represented at the TdN and this year we will be represented by three people!   The participants are responsible for helping to raise money to cover the cost of the trip so keep an eye out for fundraisers for the riders.

Another “shout out” that I have not had the opportunity to do formally goes to Curt and Dewanna Comer.  They have taken it upon themselves to put together a Youth Program, providing instruction and competition at two trials events (Breezy Hill Farm and Hickory Hills).  Curt and Dewanna’s approach to this group has been very well received and we are working on avenues to grow this program even more.

Currently we are in the midst of summer break for the 2018 STRA Championship Series.  Total point leaders for each class are listed in the Results section on this webpage.  There are six events left for the season.  Our next scheduled competitions, Rounds 9 & 10, are to be held on October 13 and 14 in Cornelia, GA at Henry Hills.

Until then, keep riding and be safe (while still having fun),

Douglas

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – MARCH 2018

It feels funny sitting down to write a President’s Announcement so late in the month, but life has been busy and it has been all about trials. What a year so far!  We started the season at Trackrock with Frank Alexander hosting 142 rides on March 3rd and 4th (88 riders on Saturday and 54 on Sunday).  There was concern when we scheduled Trackrock so early in the year that we might have to deal with rain or possibly snow.  Despite the area being hammered by rain the week prior, conditions were ideal for rounds one and two of the 2018 STRA Championship Series.  Sections were long and the loop was great.  Saturday’s ride concluded with Frank’s annual awards presentation combined with a spaghetti dinner.  We had special visitors to the event on Saturday including a local newspaper reporter getting the story on trials (you will have to ask Frank how the article came out) and a photographer from National Geographic Magazine.  Bill Land happened to be in the area visiting friends and saw the event posted and wanted to come check it out.  He conveyed that he used to work for Yamaha and loved trials.  He thought the pictures on our website needed an update so he shot a few complementary photos to add to our collection (look out Rob Fox, you have competition!)

The very next week on March 10th and 11th, the Florida Trials Association (FTA) hosted their annual Fun in the Sun event.  Rounds three and four of the Championship series again had a good turnout and the weather was ideal.  The sections for this event were traditionally challenging with the winning scores for each class as high as the age of most of the baby boomers riding.   STRA members made up an average of 65% of the riders at this event which was a great showing for our association.  The Fun in the Sun had its traditional T-shirts and handmade trophies which always make this event memorable.  There was also a raffle held to raise money for one of the FTA’s young riders, Mika Lonsdale, in order to buy him a pair of trials boots.   Our very own Jimmy Sharpe was the raffle winner earning a new pair of Hebo boots for his five dollar donation.

Results for each of the rounds of the Championship series can be found on the STRA Facebook page and the current Championship point standings are in the Results section of this site.

As a product of great turnouts for the first two events of the year and the large number of annual STRA membership renewals, I am pleased to announce that we are now in the black financially as an association.  This is a great thing and we are building up the funds to host the eastern NATC/AMA National event at the Trials Training Center June 8th to the 10th of this year.

Speaking of the Trials Training Center, Trials Training Days are coming up this weekend March 24th and 25th.  It is not actually an STRA event, but it takes place at the Trials Training Center and is hosted and organized by Charlie, Catherine and now Carey.  The fact these people do so much for the STRA and a majority of the instructors happen to be STRA members, it is an event we like to endorse.  It is good for our sport and association.   So if you are not instructing, go ride it!  It will only make you a better rider for the STRA.

The next event on the schedule is at Breezy Hill Farm in Maryville, TN.  This is a home venue for me and one of the reasons this letter has been so delayed.  The time and energy it takes to set up a trial makes me appreciate what all the promotors go through to allow us to ride and have great the weekends like we have had so far this season.  With that sentiment, THANK YOU, Frank Alexander and Alex Niederer for getting this season off to a great start.

I hope to see many of you soon April 7th and 8th at the Breezy Hill Farm event.  Until then, keep riding trials!

Douglas

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – FEBRUARY 2018

We are half way through February and the STRA events for the year have begun.  The 2017 Championship Awards Banquet was held on February 10th in Jasper, Tennessee at the Western Sizzlin’.  There was a good turnout of approximately 75 people including STRA members, family and friends.   The banquet recognized the accomplishments of the association for 2017 as well as key people making contributions.  It was also announced that the Secretary/Treasurer has been relieved from his duties by the current STRA officers due to a history of inappropriate use of STRA funds and delinquent AMA duties that were discovered in our pursuit to evolve the STRA towards a not-for-profit organization.  Proposed rule changes pertaining to membership dues and trial time limits that were tabled at the business meeting in November were voted upon by the 40 members that were present at the banquet.   These changes are reflected in the STRA 2018 rule book posted on this site.  Championship awards donated by Randy Sharp and RSD Laser were presented to each of our eligible class finishers and champions (see the Results page for final 2017 Championship standings).  Most improved rider (Sean Parker) and best event of 2017 (Mark Moon Memorial Trial) awards were also given.   Once again we had an overabundance of raffle items provided by the Trials Training Center, Beta and Ray Peters, Trials Store USA and the Niederers, Ryan Young Products, Rod Overstreet at Gas Gas and Jim Snell at TRS.  One of greatest highlights of the evening however was the presentation of the Curt Comer Award which is given to the best rider in the STRA (i.e. winner of the Champ Class).   Curt Comer, Sr. for whom the award is named was one of the founding fathers of the STRA in 1973.  He was also President of the association in 1977, 1982 and 1983.  Sadly, Mr. Comer passed away on January 31st of this year.  We had the honor of his son, Curt Comer, Jr. attending our banquet and presenting the trophy in his father’s name to Alex Niederer.

A fun trial hosted by the Trials Training Center put together by Charlie Roberts was enjoyed by 30 riders on the Sunday after the banquet.  The torrential rains from the day before made the course so over run with water and slippery that only six of the nine prepared sections could be used.  It was a great time had by all however and a terrific way to prepare for the upcoming season which begins at Trackrock in Blairsville, GA on March 3rd and 4th.  Due to scheduling constraints we head directly to Ocala, Florida the very next week (March 10th and 11th) for Fun-in-the Sun.  See the event flyers in the Schedule section of this website for more details.

In closing, excitement should be brewing for 2018.  The schedule is posted on the website and flyers will be available along with online sign up appropriately timed for each event.  The STRA also has a National event to prepare for and host at the Trials Training Center in June. This is the perfect opportunity for STRA club members to step up and volunteer, to ensure that the event is as successful as possible.

Good luck to all in the upcoming 2018 events.  I hope we are able to award a new batch of Class Champions at next year’s awards banquet.

Douglas

 

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – DECEMBER 2017 & JANUARY 2018

‘Tis the season for nostalgia and resolutions.  With that in mind, looking back, 2017 was great year for the STRA Championship series!

  • We started the year in Ocala, Florida with the “Fun in the Sun” Alex Niederer, Maddie Hoover, Kris Gilreath and Sean Parker all were on the top step that weekend, demonstrating why they would eventually become the 2017 Champions for their respective riding classes.
  • Trackrock in Blairsville, Georgia followed the very next weekend. Frank Alexander always puts on a great event.  This year there was no snow or rain but you could sure see your breath Sunday morning because of the chill.  Frank’s spaghetti dinner for all the riders after Saturday’s event is something that always makes memories.
  • The Hickory Hills event in Lenoir City, Tennessee hosted by Papa Joe Terry at the end of April, sticks in the mind because of the rain. Boy, did it rain, and boy, was it fun! Eric Mattson’s section design was perfect for the weather conditions.  Champ Class Sunday morning was highlighted by Laura Peters teaching Women’s Novice rider Kelly Vermeulen how to do a wheelie.
  • The next week Robbie Hawkins offered a Ryan Young Trials School on his property in Cookeville, Tennessee. As a fund raiser, Robbie generously donated a riding slot to a STRA rider.  Raffle tickets were sold online and at the Hickory Hills event and Doug Raney was the winner.  He was a good student because in his first year in trials he placed fourth in the intermediate class, achieving two first place finishes and two seconds during the year.
  • The Spring Splash in Sequatchie at the Trials Training Center was aptly named this year and had the largest turnout of any of the events for the 2017 season. Charlie Roberts always knows how to put on a good show!
  • Another fundraiser was held a week after: organized by Alan Shirley in Ringgold, Georgia to raise money to assist  STRA riders who participated the FIM World Trails Round in Kingman, Arizona July 29th and 30th.  A big thank you for all of Alan’s efforts and all those who participated, helping to support Alex and Andreas Niederer, Maddie Hoover and Laura Peters – all of whom were bold enough to ride with the big dogs of the sport.
  • After a long summer break we resumed riding at Cornelia, Georgia the first weekend in October. Henry Hills is always a fun ride put together by Jamie Gourley and this time assisted by Sean Parker, who laid out the sections for the rainy Sunday event.  Jamie’s loop is always one to be remembered and the weekend also celebrated Alex Niederer and Gary Hoover’s birthdays.
  • The 58K at Trials Training Center was a 25th anniversary celebration along with Ray Peters’ birthday (however, not his 25th). Charlie and Catherine organized an excellent dinner after Saturday’s awards ceremony to commemorate the event.
  • The memorial ride in Ringgold, Georgia, remembering Mark Moon, our friend and STRA president who passed much too early in life, was a great way to conclude the riding season in early November. Randy Sharp made his first appearance at a trials event for the year after stepping down from a five year reign as club president at the end of 2016.  Randy has done great things for the STRA and serving as Trials Master for the Ringgold event is now one of them.  He organized two days of terrific rides, over obstacles that only Griff Shirley could put together with his construction equipment.
  • The night after Saturday’s Mark Moon trial, the STRA business meeting was held.  Dawn and Griff Shirley allowed us to use their workshop and organized an incredible feast of food for this affair.  The schedule for the business meeting was changed this year to enable more people to attend and be involved with the direction of the STRA.  The conclusion of the meeting saw an update of the official STRA rules, namely to objectify and clarify previous sections with proposals on how to structure the time limit of riding. This point generated the greatest debate and was tabled until alternative wording could be proposed.  This change will be voted upon at the 2017 awards banquet, which will be held February 10th.  The current STRA officers were voted back into the same positions for 2018 with the exception of Tripp Almon as Youth Director.   We are sad to convey that Tripp is leaving the southeast, moving to Colorado early this spring.  To date the Youth Director position remains vacant.
  • The next scheduled STRA event is the 2017 awards banquet (February 10th) which will be followed by a fun ride to rekindle our skills, fulfill our resolutions and most importantly, reconnect with the great people involved with our organization as we enter the 2018 season. Please see the Event Schedule portion of this website for more details as they become available on both the banquet and the 2018 STRA season.

My best wishes to all.  Make a trials resolution and let STRA help you keep it.  Keep riding and keep making it fun!

Douglas

 

 

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – NOVEMBER 2017

In an effort to involve more club members in determining the direction of the association, the annual club business meeting will take place after Round 13 (The Mark Moon Memorial Trial on November 11, 2017 in Ringgold, GA).  Dinner will be provided by the Shirleys but donations will be appreciated.   This is in lieu of the usual meeting date in January which made attendance a challenge for many.   This meeting is not to be confused with the Awards Banquet, which will be held on February 10, 2018.

The meeting agenda is posted below.  Each member is encouraged to submit items for discussion and vote by 11/8/17 via email to me at STRAMAIL@CHARTER.NET.  If you wish to submit a proposed rule or operational change, please be as specific as possible.    To that end, please note that the rules are available on this website under Riding Rules.   Here’s an example of a submission:

Rule Section 7.0, Item 5.

“Each section shall be adequately marked throughout to show the required path and boundaries for each class. The sections shall progress through gates of an appropriate width marked by 2 gate markers. Sub sections shall be ridden in preceding  ANY order unless noted by numbered gate markers. Ribbons should be firmly placed 4” to 12” above the ground where possible.  Any color ribbon may be used. Once the event has begun, the sections must be ridden as is and as they develop, changes to a gate cannot be made after having been ridden by a single competitor.”

Change the word preceding to any.  The goal of the proposed change is to clarify what order gates should be ridden in each section.

Please note that to keep the meeting on schedule, only items pre-submitted will be guaranteed for discussion.  Also, the topic of changing the STRA’s 50/50 peer scoring system will not be entertained unless the proposal guarantees checkers for the promoter at each event.

STRA Club Business Meeting Agenda 2017

  1. President’s Report                                                                                                        Year to Date (What we have accomplished)
  2. Treasurer’s Report (Where we are now)
  3. Plans for 2018 (Where we want to go)                                                          Rule Changes                                                                                                    Operational Changes                                                                                     Change Club Status to Not-for-Profit Club                                        2018 Schedule                                                                                                 Officer Elections
  4. Items from the Floor

In closing, 2017 has flown by and I appreciate the opportunity to have served as President.  It has been a steep learning curve and everyone’s support and suggestions has been much appreciated.  I am excited about what 2018 can bring.  Remember, this club is yours and it is only as strong as your participation and involvement.  Thanks in advance for your submissions and attendance to the meeting.

Douglas

 

2017 PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – OCTOBER

This letter’s lead in was going to be “here we go!”.  The month of October is upon us and the summer trials break is over.  But I am slow in getting this to print, so now the lead is, “What a fun start!”  Jamie Gourley and Sean Parker put on a great event at Cornelia on October 7th and 8th.  It was Sean’s maiden venture as a trials master for the Henry Hills event, setting up the sections for Sunday’s riding.  I don’t know if he planned for hurricane Nate to add running water through most of his sections or not, but he did a great job.  It was a fun weekend and memories made for the 64 riders.  We also used the weekend to recognize Gary Hoover’s 65th and Alex Niederer’s 24th birthdays.

Sunday morning we took advantage of the group to judge interest in changing the timing of the the STRA business meeting where rule changes are proposed, state of affairs is presented and officers voted in. The idea is to hold the meeting after the Saturday Mark Moon Ride event in Ringgold, Georgia on November 11th.  The thought is that this would allow more people to attend rather than holding it just before the annual January banquet .  The group was in favor of this proposal so mark your calendars and we will work out the location and post details.  The 2017 awards banquet will still be held early next year to coincide with a Chattanooga Trials Club event at the TTC.

The group also deliberated interest in hosting a NATC/AMA National Event at the TTC in May of next year.  Again, the group was in favor of this proposal.   Lastly, a preliminary 2018 schedule was finalized and is now posted on the website.    We tried to structure it so we did not have any back-to-back event weekends, but couldn’t overcome the hurdle between Trackrock and Fun in the Sun events being back-to-back as the availability of their venues dictates dates.  This year consideration was made for Trials Training Days at the TTC in March as well as Vintage Days at Barber Motorsports Park the first weekend in October.   Breezy Hill Farm will host another event early in the year because of the loss of the Spring Splash at the TTC due to the national event being held there.  If another promotor speaks up and offers a venue in North Carolina or Alabama (hint, hint), we would love to add it the schedule.

In closing, I would like to publicly thank Francois Saint Laurent for tenaciously working through computer language to institute another update to the website.  He was able to eliminate the pop up menus and newsletter solicitation.  Both advertised an obligation that was not being and could not be fulfilled.   He also added a link to the old STRA website in the History tab.  This link makes some great history available such as 2011 rider rankings where Alan Shirley won Sportsman and Maddie Hoover was second best in the Intermediate class.  Boy, have things changed!  The website update was done to further our commitment to the members of the STRA for better communication, consistency and comradery.

We can’t wait to see you at the next event at the Trials Training Center on October 28 and 29.  It is to be a big celebration weekend due to the 58K’s 25th anniversary.  As part of the celebration a free meal is being provided Saturday night, but you really need to sign up before noon Central on Wednesday the 25th if you would like to be there for the meal!  We have to be able to tell the cook how much food to get!  Help us out and register early.

Please see the flyer posted on Facebook and on the website for more information.

Keep riding and we will see you at the 25th Anniversary of the 58K!

Douglas

2017 PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – AUGUST & SEPTEMBER

STRA trials was  quiet in the month of July other than our four representatives competing in the FIM World Round in Kingsman, Arizona:  Maddie Hoover, Laura Peters, Alex Niederer and Andreas Niederer.  Please see  http://trialgp-results.com for their impressive results.

The dog days of summer are on us for August and September as well.  We hope you have been able to ride a trials bike more than a mower these past few months to keep your skills tuned for our return to the Championship series in October.

As noted on the STRA Facebook page, the 2017 STRA competition schedule changed due to the unfortunate cancellation of the Alabama event in September.  Also, due to a schedule conflict with the AMA/NATC annual meeting, the 58K at the Trials Training Center has been pushed back a week until October 28th and 29th (Halloween weekend).  Riders are encouraged to refer to this website’s Schedule section to view the remainder of this year’s events.

Our goal for next year is to have the events scheduled soon and secured so it does not change.  We will secure dates around the TTC non-trials events and the final AMA/ NATC Mototrials national championship series (Eastern rounds 1 and 2, tentatively scheduled for May 26-27, 2018).  While the official role of the STRA in that event is not yet clear, volunteers for setup and operation will definitively be needed.  We also hope that we can get the Alabama crew more involved in hosting an event since we have a good many riders from that region.  We will also strive not to have such a long break in the schedule over the summer.

Until the schedule is completed and we resume our STRA Championship Series for rounds 9 and 10 in Cornelia, GA, Greg Hales, one of our current STRA officers has made concessions for STRA riders at his event in Sanford, NC September 10th.  The trial is an official Carolina Virginia Observed Trials Club event, but Greg worked out a reduced rate ($10) for STRA members to cover the required CVOTC membership that is mandated for insurance.  Please see the flyer on the STRA Facebook page for more details.   Our thanks to Greg for helping STRA riders get back into a competitive mode before our series resumes.

With that in mind, we are looking to see a strong showing of riders on October 7th and 8th.  Jamie Gourley has been putting in a lot of work at the Henry Hills site and I am sure it will be his best event to date.  Until then, keep riding trials!

Douglas