All posts by Douglas Kauffman

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT- First Quarter

It is always hard for me to sit down and write a President’s Announcement during our winter break when there’s a lull in the competition action.  But things are now revving up – behind the scenes anyway.

The year of 2019 begins with the official close of the 2018 Championship Series with the annual banquet on February 23rd at the Western Sizzlin’ in Jasper, TN.  Championship awards will be distributed along with trophies for Most Improved Rider and Best Venue.  We will also unveil the colored gate markers for the upcoming season and have some great raffle prizes donated by the likes of Beta, Gas Gas, and RYP.

The following day, February 24th, there is a fun trial at the Trials Training Center thanks to the generous donation of time and energy by Charlie Roberts and crew.  See the posted announcement on the STRA Facebook page and in the schedule section of this site for more details.

A few of the behind-the-scene things happening right now include Ray Peters finalizing the design and printing colored markers rather than gate arrows to be used at all STRA events this year.  The markers will coincide with the markers used at national events but be specific to our six classes.    Ray has also been involved in a project with our Sporting Steward, Eric Mattson, to prepare guidelines for Promotors and Trialsmasters on STRA trial design.    The goal is to standardize each trial of the 2019 STRA Championship, allowing each event to run smoothly from an operational stand point and equalize competition within a class from event to event. The set of guidelines will be provided to each promotor/trialsmaster along with the promotor’s pack of gate markers, tape and loop arrows.

The 2019 season will have more events we than have seen in a while.  The season will be split, four venues in the spring and four in the fall, including two new venues.  To foster maximum participation, we will again have our annual business meeting the weekend of the last event.

Many of you know that we lost Trackrock as a ride site but most don’t know why.  It was due to land use issues and while it was a great site, Frank found another great location close to his property.  Tony Paul and the Huntsville Trials Club are hosting the first trial in the second half of the season.  I think this is their warm up to holding a National event on the same grounds in 2020.

For as long as I have been a STRA member, we have talked about getting our schedule published in the AMA magazine but financial considerations precluded it.  This year we were able to pay the AMA in advance for all of our sanctioned event s and you should soon see the STRA 2019 events posted in the AMA magazine.

I look forward to writing and posting the next president’s message because it will be all about great events and skilled riders. ‘ Til then, keep the rubber down and your feet on the pegs!

Douglas

MOST IMPROVED RIDER BALLOT

The Executive Board and Competition Director have reviewed the performance of STRA riders for 2018 season in order to present the Most Improved Rider Award at the 2018 Championship Series Banquet on February 23rd, 2019.  We tried to select five riders for the ballot, but were unable to do so because the pool was too deep.  

STRA members please click on the link  https://www.stratrials.com/most-improved-rider-poll/ and review all SEVEN candidate’s accomplishments listed in alphabetical order and cast your vote at the bottom of this page.  VOTING ENDS DECEMBER 26th, 2018.

2018 BUSINESS MEETING RESULTS

We had a great turnout to the 2018 STRA Business meeting on 11/10/18.  Approximately 60 people discussed and voted on  proposals to help advance our association.  The following are items approved by the group and will be implemented for the 2019 season.  

For The Championship (Rule Changes)

Change #1: Rule 3.0 Rider Classification was amended to  reclassify Vintage A, B, C and Twinshock A, B, C into one class each,  referred to as “Vintage Novice,” “Vintage Intermediate” and “Vintage Sportsman.”  These three classes will include all years of air cooled monoshock and twinshock motorcycles with drum brakes.

 Change #2:  Rule 8B-12 Failure Definition was amended to be more descriptive and will now read:

The rider fails to pass through all designated gates for the rider’s class.  Competitors may ride where they choose where boundaries are not marked by either split gates or tape.  The rider may not pass backward through a gate of their own class or in either direction of another rider’s class (which equates to any tire contact patch breaking the plane of the gate).”

Change #3:   Section 8.0 of the STRA Rule Book will be amended to include a process for breaking ties which reads:

“In the event of a tie, the Rider with the most cleans, and then ones, twos and threes will win.  If still tied, then the first point dropped will be used as a tiebreaker.  If still tied the riders will be considered tied for the event and receive the place and the same number of Championship points for the higher of the two positions being contested. “

Change #4:  The potion of Starting Time Definition Rule 10.0-1 indicating  the time allotment between morning and afternoon riding events during a trail has been changed to 30 minutes between sessions rather than 45 minutes.

Change #5:   The  portion of Starting Time Definition of Rule 10.0 – 1 regarding Youth events was changed to give more flexibility in hosting an event to read:

“Youth events will be held at the Promoters and Youth Directors discretion.”

For Member Consensus

 Item #1:  A rider taking part in the Shadow Rider Program where an  experienced rider (typically from the Champ class) rides with them  to assist and teach about navigating the loop, sections, scoring and competition tactics will be able to ride for place and Championship points without penalty .

Item #2:  The STRA will donate marking kits, including boundary tape and gate markers, to the promoters for each event rather than have the promoter purchase these required items.

Item #3: The STRA will submit application to hold a NATC National Event in 2021.

Item  #4:  Inclusion of a one line Cherokee Cup trial in conjunction with a 2021 NATC  National event hosted by the STRA  will be explored and may possibly be a  night trial.

For The Promoters (What we want Promoters to do for us)

Item  #1: Loop arrows at events will now be marked as to which section is next on the loop.

Item #2:  A colored gate marker system (a specific color represents a class) will be implemented for the 2019 season.  This will deviate from the current system using arrows and class letters to indicate gates.  The colored marker design will be similar to the NATC’s new marking scheme

 Item #3:  The possibility of a promoter hosting a night trial at some point during the year will be investigated.

On behalf of the STRA I would like to specially thank Dawn and Griff Shirley for the use of their facilities, table set up and organizing dinner for all those who attended this year’s STRA Business Meeting. 

— Douglas

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – SEPTEMBER 2018

September has been a very busy month for STRA riders demonstrating their skills apart from the STRA Championship.

The NATC/AMA National Competition was completed the first weekend of the month in Donner, CA finalizing the series.  The STRA made a strong showing in National and Western series.  Nationally we had Alex Niederer placing third out of seven in the Pro Class even after fracturing his pelvis the first day of the Arkansas event in June.  Andreas Niederer made a very impressive showing in his first year as a Pro finishing fifth.  Alan Shirley was also recognized for his national completion in the Expert Class.  Maddie Hoover was crowned National Champion in the Women’s Pro Class.  In the West Coast regional events we were represented by Laura Peters and Scott Jordan taking second and third in their respective classes.  As motioned in the last President’s Message the East Coast events were more populated with STRA riders and again a big THANK YOU to all of those people who committed time, energy and resources to hosting the National event at the TTC.

STRA Riders took to the world stage competing on September 22nd and 23rd in Sokolov, Czech Republic at the Trial des Nations.  Our STRA riders Laura Peters and Maddie Hoover helped the women’s team finish seventh out of the ten teams competing in their class.  Laura commented it was the hardest trial she has ever ridden in the rain and fifty degree weather.  The event was advertised boasting  wooded and man-made sections.  The men’s team at the TdN finished on the second step bowing to the Czech Republic.  The Tdn is often referred to as the Olympic of Trials because this year it fronted 26 national teams competing for international ranking.  Events like this do not go without support.  Our STRA members again stepped up to the plate raising money for our riders via a fund raising clinic hosted by Laura and Ray Peters at Papa  Joes’ Hickory Hills, purchasing of USA/TdN T-shirts and donations made like the ones by the Saint Laurent’s, Deasons, Shirleys, Yanks, Harts and Estes via our STRA website.

On the home front our season is about to begin again.  On October 13 and 14th we will resume competition at Henry Hills in Cornelia, GA.  This is going to be a special event hosted by our trials masters Jamie Gourley and Sean Parker because is celebrates the 20th year running of the Henry Hills competition.  The weekend following Henry Hills will be the 58K at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, TN on October 20 and 21. If you need a warm up to these events our Alabama contingency via the Huntsville Trials Club is hosting an event on September 29th in Hollytree, AL.  Go to the STRA Facebook page and look for their posting for more information.

I look forward to seeing everyone soon at Henry Hills for the beginning of the fall half of the 2018 STRA Championship Season!

Douglas

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 September 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