All posts by Douglas Kauffman

PRESIDENT’S ANNOUNCEMENT – THIRD QUARTER

Our luck with great weather ran out for our STRA April and May trials events!  For both events we had downpours in the morning, clearing rain as we rode and both were great.

Championship rounds five and six at Hickory Hills, March 13th and 14th had 57 riders Saturday and a hardy 37 on Sunday.  This allowed us to split score the first day but we peer scored the second day due.  Papa Joe, Ross Walls and Eric Mattson did a great job setting up the sections and loop.  It was well marked and the difficulty level was just right for the conditions.   There is no better venue on our schedule to ride in and after a rain than Hickory Hills.  Papa Joe’s ground perks great and overall the event can be best summed up as was wet, slippery, muddy and fun!  Another high point of the Hickory Hills event was that we had 16 youth riders at Saturday’s competition.  The youth program is Papa Joe’s passion and Dewanna Comer (Curt was off doing his newly assigned AHRMA duties) provided a great experience for these up and coming riders.  A big thanks to her for her solo effort!

Three weeks later we had The Spring Splash on May 4th and 5th, rounds seven and eight of the Championship series, at the Trials Training Center.  The forecast of heavy rain hindered the typical attendance and we had 59 riders each day.  In the end people’s caution was wasted because the weather worked out great for the adult riders.  The youth did have to brave a monsoon to ride Saturday morning but they did so with smiles.  As the weather cleared we had two beautiful days of creek and hillside riding set up in typical Charlie Roberts style plus cleaver and unique trophies to top it off.

The Spring Splash ended the first half of our Spring STRA season.  The season resumes September 14th and 15th at the inaugural Hollytree Offroad event in Hollytree, AL hosted by the Huntsville Trials Club.

Despite the lack of STRA events over the summer, some of our members did not stop riding.  June is typically the American Motorcyclist Association / North American Trials Council (AMA/NATC) Nationals month and we had a strong showing by our members in national competition.  The AMA/NATC Eastern Championship included two rounds in Nebraska and two in Minnesota.   We had five current STRA members compete and the highlights were Blake Bronstein taking fourth in the Jr Expert Class, Eric Mattson getting sixth overall in the Sportsman Class and Laura Peters becoming Eastern Champion in the Women Clubman class.

The Western Championship was hosted in Colorado and Oregon.  We had five current STRA members compete in Colorado and six in Oregon.  In this series Blake Bronstein again took fourth in the Jr Expert Class and Scott Jordon took third in the Senior Clubman class.

The climax of the AMA/NATC series was the PRO competition which includes all the Eastern and Western national events.   Of the twelve riders competing in this class, three are active in the STRA (Alex Niederer, Andreas Niederer and Karl Davis, Jr).  This competition saw Andreas taking ninth overall in the class and coming down the last event, he edged out Karl by one point in the final standings to claim second to Karl’s third.   What a great representation by all the riders who took part in the AMA/NATC Mototrials series!

There is still riding going on in the region so look at the area clubs for some tire time competition.  An example of this is Alan Shirley’s Fun Trial at the Chert Pit in Ringgold, GA on the 20th of July.  His first event generated a lot of fun memories for people so we hope to see a great turnout.  Please go to the STRA Facebook page for more information.

Hollytree will come sooner than we know, so keep riding!

Douglas

 

 

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – Second Quarter

What a great beginning to the STRA year!  It started with a good turnout for the 2018 Awards Banquet on February 23rd at the traditional site of the Western Sizzlin’ in Jasper, TN.  We had about 65 people attend which was surprisingly good given the record setting rain, flooding and flu all around us.  The high water did unfortunately cancel the Fun Ride scheduled at the TTC on Sunday.   February is never a predictable month.  The banquet night was about all the riders and our ten Champions:  Alexander Niederer, Nathan Glinski, Tim Cone, Jamie Gourley,  Jay Estes, Gary Holbert, Doug Raney, Dennis Simoes, Steve Glinski and Jimmy Sharp.

Other highlights of the night included Randy Sharp being inducted into the STRA Hall of Fame for all of the contributions he made to the STRA and to the sport over the years.  He is the eighth representative and the first person to receive this honor in ten years.  Sherman Smith III won the Most Improved Rider for 2018 and Frank Alexander won the Best Event award for Trackrock.  This was very fitting since it was the last time that we will be able to have an event at that venue.  The Glinskis (Steve and Nathan) competed head to head in the Champ Games of stacking cups while Jamie Gurley showed everyone how to flip a bottle.   We have already submitted an order for better weather for next year so we hope to have a real blow out at the Western Sizzlin’ and Fun Ride at the TTC for 2019.

Our first Championship competition event of the year, Fun-in-the-Sun, was held on March 8th and 9th at Hardrock in Ocala, Florida.  What a great event this was!  Alex Niederer’s Florida Trials Association really did a terrific job.  It was an event of FIRSTS in many ways for the STRA.  It was the FIRST event to use colored gate markers; the FIRST to combine Vintage A, B & C with Twin Shock A, B and C into Vintage Novice, Vintage Intermediate and Vintage Sportsman.  It was also the FIRST event to have official podiums for the awards ceremony, which was an idea put forth by Jose Rivas and Andreas Niederer at the end of last year.   We had exceptional weather of eighty-seven degrees, no humidity and a light, cool breeze with sunny skies.  What a refreshing environment compared to the weather we endured all winter in the southeast.  The weekend was capped off by a large number of riders (66 Saturday, 56 Sunday) coming from the southeast region but also from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Quebec!  We all rode four loops of eight, well-planned sections checked by FTA members.  A big thank you for that!  Another big thank you goes to Sadie Thompson who was at the event with Nathan Glinski and volunteered her time and expertise at sign-in/score keepers table on Saturday.  No one realized she was doing the job of four people until she wasn’t there on Sunday!

Rockcrusher, rounds three and four of the Championship Series, came two weeks later on March 23rd and 24th.  We again had a great turnout (74 riders Saturday and 71 on Sunday) and great weather at our new, north Georgia venue.  Frank Alexander did a wonderful job of finding and orchestrating a replacement for his own Trackrock venue which we are no longer able to use due to land use restrictions.  It was enjoyable to see everyone discover the area and ride the new terrain.  Frank did a great job with section setup, limiting gates and promoting flow.  This is an objective we are asking all promotors to adhere to this year to standardize our events.    This event also added a few more FIRSTS for the STRA.  This included the FIRST Shadow Program overseen by Alan Shirley.  The program is designed to have Champ and Expert riders work with lower level riders, “shadowing” them as they ride the competition, providing support and coaching.  The goal is that every novice, intermediate and even sportsman rider has the opportunity to ride with a higher level rider at least once during the year.  So far the Shadow Program has received great feedback and it will continue to be developed as the year progresses.  The event also saw the FIRST use of a new rule which expands how tie scores are handled.  It was a good thing we added this verbiage to the rule book because every scenario in the rule was used to break ties between six riders on Sunday!  Vintage Sportsman riders Gary Holbert and Mark Sturtevant’s places were determined by first point dropped; Sportsman riders David Barber and Tony Lee’s places were determined by the greatest number of twos scored; and Sportsman riders Hunter Grim and Adam McCluskey’s results had to be ruled a tie because the they had the same number of points, cleans, ones, twos, threes and all of their 24 points came in the exact same places.  It was a weekend of FIRSTS in a few different ways and great memories were made.

Both Fun-in-the-Sun and Rockcrusher are not events to be missed next year!

Next up on the event schedule before our summer break is Papa Joe’s Hickory Hills on April 13th and 14th in Lenoir City, TN and the Spring Splash at the Trials Training Center on May 4th and 5th.  We hope to see a continued high turnout at each of these events.

Until next quarter, keep riding and enjoy rounds five through eight of the STRA Championship Series.

Douglas

 

 

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