Category Archives: From The Director

2019 Most Improved Rider

The Executive Board and Competition Director have reviewed the performance of STRA competitors for 2019 season in order to create a list of candidates for the Most Improved Rider Award.

STRA members please click on the link https://www.stratrials.com/most-improved-rider-poll/ and review the candidate’s accomplishments listed in alphabetical order and cast your vote at the bottom of this page (please only one vote per STRA member).  The award will be presented at the 2019 Championship Series Banquet on February 22nd, 2020.

VOTING ENDS DECEMBER 15th, 2019.

Proposed Rule and Policy Changes for 2020

The following proposed rule changes and ideas for enhancing our association were submitted by members of the STRA.  The following items will be voted upon at the 2019 business meeting on Saturday November 2nd following the Mark Moon Memorial Ride and be implemented for the 2020 riding season.

Additional items may be added to this list if submitted to the President (stramail@charter.net) no later than noon October 30th, 2019.  Only items pre-submitted for peer review will be eligible to be voted on at the business meeting.

For The Championship (Rule Changes)

Proposal 1: Section 3.4 states “A Rider wanting to compete in a class other than their normal class may do so by indicating to the Competition Director that they are riding for “Exhibition only”. This allows the rider to test their performance in another class. An exhibition rider will not be eligible for series points but may be eligible for the awards of the day subject to the discretion of the promoter.”

Proposed change:  “A Rider wanting to compete in a class other than their normal class may do so however, they may only qualify for points in one class per season.  Riders competing outside their normal class will be considered to be riding for “Exhibition only.” This allows the rider to test their performance in another class. An exhibition rider will not be eligible for series points but may be eligible for the awards of the day subject to the discretion of the promoter.”

Reason for change: This change will prevent the potential for riders changing classes towards the end of season from effecting season long point battles among the regular competitors in that class.

 

 Proposal 2: Section 5.4.c states:  “Rear dampers may be replaced with gas filled units. Rear wheel travel (not shock travel) is limited to four inches. Front wheel travel is limited to seven inches.”

Proposed change:  “Rear dampers may be replaced with gas filled units. Rear wheel travel (not shock travel) is limited to four inches. Front wheel travel is limited to seven inches.

Reason for Change:  Rule seems unnecessary and submitter suspects that all the air cooled monoshock bikes have more than 4 inches of rear wheel travel.

 

 Proposal 3:  Section 8.0.b.5 states: “The rider does not have both hands on the handlebar when footing while stationary.”

Proposed change:The Rider removes their hand from the handlebar and uses their hand to reposition the motorcycle or perform mechanical adjustments to the motorcycle when footing while stationary.

Reason for Change: To be consistent with current NATC rules.

 

 Proposal #4:  Rule 10.1 states “Promoters should start events no earlier than Eleven O’clock Local on Saturday and no later than Nine O’clock Local on Sunday.   There will be 30 minutes between the end of the morning event and the beginning of the afternoon event. Youth events will be held at the Promoters and Youth Directors discretion.”

 Proposed change: “Promoters should start events no earlier than 11:00 a.m. local time on Saturday and no later than 9:00 a.m. local time on Sunday.  Promotors may alter that time if warranted (e.g., available daylight, land use restrictions, etc.) and given the President’s permission.  There will be 30 minutes between the end of the morning event and the beginning of the afternoon event. Youth events will be held at the Promoter’s and Youth Director’s discretion.”

 Reason:  Each year one or two events (most notably the Mark Moon Memorial Ride) occurs where daylight is limited because of Daylight Savings Time.  Due to an early sunset Promotors and riders are hindered and sometimes put in a position where it is not safe to ride due to lack of daylight.  The proposed change would give leeway to the Promotor to alter the start time under the guidance of the association’s President.

 

 Proposal #5: Rule 12.3 states “Each rider’s championship score for the year shall be based on the points earned in ½ the total number of events plus one. Each rider’s best scores in this number of events shall be used in computing the total championship score for the year. (See Novice exception (page 5, item 4, #4)).”

Proposed change: “Each rider’s championship score for the year shall be based on the points earned in ½ the total number of events plus one. Each rider’s best scores in this number of events shall be used in computing the total championship score for the year.  (See Novice exception (page 5, item 4, #4)).

 Reason for change: In 2015 Rule 4.4 was introduced to encourage Novice riders to remain active in STRA events by allowing them to qualify for year-end awards after only riding and working three events.   Their Championship points however are tabulated the same as all other classes.  Elimination of the wording in Rule 12.3 would help clarify this point.

 

 Proposal #6:  Rule 13.4 states “Thirty (30) layout points will be awarded to the Trials Master and one additional worker per STRA Trial.  Layout points can only be earned one time per year.”

 Proposed change: “Thirty (30) layout points may be awarded to the Trials Master and up to one additional worker per STRA Trial.  Layout points can only be earned one time per year.”

 Reason for change: Provide flexibility in awarding points.  Some Trials Masters do not want the automatic points to go to their championship score and the current rule mandates the giving of 30 points.

  

Proposal #7:  Rule 13.8 states “All STRA riders competing in the Florida Trials Association annual Fun in the Sun 2-Day event will be given work credit for that day’s event provided the rider finishes the event and was not given the opportunity to work in a scoring capacity.”

Proposed change: “All STRA riders competing in an event for which the Promoter provides checkers will be given work credit for that day’s event provided the rider finishes the event and was not given the opportunity to work in a scoring capacity.”

Reason for change: As evidenced by Hollytree this year, Promotors beyond Fun in the Sun are able to provide checkers for events.  This proposal “officially” broadens the scope of events for which people can get work credit.

 

For Member Consensus

 No items submitted at this time

 

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

 No items submitted at this time

 

President’s Announcement – Fourth Quarter

The first event for the second half of the 2019 STRA Championship Series was sponsored by Hollytree Off-Road Park and the Huntsville Trials Club.  We must say what a great way to end the three month break from competition.  We had 58 riders competing Saturday and 41 on Sunday.  We lost a good many people on the second day due to fatigue, bumps and bruises from day one, bike malfunctions and other commitments.

Sections were not overly hard but they were not easy either.  They seemed just right to challenge riders of all skill levels over rocky ground and through trees.  The weather was hot (in the 90s, which is atypical for September, even in Alabama), clear and dry.   Traction was great and the overall course was challenging.  The loop transverse from section six to seven was considered an extra section by many riders and kept things interesting to say the least.

No one at the event could recall the last STRA competition held in Alabama.  We are sure glad it was back on our schedule this year and hopefully will be in the years to come.

The second event for the month of September was another hot one at Henry’s Hills in Cornelia, Georgia and it, too, was a great outing.  67 riders on Saturday and 54 on Sunday participated on sections that were technically laid out by Jamie Gourley, emphasizing off-camber turns, short hill climbs, well placed logs and creek bed riding.   The prolonged dry weather in the area made the course extra challenging because the footing was as fine as talcum powder in some places. We thank Henry and JW for taking the time to use a water hose to wet down the staging area in an effort to keep dust at a minimum.  We had a lot of new riders take part in this event.  It was great to see new people become excited with their exposure to the sport.    We hope to see them at our next event on October 19th and 20th at the Trails Training Center for the 58K.

As mentioned during the announcements at Henry’s Hills, the yearly STRA Business Meeting will follow Saturday’s event on November 2nd at the Mark Moon Ride in Ringgold, Georgia.  The agenda will include voting on rule and operating changes and the election of new officers for the 2020 competition year.

Most of the current officers are willing to stay on in some capacity for 2020 but they are open to giving up their administrative positions with the STRA if someone has a desire to take over their duties.  Those officers are Dawn Shirley, Francois Saint Laurent, Ray Peters and  Eric Mattson.   The positions of President and Youth Director, however, will become vacant and an election will be held to fill those roles.  If anyone is interested but is not sure of the responsibilities, please contact me and we can discuss what the roles currently entail. Vice-Presidents note: Francois Saint Laurent is available for any position except that of President as he will be out of the country for an extended period.  We really need someone to express interest in taking over the Presidents role.

The other item scheduled on the Business Meeting agenda is modifying the current rule book and current system of operation.  We will follow the same process as we have the past two years:  any potential change to be discussed at the meeting must be submitted by noon on October 30th to stramail@charter.net.  All proposals will be posted on this page for members to review.

Proposals should resemble this example.

“Proposal:  Amend Rule 13 – 4 states “Thirty (30) layout points will be awarded to the Trials Master and one additional worker per STRA Trial.  Layout points can only be earned one time per year.”  Propose change to “Thirty (30) layout points may be awarded to the Trials Master and up to one additional worker per STRA Trial.  Layout points can only be earned one time per year.”

Reason for the Change: Provide flexibility in awarding points.  Some Trials Masters do not want the automatic points going toward their championship score and the current rule mandates the giving of 30 points.”

I hope to get a lot of suggestions about how we can improve our association so they can be discussed at the Business Meeting on November 2nd (stramail@chareter.net).  I also hope to see large turnouts for our last two event weekends for the 2019 STRA season at the 58K on October 19th and 20th and the Mark Moon Ride in Ringgold, Georgia on November 2nd and 3rd.

Until then, keep riding,

Douglas

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