Category Archives: From The Director

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 – 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

 

 

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