Category Archives: From The Director

Presidents Announcement – June, July, August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Douglas

PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – 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

2017 PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – JULY

June was not a month for STRA competition, but it was a month for STRA riders competing.  Not in our club series, but at the national level.

In June, the AMA/NATC Mototrial USA National Championship concluded with the eastern portion of the series taking place in Cleveland, Ohio and Exeter, Rhode Island.

The STRA had a showing of thirteen riders participating in at least one of the events.  For national ranking, Alex Niederer completed the series maintaining his 5th place ranking in the Pro division.  Alex displayed a lot of poise with the ranking being challenged to the very last event.   Andreas Niederer took a hard won second place in the Expert division.  Aaron Thistle finished seventh and Alan Shirley eighth in the Expert division.   Maddie Hoover handily won the number one ranking in the inaugural Women’s Pro Division.

The east coast series saw Ray Peters dominate the Senior Expert Sportsman class. Laura Peters took forth in the Women’s Sportsman class.  Keith Spudic placed eleventh competing in only the Ohio events in the Senior 40 Sportsman class.  Mark Sturtevant finished fourth in the Senior 50 Sportsman class and our part time STRA rider from North Carolina, Joe Palrang, finished fifth.  Steve Glinski, believe it or not, rode the first part of the Ohio series on a modern bike!   He did not complete the event, relating to me he was “not used to power, suspension and brakes” as his beloved vintage trials bike does not possess such.   We will all look forward to seeing Steve at our next STRA event on his new ride!  Finally, Larry Holbert was by far the top rider in the Twin Shock class, earning the champion number one plate for the east coast.

Clearly, the national event had a great showing of STRA riders.  For myself, I must say it was a great experience to take part in the Ohio event and it created a wonderful memory.  I would encourage all who have not participated in an AMA/NATC National event to considerate it for the upcoming year (especially since the STRA will be hosting one of the eastern series events).

The next level of competition for a select few of our STRA riders, namely Alex and Andreas Niederer, Maddie Hoover and Laura Peters, is a FIM World Trials Championship round in Kingman, Arizona on July 29 and 30.  We wish them the best in this endeavor.   I would like to recognize Alan Shirley who organized a fundraiser ride June 3rd at the “Chert Pit” in Ringgold, Georgia, raising $200 for each rider to support this endeavor.  Way to go, Alan!

While the STRA Championship Series is on its traditional summer break and Nationals are complete and a world level is only for a select few of our riders, there are still a number of organized trials events in the area.   Just look in the Schedule section of this website and browse through the links for regional clubs and venues in the South East that support the STRA.

To conclude this June president’s message, I would like to congratulate all the participants who competed in the AMA/NATC National Series.  You represented yourselves and the association well, helping to make the STRA “One of the Premier Trials Clubs in the USA.”

Keep riding and check out those other club venues until we meet again on September 16th in Prattville, Alabama for rounds 9 and 10 of the STRA Championship Series.

Douglas

2017 Presidents Announcement – April

March was the kickoff of the 2017 STRA trails Championship Series, hosting the first four of the sixteen scheduled events for the year.

The season began with a great event in Ocala, Florida with “Fun in the Sun.”   The weather was perfect for the event, consisting of four loops of eight sections that was challenging for all riders.  Alex Niederer and the Florida Trials Association did a great job with the course layout and provided checkers for the event which saw 37 riders compete on Saturday and 35 on Sunday.

Trackrock, hosted by Frank Alexander, followed the very next weekend and was our first fully sponsored STRA event utilizing the 50/50 checking system, online sign-up and early posting of ride times.    It also was the first event to implement the newly established “Champ Class.”  “Champ Class” was held Sunday morning before the event and was a mini-clinic with some of our top riders working with participants from the Sportsman, Intermediate and Novice classes on their skills.  Thank you to Alex Niederer, Alan Shirley and Tom Fraser for working with the seven riders who participated in learning techniques to ride off-camber turns.  This was very appropriate for Frank’s event and we hope to continue “Champ Class” at future events throughout the year.

Weather cleared in Blairsville from a light rain on Saturday morning into two beautiful days.  The event gave 60 riders on Saturday and 66 on Sunday a chance to enjoy themselves and earn Championship points.  The event was traditional for Blairsville, consisting of three loops of nine sections with off camber turns, short hill climbs, creek and rock crossings.  The event had a wonderful pasta dinner organized Saturday night which was a great way for riders from all classes to get together and socialize.

The outcome of each event was posted on Facebook as soon as possible, as it will be throughout the season for the remaining events.  The total accumulation of Championship points for the year is currently listed in the “Results” section of the STRA website and will be routinely updated after each event.   To date, riders excelling in the Championship thus far include Alex Niederer in the Champ class who posted three firsts and a second, splitting the series at Trackrock with Ray Peters.

Maddie Hoover is riding exceptionally well and is leading the Expert class, representing her Gas Gas sponsor well.  Jeff Hensley, moved up from the Advanced class and looked to be in his element, riding against his new competitors at Trackrock and picking up a second and third place finish.

Kris Gilreath, moved up from Advanced Sportsman and is currently the rider to beat in the Advanced class.  He has posted a second and three firsts for the year thus far.  Gary Garrison rode very strong with high technical prowess posting two seconds place finishes behind Kris at Trackrock.

Trackrock set the stage for a close race in the Advanced Sportsman class between Alan Hensley, Jamie Gourley and Mike Dalmaso.  Mike rode well at Trackrock on Saturday but didn’t have as good of a day on Sunday after switching bikes to his Beta 125.

As usually, Gary Holbert is dominating the Vintage A class with two firsts place finishes at Trackrock.

Sean Parker rode very well in Florida and at Trackrock and leads the Sportsman point battle ahead of Griff Shirley.  Kenny Haynes has been consistent with two silver metal finishes at Trackrock.

Kevin Smith has a big points lead in the Intermediate class thus far, having competed in all four events.  There is a race building behind him however, between Talon Smith, Charlie Roberts, Jay Estes and Brian Fore.

There is currently a tight race in the Vintage B class between three riders who have competed in one event each so far this season:  Steve Glinski, Dennis Simoes and Bill Long.

Good competition is developing in both the Novice and expanding Women’s Novice class thus far.  David Heath is leading Tommy Justice by just one point and Emily Black is leading  Megan Almon, Neely Almon and Kelly Vermeulen, respectively.

Vintage C and Offroad have had a limited number of competitors thus far with the only competition occurring on Sunday at Trackrock.

As we look to April, our next STRA event is at Hickory Hills in Lenoir City, Tennessee hosted by Papa Joe Terry on April 22nd and 23rd.   Section and loop design will again be supervised by our Sporting Steward, Eric Mattson, to ensure consistency between events.  We also hope to host another “Champ Class” for our riders in the Novice, Intermediate and Sportsman classes on Sunday morning before the event start.   Thanks to François Saint Laurent, online sign-up is currently available in the “Schedule” portion of the STRA website.

Apart from our STRA events, please support and follow our fellow STRA members who are riding in the first rounds of the American Motorcycle Association/North American Trials Council National Championship Series.  The first AMA/NATC Western National event was held last weekend in Amarillo, Texas.  There is an event in Sedan, Kansas scheduled for this weekend (April 8th-9th).  Results can be found at www.Mototrials.com.

Keep riding and we look forward to seeing you at Papa Joe’s!

Douglas

 

2017 PRESIDENTS ANNOUNCEMENT – MARCH

March kicks off the 2017 STRA trials season in a big way!  A lot of riders have made great strides in their skills and this season gives them the opportunity to show case those skills.  We expect our class champions to move to the next level and it will be interesting to see how they progress.

Aside from the conclusion of the Chattanooga Trials Club (CTC) Winter Series, in which a large number of STRA members participate, Carolina Virginia Observed Trails Club (CVOTC) and Florida Trials Association (FTA) day events, March starts with Trials Training Days at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, TN.  This is a wonderful teaching/learning environment for all levels of trials riders.  Charlie Roberts and crew do an outstanding job hosting this event and a number of STRA riders will participate or instruct.  The very next weekend (March 11 – 12) the STRA Championship Series begins in Ocala, Florida. “Fun in the Sun” is hosted by the Florida Trials Association under the direction of Alexander Niederer.  A week later we have an event in Blairsville, GA at Trackrock (March 18 – 19) with Frank Alexander serving as the Trials Master.  Please see the Schedule section of this website for more details about these events.

Our goal of online membership application / renewal and event pre-registration has not gone as quickly as hoped but we continue to make progress.  Unfortunately, we will miss the Florida deadline and if we miss the Trackrock deadline, it will be implemented shortly thereafter.

The Facebook change was important to create a communication friendly form.   Despite the change from a “Buy and Sell” to a “Club Group,” posting items for sale is strongly encouraged as it helps everyone in the trials community.  The only difference is that posted items will not permanently stay at the top of the page but will scroll along with other posts as new items are added.

In closing, I hope that you are excited about this competition season and feel like STRA is here to support your participation.

Douglas

2017 Presidents Announcement – February

STRA members,

After a slow start, we have started making changes to this website!  Changes thus far include:

  • Updating the contact information for all club officers with links to their emails
  • Posting of 2017 riding rules with updates from 2016 noted
  • Adding a description to each class level
  • Posting the 2017 schedule
  • Adding links to the schedules of regional clubs that support STRA
  • Archiving the championship results from 2014 to present

Our next round of changes on the website will focus on on-line registration and payment options for both STRA membership and event sign-up.  After that is completed, during the season our ambition is to post individual event results along with ongoing standings in the championship series for each class.

On a related note, the goal of the STRA Facebook page continues to be to facilitate near-real-time communication and drive readers to this site for additional or detailed information which is more static in nature.  We have additional work to do to make the Facebook page less about items for sale and more about communication.

If you have ideas or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me,

Douglas

2017 Presidents FB announcement

This is Douglas. We are off to a slow start getting this information out to you from last week’s business meeting. The plan is to have all information like the schedule available to members on the STRA website, which will be updated as soon as we get all the appropriate administrative privileges. Our plan is to use the website as the primary source for posting ongoing information such as schedule, completion standings, rules, etc.

The STRA Facebook page will remain as a means for direct member to member interaction. We would like to move away from it being dominated by buy and sell items to a club communication page. Recognizing the need for the club members to have a way to advertise relevant sale items, this change will not be made until we can establish a means to accomplish both via the Facebook page.

Following is the 2017 STRA schedule:

March 11 – 12 Florida 
March 18 – 19 Track Rock, GA 
April 22 – 23 Papa Joe’s, TN 
May 27 – 28 TTC, TN 
September 16 – 17 Alabama 
October 7 – 8 Cornella, GA 
October 21 – 22 TTC, TN 
November 11 – 12 Ringgold, GA

Please do not forget about Kevin Browning’s event in Prattville, AL Saturday the 21st. The flyer is posted here on the Facebook page.