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Crazy As ! Mind boggling!

Comments on World Trials Champs in Oz

maddix park mx

Spot the 120 people walking around New Zealand with their mouths still wide open  and you’ll spot the 120 kiwis who went to Victoria for the recent  Australian round of the World Trials Championship.

 

Crazy as !  Amazing ! Mind boggling !    Out of this world ! The superlatives are as high as the obstacles which faced the competitors in the 21 sections set up around Mt Tarrengower near the historic village of Maldon, not far from Bendigo.  The valley was an ideal source of large and grippy rocks, a valley with slab rock sides and a man made log section.  The sheer size and scale of the obstacles fostered a calibre of riding many had never seen before. Riders attacked huge rocks as high as houses jumbled together up to 4 stories high. They had to be accurate.  A wheel width off line could see them crashing some 5 metres below and this did happen.

It was the first time the series had travelled to Australia and the course was given a unanimous thumbs-up by the World’s elite. The sections were difficult, but not impossible and this, combined with a passionate crowd, proved a compelling cocktail.

The NZ contingent was part of that crowd,  there to support “their own” Jake Whitaker, John Haynes and Blake Fox with ‘Minders’ Nick Ball, Warren Laugesen and Gavin Fox. Also in competitors circle was Karl Clark who was ‘Minding’ for Pro rider Jack Challoner.

 

Warwick Merriman, Gabby Gundry and Tom Evans were amongst the supporters.

“There were some massive crashes,” says Tom. “There were minders on the rock faces with one hand on a safety rope and the other ready to grab the rider. Going over the top of a rock the riders couldn’t see where they were going – and it was even like that just getting between sections”. "It made me realize”, Tom adds, “that I’ll never be world champ – 25 is just too old !  Toni Bou, the current world champ, is in a league of his own and far, far away”.    (All agree Toni’s in a totally different league but click here  to see him crash)

For Gabby, the opportunity to see the top riders competing or even, like Dougie Lampkin, for example, just being there, was inspiring. “The sections were quite tough” she says . “Everyone was 5-ing on the first day – the conditions were pretty miserable with drizzle and light rain  and ten degree temperatures. The second day was sunny, so easier”.

Warwick thought the sections were well thought out and very exciting. "They had been set by the Australians in concert with FIM moderators", he reports.  "There was very little room to move the way the huge rocks were all jumbled together.  The riders seemed to spend more time in the air, launching off one rock, then landing then hopping and bouncing around to position themselves for the next direction".

Check out these clips to see exactly what Warwick is talking about. Clip 1  and Clip 2.

"The sections themselves were taped off,"  Warwick continues  "but there were also taped off public sections that provided brilliant viewing for the 500 odd spectators. The Aussies had the dream and they succeeded 120%”.

Jim Henderson, the Trials Convener for MNZ was also with the party. "While it was never going to be an Australia or NZ podium on any grand scale - Europeans feature too heavily on the pro circuit - it was a very good result for NZ riders with Jake taking a 4th and a 7th in the Junior class [under 23] while John took a 4th and a 5th and Blake a 7th and a 4th in the Youth [under 18] class. And as for the perennial Kiwi- Aussie rivalry, it is pleasing to report that all the NZ riders  kept mainly ahead of the Australians and Jake was in the mix with the Europeans".

Riders and spectators alike, all hope there’ll be another opportunity for a World Champs round in the Southern Hemisphere in a not too distant future.

 
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