Category Archives: Trials News

Waltham Chase paves the way

Words: Trials Guru

Photo: Auto-Cycle Union

The ACU affiliated Waltham Chase Trials Club ran a successful, controlled Adult only Practice Trial at the weekend over two sessions at their Oakridge Copse venue near Salisbury.

Assisted by the Auto-Cycle Union and restricted to adult licence holders, the events were hailed a great success and paves the way forward for other organisations to follow suit.

Mindful of bad publicity surrounding any mass gathering, the club had used the ACU Risk Assessment guidelines and put in place many safety arrangements to ensure a smooth and controlled return to a form of trials that we have to become used to given that the Covid-19 pandemic may not be resolved this year and worse still if the predicted second wave forces a futher halt to the sport.

A full press release on the event by the ACU can be read > HERE <

ACU slams those disregarding Government advice

The ACU issued a statement on Monday 8th June 2020 which criticised non-affiliated organisations who are organising group events or gatherings which they claim are putting the sport in a bad light with authorities during the Covid-19 contageon.

The full statement reads:

“As we carefully steer ourselves through the current pandemic of Covid-19, the UK Government and the respective devolved governments have and will continue to ease restrictions (subject to their not being a second peak of the virus) which will allow our various sports to commence.

We have now issued risk assessments templates which gives guidance/advice across all disciplines about the various Control Measures to be put in place to mitigate, as far as is reasonably practicable, any risk to our volunteer Officials and our competitors.

Furthermore, Organisers are to be mindful that as is currently outlined in the various Standing Regulations for our Sports contained in the ACU Handbook and in the National Sporting Code under article 8.02 in which it states ‘No competition shall be promoted on either a public or private road, track or elsewhere until the Organisers have obtained the necessary lawful authority from the appropriate public authorities or private individuals and landowners’,  all necessary notifications/permissions should be obtained from Local Authorities/statutory authorities (police), local hospitals that an Event is taking place, and/or have written confirmation from the Circuit/landowner that the necessary permissions are in place for the Event to commence.   

We have all seen reports of police turning up at events in recent times and we have seen reports of Organisers who are not affiliated to the ACU blatantly disregarding UK Government Advice and Guidance which has undoubtedly put Off Road motorcycle sport in a poor light.

Finally, please remember that until the UK and devolved Governments lift restrictions on camping and overnight accommodation, planned events should be restricted to one day events to eradicate overnight stays.

Please help us to help you restart and organise the sport and in doing so let us work with the respective Authorities and furthermore not attract unwanted or bad press to motorcycling.”

For more information visit the ACU website at: http://www.acu.org.uk

ACU announces plans for restricted sport

The Auto-Cycle Union has released a statement on Wednesday 27th May, outlining a partial and restricted return to motorcycle sport.

Youth sport is not included and non competitive meetings will be allowed initially with competitive events coming on stream in early July.

It was forecast by many commentators that a full scale return to racing and competition would not be possible and that it would be some time before events could get back to what was perceived as ‘normal’.

The ACU have stated that training and practice will be allowed, but only for riders aged 16 years and above, this is in keeping with UK Governmental guidance.

You may read the full statement > HERE <

Nevis Radio Fund Raiser Plea

You will all remember the superb 2020 ‘Virtual Scottish Six Days Trial’ run in association with Trial Magazine and Michelin along with the superb guys from Nevis Radio a few weeks ago. It was a huge hit with the many listeners around the globe.

Nevis Radio have their crowd funding effort on the go and have found a funder who has made a committment to match fund their total amount. They have a month left to try and up the total and then to double it.

Yes we all know it’s challenging times at the moment, but if anyone can help could you please click on the link below and donate an amount of your choice and support such a worthy cause.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savecommunityradio?fbclid=IwAR0X5Akci0K_wzIrZBbS3S0dumz3DhtaaIPnXGt4Nlt0q7f-7prs7s7fhcI

Manx Classic is cancelled

The annual two-day Manx International Classic on the Isle of Man, planned for September 2020 has been cancelled. In a statement issued by the organising Manx Trials Club, the committee was faced with an organisational issue and decided to cancel the event due to riders having to arrange ferry and accommodation to get to an island which currenmtly has closed its borders.

The statement read:

“The Manx International Classic Trial Committee regret to announce that this years event scheduled to be held on 5th & 6th September has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. Our committee are all bitterly disappointed as I am sure you are but it is the only option available to us. We have delayed making the decision until now in the hope that we would reach a point where we could be confident that the current restrictions on travel, mass gatherings and the like would be lifted by September and the event could run safely. However we have now reached the point where we would need to ramp up the organising activity, and we appreciate that visiting riders need the opportunity to transfer/cancel travel and accommodation arrangements, so the decision to cancel was taken. With the information available to us at this time the following main issues exist:-

The Isle of Man’s borders are currently closed and there is no indication of when they will open – the IOM Government having stated last week that ‘the borders will not be open any time soon’

All the islands hotels, guest houses and the like are currently closed with no indication of when they will be permitted to begin operating again

There is currently a ban on all mass gatherings and there is no guarantee that this restriction will be eased sufficiently to allow the numbers of riders & spectators we normally attract to congregate

Whilst the AMCA in conjunction with the ACU are currently formulating a plan to recommence motorcycle sport in July the early indications are that this will be on a very low key basis and would not provide for a multi venue and large event such as the Manx International Classic Trial.”

The club announced that next years’ event is already planned for 4th & 5th September 2021.

ACU issue update 13 May 2020

The Auto-Cycle Union has issued a joint statement with the AMCA regarding the current state of motorcycle sport in the UK following an ACU board meeting held virtually on 12th May, with a phased return after 4th July when Step Three of the UK Government Covid-19 plan is initiated, but this is under constant review.

In order to reflect the differences in devolved administrations, there will be no British Championship Enduro, Motocross, Trials or Speedway events to take place until travel restrictions between England; Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man have been lifted and other factors considered, in line with Government guidance.

The full statement can be read HERE

TMX News goes into lockdown

Cover photo: TMX News Morecambe, England

Reflecting the difficult and challenging times facing the sport at the moment, TMX News (formerly Trials & Motocross News) announced on 1st April that it had been forced to temporarily suspend production of the weekly newspaper, due to the Covid-19 pandemic which is affecting every single country on the globe.

This is the first time that the paper has ceased production since it was founded in May 1977. No date for recommencement of the publication has been given, which is understandable given the current uncertainties worldwide.

In an online statement from TMX News editor, Anthony Sutton explained that with the complete cessasion of motorcycle sport, it became more difficult to justify keeping the presses rolling.

Originally owned by Lancaster & Morecambe Press, TMX News has been part of the JPIMedia group (formerly Johnston Press) for many years, a publishing group which has many titles under its control, which was formed in Scotland in 1767, it has since 2018 been a SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) owned by creditors.

Sutton said in the official statement: “… we’ve also seen a significant downturn in revenue with many of our normally very supportive advertisers suspending trading or finding the current conditions downright difficult.”

The company have also taken the difficult decision to suspend both TMX and Dirt Bike Rider magazine, online and in print. The suspension takes effect week commencing 6th April and will be reviewed in line with any changes to government advice.

TMX filled a gap in the market in 1977 when the established motorcycle papers gave less column inches to both trials and motocross events and had cut down on the number of reporters going to cover off-road events. It was founded by the first editor Bill Lawless in Morecambe, England and attracted a huge following with a dozen reporters who all rode competitively, such as Tommy Sandham, Dave Dewhurst, Mike Rapley, Mike Greenhough, Mannix Devlin, John Dickinson and brought to the fore the ace cameraman, Eric Kitchen.

Full text of Anthony Sutton’s statement can be viewed HERE

ACU pull plug on sport until 31st May 2020

The ACU, the officially recognised motorcycle sport governing body of the FIM have cancelled all permitted events until 31st May 2020. This will be continually reviewed moving forward. The organisation has already cancelled the Isle of Man TT Races in June.

The statement issued 24 March 2020 by ACU central office reads:

Covid-19 Update

In light of recent developments in the COVID-19 crisis, and following the address to the nation by the Prime Minister on the evening of 23rd March, the Auto-Cycle Union has today extended its suspension of all organising permits for motorcycle events until at least 31st May but will be constantly reviewed.

This move provides clear guidance to event organisers, clubs, venues, competitors, officials of the role that the Auto-Cycle Union must play in supporting the broader UK public health agenda.

Auto-Cycle Union Chairman, Roy Humphrey explained, “The government have required that we effectively lock-down for a period of three weeks, however given that the most vulnerable in our society are required to isolate for three months, we feel it only sensible to propose a longer suspension for all motorcycle sport. This is a time of national unity and we need to come together with the broader public community to do all we can to support this battle and ultimately save lives. This evening, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said the Government is launching a new scheme to recruit 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS through the coronavirus pandemic. A quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health. We may not be involved in any sporting activities, but, we could help support the NHS through this pandemic!”

Auto-Cycle Union will continue to monitor the prevailing advice from the UK Government in respect of the COVID-19 international pandemic and will update the motorcycle community accordingly.

UK Governing Bodies cancel all events

The two main motorcycling governing bodies, the ACU and for Scotland, the Scottish ACU have both announced statements covering the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Scottish ACU stole a march on their English counterparts by being first to cancel all motorcycle events on 16th March until at least 31st May, with the ACU a day later, cancelling all events until 30th April 2020.

This means that the annual Scottish Six Days and Isle of Man TT races are now cancelled with no chance of them being run until 2021.

The governing bodies really had no choice, due to the global clamping down of transport, travelling, working arrangements, it was inevitable that there would be casualties for world-wide motorcycle sport.

The statement from the ACU

Spanish Federation pulls plug on all Trials activity

The Spanish motorcycle sport federation RFME (Real Federacion Motociclista Espanola – Royal Spanish Motorcycle Federation) has taken the unprecedented step of advising member organisations and affiliated motorcycle clubs to instruct their members to leave their bikes in the garage and don’t even ride for practice during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

These steps have been taken as Spain’s hospitals are struggling to cope with the admissions of patients with the Covid-19 virus which has spread at an alarming rate throughout Spain in the last few weeks.

It won’t be a popular directive with riders, but it does put the sport in a position of being seen to be very responsible when so many lives are at risk. Motorsport comes with risks and even trials riding has risks attached and this is not a good time to sustain an avoidable injury. The federation is urging riders to stay safe during the crisis and not ride at all.

At a time when emergency services are stretched to the limit, it calls for a measured approach with a coherent plan of action, the RFME have done this using social media to publicise their advice.

They are quoted as saying on facebook:

“Once declared the state of alarm we cannot overload the health system with a possible accident completely avoidable, the best thing is that we park our bikes for a few days stay at home. Which doesn’t mean we park our hobby, that’s why during these days we are going to make you some recommendations to make the quarantine more bearable, on two “virtual” wheels.”

This is also seen as a defensive or protective course of action taken by the national motorcycling governing body, as it is believed that Spanish Emergency Powers Legislation classify sporting injuries as an act of negligence, without appropriate insurance cover, if sustained during a period when emergency powers are in place and carry significant penalties.