Thanks to Johnno's Trials for this Facebook interview.
Words from Ian Johnson...
I’m not sure how I became aware of Justin Gough in the trials community. I knew the Gough name from Queensland in the 1970’s so it was a fair bet he was related there somewhere.
In 2017, I was surprised when Justin and a group of like-minded Queenslanders raced the floods to be at Pacific Park for the NSW State Championships. The Queenslanders took their share of the silverware too with Justin winning the Twinshock class.
Then in 2018 and 2019, they all lobbed up at the Denman 2-day NSW Twinshock Championships Trial.
Recently, at the 2019 Australian Trials Championships in Tasmania, I had the opportunity to chat with Justin.
Justin 42, lives in Jimboomba and is a member of the Trials Club of Queensland.
Do you have a nick-name Justin?
I’ve got a thousand nicknames (laughter), I answer to anything
Are there any nicknames we’re allowed to print?
Probably not, no. (much laughter)
Johnno’s Trials: What job do you have Justin?
Justin: I look after production in a glass factory, Logan Glass.
Johnno’s Trials: So at what age did you start riding trials?
Justin: At 4 years old.
Johnno’s Trials: So you’ve ridden trials for 38 years. Is that constantly or on and off?
Justin: Yeah, I had one year off in 2008 where I only rode the Aussie Titles. I went racing enduros with a
mate of mine, Frenchy. Apart from that though, it’s been trials full-time.
Johnno’s Trials: Did your trials riding skills help you with your enduro riding?
Justin: Absolutely, yep, yeah.
Johnno’s Trials: So what got you into riding trials?
Justin: Family, my grandfather, he rode trials, then my dad Rob and my uncle Jeff, they both rode, they got me riding.
Johnno’s Trials: So what was your first motorbike?
Justin: A Yamaha Pee-Wee 50.
Johnno’s Trials: Okay, so what was your first trials bike?
Justin: A Yamaha TY80.
Johnno’s Trials: So now you’re riding the TRS, are you riding any other bikes?
Justin: Not really, we do a little bit of off-road training and coaching and stuff like that. I’ve got a KTM 350 that we do that on. I’ve also got an Aprilia road bike, but yeah mainly trials.
Johnno’s Trials: What about twinshock trials?
Justin: Ooooh yeah, I’ve got a swag of twinshock bikes. I really, really love twinshock trials. I’m quite passionate about it. I’ve got a Honda TLR 250 that I’ve built over the last couple of years and that’s what I’m running currently.
Johnno’s Trials: Do you ride other forms of motorcycle sport at the moment?
Justin: No, no not anymore, too old, too fat (much laughter)
Johnno’s Trials: Are you a good bike mechanic.
Justin: Yeah, yeah, a fair mechanic. I do all the work on my own bikes and we do service work on other trials bikes. I’ve got lots of mates that drop in from time to time and get a lot of stuff done on their bikes.
Johnno’s Trials: So do you develop parts and try ideas to improve the bikes?
Justin: Yeah, in conjunction with Dan Gollagher from GHRC up in the north side of Brisbane. We call him our mad scientist, but if we’ve got an idea, we go with him and he sorts us out and comes up with some pretty tricky stuff.
Johnno’s Trials: How did you learn to ride trials?
Justin: My dad (Rob) and my uncle (Jeff) basically taught me.
Johnno’s Trials: What advice would you give for training or practice?
Justin: Haw, haw, I’m not one to give advice on training (much laughter). No, just enjoy what you’re do-ing, always challenge yourself and try to focus on what you’re bad at and try to improve your weaknesses.
Johnno’s Trials: I don’t want to give away your secrets Justin but do you have a favourite type of section, or a least favourite type of section?
Justin: Noooo, not really, it’s pretty dry up home but I love riding wet stuff. I love riding creeks and rainy, muddy trials. We were lucky enough this year with the Queensland Titles to be pretty much rained out and it was fantastic.
Johnno’s Trials: Have you got any memorable milestones or achievements in your career?
Justin: Yeah, the first Aussie Title I won on a sidecar in 1995 was pretty memorable. Then after 7 or 8 years, we finally cracked 3 in a row. It was a pretty good battle between us and the South Australian pair, Todd Kirschner and Steve Sparkes. I don’t want to be cocky but I think we ended up winning won 15 or 16 Aussie Titles on the sidecar. All my mates were saying I’ve never won one on my own, up until
last year I’ve always had help. But I cracked the Veterans Class last year which was pretty good.
Johnno’s Trials: So Justin, what’s the best thing about riding a trials bike?
Justin: Well everything really. You come to a trial and there’s great people everywhere, everyone’s happy, they’re willing to help and have a laugh. Riding a trials bike is a stress release and pretty good fun.
Johnno’s Trials: So you’d recommend trials to other people?
Justin: Yeah absolutely, particularly kids. If you can get kids on motorbikes, it keeps them off the street. It gives them an interest, and a hobby and sometimes you’re lucky enough to get a few kids with natural ability and they’ll go places. That’s what we’re looking for.
Johnno’s Trials: Do you have any other sports or hobbies besides riding trials?
Justin: No, not really, I don’t really have any time for anything else. Trials occupies a lot of my life. I like spending time with my family when I can but other than that, it’s trials.
Johnno’s Trials: Are you a natural sportsman, good at whatever you do?
Justin: No, I’m one of those people that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum to that. I’m pretty ordinary at any other sport (laughter) EVERY other sport, I should say. (much laughter)
Johnno’s Trials: Now Justin, you’ve just been placed on the Trials Commission, can you tell us a bit about that?
Justin: Yeah, I’ve always been interested in helping the sport develop. I’m hoping that with the other commissioners that we’ve got, Kurt Pickering and Paul Arnott, that we can really get together and improve the sport. Everybody enjoys trials and my aim will be to make it bigger and better and get more people involved in it.
Johnno’s Trials: Any other thoughts at the moment?
Justin: I’m pretty proud to have my young fella, Billy. He just placed third in the Juniors class and he’s looking like he is starting to really, really get interested in the sport and hopefully he’ll go places. I’ve got 5 kids all up and 4 out of the 5 want to ride trials. My 18 year old daughter wants to con-tinue to ride dirt bikes but the 5 year old son, the 6 year old daughter and the 8 year old daughter are all keen and hopefully
we’ll get them involved next year.
Johnno’s Trials: How is the Queensland trials scene?
Justin: Trials in Queensland is quite strong, we always want it to be stronger. At the moment we’ve got an opportunity to improve things in a way that we can get more people involved more cost effectively. It’s up in the air at the moment but we’re hoping to nail it down and have a positive way to move forward in 2020. It may possibly be a reinvention of trials in Queensland.
Johnno’s Trials: What about Revolution Trials and off-road training?
Justin: Basically myself and Mitch Green who is a former TdN rider, we got together and did our level 2 coaching course and we’ve been helping the kids out in Queensland. All of the senior riders help the kids out in Queensland, but we’ve been trying to get new people involved.
We got a heap of bikes together and we hire out bikes to people that are interested in coming out to do trials adventures and we also offer training, both trials and dirt bikes or adventure bikes. Pretty well anyone who wants to improve their skills, we get them involved and help them out.
Johnno’s Trials: Is access to land a problem for you as it can be in some other areas?
Justin: I’m pretty lucky actually, my parents, my grandmother, my sister and myself got together and we purchased a block of dirt near Lake Maroon that we operate from. We run club trials there and we open it up to any of the other clubs that want to use it, all free of charge.
Johnno’s Trials: When I was young, I would see groups of registered trials bikes riding around the roads. Every bit of bush had trials bikes riding
over rough stuff and doing wheelstands. You don’t get that anymore. Kids are introduced to trials through family members, but how else
can young people be exposed to the sport.
Justin: Well basically, I think that in the 70’s and even the 80’s, trials was blessed in that every second bike shop had a trials bike in it. So the exposure to the masses was pretty big, but we lost that when Yamaha stopped selling the TY’s out of their shops. Nowadays, people know what trials is but we don’t promote our sport in a way that gets out to the masses. You know everyone’s doing their own little bit
and running little demonstrations here and there at their local communities. Then you’ve got guys like Jack Field and the Flair Riders, they’re good for the sport. LJ Lee Driesen is doing his trials show and Tim Coleman in particular is a great advertisement for trials.
Neil Price is doing the same thing in the west and Adrian Harry in South Australia. They’re all doing their bit to expose trials to the population. The downside of what people see at these shows is that they can’t imagine themselves being able to do that on a trials bike.
So there’s not really enough promotion for the average-joe to come and have a go at trials and get involved. Another problem is that not a lot of people are willing to put the time and effort into the sport to get good at it. Trials does not have to be made up of experts, it’s more made up of the aver-age bloke and I think that’s who we need to target.
Johnno’s Trials: Okay Justin, it was great talking trials with you and thanks for your time and your thoughts and telling us a bit about yourself.
Note: At the 2019 Aussie Championships, Justin picked up third place in Trial 3. A good result for a fun 2 days.