Staged for only the 2nd time ever, the spectacle that is the Australian X Trials Championship is proving to be a winning formula, producing some incredibly awesome and exciting competition.
Two rounds over two nights saw Australia’s elite Trials riders and their seat-less motorcycles compete in pairs against each other, the clock and impossible man made obstacles until only four remain to battle for the crown of Champion.
By Friday 8th April, Baseball Park in Canningvale was transformed in to an extreme arena with the entertainment not limited to the infield. Included in the price of a very inexpensive entry ticket, spectators could access the pit area and chat with riders and have posters autographed, check out what Trials is all about in the many displays and for a charity donation, have a go at balancing on a Trials bike. Face painting and the Oset Electric Trials bike riding area was a real hit, as was the junior demo riders and hunger pangs were catered for with quality food trucks, coffee and icecream vendors and a licensed bar to quench your thirst.
Round 1 of the X Trials kicked off with classy rides from Australian Women’s Trials Champion Kristie McKinnon and WA local legend Craig Austin. Next, NSW Brothers Colin & Kevin Zarczynski competed as true rivals and demonstrated some outstanding skills, followed by NSW’s Kyle Middleton and WA local and X Trial organiser Neil Price, who gave the crowd plenty to cheer about.
Last years’ X Trial Champ Tim Coleman from Victoria gave TAS’s Chris Bayles a solid battle on the challenging course and the final top four – Kyle Middleton, Neil price and the Zarczynski Brothers shot through for the nights final battle. Round 1 victory and congratulations went to Kyle Middleton with brothers Colin and Kevin 2nd and 3rd respectively and an absolute thriller of a night came to a close.
Gates opened Saturday 9th April for Round 2 with riders later on the appearance schedule feeling nervous at the band of green indicating showers on their weather apps. Rain would make the Skip Bin and Tyre sections incredibly slippery and force riders to that next level of expertise and tactic.
Qualifying saw some spills but mostly thrills and a steady rain did fall, making conditions treacherous for riders. All riders rose to the occasion and not only coped but impressed with some incredibly masterful and thoughtful approaches to grip-less situations.
This time Kyle Middleton, Neil Price, Chris Bayles and Tim Coleman went through to the finals and the crowd sat themselves on the edge of their seats in anticipation, with a spectacular backdrop of an approaching lightning and thunder storm.
Neil Price and Chris Bayles opened on Section 1 in some increasingly heavy rain and a couple of close lightening claps had umbrella holding officials calling for a recess while the storm passed overhead. Heavy rain became driving rain and pools of water formed on the course. Spectators sheltered mainly at the bar and officials and riders literally bunkered down until flooding drove them out.
Then, with a flash and a deafening clap of thunder, lightning struck bush land just outside the Baseball Park, tripping the stadium lights and forcing the finish of the event for the safety of all. Well done to Clerk of Course Steve Scragg for calling a timely recess – it’s hard to land your Trials bike if the lights go out mid jump!
An emergency riders meeting had all in agreeance that scores would be taken from the qualifying round so that final positions of Round 2 and an Aussie X Trials Champion could be named and congratulations to Kyle Middleton for taking out the 2nd Round honours, followed by Tim Coleman and Chris Bayles and presented by Motorcycling WA’s Development Officer and event Steward Peter Smith.
Race secretary Dianne Scragg had the unenviable task of calculating the Championship points, with a count back adding to the drama of the evening’s events.
Motorcycling Australia’s President Tania Lawrence bestowed the Championship Trophies to the three riders with the most Championship points awarded over both rounds.
A deserving Tim Coleman and Colin Zarczynski came in third position on an equal twenty two points but a count back revealed Tim’s seven cleans to Colin’s five, placing Tim on the podium.
Second place went to Neil Price on 36 points, who missed out on Round 2 last year when daughter Charlotte decided she needed to be born that morning.
Australia’s 2016 X Trial Champion is Kyle Middleton on 50 points who rode with fearless grace, absolute concentration and rugged determination.
Congratulations to all riders for their efforts; champions regardless, in the eyes of those who witnessed them ride.
Congratulations also to the X Trial organisers and their support team of many for staging such a professional and well organised show down.
Watch this space because plans are already afoot for the 2017 Championship and with X Trials only in its infancy in Australia, it promises to get bigger and better every year. It’ll be hard for the organisers to beat this years’ finale but knowing the Price family and the backing they get from the Trials community, there’s reason to get excited!