Dave Ault loves his bikes.
But not push bikes, road bikes, racing bikes or even motorcross bikes, he loves trials bikes and there are many reasons why.
Trials’ riding is a non-speed sport on specialized motorcycles. The bikes are extremely lightweight, have suspension travel that is short and they don’t have a seat as they are designed to be ridden standing up.
A trials event is split into sections where a competitor rides through a natural obstacle course, such as a farmer’s property, and attempts to avoid touching the ground with their feet. Competitors are penalised each time their feet hit the ground.
The sections are divided into separate courses to accommodate the different skill level of riders, who compete in skill-rated classes.
“It is absolutely worldwide,” Ault said of trials.
“For example the Scottish Six Day Trials will take place for the 101st time this year.”
Ault moved to Yass only recently but has lived in Canberra since 1963.
He took an interest in trials in the year 2000 thanks to a tip from a workmate and at that point he joined the Trials Club of Canberra.
While he still rides now and again Ault has, for the most part, been an observer.
“Being an observer I watch and then score the events.
“I still ride when I can but because I am an observer it is not every weekend.”
He claims the sport is full of companionship, and lacks the intense “argey bardgey” of a lot of other very competitive sports.
“It is a great way to make friends, and after the events riders get together and share experiences and ideas about the right techniques used on the particular course.”
However, with the sport growing the club is having trouble finding enough places to hold specific events.
According to Ault, there is a very minimal effect on the environment and the only issue is getting that initial approval by property owners.
“The environmental impact is minimal. For example if it rains the smallest amount, tyre marks are gone almost immediately.
“Once a property owner lets us use his/her land we are almost always invited back. It is just getting that initial go ahead from them, that is the tricky part.”
Ault believes strongly that the sport is safe, while still being extremely challenging.
“It is much more about a mental challenge than anything else.
“But it is safe because riders only ever ride a track at their particular level, that’s the great thing about the sport.”
For those interested in getting involved with the Trials Club of Canberra call Ault on 6226 6266, or for more information about the sport go to www.trials.com.au.