Issue #8 : July 2018
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Let there be light
June Nationals @ Uniontown AR
Practice Practice Practice
Kevin Kight's perspective from scoring section 8 on Saturday and section 7 on Sunday:
Saturday: The day
started out as a perfect day in mid-June.
Departed my hotel in Van Buren, AR at 6:30 am to be at the 7:30 am scoring
meeting with time to spare. Met up with
Chris and Todd who were both riding the event and fellow judge Penni. Penni and I
wanted to team-up in the same section but we quickly realized that wasn’t going
to happen as Rob Toole could spare only one experienced judge per section.
partnered with a husband/wife team, Quinton and Heather from Hot Springs, AR
who had never been to a trial. I quickly
found out that they were the type of people who are hardworking and extremely
willing to help. I gave them the best
instructions I could then we gave scoring our best shot.
We didn’t make it through one
complete loop until a rider (leaving nameless due to privacy) had a failure in
our section, crashed and was severely injured.
He remained in our section for over an hour with many capable hands
doing all they could to comfort him.
Ambulance arrived, loaded and transported him to a field where a helicopter
crew transported him to a hospital.
After the thirty minute mark with the injured rider in our section the NATC staff officially closed our section. Quinton and Heather had the remainder of the afternoon to visit other sections. I attempted to assist Penni and her co-judge on section 9.
At six pm it
was time for awards. It’s always a joy
to see our local riders receive recognition. Todd Duesterhaus earned third place on Saturday in the Clubman
class. Chris Shellenberger got a second
place in the SR-40 class.
A few of us
found our way to the “Catfish Hole” in Alma, AR. Not gonna say how much we ate, but let’s just
say we ordered way-way too much catfish.
Sunday: At the scoring meeting Quinton, Heather and I were assigned to section 7. I think we all learned a lot about scoring from our previous short day of judging sections so we regrouped and fine-tuned our strategy. We had a section that was challenging to every class and added points to the scorecards. Each rider was interesting to watch and hopefully I picked up some riding tips.
The Adventures of a MotoTrials checker
Saturday: I must admit the last few months have been arduous,
fighting off ticks and enduring heat and humidity while whacking brush on rocky
hillsides, but quite beneficial to my trials education. I have been to several
nationals and a couple of world rounds, but to be this involved with a trials
national was enlightening to say the least. I was willing to do whatever I
could to support the Arkansas round. And although I am quite familiar with a 5,
(I collect them as if they would take me to heaven) I didn’t think I had
enough experience to be a checker especially with so much on the line. It was
soon apparent that I would indeed be pressed into service as a checker due to
the lack of response.
In fact, as it turns out, the qualifications for being a
checker for an NATC national seems to be that you are ambulatory, able to see
clearly for a distance of 50 ft , and have at least 5 fingers on one hand. I soon
found myself at the pinnacle of this exclusive club and was unceremoniously
named “head” checker.
With much trepidation, Jackson and I took off for section 5, otherwise known as “ Robmaniacs”. We familiarized ourselves with each line and were looking forward as to how the pro’s would navigate their line. It seemed fairly difficult. My nervousness faded as we were invaded with an onslaught of Clubman riders. We made a couple of mistakes, but were corrected and the profanity subsided and no one suffered any undue penalty. Soon the experts were upon us, and the line that I thought would be challenging turned out to be fairly easy for them. Finally the first of the pro’s showed up including Pat Smage. They made short work of the black line. However, after the 3rd pro blasted up the 1st boulder that was embedded into the hillside, and looked like it would be there till the Lord came back, (about the size of ½ a Volkswagen), became loose. This prompted much concern, and as I tried to raise someone on the radio 3 riders pushed it off into the creek. Eldon arrived and soon it was determined that the Pro’s would be skipping our section the remainder of the day. Just my luck. And although we were cheated by not getting to watch the best of the best it was a positive experience.
Sunday: I and my crew that consisted of Eldon’s offspring
and his friend Brian, headed for section 4, otherwise known as Joel’s folly.
Yes the undisputed master of the 5 had a section named after him! My reward for
2 & ½ months of toil and sweat. It was an awesome section and a lot of
points were sacrificed there, and YES Maddie Hoover, if you are reading this:
that WAS a 2! We had a couple of bad crashes, but fortunately no one was hurt.
And let me say this, after all we went through to provide a challenging course
you would think Mr Smage could at least give us a couple of dabs instead of
blitzing through like it was nothing. I’m not convinced he is 100% human. How
else can he be immune to the deleterious effects of gravity?
Overall it was a great experience and I learned volumes about the sport of trials. And I still am the undisputed king of the “5” by the way. Maybe someday I can check a world round. After all when they cuss me, I wouldn’t be able to understand them!
: Joel Honea