NEOTT Gate Trial Rules
There are many different ways to organize and score a gate trial. NEOTT Gate trial rules are an amalgamation (word of the day!) of several formats observed over the years. Unlike a normal trials the objective of the Gate Trial is to obtain the highest possible score in a section while at the same time balancing how much risk a rider is willing to take to get that score.
In the NEOTT gate trial the highest possible score in a section is 21 points which is earned by riding cleanly through all the gates. Each section five gates worth different points (a 10-point gate, a 5-point gate, a 3-point gate, a 2-point gate and a 1-point gate) Mess up by putting a foot down at the wrong time or crashing and you could very easily end up with zero points which is very hard to recover from.
All the rules and examples are here. It can be a little confusing first time through but after a couple of sections you'll be good to go. Or if your name is Pat Smage then you just clean everything for a max score of 504 points and don't have to worry about the details!
I grew up about 70 miles North of Los Angeles in Quartz Hill, California. At some point when I was a kid I had a mini bike with the old Briggs motor and the piece of plywood covered with upholstery that was about 1' wide. Not sure what happened to that bike but I would guess its disappearance had something to do with my dad getting hit while riding his motorcycle when a car pulled out in front of him. He spent 31 days in the hospital. Needless to say, my parents were not to fond of motorcycles. In 1982, my friend Rick Hemme and two other top mini-racers were killed in a car\train wreck while racing the NMA Nationals in Ponca City, so that sealed the deal for my parents of me owning a bike.
From 8 years on I was into football and wrestling and earned a scholarship to college in wrestling. Sometime when I was about 23 or 24 I went all in and bought a '99 Kawasaki ZX750 Ninja and an '86 KX250. We rode out in the high desert of Antelope Valley and used to go park at Kyle Lewis's track back when he was still racing and talk about how we were going to eventually be able to jump some of the stuff on his track… Never happened!
In 1995, I moved to
Missouri to get out of the chaos that Southern California was turning into.
This was really before the internet and I was unsuccessful at finding a place
to ride and sold the KX. I was going to Cali yearly and borrowing a buddies old
YZ250 and riding with some old friends.
Eventually I found out about Sprout Patch MX track in Billings, MO and got the bug to get another bike, and of course being a desert guy, I opted for a '99 KX500. Needless to say it was a hand full on the track but when I would go back out to Cali that was the beast to have.
I went to Sprout Patch for a long time by myself still having a little culture shock of not finding anyone local to ride with. To put this into perspective, where I lived in SoCal you could go to any of the multiple riding areas any day of the week and find someone to ride. Here I was lucky to ever see one.
Then one day I saw another bike at the car wash, which turned out to be Chris Shellenberger. We began riding together and he eventually talked me into going to a Missouri State Race. It went great until we got there and he told me I was going to get one 10 to 15 minute practice to learn the track. Needless to say I was so stressed that by morning I had thrown my back out and he had to take the bike on and off the stand and start it for me, but I lived and had a lot of fun,.
In 1993 I got talked into buying a Honda CRF450R. As much fun as that KX500 was there was no comparison to the new 450's on the track.
Sometime in the 08/09 time period I met this other friend named Todd Duesterhaus. We both ride the same classes in MX. The three of us along with some of our other MX riders started going to amateur national days and Texas Pro Challenge yearly.
Then one day Duesterhaus says hey lets get a trials bike? Next thing I know we are headed to the Ark Valley club. I ended up with an 89 Beta and Todd D bought the 2000 Gas Gas that I eventually bought from him when he bought a newer bike. I love the challenge of learning to ride trials and it has helped my MX skills.
I am married to an awesome lady Stacey who is an American Family Insurance Agent in Joplin. We have a Harley that we like to ride when we get time. (Todd D talked me into that also!) I am hoping to get her a trials bike in the near future. The first night I had the Beta, I got her to go over a telephone pole. She was doing great until one of those “hey watch this” moments. I also have a great 14 year old daughter, Emily. She plays basketball, softball, cross country and she has a CRF150F.
I have my own construction business for the last 20+ years and specialize in tile, marble, granite and custom showers and do small remodel jobs of kitchens and baths. I still ride MX occasionally and do some woods racing. But this trials riding is a lot of fun, safe for the most part and relatively inexpensive. I have met some of the most interesting and great people and have learned a lot and I hope to ride trials for many years to come.
Last Event - Feb 18th Grand Lake Breakdown
Twelve riders showed up on a breezy Feb day to challenge themselves amongst the rocks and roots at Grand Lake. There were also a large number of spectators that showed up in response to Kevin's Craigslist ad offering a ride on his spare bike.
Exp: Ron Lee (19); Shack (32); Gary Vernon (33); Chris S. (54); Kevin S (n\c)
Int: Eldon Malone (30); Todd Duesterhaus (39)
Sr Ama: Kevin Kight (21); Kyle Anderson (42) ; Joel Honea (104)
Nov: Penni Taylor (15); Jay Holton (n/c)
Trials Master: Todd Phillips - Chili Master: Stacey Phillips
The official scores and year-to-date standings are on the web here.
Taking a deeper look at the Expert Class by Section Total. Section 1 looked pretty tough with lots of 3's and 5's and Section 7 was pretty technical with 4 different log crossings and not a lot of room to maneuver.
Leaderboard wise it was Ron almost going coast-to-coast in 1st place while Gary was a strong 2nd until a 5 in section 7 on the last loop. Chris lost the battle today but is winning the war and leading the Expert Class in year-to-date points.
Finally, a mighty big Thank You to Stacey Phillips for providing two large crock-pots of chili for all to enjoy after the event.
Cornbread, cheese and other garnishments were available. All I heard was ooohs and aaahs as the chili hit the rider’s taste buds and satisfied their hunger after all their energy was spent wrangling their iron steeds through the sections.
The post-event activity bar has been raised for all future trialsmasters!
NATC Trials Scoring Video
The North American Trials Council (NATC) has produced an updated scoring video for people that will be scoring National Events. This will be very useful for anyone that is planning on scoring the Arkansas Nationals at Keenan's on Jun 16 & 17. See the video here. If you have any questions you can contact Ron Lee who is also on the NATC rules committee.
Speaking of NATC, have you ever looked at the NATC Past National Champions web page? A fine collection of historical data that goes back to 1972 however your resident data geek thought it could use a little reorganization and was compelled to put all the data into a spreadsheet and create some reports. The main web page is here and there are 6 other reports linked from it.
- states with the most National Titles. (Check out #4 - BC = British Columbia!)
- what support class riders have the most NATC titles? (Try to guess who is #1 and how many titles before looking)
- check out the history of all the Pro riders in one report - Pat Smage needs two more titles to become the all time Pro Leader.
- maybe lookup your favorite Support Class Riders and all their titles
Making a long story short - many years back we were looking for a better way for the club to communicate as a group and after looking at many options it came down to Facebook versus MySpace. The rest is history in terms of who won that battle.
Of course Facebook content has exploded and it is easy to get overloaded with a bunch of stuff you don't want to see. If you are looking for a way to better manage the content (i.e. reduce the crap) consider using a browser extension called FbPurity. It works on Mac and Windows desktops\laptops but not mobile devices. The app lets you turn off most any feature in Facebook you don't want to see (trending, apps, games etc also filter out ads as well as keywords ["Kardashian" just sayin'). Of course Facebook is constantly adding things but the developers do a good job of keeping up with the changes and getting out new releases in a timely fashion.
Looking for a bike? Of course you are - here are some quick links for trials bikes on Craigslist in these nearby cities:
Coming Up in the April 2018 Issue:
- Shake down and break down of the March Gate Trial Event
- Rider Profile - Eldon Malone
- If anyone wants to write up a short story or a tall tale send it to email@example.com and we'll get it added.