My name´s Jiří Svoboda and as probably most of you know I am enjoying being James Dabill´s minder. Trial has been a part nearly of my whole life and it is going to be a celebration of 25 years next year. As a small boy I was following trial with all the legends such as Lejeune, Michaud, and Tarres… they were my idols and I was dreaming about being the riders like they were and having one day my own motorcycle. I was never such a good rider as those named but I consider myself as a rider just as much as a minder. I also managed to become a part of trial much more – it is my job now and about that I had not been even dreaming. It looks like a nice life story for me. But eventually because of my love with trial and also because it is nowadays also everyday part of my life I am really sad about the situation how things are in trial today. Many people talks about problems in trial – even myself – that is why I decided stop talking and decided to write down some of my opinions and ideas and share them with you – you who want to make a better future for trial. All I am writing are opinions, ideas and I wish even a little of them would give the reason to discuss. Because the discussion is the start of changing things…..and I am sure we should already start changing things…..
The problem 1: The Rules
In my opinion is trial the only motorsport in the world which has so many different rules and even though it is still called by one name – trial. The differences in the national rules: The different rules we can find in Great Britain, in Spain or in the Czech Republic. And I think it is unacceptable. The rules for trial must be everywhere the same in every place in the world. I think it is important to open the discussion with the FIM. After it should be accepted rules – accepted for example by countries that have their teams in TDN – and those would be respected. I would suggest if the most of the countries would vote for the suggestion No 1, everybody must to respect it without any changes.
The differences in the rules of the World round:
Have you ever tried to explain trial rules to someone who has never seen trial so far? I have done it many times and I have to admit that even for me it sounds very difficult. And at this point it is necessary to say that to people interested in trial rules you have to explain the rules for outdoor and for indoor trial because they are different. I am sure it is simply wrong; the rules should be the same – indoor and outdoor.
It describes more things mentioned above. Our sport is about the points you get when you touch the ground. The problem is when the rider touches the ground three times, the other one touches one hundred times but in the end both of them get the same points result. I am sure it is the time to make the change. Fundamentally. Not only because of fair play and points evaluation for riders but also for understanding for our fans and spectators. Also it would be good for the often mentioned difficulty of sections – the new rules underline the differences between riders. Surely – 4 touches are 4 points, 5 touches are 5 points. Maybe should started the discussion about changing the maximum possible got points in the section – maybe 10 points.
More than 10 points would be contra productive – it could complicate the referee´s work that often use the fingers as the help. This rule would for sure show the certain differences between the qualities of each rider. The difference between nine or two points in one section would make the total difference of seven points and not only one how is it now. The definition of our sport has to be kept – the definition says that the winner is the one who overcomes the obstacles with the smallest number of touches of the body with the ground. This definition should be kept for the future.
Have a minder or not?
I would not limit the number of minders. I am sure that above mentioned rules and also sections built by people who know trial well, would not give any advantage to rider in case of having more minders. It would not make any sense to prepare sections, which is possible to go through with the motorcycle only by the best riders for 20 points because just to ‘carry’ the motorcycle through the section would be simply impossible. I would leave the choice of a minder upon a rider. Especially in lower categories is very often the minder also the father, the driver, the mechanic because the younger rider mostly don´t have a driving licence. That is why I would not stop fathers to help and support their sons in trial.
The problem 2: World Championship Outdoor
About the points I already wrote. I would also advocate for longer time for a round in some competitions because sometimes it is very difficult to do it in time for the riders who start at the end.
The calendar and destinations:
I am sure trial needs to spread around the world because the trial market in Europe won´t grow more. Let´s go to Asia, Central or South America. Why don’t have a competition in Mexico, the next week in the USA and the week after in Canada? Also the line of competions in Asia – China, Thailand and Indonesia opens new possibilities. Let´s use the space between competions to show our sport to those parts of the world, not only riders of course, also the motorcycle producers with their products. Hey manufactures let´s make time for your customers in the USA and prepare for them, between the competitions there, two day training camps with your top riders. For the one costs of transporting man and machines we are able to visit three countries, three markets and go three World rounds. Let´s have a look at the other moto-sports; they can give us a good example. Also the new destinations would give us the possibility – because of the weather in the place – to start the season in March, not at the end of May and also finish later in the year.
Why do the indoor competions take place only in Europe? We do not want to increase the amount of expenses for the riders in 125cc? Does not matter, let´s do for example GP China only for Trial GP, or Trial GP and Trial 2. Categories 125cc can have then in Europe two competitions during one weekend. One on Saturday, one on Sunday. Do you think The Central America is not a market for producers of motorcycles for taking place the World Round? Could be an argument but on the other side there are so welcome spectators which is hard to find anywhere in Europe. And maybe it is true that we are not able to sell many new motorcycles there but try to find a way for people in economically weaker parts of the world – for example to offer cheaper models or second hand bikes. By finding possibility of selling used motorcycles we are getting a chance to increase a group of people who want to buy new ones and have money to do it. It is also possibility to try to produce cheaper models for economically weaker places – maybe without using the top components? Try to think about it. But for the beginning is the most important to show them our sport. When we introduce the sport there let´s do our best for success of producers and especially for trial.
A possible of schedule WTC weekend:
My suggestion for the weekend competition:
Thursday: 07.00am opening the paddock
Friday: free unlimited practise, afternoon or evening qualification
Saturday: all the day training allowed, afternoon – an inspection of sections
Sunday: the competition
There is one important reason. The system what we have today for a very short test is not good for anybody. The riders do not have the enough space for acclimatization, the teams for preparation and testing the machines. For the riders in lower classes who do not have factory support it is even more difficult. They do not have enough time and often also enough money to get ready before the competition weekend, for example for testing in high altitude. It is necessary to give more time to riders but also to spectators and fans to enjoy to watch the riders in practise, to take a pictures with them, signatures and not only in the competition. We need to come back closer to the public.
Do not forbid spectators to ride by motorcycles on the track. If there are limited possibilities about number of motorcycles on the track, let’s open online subscribing on the internet for example for the first fifty spectators. Who will be first has the possibility to watch and enjoy for free the competition from the seat of his motorcycle. I believe there will not be necessary to limit it in the most of competitions. It is also good to remember about parking places for the spectators. If the organizer does not have possibilities and capacity to offer parking places for spectators with caravans or tents for the time of the competition for free, we can offer it to them online through the internet ahead, even for a little fee. I have my own experiences how nervous makes me the situation of looking for the place to park for my parents who come visit me to some World Rounds with their camper. We have to let the spectators know ahead if they can park there, especially when the capacity is limited. We really have to think more about the comfort of our spectators and fans.
The system of World Championship for 125cc:
Let´s make this class as the entrance to the World Championship. Take it as the making easier enter for riders who want to join the World Championship and let’s save their money. What about making a tender for example three years for the producers of 125cc motorcycles and lets choose an exclusive supplier of motorcycles for this class of World Championship. Each rider would have possibility of having two motorcycles for one season for a better price from the producer, who will win the tender. Address the producers of tyres who try to catch up on the trial market to prepare an offer for the whole category. It would definitely reduce expenses to all riders who want to join the World Championship. It should be still possible in this category.
The problem no 3: World Championship Indoor:
I would stop here only shortly because indoor trial is really another big problem in this moment. The rules have to be the same as outdoor. The choosing of the riders for competitions is absolutely confusing and unclear. My opinion, TOP 8 riders from World outdoor Championship plus two more from the qualification. I am sure that it would be possible to find the time before the main race for qualification. In it could start riders out of top 8 who want to participate in the main competition? It could be even without spectators, also with only one lap. Best two of them would get the chance to participate in the main competition. In the end there would start 10 riders in the main race. The qualification would be open for example for only 5 riders due to the position in the World Championship. If there are more interested riders there would have to be prepared the order of riders in the WTC and only 5 of them get the chance to participate in the qualification. The time for the lap of the main competition should be longer. It is not the purpose to competition between the sections but in them. I think it is necessary to give to rider’s time to relax a bit and concentrate before their ride. Trial indoor needs do come back to places where already has been, like England, Italy, Germany but also Japan and new destinations like with outdoor. It’s just about it if we want to do it. If we want, we will.
At the end I would like to add something. There are many ideas and suggestions on my mind and a lot of things to do. I know it will be maybe difficult to realise some of them. But we have to start somewhere, don’t talk, don’t complain only and give the changes some direction otherwise this situation now is somehow kind of stagnation as I feel it. Trial was never as Moto GP and let´s take it as an advantage. So please do not do make trial more complicated and more far for our spectators and our fans. We need them, we need trial..back!
I just love you…trial!
I really thank to all of you who read it till the end.