Trials Torque Articles
2006 Idemistsu Ihatove Trial - Japan
A group of six NZ Trials riders have just returned from Japan where they attended the 30th Anniversary of the Idemitsu Ihatove 2-day Trial in north-east Japan, based on the 6-day Scottish event held every year in Scotland.
This event was the idea of one man, Yasuo Manzawa, who has been developing it for 30 years to make it the World Class standard that it is today. Stephen says it is the World's most friendly and enjoyable Trial event. As well as being suitably challenging it is also a tremendous amount of fun. Many thanks are owed to Yasuo Manzawa for his amazing effort, perserverance and dedication.
As guests of the event organiser Stephen & Deborah Oliver; Stephen's three sons Andrew, Nicholas & Peter ; and Stephen's father, Allan all rode in the event.
The bikes used by the six Oliver family members were loaned on a reciprocating arrangement, so that when any of the Japanese bike owners come to New Zealand, they will be able to ride bikes owned by Stephen & his family.
Allan and Deborah rode Scorpa 125cc in the Neli Class (the easiest grade) , while Stephen on a 250cc Montesa and Andrew & Nicholas on Scorpa 125cc rode the Classic Class (top grade). Peter, only 14, who could not ride on the road, took part on a Gas Gas 250cc with two other teenage Japanese boys (17 & 19 years of age) in the Display riding, which was indispersed throughout the two days near to where the Classic riders were taking part.
Stephen, Andrew & Nicholas rode with Takumi Narita, previous Japanese Champion and World Trials podium competitor. He was a fantastic guy to ride with and Stephen & the boys are looking forward to him visiting NZ to ride with the NonStop team and to help coach the High Performance Squad some time in the near future.
There were approximately 500 entries in the Trial, with Stephen finishing 1st equal ahead of Takumi Narita by one point, Nicholas a very impressive 6th and Andrew a creditable 16th place on a lesser power bike. Stephen admits that he had an advantage over Takumi and the boys, them being on smaller capacity bikes, which gave him the edge on one of the particularly long and steep hill climbs.
The one-day Neli/Budoli classes were run over approximately 120km with 20 sections to ride throughout the day. It was approximately 9 ½ hours riding in the one day. Sanmutoli was also one-day over 150km.
Many good contacts have been made with the Trials community in Japan. It was an impressive site to see Yamaha arrive at the event with a large truck and unload many motorcycles for the event and to meet sponsored riders involved in the development of the bikes. Already a visit is planned by one of the Idemitsu Ihatove organisers to Nelson in March 2007.
The Japanese people made the Oliver family very welcome and the Idemistu sponsor was responsible for covering their costs to be at the event. Many friends were made during their stay and very many laughs had by all. It involved lots of hand shaking and photo opportunities with all riders being interviewed and filmed by TV Iwate.
The intention is to lift the profile of Trials in New Zealand with Nelson as a training ground in the off-season for Trials riders from throughout the world. The experience of multi NZ Champion Stephen Oliver as a previous Scottish 6-Day competitor, and the terrain that we ride in Nelson being similar to Scottish countryside, are both pluses to encourage Japanese riders in particular to come to Nelson to train.
Stephen's Trials Park at 88 Valley in Wakefield, Nelson as recently featured on Sky's Sanyong Sport and Prime's Speed Machine will also be the venue for the first day of the 3-day NZ National Trials Championship in October when many New Zealand riders will get to see the facility for the first time.
General Enquiries to Stephen & Deborah Oliver
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