Trials Torque Articles
The Leader - 9th June 2005
|Andrew & Nicholas Oliver|
The first stage of a motorcycle trials park that will cater for bikers from local to international level has been completed in Wakefield's 88 Valley.
Five times national motor trials champion Stephen Oliver from Atawhai has spent the last 18 months working on the project, called the NonStop Trials Academy. Since Christmas, he has devoted four days a week to the physical work of creating the park. In that time, with the help of friends, family and sponsors, he has put in 12 truck dump-loads of rocks, tanalised logs, concrete pipes, concrete retainer walls, rock steps, built up shingle around flat-edged logs so competitors can ride off the logs as opposed to havČing to fall off and concreted tracks for push bikes, mountain bikes and trial bikes.
He says the idea is to blend the artificial material into the natural terrain. "It makes the riding spectacular and there is now plenty of opportunity for air time."
He says the site is ideal for spectators. The main competition area is built into a natural amphitheatre which means spectators don't have to walk or even get out of their car to see most of the action. Stephen says the first stage of the project means the trials park can cater for competitors from beginners to intermediate level.
To get it up to top international level you have to put a lot more time into grooming and developing it and, basically, it just takes money,"
However, he has already had considerable help from sponsors. "Goldpine have been a major help with products and Hirequip let us use their equipment and even take stuff out there for us."
The land is on Punawai Farm and is on the property of N E Parkes and Sons which is a family trust. "We have secured a renewable long-term lease to enable the furČther development of this property for the academy."
Stephen says the park will be officially opened in November. "From then on we plan to have national squads coming in to use it. "It will be used for trials, mountain bike trials and pushbiking." However, he is keen to get the park up to international standard as quickly as possible and already has plans for Japanese riders to visit and established links with England and the United States.
He plans for the park to be used for international events and high-profile overseas competitor demonstrations as well as for training New Zealand squads for overseas competition. "I have put so much time and effort into this project because I want to make it a national and international venue rather than just a local one."
He is in regular contact with Motorcycle New Zealand and says they are going to use the park for it's national training camps.
"Six of the top 10 contenders for trial biking are from the Nelson area anyway." Stephen says although he started building the site 18 months ago, he had the idea as far back as 10 years ago. "But I needed to develop my business so 1 could free up some time to build the park."
He says the idea is that the park will be open every second Saturday for supervised training and instruction. "But when we get more manpower I hope to have it open every Saturday." He says he will also be starting up a sporting trust where we will fund young riders "who have potential".