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Trials-Torque Articles

The 30-Year Road to Producing a World Champion
Relax to the Max!
Jake's World
Posting on Ihatove Website - Dancho and Mitsuo Back Home Safe & Sound
Nobukazu Ohtsuki
More Challenges for Takumi Narita
An Interview with Yasuo Manzawa - founder of the Ihatove Trial
Which Bike? A Beginner's Perspective by David Atwool
Oceania Championship - Tauranga 5 April 2007
Kiwirider - March 2007
Simon Wearmouth visits NonStop Adventure
The Nelson Mail- October 2006
The Nelson Mail - 23rd October 2006
Kiwi Rider - October 2006
Dirt Rider Downunder - September 2006
2006 Idemistsu Ihatove Trial - Japan
60th Anniversary Kaikoura 3-Day 2006
The Leader - June 2006
DirtRider DownUnder -Jan 2006
KiwiRider -Jan 2006
The Nelson Mail - 28th November 2005
The Nelson Mail - 18th November 2005
The Leader - 9th June 2005

New Zealand Trials News

Winter in Iwate

14th January 2009
Honda TL125 & Mt Iwate
Honda TL125 & Mt Iwate

Ishiyama-san forwarded this photo of a Honda TL125 perched in the snow outside his house demonstrating there is no mistaking winter in Iwate.

We in New Zealand don't know how lucky we are being able to ride all year round rather than a seasonal feast as it is in Iwate.

Skiing and snow mobile riding take precedence and riders in Iwate have to pack away their bikes until the following spring. They can then start the annual job of clearing tracks for the next Idemitsu Ihatove Trial.

Mt Iwate is also pictured in the background.


Father-son training

13th January 2009
Blake Fox showing good form
Blake Fox showing good form

Father-son combination Gavin & Blake Fox took the big journey from Dunedin arriving at NonStop to tap into some professional junior training with NZ Junior Champs Nick & Peter Oliver and a full day coaching with Stephen Oliver, founder of NonStop Adventure & Trials Academy.

Blake was presently surprised with the friendliness and knowledge of both Nick & Peter and feels that he can gain a lot from his future association with the NonStop team.

He made comment that although there was a lot to learn from the Oliver boys they also demonstrated that it is possible to have a lot of fun while training. There was great camaraderie over the two days of riding.

Blake & Gavin Fox
Blake & Gavin Fox

Blake shows great potential and with the additional help from Stephen brushing up on all the basics Blake will be able to move forward to the next level with his riding.

Watch this space as we at NonStop are sure that should Blake continue at his current rate of improvement then he will most definitely be a rider to take NZ trialling to the next level.


New skills

8th January 2009
Smiles all round from Bruce Corkill
Smiles all round from Bruce Corkill

Bruce, from Wellington, NZ visited the park for two days Academy training.
He has extensive experience in motorcycling adventure tours and mountain biking
His engineering background gives him a good technical ability to take on board training instructions and apply them to his riding.

He visited 88 Valley and our Havelock property for two days of great riding. He particularly enjoyed the coaching picking up some handy hints to apply to his mountain biking and trail touring.

Bruce was on extended holiday taking in several riding trips in the South Island before heading home to Wellington.

He had been wary at first of whether this tour would meet his requirements and expectations but was thrilled to see that it was just what he needed and would be happy to return for more training and to recommend it to others. He saw it as a great opportunity to see if he would be interested in taking up trials as a new past-time with all his other activities so considered it money well spent.

Although he rides 650cc adventure tour bikes he found the Scorpa 175 and 250 bikes were great for trying out all the new moves.


The Perfect Honeymoon

3rd January 2009
Yoshikazu & Tomoko Hirata with Stephen
Yoshikazu & Tomoko Hirata with Stephen

Yoshikazu and Tomoko Hirata of Japan recently found the ideal way to spend their honeymoon: an 18-day trip to New Zealand that included a 3-day Trial Tour with NonStop Adventure. With a total of seven bikes at home, the Hiratas are keen motorcyclists. Yoshikazu spent many years racing road bikes and the pair first met at an enduro event. Over the last couple of years they have taken up trials as a way of further honing their off-road skills.

Guided by coach Stephen Oliver and translator David Atwool, the tour offered the chance to explore a vast new property each day and practice riding skills in a variety of spectacular landscapes. Perfect summer weather helped to make the trip a truly memorable experience for all the riders.

Once they get back to Japan and catch their breath, the Hiratas will write their own impressions of the tour - keep an eye out for their report.

To see more of the impressive sights from their tour view our Adventure Tour photo gallery.


Work Do with a difference

2nd January 2009
Peter's one-on-one training with Nick
Peter's one-on-one training with Nick

Just prior to Christmas Stephen had a call from Peter to book a day's outing for himself and his workers from Top of the South Continuous Spouting - a christmas bonus out of the hat.

Nick as tour guide
Nick as tour guide

They were looking for an adventure ride with a difference.

Stephen and Nick Oliver hosted them for the day including a ride to see the sights, some trials rider training and as an added bonus a display of skilled riding by Nick on the man-made obstacles at the NonStop Trials park, showing just what is possible with good training and lots of practice.


At the end of the day the guys were all stoked and commented it was far more than they had expected, and they now have a whole new appreciation of the fun that can be had on a trials motorcycle at any age.


They praised Nick's ability to lead the group and his professional manner.
It is great to see Nick taking a greater role in our tour groups as more clients visit the park.

Enquiries have taken off recently with more overseas visitors expected this summer. Nick's great personality is an asset when hosting all ages of rider.

Stephen has since seen Peter in town and they are still buzzing and can't wait to do it again!


Christmas in Iwate

29th December 2008
Appi Hotel
Appi Hotel

Our friend Youji Ishiyama sent this photo of the Appi Ski Resort Hotel in Iwate prefecture showing the snow and christmas lights. Ishiyama-san is one of the managers of the Hotel.

Youji Ishiyama was our special host in 2006 acting as tour guide extraordinaire for Allan & Deborah Oliver in the Neli grade of the Idemitsu Ihatove Trial.

He has also visited New Zealand with his two sons and we look forward to seeing him again at the inaugural NZ Tasman Ihatove Trial in 2010.


Merry Christmas from the Team at NonStop Adventure

25th December 2008
Merry Christmas from the Team at NonStop Adventure
Merry Christmas from the Team at NonStop Adventure

The Team at NonStop Adventure Ltd wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year.

2008 has been a very rewarding and exciting year. We have had many interesting and neat people through, taking advantage of NonStop Adventure Tours and our relationship with our Japanese friends has been a highlight and continues to grow with a lot more in store for 2009 with Takumi Narita confirming his attendance as guest rider at the NZ Oceania Trials Champs in Nelson at Easter.

The Trials Academy is bearing fruit with the great results of all our riders starting to flow through all levels of riding in New Zealand and with great results for the South Island taking the win in the North/South challenge for the first time in 11 years.

2009 is shaping up to an even bigger year with numerous things on the go which promise to make for a great year.

We would like to thank everyone who had a part in making 2008 so successful and we look forward to working with you all again next year.

Special wishes to our Japanese friends. The 2010 Tasman Ihatove Trial promises to be a first class event and is already creating great interest and plans are well under way with the support of our local Tasman District Council.

Stephen, Deborah, Nick, Pete & Andy


NonStop Trials Academy Update

18th December 2008
NonStop play hosts to Japanese visitors
NonStop play hosts to Japanese visitors

Reported by Dave Britten KiwiRider magazine

Readers with a memory capable of recalling two years may recollect that three generations of the Oliver family were invited to ride a two-day trial in Japan in 2006, and all six (Allan, his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Deborah, and their three sons Andrew, Nick, and Peter) had a great time. The event is called the Idemitsu Ihatove Trial. Idemitsu are an oil company and have sponsored the trial, which has been running for 32 years, for the past 20 years. Ihatove means Dreamland, and is a reference to the Iwate Prefecture in the north of the Japanese main island of Honshu, where the event is held.

Unlike a normal observed trial, which is held in a relatively compact area, the Ihatove is run on a large circuit of over 200km per day, with sections along the way that are scored. This is similar in layout to the Scottish six-day trial, on which the Ihatove is based, but there is a large difference in spirit - the Ihatove is primarily for fun, where the SSDT is all serious stuff. The bikes in Japan are street-legal, so the course is a mix of sealed and unsealed roads, tracks and trails, and the observed sections themselves. With an emphasis on scenery, sociability, and participation, the nearly 900 riders that take part in the various grades look forward each year to this event.

Nakamura,Lemura and journalist Shuji Fujita
Nakamura,Lemura and journalist Shuji Fujita

Stephen Oliver, who runs the NonStop Trials Academy at 88 Valley, Wakefield, has links with the Chairman of the Ihatove, Yasuo Manzawa, that go back 23 years, and through him he has hosted Japanese visitors to New Zealand for trials touring. Stephen, a previous NZ Champion, knows that to encourage new riders into the sport of Trials, that riding must not just be about learning the disciplines necessary to be a good technical rider, but that most of all it must be pleasurable.

His three sons, each a New Zealand Trials Champion themselves, echo that sentiment, and on a recent trip to Nelson to catch up with their latest developments, I was told that when they are at the Academy for a day's instruction and practice, that only a small part of the riding time is spent learning and refreshing skills pertinent to competition riding. Most of the time is spent enjoying the ride, playing follow-the-leader, attempting near impossible climbs, and just having a blast. Speed and excitement keeps interest fresh and prevents enthusiasm waning.

Richard kempthorne left with NonStop's Stephen Oliver
Richard kempthorne left with NonStop's Stephen Oliver

Because of the enjoyment factor, and the ongoing relationship with Manzawa, at time of writing (August) both Nick (19) and Peter (16) are packing their bags for their second trip to Japan, and participation in the 2008 Ihatove. Again, Yamaha will be providing the motorcycles for them to ride.

The NonStop Trials Academy is the perfect environment to foster interest in both competitive and non-competitive trials riding (trials touring), and to that end Stephen has proposed running a New Zealand version of the Ihatove in Nelson in early 2010. Fortunately, his major sponsor, Goldpine Ltd, is very supportive of the idea, as are the Tasman District Council, and already Mayor Richard Kempthorne has written to Yasuo Manzawa expressing the Council's cooperation for the event, which will be known as the Tasman Ihatove Trial. David Atwool, a trials-riding Japanese translator who now lives in Blenheim but has spent 13 years living in Japan, will negate any language barriers.

NonStop appears in Japanese magazines
NonStop appears in Japanese magazines


The terrain around Nelson is similar to that in northern Japan, and a Japanese journalist, Shuji Fujita, who recently spent some time with the Olivers, riding in the local area, has had several articles published in motorcycle magazines in his homeland, extolling the virtues of New Zealand, and the forthcoming Tasman Ihatove.

The biggest disparity between the local and Japanese trials will be that in New Zealand trials bikes are not street legal, and nor is it practical for them to be, so the entire Tasman Ihatove Trial will be held on private property. Being able to demonstrate to land owners how little trials tyres mark the land and how quiet the bikes are has been a real bonus, and neighbouring property owners appear willing to allow the Academy to expand its boundaries for the 2010 Trial, although there is much discussion and negotiation still to happen.

Stephen's enthusiasm for the sport, and his willingness to channel his apparently endless energy into establishing and supporting new riders as well as training existing ones to higher levels of skill, bodes well for the success of the Tasman Ihatove Trial 2010. Visitors from Japan, as well as New Zealand riders, have much of which to look forward.


Jake Whitaker Returns to Take Out His Second National Title

4th November 2008
 Brendan looking after his invested interest.
Brendan looking after his invested interest.

It's been a few months since our last report on Jake Whitaker as he competed in the World Youth Championships with the Future Trials Racing Team, accompanied by Karl Clark and his family. Karl was Jake's minder during his assault on the youth of the world.

They have achieved the goal of a top ten finish in the Championship, which Jake secured at the last round in Spain. This was a fantastic accomplishment for Jake, who was experiencing a whole new environment of full-on training, competition against the best in the world, a foreign language, diet and culture as well as travel to various countries and a totally different bike from the ones he rode in New Zealand.

The riding was only half the battle, and with this year under his belt the knowledge and experience he gained would give Jake a quick entry back into the world scene if he were to compete again next year. Podium finishes are likely to be within reach should he return to the youth grade in 2009.

On his way home from Europe, Jake called into Australia to compete in their national event. This was another great experience, with Jake taking out second place overall in the pro/elite class. On the first day it was a matter of getting acclimatised to the conditions and the bike, and he finished up fourth. Day two showed what he was really made of; securing a win to take him to second overall. Jake was riding an unmodified 5-year-old Montesa 250 4RT. This bike was lent to him by the Montesa importer, who also prepped it for him, and he was very happy with its performance and setup. Having previously ridden the 125cc version in Europe, he was able to get the best from the 250 machine.

Jake on fine form on his way to defending his title.
Jake on fine form on his way to defending his title.

Two weeks later Jake rode the NZ Nationals in Alexandra to defend his first Expert title from 2007. Arriving a couple of days early, he teamed up with his NonStop buddies Nick & Peter Oliver to get some practice under their belts in the unique conditions of Alex. There is so much traction and the sections take in such large obstacles that a mistake can be very unforgiving.

It was evident to everyone how the international experience and the high-class company he has been keeping all year has paid off. Although the other riders in his class put in admirable performances, Jake went clean on two of three days, losing only two points on observation over the competition to blitz the field. His confidence and riding maturity showed as he tackled obstacles that would have fazed many other riders.

As he passes on this knowledge to our younger riders coming up through the ranks, Jake will be a great asset to the future of motorcycling in New Zealand.

Jake just loves the Alexandra rockery
Jake just loves the Alexandra rockery

Although there is a little uncertainty at this point about whether Jake will return to Europe for a full season in 2009, he is certainly keen to compete in as many of the youth rounds as possible. Finances are always a factor in this, and NZ being what it is we have very limited resources with virtually no sponsorship available, unlike European riders who are able to gain support from various sponsors.

NonStop Adventure NZ Ltd is very keen to keep up its long-term assistance to Jake and encourage his ongoing development. Jake has the opportunity to continue his involvement with the NonStop Academy, display riding and on the international front, particularly with the Japanese Oceanic ties and possible future Japanese Championship competition alongside Nicholas Oliver as Elite and Super-A grade riders.

Stephen Oliver, the patriarch of NonStop Adventure, has spoken with Yamaha (Scorpa) and Mitani (HRC Honda) and Mr Kondo, who is the private importer for Montesa in Japan. Stephen is confident that he can secure rides for the NonStop Racing Team to gain further experience in international competition on the Japanese scene.

We will file a further report when definite decisions have been made, so watch this space.

Congratulations to Jake on his first year of international competition. It goes without saying that Pat & Michelle Whitaker deserve great credit for backing Jake; also the Clark family (Karl, Debbie, Braxton & Jake), who provided on-the-ground, home-away-from-home support during a very demanding year for both Jake & Karl.


NonStop riders strike gold in Alexandra

3rd November 2008
Nick Oliver showed what he is capable of all weekend
Nick Oliver showed what he is capable of all weekend

NonStop riders strike gold in Alexandra

The Southern Trials Group and their sponsors put on another great show with excellent properties and challenging sections throughout the three days of competition held in Alexandra for the 2008 National Trials Championship.

Many of the 70 riders had arrived early in Alexandra for some practice days on the unique terrain found only in this area - big grippy rocks galore.
A truck load of North Islanders, organised by Steve Armistead & Francis Sydenham, gave a big boost to approx 26 North Island entries.

From a cold start on day one the weather turned to Alexandra's hot and windy conditions on day two and reached 28 deg C on day three.

For the first time in 11 years the South Island comfortably secured the North vs. South competition; the depth of talent in the South Island across all grades in no small part enhanced by the NonStop's Tasman academy influence over the last few years showing its fruits from early Junior results in 2003 up to Expert grade in 2008.

Jake Whitaker outright winner
Jake Whitaker outright winner

NonStop riders had podium finishes in five of the six grades and two of three NZ titles. Of these, Jake Whitaker (Expert), Peter Oliver (A-Grade), Stephen Oliver (Intermediate) and Blake Fox (Junior) struck gold, Callum Anderson (Junior), Stefan Van Workum (Clubman) took second placing and Nicholas Oliver riding Scorpa (Expert) a hard-fought but excellent third placing to Warren Laugesen (8 time NZ Champ) in his first entrance to the top grade.

Nick commented that his Scorpa SY250R performed really well all weekend and that the rider friendly nature of the Scorpa helps to compliment his riding style. Nick said "I am very pleased with my result this weekend with good rides all three days. As this was my first every ride in the demanding elite grade I am confident with improved fitness and some more time on the bike at this level, I will only get better".

Jake Whitaker, freshly back from his excellent top ten placing in the World Youth Championship, demonstrated the value of overseas experience gained mixing it with the top in the world for overall performance and the future of young riders in New Zealand. Jake blitzed the field with a world class performance, losing only two points on observation over the three days of competition. His European minder and riding buddy on a HM Future Trials 300 Montesa, Karl Clark rounded out fourth place in the Expert grade in his first competition this year.

Peter Oliver impressed the crowds with his stylish riding.
Peter Oliver impressed the crowds with his stylish riding.

Peter Oliver, riding for the first time in A-Grade (after taking out the Junior title in 2006) dominated the results over all three days with a clear margin ahead of Bradley Hibbs and World Class Enduro competitor Chris Birch in third place.

Stephen Oliver, patriarch of the NonStop riders, had a ball mixing it in the intermediate class with long-time friends and fellow riders in the largest contested field. Knocking on 50, Stephen proved without a doubt that he still has the competitive edge and expertise to coach riders at any level in the sport. Taking out second and third placings were Darryl Parkhill & Jim Lowe-Pattie (one of the youngest riders in this grade).

Blake Fox took the Junior title, on six points, just ahead of Callum Anderson who previously pipped Blake to first place at the South Island Champs. This obviously motivated Blake to step up and practice, practice, practice to take first place at the nationals. Third place went to John Haynes. A rider to watch out for will be young Liam Draper, demonstrating great style and bike control all weekend.

South Islanders dominated the results in the Clubman class with Gavin Fox, Stefan Van Workum (Scorpa SY 250R) and Guyan Bennett taking the honours.

Presidents saw a hard-fought battle between Paul McLeod and Ross Bristol (Scorpa SY 250R), both equal on observed points but with Paul taking out the Championship with most cleans over the three days. Nelson Marlborough Trials Centre owner/operator Brendan Wadsworth, giving his old TYZ-250 Yamaha its first outing in a long while, took out third place.

To check out the full results click on the link below.

» 2008 Nationals Results «
» More images «

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P O Box 752, Nelson, New Zealand
Tel: 64-3-545 1053
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