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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

2012 NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial

18th July 2011
2012 NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial
2012 NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial

Work has begun on the 2012 NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial, to be held in Nelson on the 18th & 19th of February.
The 2012 poster and entry form are now available on the Ihatove page
We are working on confirming several special guest riders for the event.

The NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial event will be catering for all levels of rider and promises to be a fun-filled occasion.

We look forward to greeting all the riders again in February and we will update you with more news as it comes to hand.

Please note that entries close 31st January 2012. This is to enable us to produce an accurate program with everyone's name included.

Those that are happy to pay in advance may wish to take advantage of the Early Bird Entry (10% disc on Ihatove event), which is available until 31st Dec 2011.

Japanese Ihatove Team

17th July 2011
The Team taking a well earned rest
The Team taking a well earned rest

With just over a month to go the Japanese Ihatove team are busily finalising sections for the 2011 event in August.
Every weekend Yasuo has plenty of helpers available for the ongoing grooming and clearing of mountain trails after the heavy snows of their winter which caused quite a lot of damage to existing trails.
The weather has warmed up as their summer is in full swing. With access to a new property and help from the owner to clear sections they have made good progress.
Although they are expecting another good turn out, they have decided in light of the recent earthquakes and tsunami and subsequent radiation threat, they do not want to put overseas guest riders in a difficult position unnecessarily.
Riders are keen to gather again for a positive event, to enjoy the region and the reunion of past friends, to make new memories and boost morale.
When last speaking to Ishi and Yasuo they were all looking forward to this year's event.

News Flash

11th July 2011
Jake on the rise.
Jake on the rise.

Jake had a fantastic ride in Italy on the weekend while contesting the European Championship. Against the world's best riders, with the help from his minder Karl, Jake rode well all day on the Saturday to finish fifth.

If that wasn't enough, he managed to hold it together a day later at the world Championship, staying consistent for both laps, to secure a top ten placing.

These results have kept Jake in good stead to achieve his goal of a top ten finish at the end of the 2011 season.
With his skill and ability, the more competition and experience Jake gains at this level, the more confident and steady he is becoming.

I believe that there will be a few people eagerly watching Jake's progress over the next few weeks and if he keeps progressing at this current rate, there is likely to be something on the table for next season. Watch this space.

Winter is finally upon us.

9th July 2011
Local fisherman was not happy
Local fisherman was not happy

A bleak day in July, thunder clouds in the sky, snow on the mountains and a breeze with a knife edge. Not for the faint-hearted.

Steve gets a phone call from youngest son Pete who wants to have a ride on the 2RT which he is quickly growing fond of. They both agree just a quick ride on the rocks by the Haven was in order.

A lot of the Oliver clan have had a touch of the flu, which is running rampant in Nelson at present. Pete was feeling a little jaded but this didn't show whilst riding the bike as the photos show.

Peter puts the 2RT through its paces
Peter puts the 2RT through its paces

He managed to pull out a stylish performance and Steve managed to capture some great shots to add to the Flickr gallery. (See the Flickr link on the right hand menu.)

Over the last couple of weeks NRC (the NonStop Research Centre) has put the finishing touches to the 2RT, upping the power delivery slightly and freshening up the rear end with the added mod of lowering and positioning the foot pegs slightly further to the rear of the machine. This was one of the reasons why Pete was keen to give it another try out on some more technical terrain.

Pete's comments were that it feels good and I'm happy to ride this bike as it is a little bit lighter and slightly more manoeuvrable than his 4RT, although he did add that the four-stroke is still the most fun to ride when just out for a hoon.

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Growing the Sport

8th July 2011
Get the whole family interested
Get the whole family interested

The overarching hurdle that any change needs to pass is:
Will this grow the sport and lead to greater participation and retention.
Continuity of event format is important but it won't by itself grow the sport.

Unlike our Northern Hemisphere compatriots, so many of us in New Zealand, young and old, are in fact lucky that we can still enjoy our trials riding, without too many restrictions and encumbrances.

We still have venues to ride and the potential to nurture more properties if we approach farmers in the right way. We have a sport that the general public still know little about and with the right exposure could go a lot further.
The sport can be fun and challenging for all levels of ability. Instead of working just inside the motorcycle industry there is potential for corporate sponsorship from smaller businesses and there are numerous crossovers with other two wheeled sports, namely the mountain bike community.

We have debated rule changes about sections, marking, observing and grades every year and with every change of MNZ personnel.

Probably the thing that frustrates me the most about any debate on marking rules is the cry for "one uniform system"-this sounds plausible but one will almost always find that the person making this comment will only really accept that scenario, if the system chosen was the one they wanted!

Introduce existing riders from different disciplines
Introduce existing riders from different disciplines

All sports face the same dilemma, where there is a change in personalities and thoughts, all are keen to leave their mark so they feel that their time in their new role has been worth while.

Imagine if every golf club said there would be stableford only competitions, no nett/gross/ambrose twoball/fourball etc would have to go. That decision could be made because the ruling committee of the time favour only stableford. That would see an ever diminishing number of participants, lesser fun for all and an overall decline in that important "fun factor'

For instance, in my experience of trying to encourage new people into the sport, the No- Stop rule would definitely be favourite. Also I believe as a spectator that this style of riding is favoured by the general public.
A good example of this was when Takumi Narita attended the Oceania Champs here in Nelson.
His style of riding was much favoured by local spectators as he flowed the sections at speed, where as some of our top riders stand stationary while getting sorted for the next obstacle, this to the general public appears boring.

If we took the really radical step of actually asking all those out there who ride, organise and observe which observing rules they would vote for, the result would most likely swing towards "Stop allowed" as that is what most of today's riders have become used to.

Produce and groom valuable role models
Produce and groom valuable role models

I am happy and more than capable of riding that style but I know and overseas experience shows that it won't encourage the numbers necessary of new riders to grow the sport.

However, if clubs believe that the "No-Stop" rule suits them best then let them use it, and if the "Stop Allowed" floats their boat then let them go with that. It's only at National championship level that a system known in advance and clearly communicated needs to be in force. I foresee a blending of the two styles. Non stop for some grades, stop allowed for others.

In England the clubs running No-Stop are the fastest growing clubs. Sections do not need to be as difficult and amateur riders who do not have as much time on the bike do not find them as intimidating. Less difficult sections allow for a faster setup time and easier observing and as I have already mentioned in our experience spectators much prefer a flowing style of riding.

Cater for the Ladies.
Cater for the Ladies.

At the end of it all we should be thankful we still have places to ride, people to organise and observe, and in general a discipline that has many advantages. i.e. it caters for all ages, gender and physical abilities and the competition is firstly against the course and obstacles, secondly against fellow competitors and thirdly and probably most significantly it's about challenging oneself to consistently achieve things you haven't done before.

Motorcycle Trials is also one of the least expensive motorsports to access. For the majority of riders the biggest portion of your success depends on the ability of the rider rather than the machine or the size of your wallet.

I think the emphasis should be focused on unity and looking after the land and property owners and securing new venues that are suitable for every level of trials or potential trials rider. If the sport is to grow we need to find a means of exposing the fun side of trials to the very young so they will then pester their parents to become part of the local trials scene (club).

Help lift the profile
Help lift the profile

At this point in time we need to be up-skilling our current members on how to make the 'newbies' feel more welcome and part of the trial family. Most new to the sport are looking for a fun activity and camaraderie. Non-riders also need to be nurtured and included to help with observing and the running of events.

We have a sport that is recognised as being one of the easiest to run and organise, let's not be our own worst enemy and make it more difficult than it need be.

There is one other important question every rider or trials enthusiast should probably ask him or herself - "other than riding and enjoying my sport- what have I actually done this year to put something back in?"


Minister electric over the future of Mototrials

29th June 2011

It's not often you see a Government Minister for the Environment endorsing any form of motorsport and even more intriguing when that Minister is also the Minister of ACC.

Nick meet Nick
Nick meet Nick

The Honourable Dr Nick Smith however, has good reason to smile about the relationship with this group.

Local Nelson-based NonStop Adventure NZ trials group, amongst other things, including training Motorcyclists of all ages and abilities to be better off-road riders and therefore reducing the likelihood of injury, also run the annual NZ Ihatove (Dreamland) Adventure Trial motorcycle event, a sister event to the highly successful Japanese Ihatove Trial, the largest trial of its kind in the world, having been run annually there since 1977.

This professional friendly, fun ride, which attracts international riders to Nelson every February, is aiming to now promote the introduction of an electric motorcycle to the sport. NonStop has informed Nick Smith that the Japanese and New Zealand events hope to be two of the first events to have an electric machine included.

Whilst electric trials motorcycles are still relatively new it's an area that is expected to develop as time goes on and technology improves.
Trials Motorcycling, which is ridden at low speeds over challenging terrain, both natural and man-made, is already one of the most environmentally friendly motorsports due to the very low noise output; use of land that is not normally suitable for grazing or cropping; minimal fuel usage and therefore limited carbon emissions (a typical trials bike has a 2 litre fuel tank which on most occasions lasts the full event). Because of the tyres soft compound, low pressure and non aggressive tread pattern trials is also well known for its soft footprint on the land.
Bikes need instant torque to climb obstacles and that is one of the characteristics of electric engines. A few of these machines have already been developed and this trend is expected to grow.

A comparison often made when describing trials is, "It's the golf of motorsport" due to trials many similarities to the sport of golf ie. it caters for all ages, gender and physical abilities; has a handicapping system (grading); typically you ride in groups of 4 and record each other's scores and the competition is firstly against the course and obstacles, secondly against fellow competitors and thirdly and probably most significantly it's about challenging oneself to consistently achieve things you haven't done before.

Many top level motorsport champions use motorcycle trials to hone their technical skills, for fitness and to relax in the same way as many top sports people turn to golf.

Motorcycle Trials is also one of the least expensive motorsports to access. For the majority of riders the biggest portion of your success depends on the ability of the rider rather than the machine or the size of your wallet.

NonStop Adventure trials group very much welcomes the Minister's endorsement and support as they work hard to grow this form of motorcycle sport and the safety of motorcyclists throughout NZ, while promoting the enjoyment that it has to offer, rather than the fierce competitiveness of racing disciplines.

2011 Idemitsu Ihatove Trial

27th June 2011
Yasuo and companions clearing the trail
Yasuo and companions clearing the trail

Preparation for this year's Japanese Ihatove event is well on the way, thanks to Yasuo Manzawa and his team of merry men & women.

Scorpa 125 makes for a handy work horse
Scorpa 125 makes for a handy work horse

The effort needed this year is great as there has been much snow damage with many fallen trees.

Yasuo has advised us that they are also considering changing parts of the route for the Classic class to avoid the worst affected areas.

To make up for fewer trail challenges they have added some additional new sections which Yasuo claims will be well received.

Spring is in the air and although the work is hard it is great to be at one with nature and once again experience the lovely fine weather that it brings.

As we are all aware the earthquake has caused huge disruption in the lives of many Japanese and their communities, but this has only made the Ihatove team more determined to get things back on track.

I have included some of the latest photos from Yasuo's website and I am sure I speak for all of us here in NZ when I wish them all the best for the coming months and years ahead.

Top NZ Trials Rider joins Team NonStop

23rd June 2011
Stef in action
Stef in action

New Zealand's Top Women Trials rider Stef Downes has joined the highly successful Team NonStop.

Although Stef is based in Christchurch, she has decided to take advantage of the mentoring and first class coaching facility of the NonStop Team, located in the Tasman District of Nelson and supported by Goldpine NZ.

Stef is keen to be involved in a team environment and have proven performers help her reach her own personal goals within the sport.

Peter and Nick Oliver, the two youngest stars of the team, are keen to have Stef on board.

She made the journey North earlier in the year to compete in the NZ Ihatove Adventure Trial where she secured a podium finish; the envy of many of her male competitors.

On this same weekend Nick and Peter shared some one-on-one training with Stef for the first time. She was so impressed with the experience she made contact with the NonStop founder Stephen Oliver to see what could be arranged.

Stef was pleasantly surprised when Stephen offered her a position on the team.

Stef has plenty of support from the PMCC and now NonStop
Stef has plenty of support from the PMCC and now NonStop

This will involve attending and representing NonStop, at National and International competitions and hopefully at the Japanese Ihatove event in 2012. Australian trials guru, Paul Arnott (importer) is keen to support Stef's ambitions abroad.

Stef is currently well ranked in the NZ Intermediate Grade where her main rivals are male counterparts. However, she is keen to continue to develop her riding skills to be able to compete at the Expert level of competition in this country.

Stephen Oliver says that Stef has a lot to offer the sport both on and off the track and we are very excited to have the opportunity to work with her as we see her as being a great asset to the growth of trials.

To date Stef has had good results and is improving well; she was part of the winning NZ team at the Oceania Event last year in Australia and has competed in Oceania Events here. If selected this year she will take on our Aussie friends again at the NZ Nationals in October in Hamilton.

She is currently looking at upgrading her Mount to the latest state-of-the-art trial machine which will help put her on a level playing field with some of her competition. The latest bikes are lighter and more agile which helps tremendously with the modern techniques of riding style.

We would have to say after talking to Stef, seeing her ride and witnessing the enthusiasm she possesses, that she has all the traits that a sponsor is looking for. We wish Stef success and a long career of motorcycling and look forward to supporting Stef as she pursues her ambitions and goals. Watch this space!

Rumi back on track

5th June 2011
Kikumi, Ishi, Rumi's husband Yasuyuki & Rumi
Kikumi, Ishi, Rumi's husband Yasuyuki & Rumi

Youji Ishiyama and Rumi Takahashi were two of our Japanese friends to attend the inaugural Ihatove trial in 2010.
After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Rumi and her husband's bike accessory shop and home in Sendai were uninhabitable and Rumi volunteered to deliver aid to the victims of this terrible quake and tsunami in Sendai.
Youji Ishiyama has today sent us this photo of his wife (Kikumi), Ishi, Yasuyuki and Rumi at their new shop which they have relocated in the outskirts of Sendai. Their shop is now larger than before and easily accessible to the highway and SUGO raceway (where the Japanese pre-Ihatove events are held),
There are a number of hotspings near their new rented house, so they're pleased with this location. Also, Rumi and her husband are going to continue with their contribution to the suffering people in Sendai.

We at NonStop are pleased to share this good news.

Team Xtreme go playing.

2nd June 2011
The Boys eye up the next challenge
The Boys eye up the next challenge

Nick and Peter of Team Xtreme spent the weekend comparing the Montesa Cota 316 and the 2RT and at this point it looks as though Nick will stick with the Cota 316 while Peter is keen to give the 2RT a try.

The pair put on a great display of technical riding for the cameraman and after 6 hours of riding headed home to get ready for another full day's riding on the Sunday, where we decided to head to another venue and give the trial park a rest.

This was a good choice as it helped to define the bikes strong points and get a good picture of what they are capable of. The Cota 316 has the power and is very well balanced which makes it exciting to ride; it was concluded that it would also be more tiring for the rider to hang on to for the duration of an event.

Nick showing off on style
Nick showing off on style

The surprise was the 2RT which proved to be well powered but not over the top and would suit all levels of rider. Its handling was fantastic as it shares the same chassis as the 4RT. Both Nick and Peter ended up referring to it as the "Small Bike"; as the name suggests the 2RT feels very small and controllable.
The two machines are quite different to ride, but both have the fun factor.

Team NonStop are continuing to develop both machines as time permits, however in their present state we feel there is not a lot that can be done other than personalising the machines.

So, while our Japanese friends are busy marking out and grooming the Japanese countryside for their home Ihatove event in August and Jake is contesting the world rounds, we are playing and NRC is developing new trials weapons for no particular reason other than the fun and satisfaction that goes with the creation.

There is a rumour that there is a chance that a small capacity four stroke in a modern day rolling chassis is next; one of our Japanese friends has already done the exercise and made a great job; we are waiting for some photos which will help us to achieve a good result with this new project. Watch this space.

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