TEAM RG Tri­als

Trial Magazine - - CONTENTS - AR­TI­CLE: JOHN HULME PIC­TURES: WAL­TER WERMUTH AND TRI­ALS ME­DIA

As the ed­i­tor of Trial Mag­a­zine for just over the last decade, I have come into con­tact with many peo­ple with a vi­sion of run­ning their own tri­als team. In the tough eco­nomic cli­mate, we are liv­ing in this dream is a very dif­fi­cult one to bring to life, as the fund­ing is al­ways the stum­bling block — as is the time and com­mit­ment. We are talk­ing about quite a sub­stan­tial in­vest­ment for it to work, but there is one key fac­tor in this recipe that needs to be added, and that is pas­sion.

I first came into con­tact with Rudi Geiser at the Ja­panese World round in 2015. I had no­ticed him be­fore with his good friend Wal­ter Wermuth. We started to talk about the world tri­als scene and the need to of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties to the young riders look­ing for a fu­ture in the mo­tor­cy­cle sport of tri­als. Great Bri­tain’s Jack Shep­pard was hav­ing a tough 2015 sea­son, and when he ar­rived at the Rhode Is­land venue for the Amer­i­can World round. I was very sur­prised to see him there with his ma­chine and ready to com­pete. He men­tioned the name, Rudi Geiser, say­ing he had helped to make it hap­pen, and my ques­tion was an­swered.

Since those early days, the team has moved for­ward and pro­gressed at a very steady pace, as they de­velop the riders and en­joy the sup­port of Mon­tesa and a long list of many spon­sors and com­pa­nies who sup­port the team. The man who made it all hap­pen was Rudi Geiser, a man with a pure pas­sion for tri­als.

Now in its third year of com­pet­ing in the Trial World Cham­pi­onship, the RG Tri­als Team of Rudi Geiser has made a name for it­self in the pad­docks of the world of tri­als. The owner of a ski rental com­pany named Trame­lan, he has equipped him­self with an in­fra­struc­ture and or­gan­i­sa­tion unique in the small world of tri­als. The team con­sists of nine staff with three riders, three min­ders, one me­chanic, one press of­fi­cer, and the team man­ager and owner Rudi. The three riders are Swe­den’s Ed­die Karl­son in the TrialGP class and Noe Pre­talli in the Trial2 class, who holds the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the first Swiss rider to en­ter this class, and French rider Pierre Sau­vage. The min­ders Sam De­coux, Do­minique Guil­laume and Steven Co­quelin, are very ex­pe­ri­enced and well known in the off-road world, bring­ing a wealth of knowl­edge they are happy to share.

The RG Trial Team trav­els around the world try­ing to jug­gle the world, Euro­pean and na­tional tri­als cham­pi­onships in a very busy cal­en­dar. The Scot­tish Six Days Trial is also an event they en­joy. While Pierre con­tin­ues to learn the ropes, Ed­die and Noe com­pete in their re­spec­tive na­tional cham­pi­onships, and both have the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. Noe and Ed­die are also part of the na­tional teams rep­re­sent­ing Switzer­land and Swe­den in the fa­mous Trial of Na­tions. We had a con­ver­sa­tion with Rudi about the team, where he an­swered our ques­tions very openly.

How is all this pos­si­ble, fac­tory ma­chines and good com­pet­i­tive riders?

Dur­ing these last three sea­sons com­pet­ing in the Trial World Cham­pi­onship, first with Noe then with the ar­rival of Ed­die and Pierre, the fac­to­ries started to take no­tice of our com­mit­ment — es­pe­cially Mon­tesa who had wit­nessed first-hand the work that had been done. I be­came a sort of satel­lite team, with the key to the door of the fac­tory sup­ported ma­chines. This is how we ar­rived at the sup­port from Mon­tesa with the Cota 300RR mod­els. As a team us­ing the Mon­tesa it’s ideal as they give very lit­tle prob­lems, such is the re­li­a­bil­ity of the four-stroke engine, and we also have ac­cess to the team tech­ni­cians and staff if we have a prob­lem. As a brand, they are very easy to deal with as we can eas­ily ad­dress all as­pects of the sport.

How did you re­serve a place in the ‘A’ pad­dock?

I ar­rived in the ‘A’ des­ig­nated pad­dock af­ter the FIM looked closely at the in­fra­struc­ture of the team and awarded us this pres­ti­gious po­si­tion. They know ex­actly why we are in the sport and what we want to achieve. We also have fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity, which was very im­por­tant as it shows we are not just play­ing a game.

Fi­nan­cially, what does a sea­son cost and how is it all fi­nanced?

The costs I am not 100% sure of — Rudi smiles… I set up a net­work of spon­sors on a re­gional level play­ing the card of prox­im­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion. They all found these key el­e­ments very at­trac­tive, at the dif­fer­ent lev­els of ex­po­sure they wanted. We con­test the na­tional cham­pi­onships for those spon­sors for whom this is the most at­trac­tive. It’s the same with the Euro­pean and World Cham­pi­onships, as at both lev­els of com­pe­ti­tion we can give the spon­sors ei­ther Euro­pean ex­po­sure or if they want a global win­dow we can also pro­vide this level. These part­ners and friends have been loyal for more than three sea­sons and are in­vited to come to the events, whether in Switzer­land or the rest of the world, with sup­port and easy ac­cess to watch the riders who ul­ti­mately they are fund­ing. This is a very ap­pre­cia­tive and re­ward­ing for­mula that works for ev­ery­one in­volved from the dif­fer­ent ar­eas that the spon­sor­ship pack­ages come from.

In the mo­tor­cy­cle, tri­als world the sup­port from Mon­tesa in Spain, the Honda im­porters in Switzer­land, and the rel­e­vant hard parts and cloth­ing, hel­met and boot spon­sors are very much ap­pre­ci­ated as they are sup­port­ing the sport in a team that needs it to com­pete at the level we do. It’s also a place where we can help them to de­velop their prod­ucts.

Where does all the mo­ti­va­tion come from?

As well as hav­ing a huge pas­sion for mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als I also en­joy en­trepreneur­ship. I have ap­plied my skills — no dif­fer­ent to the ones I ap­ply in busi­ness — in or­gan­is­ing the RG Tri­als team. I pride my­self on be­ing very ef­fi­cient in ev­ery­thing I do in life. The whole tri­als ‘fam­ily’ is a good one to be around and I also love the trav­el­ling, as the tri­als lo­ca­tions around the world can take you places you would prob­a­bly never visit in a nor­mal life away from mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als.

How do you see the de­vel­op­ment of the team?

To give bet­ter value and ex­po­sure to our spon­sors I may not com­pete in the TrialGP class, and change my main fo­cus to the Trial2 class in 2018. I be­lieve we can at­tract more sup­port with bet­ter re­sults in Trial2 than at the bot­tom end of the points in TrialGP. I am open to sup­port­ing riders from any coun­tries as my spon­sors can ben­e­fit with more ex­po­sure in dif­fer­ent ar­eas. With the right riders, I would like to have a sup­port pack­age where they can chal­lenge to win the Trial2 World Cham­pi­onship; that would be the dream, an RG Tri­als Team world cham­pion.

RUDI GEISER — THE MAN TO KNOW

Not quite an un­known in the world of mo­tor­cy­cle sport, his first in­volve­ment of man­age­ment came about with road racer Yves Briguet be­fore he be­came in­volved with the in­door trial at Trame­lan in the nineties. In 2012 he ap­plied his or­gan­i­sa­tional skills to the Trial Des Na­tions at Moutier in Switzer­land as the host na­tion. He is based in Switzer­land at Trame­lan, which has a his­tory of watch mak­ing, which is maybe where his pre­ci­sion in run­ning the tri­als team comes from! The lo­cal econ­omy em­ploys a huge man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­port in­dus­try which is one of the ar­eas he can look to for sup­port and spon­sor­ship for his tri­als ven­ture. Away from the tri­als scene, his main ac­tiv­ity dur­ing the win­ter months is a ski rental agency. It was no sur­prise that Mon­tesa con­tacted him to pro­pose Swedish rider Ed­die Karls­son into his team, as the of­fi­cial Mon­tesa team was al­ready com­plete with Span­ish riders Toni Bou, Jaime Busto and Ja­pan’s Takahisa Fu­ji­nami.

Here we look into the mind a lit­tle more of this larger than life char­ac­ter that is Rudi Geiser to see how he ‘ticks’.

At the en­trance to Trame­lan in Switzer­land where he lives, you will see a large blue house with an in­scrip­tion ‘Geiser Sport — Ski rental’. Af­ter hav­ing a sports shop and travel agency in the cen­tre of the vil­lage, Rudi is now con­cen­trat­ing on one of the re­gion’s most fa­mous win­ter sports ski ren­tals, an ac­tiv­ity that al­lows him dur­ing the sum­mer pe­riod to de­vote him­self to an­other of his pas­sions: the mo­tor­cy­cle. He is the 3rd of 5 boys that ended with the ar­rival of a sis­ter, and the Geiser fam­ily rep­re­sents a whole gen­er­a­tion ac­tive in ei­ther wood or trade; Rudi is in­ter­ested in both in ad­di­tion to the mo­tor­cy­cle. His ed­u­ca­tion was in Berne and then in St. Moritz in a sports shop be­fore he then trav­elled back to Trame­lan to take over the fam­ily sports shop. Like Rudi’s grand­fa­ther and fa­ther, who are all skiers and ski mak­ers, Rudi plans to build a Swiss Ski Mu­seum, a chal­lenge that is al­ready very ad­vanced.

FROM SAW­DUST TO OIL

The Moto Sports Trame­lan, which has been ac­tive since 1972, has tra­di­tion­ally or­gan­ised a round of the Swiss Tri­als Cham­pi­onship, first on the mag­nif­i­cent pas­tures of the Reussilles and now in the PC com­pound in Trame­lan. This led Rudi to ac­quire his first mo­tor­cy­cle when he was 15 years old, a Bul­taco Sherpa ... then fol­lowed many other mod­els in­clud­ing a Suzuki ER 125, a Tri­umph Bonneville 750 and then oth­ers, in­clud­ing the lat­est: a Du­cati 1098.

His par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Ju­nior cham­pi­onship tri­als be­tween 1988 and 1992 gave him an un­der­stand­ing of tri­als, and he rode quite well and en­joyed it, but he was more in­ter­ested in the or­gan­i­sa­tion, man­age­ment and spon­sor­ship in the field of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als. To his credit, he coached the Mon­nin de Ta­vannes broth­ers who won many na­tional tri­als from 1992 to 1995, in­clud­ing three Swiss Elite Cham­pi­onships for Cé­dric from 1994 to 1996, and in­ter­na­tion­ally they rep­re­sented their coun­try in the Trial Des Na­tions. He was also in­ter­ested in speed, be­com­ing the man­ager from 1994 to 1996 of Yves Briguet who would shine both in the Euro­pean and world cham­pi­onship be­com­ing twice vice-world cham­pion in the Thun­der­bike class. He was also ac­tive in the field of cy­cle-trial tak­ing the Tramelot res­i­dent Dave Rol­lier to the ti­tle of vice-world cham­pion in 1995 in Ger­many in the Ju­nior cat­e­gory. Rudi is now the man­ager of the young Swiss tri­als rider Noé Pre­talli from Vic­ques, with whom he started in the 2014 World Cham­pi­onship. It was the first time in the his­tory of tri­als that a Swiss rider would par­tic­i­pate in the en­tire world series.

OR­GAN­ISE A TRIAL IN THE VAT­I­CAN!

As we have al­ready seen, Rudi is a man of am­bi­tion and is not one to shy away from any­thing he deems pos­si­ble. Al­ready he has shown the world of tri­als his or­gan­i­sa­tional skills by set­ting up the mem­o­rable in­door tri­als of Trame­lan from 1989 to 1992, which twice showed the world the skills of the French stunt rider Jean-Pierre Goy. But the high­light for Rudi will un­doubt­edly be his time in the pres­i­dency at the head of the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Trial Des Na­tions in 2012 in Moutier. At the end of this fan­tas­tic event, the In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cling Fed­er­a­tion awarded Rudi Geiser the prize for ex­cel­lence. In the opin­ion of the jury, the event was the most for­mi­da­ble of the ones ever run since the cre­ation of the Trial Des Na­tions in 1984! For the anec­dote, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Italy, who was in the midst of the res­ig­na­tion of Bene­dict XVI, closed the ses­sion by say­ing: “If Rudi presents him­self as a pope, he is elected!”

The 2017 team con­sisted of nine staff with three riders, three min­ders, one me­chanic, one press of­fi­cer and owner Rudi. The three riders are Swe­den’s Ed­die Karls­son in the TrialGP class and Noe Pre­talli and French rider Pierre Sau­vage in the Trial2 class. The min­ders are Sam De­coux, Do­minique Guil­laume and Steven Co­quelin.

TRIAL MAG­A­ZINE Trial Mag­a­zine’s ed­i­tor first no­ticed Rudi in the pad­dock of the 2015 Ja­panese World round.

2015 Ja­pan: Noe Pre­talli.

2015 USA: Noe Pre­talli with the Jo­ta­gas in front of the all-im­por­tant spon­sor­ship ban­ner at the back. Global ex­po­sure for the spon­sors is very im­por­tant.

TRIAL MAG­A­ZINE 67 2015 USA: Noe Pre­talli and Jack Shep­pard.

2016 Spain: Noe Pre­talli soon adapted to the four-stroke power of the Cota 4RT.

2016 Spain: Mon­tesa con­tacted Rudi to pro­pose that the Swedish rider Ed­die Karls­son joined his team. The RG Tri­als team ob­tained sup­port from Mon­tesa in 2016.

70 TRIAL MAG­A­ZINE 2017 France: Ed­die Karls­son on the limit in qual­i­fy­ing.

The team are in the ‘A’ des­ig­nated pad­dock af­ter the FIM looked closely at the in­fra­struc­ture of the team. They know ex­actly why they are in the sport and what they want to achieve. They also have fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity, which is very im­por­tant.

72 Us­ing the Mon­tesa is ideal for the team, as the ma­chines give very few prob­lems such is the re­li­a­bil­ity of the four-stroke engine. They also have ac­cess to the team tech­ni­cians and staff. As a brand, Mon­tesa have proved very easy to deal with as they can eas­ily ad­dress all as­pects of the sport.

Rudi is very happy with what he has achieved so far with the team, quite rightly.

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