Bucca Moto Trial runs sweetly to the theme of ‘Where the Indoors Meets the Outdoors’! Peter Foote, commonly known as ‘Footy’, has built these testing structures over the last ten years to cater for the best riders out there, right down to the learners – that’s the kind of bloke Footy is, he wants the family involved and having fun together and, believe me, there isn’t another motorsport that has this up-close and-personal adrenalin atmosphere all safely within metres of each other in such a beautiful place. Trials is a top spectator event, and the Bucca Trial mixes it with the best then adds a little more on the side. This year, for a change, the rain held off and with all sections in very close proximity spectators had the chance to get up close. Obstacles range from a natural steep gully under cool trees, over and along logs and boulders onto the structures and platforms of huge tyres, see-saws, bridges and cable rolls; mind you there is even my first-favoured four-wheel drive to ride over, a 1988 Range Rover, the biggest mobile rock you’ve ever seen!
Now before you make a decision or frown upon the use of artificial structures as some do, opposing this to natural terrain, does it really matter what the obstacle is? Or do these trial tests really bring out the riders’ strong and weak points? It’s a fair point to ponder, the fact that the traction stays the same for everyone, although the line may vary but a few feet, the space allocated is limited as in all trials and my experience on wheels leans towards feeling that it actually requires one to hone their skills far more sharply. The gaps, such as those seen through pallets, gives a feeling of uneasiness; it may be all in the mind, yes, but at the end of the day this is another reason why different sections, whether natural or man-made, make anyone a more skilful rider and stronger competitor and, when mastered, can lead to one’s machine control being far more relaxed when the clock is ticking and the hand of the observer is closed, especially back on natural terra firma. Besides we all do better when some variation is added.
COONA MEET This year at the Coona meet we had the privilege of nearly forty riders, as well as one of the best freestyle riders in the world, attending the event. Worldrenowned for his record back-flips, Jack Field is an outstanding rider to say the least, who has time for all, both young and old. Although some say he is
primarily a crazy freestyle rider here he is riding the outdoors, and he cuts it on the natural terrain unbelievably well also generally looking like he just cruises on through, throwing a few tricks in and always making the line harder for himself, pushing the limits; for a man not generally training on soil, these words are an understatement!
Now, getting back to the above-mentioned machine control and, we’ll say, ‘gaps in the pallets’, training sessions were held on a huge natural log and manmade sections of varying degrees of skill.
Jack and Jono Chellas had many riders, some hesitant at first, completing these sections after a very short time. What looked to be impossible for some now became an enjoyable task accomplished many times over. So now the machine control steps to the next level; regardless of the object in view, you have to focus on where you and the machine are going, not where you may fail.
Jack ‘The Flair-riders’ and ‘The Hellteam’ came along not to win prizes or show us their amazing machine control and tricks but to come and have fun, freely coach the riders and help them polish up on their skills and learn new ones. Jack said: “Hopefully they can ride and enjoy the sport at their level much sooner as well” I see his outlook as more along the lines of the fact that they ride as mates, and not competitors in competition.
Machine lever controls were pointed out and adjusted, for reasons explained simply, clutch and brake skills along with timing and shock compression; now those who ride trials may say this is baseline stuff but I have seen firsthand that small adjustments made can really change the rider’s ability even more. Riders thinking they had it perfect due to years of knowledge still noticed a change, but I even noticed a difference after just watching and they hadn’t even begun to get used to it.
An extra product I noticed, and far overdue in the motorcycle sports, was the use of cut-off switches attached via a lanyard to the rider’s wrist. It’s about time such devices are seen, not only to protect revving motors laying on their sides but also stop a sticking throttle taking over and charging through the crowd after a spill!
JACK THE BACK-FLIP
I had photographed Jack Field back here in 2009 at the NSW Titles in the pouring rain after the event, just playing around riding the biggest structure on the grounds but not as per the manual. ‘Footy’ chain-sawed the sharp edge off the top of the pole, and with a small wood kicker he launched up the corner post and onto the pallet-sized landing platform with, may I add, a handrail in front – yes… and in the rain too; to top that off he was on his mate Jack’s machine! People were gob smacked; even the expert titleholder Colin Zarczynski, watching on, said something along the lines of “Crazy, but man that was good”.
Now, Jono Chellas: I didn’t recognise him. From young junior C grade winner to now double in size, and become a trainer in the under five years. An amazing rider – without doubt it’s the same attitude that seems to be strong in trials: fear not your ability, help where you can, help anyone, smile and enjoy yourselves.
Kristy McKinnon, a champion all rounder, had support from excellent up-and-coming riders Rhianna Buchannan and Kaitlyn Cummins, and it’s great to see the ladies are still a very strong contingent in the sport of trials and freestyle riding, amidst what used to be dominated by the ‘blokes’. Their presence was strong and made onlookers realise even more that trials is a sport for the family; yes even dad can learn from his daughter at thirty – sorry Kristy, but dad needs a stir. These ‘guys n gals’ were there to help, they have nothing to prove as regards skill, and I wouldn’t care if they wanted to rub it in even after the fifth or sixth flip. Just amazing and smooth riding – you cannot shake your head as it’s a credit to them and I’m happy to have the privilege of not only photographing the action but seeing the huge advancement in skill over such a short time and the personal attention they have for others regardless of age or gender, for this is what keeps such a sport alive.
Trials has been around Coffs Harbour for twenty years now, with the 10th Bucca Moto Trial event there with the best; riders rave about them, spectators want more and for myself, I’ve been telling people about that ride in the rain now for years. It is a highlight in my motorcycling memories and with Jack turning a wildcard at short notice I was able to catch up again with the man I’ve told so many about. I have a lot of respect for him, for more reasons than one. Then on the other hand, there are always those ‘should never have sold’ memories.
Why did I part with that pristine old red-framed 1986 Italjet twenty-plus years ago? Yes when trials here were unknowingly ready to start, I purchased it from a rural supplies store with 145kms on the clock. Apparently the broken rear mud guard – the only mark or damage – happened while mustering sheep. I was told it was never used for trials and I absolutely loved it, but why did I sell it? I still to this day can’t answer that question myself.
Once trials have been embedded in the blood it’s hard to remove the want for another machine. I still have the custom rear rack my brother and I made to carry it across the back of the classic 1980 Range Rover, turning many heads!
Those who attended this year said, “We were just blown away by the various challenges; these riders can conquer what looks to be easy and the back-flips… Man just amazing, we are privileged to be here and watch, let alone be taught and ride
with them!” and the NBN TV crew just couldn’t believe it. Well the weekend finished with prizes for the section winners and kids. Footy, his heart in his mouth, put his very rare Toni Bou personally signed and treasured Gas Gas shirt up for grabs in the raffle – and Chellas won it! He then awarded it back to Footy himself for all the hard work he had put in. A fine round of applause was given in return to such a nice bloke. Then the whole crew, who had now finished, had a feed down at the local Moonee Tavern, what a weekend!
While on the thanking rock we must not forget the many section observers who parked their machines up after coming from miles away, making the weekend such a smooth-running success. As for the humble show of numerous back-flips, what can any of us say? … Simply ‘Flairtastic’ and ‘FunBelievable’.
Now you must, if ever you get the chance, come to a Bucca Moto Trial for you just never know who may come along and do back-flips in the excitement of the occasion. Maybe one day we could have visitors from here in England or other parts of the trialling world? Please go and see the Flair-riders in action, don’t put it off if you have the chance to see the show or at the least take a visit on the wild world of the web and check out the amazing talent of Jack Field and the www.flairriders.com; you will want to see it live then believe me.
Thanks are also due to Paul Arnott from www. thehellteam.com for keeping Footy on the Gas! And we can’t forget the Chellas crew pushing ‘Team Trials Makes Smiles’… Yes and that’s what it is all about… fun. All sports require support so thanks to all those helping out again, even in perhaps your own unknown way. Thanks for the invite again Footy and Sue, it was a great weekend and the comments were as normal. “We’re just blown away; this is unreal riding, an excellent atmosphere and unreal to watch!”
Until next time…In ‘Trialling times’ don’t be scared to give it a rev, keep those feet on the pegs and those bars steady!
‘Footy’ Peter Foote goes for gold. Paul ‘The Hellteam’ Arnott (Gas Gas). 89
Grade B winner Bradley Schneider (Gas Gas).
Grade A winner Isaac Somerville (Gas Gas).
International food truck.
The girls led by Kristy McKinnon on the right had a good day’s sport.
Grade C winner Peter Alford (Beta).
Bucca Moto Trials celebrating 10 years.
Jack Field congratulates Peter and Sue Foote on a fantastic event.
Jack ‘The Back-flip’ Field