Bucca Tri­als


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!


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).

Shower time.

Bucca Moto Tri­als cel­e­brat­ing 10 years.

Ev­ery­one’s happy.

Jack Field con­grat­u­lates Peter and Sue Foote on a fan­tas­tic event.

Jack ‘The Back-flip’ Field

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