Mike Rap­ley

There are fre­quently groups of Bri­tish tri­als fans who make a long week­end part of their hol­i­day al­lo­ca­tion to take in a World Tri­als Cham­pi­onship round, and I was for­tu­nate enough to be in one of those groups for the fi­nal round of the Women’s and Men’s World Tri­als Cham­pi­onships in Italy in Septem­ber.

We had a great four days as there were nine of us al­to­gether — all real en­thu­si­asts for the sport of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als and reg­u­lar, if oc­ca­sional, vis­i­tors to world rounds. We were by no means alone in join­ing up as a group to cut the costs as much as pos­si­ble, there were sev­eral other gath­er­ings of Bri­tish fans in Italy to­gether with the sup­port­ing fam­i­lies and friends of the Bri­tish rid­ers. And the com­mon fac­tor in the dis­cus­sions we all en­joyed was the re­vised 2017 sched­ule that the FIM and their al­lo­cated pro­mot­ers Sport7 had put to­gether, with the views most def­i­nitely against the sub­stan­tial changes that have been put in place. Of course, ev­ery­body is en­ti­tled to their own opin­ions but hav­ing spent our own time, ef­fort and ex­pense to at­tend the Ital­ian trial what ev­ery­body wants, and in­deed de­serves, is value for money. And, quite sim­ply, no­body is get­ting it now. Let there be an ex­pla­na­tion.

Up un­til this year, World Tri­als have gen­er­ally been over two sep­a­rate days of ac­tion with the for­mat be­ing three laps of 12 sec­tions each day. If you are not a math­e­mati­cian, then that gives you the op­por­tu­nity to see the ac­tion through 72 sec­tions. From 2017 — and pre­sum­ably, for the fol­low­ing four years as Sport7 have a five-year con­tract — the of­fer­ing will be one day of ac­tion over two laps of 15 sec­tions, and there­fore the op­por­tu­nity is re­duced to spec­tate at 30 sec­tions. But that’s not all. When the Women’s and Men’s Cham­pi­onships are over the same week­end, as in Italy, you still only get one day of ac­tion, with the women set­ting off first fol­lowed by the men. It was the gen­eral opin­ion that such a sit­u­a­tion de­grades the Women’s Cham­pi­onship as it was seen that the women pro­vided less of an at­trac­tion to spec­ta­tors than do the men. Pre­vi­ously they have en­joyed a sep­a­rate day of ac­tion where they en­joyed the un­di­vided at­ten­tion of the spec­ta­tors.

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