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.