‘Living and breathing trials’ was my first thought when Toby Martyn started to make his mark in the Youth British Championship. He was very keen, to say the least, and most importantly he had a smile on his face, he was happy and getting the results to take the Youth A and B class championships. The ACU system has worked well and produced many riders who have moved into the adult ranks and started to make their mark in the very competitive world of TrialGP. Toby took the route of the 125 European Championships as his TrialGP apprenticeship before moving straight into the Trial2 World Championship in 2016. Taking a win in Italy at the final Trial2 World round in Italy in 2017 planted the seed for 2018. He was invited to join the RG Trials Team and to make the move to the 300RR Montesa four-stroke for a full season. With the ultimate goal to be the Trial2 World Champion; it was time to be stepping out into the big wide world away from his base at Truro in Cornwall, in pursuit of a dream.
So you want to be a Trial World Champion?
Toby: Yes that’s the dream. You are correct when you say I live and breathe motorcycle trials. The dream goes back a long way to the early days of having so much fun with my dad Tim as we moved through the various small trials motorcycles which included a Clipic 50 and Gas Gas 50 as an introduction to youth trials, before many years riding the Beta where success came in the Youth British Championships. I had a 50, 80, and 125 before moving to a 300 for the last couple of rounds in the Junior World Champs in 2016.
How important were the ACU Youth Championships to you?
The youth championships were a vital part of my riding career and a perfect beginning for me as it gave me something to aspire to and a goal to aim for. It was a new beginning from the local trials that I was used to in Cornwall, but these were the trials that also got my enthusiasm going. Once we started to travel more and more, we met many people from all different corners of the country, and the youth championships brought us all together. My ACU British Championship started in 2008 in D class which I won, I then went on to compete in the C class, B class and A class, winning the B class and the A class. These were the results that started to get me hungry for success on the British scene.
You then moved to the European Youth 125 Championship in 2014.
After hearing from friends at events about the European Championship and the amazing events that they put on as well as the incredible venues they used, me and my dad were curious, so we decided in 2014 to compete in the top class of the Youth European Championship. It was an eye-opener at first because of the level of the riders in the paddock, so I quickly got shot down when I started to try the stuff they were doing, but that’s not stopped happening at all, I will always be well known for crashing in the practice area! After a slow start in 2014 in the European Championship I went on to win it in 2015, this came as a shock at first but this was just a stepping-stone, and it added to the determination I already had.
Why did you opt out of competing in the Trial125 World Championship?
During 2015 when we were planning the 2016 season the Trial125 was for 16 and overs. This would have meant missing the early rounds due to my birthday being in June, so we decided to get practising on the 300 Beta as soon as the 2015 championships had finished and concentrate on the move up to the adult class in the middle of 2016.
2016 was a year of juggling exams and trials riding?
2016 was an awkward year for me as I had exams to juggle as well as thinking about a machine change from 125 to 300. We were stuck with what to do, so we asked John Lampkin at Beta UK for his honest opinion, and between us, we decided to move to the 300. This did mean competing on the 125 in the first three adult British Trials Championships rounds while training on the 300, which was eventful but I did manage two top 10 results. As well as the move I decided to not concentrate on any championships and just ride a few events and see what results came. School was something I didn’t like much at all because my motorcycle wasn’t involved, but I had to go either way; I still came out in the end with good enough grades that I was happy with. After finishing school I continued my British Championship season on the 300 halfway through, the fourth round started slow, but I went to the next event and got my first podium in the championship class, which made me realise I had a fighting chance of finishing the season off very strong.
In 2017 you moved away from long-term sponsor John Lampkin at Beta UK
I cannot thank Beta UK and John enough for the support they gave me throughout my time on the Beta even with a disrupted year in 2016. The opportunity then came to move to Vertigo and to be involved in the Trial2 World Championship for the full 2017 season. They were also looking for a rider to be involved in the Manufacturer’s Championship. TrialGP set new rules for this, and that meant that you had to have a rider in the Trial2 class and the TrialGP class. Being able to ride and represent Dougie and Vertigo in the UK was a huge opportunity. To be involved with someone with so much experience, knowledge and skill was an impossible offer to refuse.
The level of competition in Trial2 is very high.
The Trial2 World Championship has been an eye-opener for me because the level of riding is so high; the top ten riders on the day have all got the ability to be on the podium. Japan was the first time I realised how close it is between riders on the day. I had an unfortunate five on the last section on the first day, and this led to me dropping from second down to third but then losing third on the tie-break; that’s just the way trials goes though. I then made sure at my home round to really hit that top pack, and sure enough, I did get second on the day, which was incredible for the team and me because it showed I could do it. It was even better doing it in front of the home crowd and my family; it was a perfect day for the team and me. I then had a drive to aim for that top position, and my qualifying results had been getting better during the year; recording the fastest time in the last three rounds was a big confidence booster. In the final round in Italy, I hit the top mark; the look on my face at the end was disbelief and surprise mixed into one. It was also Vertigo’s first World Championship victory, which the team deserved; I cannot thank them enough for what they did for me in 2017.
For 2018 it’s a move to the RG Trials Team based in Switzerland.
In the 2017 season, I had seen the professionalism of Rudi and how he runs his team, and it impressed my dad and me. Rudi approached me in the latter part of the year in Italy about trying a machine and offering a contract for 2018. So we went and tried the Montesa and I had a very strong opinion on the performance after this test and was more than happy that it would be the machine for me in 2018. RG has also given me the chance to live in Spain and be around the hive of trials in Barcelona as well as being near the factory; this is where I will be based after Christmas. Rudi has shown so much enthusiasm it’s been incredible, and I believe I will be able to thrive for the best results in the World, European and British Championships.
Is the change from a two-stroke to a fourstroke the correct one?
I am 100% sure I have made the correct choice. If you remember Steve Saunders made the change from the Armstrong to the Honda RTL at a very young age, as did a certain Toni Bou from Beta to Honda and the Cota 4RT! Yes, the two-stroke machinery is very good, but I believe that if you can ride a trials motorcycle the choice of two-stroke or four-stroke is just a matter of changing your technique to suit the different engine characteristics. The suspension and general components are pretty much the same on all the modern machines.
Which model Montesa will you ride?
I will ride the production 300RR, but it will be prepared by the team to compete at TWC level, as well as a setup that will suit me most. I will have my own suspension settings as well and engine modifications to suit my riding. The machine is at a very high level, with which I believe I will be able to achieve the best results possible.
Who will be your Minder/Mechanic on the team?
In previous years before I was even thinking about riding world championships my dad was always my mechanic and minder, this year a very good friend of mine Rich Knott minded for me at all the World and European Championships. He has helped me tremendously throughout the 2017 season, and I can’t thank him enough for what he did. For 2018 on the new team my minder will be Sam Decoux. Sam and I will be working together in Spain in preparation towards the 2018 season, as well as the mechanic Dan who will prepare my machines alongside the factory ready for the World Championship events. I will ride alongside Francesc Moret in the Trial2 class. As well as him obviously being my team-mate, I respect Moret a lot as a rider and as a friend.
Will you compete in the British Championship?
Yes, I will be riding the full series in the British Championship under the support of Honda UK. Our national championship is one of the most competitive series in Europe, so it prepares me very well for other championships. It is also great to see all the supporters of our sport around the country who are so appreciative to see us championship riders compete in their area.
2017: On the podium on day two on home soil, it got messy! 2017: On the top step of the podium is the focus for 2018 2017: Self-belief gave the first win in Trial2 at the last round in Italy.