Tom Minta

Trial Magazine - - TRIAL MAGAZINE - AR­TI­CLE: TRI­ALS ME­DIA WITH TOM MINTA PIC­TURES: TRI­ALS ME­DIA, BARRY ROBIN­SON, JOHN AND MATT AND MIKE RAPLEY

The Minta fam­ily is a tri­als fam­ily, one I have seen around for as long as I can re­mem­ber. Sup­ported by his fam­ily their son, Tom, has gone through the youth scene and (and I use this word very loosely) ‘ma­tured’ into a good fun-lov­ing tri­als rider, one al­ways ready to crack the joke and join the fun. This year he has won three na­tion­als, some­thing he is quite rightly very proud of. Rid­ing the or­ange Scorpa for Nigel and June Bir­kett, the UK im­porters at Bir­kettmoto Sport, he has set his heights even higher for 2019, where he in­tends to make his mark in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship.

Tell us about your Scott Trial day

I was happy with my num­ber 190, which put me right at the back. The primary ob­jec­tive of the day was to get back with as few prob­lems as pos­si­ble, and with my­self and the Scorpa in one piece. Due to the high river lev­els, this was a hard day just keep­ing go­ing. I was too cau­tious about drown­ing my ma­chine in the sec­tions, so I pad­dled my way through most of them with no con­fi­dence in at­tack­ing them to get a clean. I had a steady speed all day with no prob­lems un­til petrol stop six, where I got my first of two punc­tures. I fixed this quickly, but I still lost a good amount of time. Ev­ery­thing re­turned to nor­mal, and I upped my pace to make up for lost time. With ‘Rot­ten Wood’ in­sight, I knew I was nearly home. A sec­ond punc­ture just after the sec­tions meant I lost more valu­able time after the rear tyre al­most came off the rim, but I man­aged to repair the punc­ture and had a steady ride back to the start field. Over­all I was dis­ap­pointed with my re­sult due to hav­ing such a good re­sult last year. On a plus point, the Scorpa never missed a beat all day.

How good is the 2019 Scorpa, why do you like it?

The most sig­nif­i­cant change on the 2019 Scorpa is the clutch, which is fin­ger-light and easy to use. The power of the ma­chine is a lot smoother, which per­son­ally makes it a nicer one to ride with more pro­gres­sive power and phe­nom­e­nal grip in the mud­di­est of con­di­tions.

What’s your nine to five job?

I am a full-time level three me­chanic. I have been work­ing for my cur­rent em­ployer for four years now. I started as an ap­pren­tice and worked my way to be­ing fully qual­i­fied. I am go­ing on to do my MOT cer­tifi­cate in De­cem­ber this year. I mostly work on cars and light com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, camper vans etc. I work for a lo­cal fam­ily-run garage and get on well with my boss and my col­leagues, it’s al­ways a laugh through­out the day, and I thor­oughly en­joy it. My boss does Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship Au­toGrass rac­ing, and so we al­ways try and bet­ter each other at our sports. I feel that when I’m work­ing through­out the week, I en­joy rid­ing my ma­chine more be­cause I make the most of my rid­ing time at the week­end. But then only be­ing able to ride at the week­ends means I am un­able to ride at a top world cham­pi­onship level.

Did you en­joy school?

For me, school was tough as I was not very aca­demic and strug­gled to pick things up as quickly as my class­mates. How­ever, my school put me on a ‘travel to learn’ course which meant I went to a lo­cal col­lege ev­ery week to work to­wards my level one me­chanic qual­i­fi­ca­tion. It meant that I al­ready had qual­i­fi­ca­tions when I left school, which helped mas­sively in se­cur­ing my ap­pren­tice­ship and work­ing my way to be­ing fully qual­i­fied. I en­joyed Tech­nol­ogy the most as I love work­ing with my hands, I thrived at wood­work as it was a very hands-on sub­ject. I also en­joyed PE and rep­re­sented the school on the foot­ball and rugby teams. Un­for­tu­nately, I was not able to use Tri­als or any mo­tor­cy­cle sport as part of my GCSE PE course­work as ac­cord­ing to the exam board it is not a recog­nised sport! It made one of my favourite sub­jects very dif­fi­cult.

Rewind the clock to your early days, how did you come across mo­tor­cy­cles?

My grandad was very en­thu­si­as­tic about me tak­ing part in tri­als. He was in­volved in side­car grass track rac­ing but also fol­lowed his cousin, Chris Sutton (sooty), in the tri­als world. Be­cause of my in­ter­est in the sport, my younger brother Sam started to ride too. He de­vel­oped into a good rider but even­tu­ally gave up be­cause he was suc­ceed­ing as a goal­keeper for a lo­cal foot­ball team, and is still do­ing it to this day.

My sis­ter Alice — most of you will prob­a­bly know her — started on a Yamaha PW50, she was mad and in­stantly took a lik­ing to the sport. She didn’t have any sense of fear and took a crack at what­ever was thrown her way! She is go­ing to be a high-level lady rider, and I think she will be fight­ing for ev­ery cham­pi­onship whether it’s boys or girls!

Let’s get the ob­vi­ous ques­tion out of the way, what was your first mo­tor­cy­cle?

I started on an old Yamaha TY80, I loved it, and I re­mem­ber it in the house on Christ­mas day. I couldn’t wait to get it out and take it for a spin. I will never for­get I had pur­ple Wolf Sports mo­tocross gear and I thought I looked like a girl in it. I started out do­ing lo­cal tri­als and im­prov­ing my skill set. Un­for­tu­nately, the TY80 was stolen. I re­mem­ber my dad telling me he ran after them as they were push­ing it across the field! A week later we went to the Bullock’s house­hold, and we bought a Beta rev 50cc from them.

Tell us about your first trial

One of my first tri­als was a South Shrop­shire event. Dad and I turned up not know­ing what to ex­pect, the only prac­tice I had had was rid­ing around a field. I think my dad spent most of the day pick­ing me and the ma­chine up! I loved it and knew I wanted to par­tic­i­pate in as many as I could and im­prove my rid­ing. I have been a mem­ber of South Shrop­shire MC since I started. They have helped me progress from the con­ducted route to all the way up to ex­pert. I can’t thank them enough for what Gor­don and the team have done for me.

Did you go through the whole youth process in the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship?

As a youth rider, I rode from D class all the way to A class. I don’t I think I ever missed one. Un­for­tu­nately (in a nice way) I grew up with Dan Peace, and I rode with him in all the classes, and he al­ways beat me. I tried so hard to beat him; I re­mem­ber beat­ing him at the Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship round in Scot­land on the A class route on day one. It was one of the most mem­o­rable rides in my youth years. I also re­mem­ber go­ing to the Isle of Man and win­ning the B class round, beat­ing Billy Bolt who is a su­per­star now. I rode a va­ri­ety of ma­chines start­ing on a Beta in D Class. In C class I rode a Clipic, which was quite rare, and I en­joyed rid­ing it as it was some­thing dif­fer­ent. But with all the hard work try­ing to get it to run as well as a Beta we couldn’t get it to where I needed it to be, so I ended up back on a Beta. In B class I rode a Gas Gas and in the last year a Beta for John Lampkin Beta UK. Then in A class, I rode for MRS Sherco. I thank you all very much for the sup­port.

What are your thoughts on the cur­rent Bri­tish Cham­pi­onship?

In 2016, I won the Ex­pert class, so the idea was to move up to the top route. I en­joyed rid­ing the Ex­pert class be­cause it suited my type of rid­ing and I didn’t feel any pres­sure. Since mov­ing up to the Cham­pi­onship class I don’t have the con­nec­tion and the en­joy­ment to ride, and I don’t know what’s miss­ing. It might be due to a lack of con­fi­dence and me not en­joy­ing my­self at the events. Ev­ery­one else at a higher level than me is rid­ing full time, which makes it harder to com­pete at that level when I am only rid­ing at the week­ends. I feel that the Ex­pert class isn’t chal­leng­ing enough for me. The new Masters class route could work, but there needs to be more peo­ple rid­ing it to make it worth­while. Over­all I feel that many top rid­ers don’t en­joy it as much as they might. One of the most com­mon rea­sons is that the rounds are al­ways in the same venues with the same sec­tions, so this is be­com­ing bor­ing for the older rid­ers who have rid­den the same sec­tion for the past 20 years where noth­ing has changed. Hope­fully, this will change for next year oth­er­wise I may not be there.

Have you rid­den abroad much?

I have rid­den the Santigosa in Spain a few times, and in 2014 I rode a world round in France and Bel­gium in the 125 class. Bel­gium was my first world cham­pi­onship round, and I didn’t know what to ex­pect. It was dif­fer­ent rid­ing over there, but not as dif­fi­cult as I thought it was go­ing to be. I rode well although not my best due to nerves, and I didn’t look at the score­board all day as I wasn’t ex­pect­ing any­thing, but some­how I ended up fin­ish­ing sec­ond!

The next world round was on home soil at Pen­rith. The pres­sure was on, but I rode well all week­end fin­ish­ing sec­ond on both days; the feel­ing of be­ing on a podium was some­thing spe­cial. The next round was in France, at a high-al­ti­tude ski re­sort, and the ma­chine was pow­er­less! With the pres­sure on to per­form, I was lead­ing after the first and sec­ond laps, but a five on the last lap cost me the win and the cham­pi­onship — I was gut­ted!

You seem to ride bet­ter at more tra­di­tional events, hav­ing won three na­tion­als this year, any rea­son why?

For me the S3 rounds and the na­tional event are the best tri­als, due to the fact there’s no pres­sure. It’s good through­out the day en­joy­ing the ban­ter, just like it should be, and the ride around on the off-road tracks and roads make the whole ex­pe­ri­ence en­joy­able. Th­ese haz­ards suit my style of rid­ing, and when you en­joy rid­ing your ma­chine, which I do at th­ese events, it re­flects on your rid­ing, and it gives you more con­fi­dence.

Is the Scot­tish Six Days Trial high on your list of favourite events?

It’s at the top of my list. I thor­oughly en­joy this trial ev­ery year, and I am de­ter­mined to win this event, as I think I am more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing so. With a bit of good for­tune hope­fully one day this will hap­pen.

It is such a great week, rid­ing over the hills tracks and roads, and the views are in­cred­i­ble. To­wards the end of the week, it gets tough, both phys­i­cally and men­tally. Ev­ery­one around you keeps you go­ing as there is such a great at­mos­phere.

I must say a mas­sive thank you to Martin Mur­phy at Leven Homes Ltd for help­ing through­out this event from when I started it last year. If it weren’t for him, this would be a lot tougher for me, and I am hugely ap­pre­cia­tive for ev­ery­thing he has done for me. Not just out on my ma­chine but also back at his home, he is in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive and is will­ing to help with ev­ery­thing, which is what you need when tak­ing part in this event!

2018 has re­sulted in three na­tional wins.

In the sun at Scar­bor­ough on the Gas Gas in 2012.

Wet through at the 2018 Scott Trial!

Youth trial ac­tion at Reeth on the Beta in 2008.

Lit­tle sis­ter Alice Minta is fol­low­ing in Tom’s foot­steps.

Look­ing good at the 2017 Scot­tish Six Days Trial, fin­ish­ing in sixth po­si­tion on the Gas Gas.

38 Not sure what to ride, this Mon­tesa 4RT was the first ma­chine of 2016.

The fi­nal A class years were rid­den on the Sherco.

A strong fourth-place fin­ish, at the 2018 SSDT on the Nigel Bir­kett Scorpa.

Win­ning the 2016 Ex­pert Class Bri­tish Tri­als Cham­pi­onship on the Gas Gas in 2016 with sup­port from John Shirt Jnr.

It was a Dec Bullock loan ma­chine with the Beta next in 2016.

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