Cycle News - Archive Issues - 2000's

Cycle News 2004 01 14

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Page 69 of 119

TRIALS - Round 1 D ec. 6 , 2003 U .S. Indoor National MototrJal C ha m p io n s h ip "Section one, I fived when I stalled my bike's motor at the pivot on the teeter-totter," Johnson explained. ' ~d in section two, I fived the first obstacle just going off line. I was so nervous, it was working against me ." Despite making it through the yellow section for a three , a few more fives meant that Johnson wasn't going to be able to transfer to the final. Ray Peters also found himself on the "o ut" list after a series of fives in the sections and two successive maximums in races against Wilson Craig. However, Craig failed to qualify, as well. Despite a heroic three in section three as he plucked his bike out from a crevice and continued on, a big crash at the top the waterfall section washed away Craig's chances of making it to the final. "I haven't had a chance to practice any of the indoo r obstacles," Wilson said. Similar to a number of other riders , Wilson hadn't competed since the Trials des Nations back in September. And despite w inning an outdoor national late in the season, Wilson RYaN BELL BEATS THE BEST AT cow PALACE INDOOR TRIALS t 's still sinking in," remarked an obviously elated Team Gas Gas' Ryon Bell as he savored his win of the first round of the 2003-2004 Gas Gas U.S. Indoor Mototrial Championship. And he did so with a clear margin of victory over the 2oo3·event winner and arch rival Geoff Aaron . "Ryon and I have been swapping hits fo r several years, and we've been fini shing superclose," Aaron said. "It rea lly doesn't surprise me. I know he came here hungry to win, and I just did the best I could." The stage for this year's event was set in the final seconds of last year's championship when, after tying for the win, Aaron bested Bell by a margin of less than four seconds in a thrilling cliffhanger, which included three run-offs to try to decide the winner. The field of competi tors was drawn from the top seven 2003 AMNNATC Nationa l Trials Cham pionship riders, including the trio of Gas Gas riders Aaron , Belland Wilson Craig; Montesa's Chris Flor in; Sheree's David Chaves; and Beta riders Ray Peters and Andy Johnson . Going into the event, Aaron and Bell were the favorites, but as Chris Florin explained, "None of us have this stuff "I STORY AND PHOTO BY M IKE THULEEN wooden panels and a 90-degree tum almost 10 feet in the air fro m one angled wall to another before a precipitous seven- foot drop fro m the undercut exit from the turn to an island platform and an angled-wall sec tion exit. in our backyard, so we 're all in the same boat . It is anybody 's trial, and everybody knows it." The trial was organized in a qualifier-final format with the riders glven a six-minute time limit in which to complete sections one, two and three. Based upon their scores, the riders were paired up against each other to race, each w ith the loser adding a point in addition to any normal penalty points to their score. The riders then completed four more sections in sequence and a race section . Afterward, the four riders with the lowest scores then transferred to the main, and the sections were run backward. At this point, the scores were erased, and the riders began again with clean sheets and individual section time limits of 90 seconds. The sections this year were noticea bly more challenging than last year, with the o bstacles being steeper and bigger. Severa l of the sections became promin ent early on . One of the most difficult sections of the trial, "yellow " sect ion three, began with a huge vertical entrance onto upturned 70 JANUARY 14.2004 • CYCLE NEWS Time became a key factor in the long, fourth "red" section , which featu red a trio of obstacle combinations with a climb up a large step pyramid, a huge splan er onto a six-foot-h igh crate, and a climb over an angled crate, followed by a final ramp climb and drop-off o bstacle. Initially, it was thought this would be pretty easy, but the ram p climb across a ribbed-plast ic pipe claimed a number of points. The sec tion's severity increased tremendous ly in the final whe n it was run backwa rd. Section five started with a 10-foo t-high rock entrance, followed by a steep descent onto a cement table from which the riders skipped across slippery sandstone rocks en route to a final climb over an undercut plateau . The entrance was hair-raising to watch and garnered its fair share of fives over the evening, but the section's difficulty was deceptively high in reverse, too. Finally, the chain of upturned and piled blue crates of section six with two huge splaners and a Sideways launch across two parallel boxes six feet in the air, proved to be a point-taker as well. Andy Johnson was the first rider eliminated in qualifying. 40 t h Anniversary found it hard to find his form this evening. That left Aaron and Bell at the top with only one five apiece , while Florin and Chaves had suffered multiple fives. Aaron won a photo finish against Bell in the first race, and in the second race he broke away for the win when he outturned Bell on the cable spoo ls to begin the return trip to the finish line. Chaves wo n both races against Flo rin, the second one convincingly, as Florin saved a near loop- out as he caught tracti on on one of the yellow pyramids. In the final , Chaves found himself in fourth place after he fived section six. "I tried to zap the crate," Chaves said, "and I hooked the skidplate on the edge ." Florin was quick to take advantage of Chaves' miscue. "When I saw him five using a technique I wasn't going to use, I knew that if I used that technique , it wou ld have hindered me, since now I knew it didn't wo rk," Florin said. "I splanered it, and he zapped it, and the splatter was defini tely the tec hnique going into that section." This set the stage for their final race , in wh ich Florin needed to finish clean rather than win clean to assure himself of third place in the championship. This turned out to be the case. as Chaves raced to the win while Florin steadilytackled the pyramids en route to third place on the podium. Initially, Be ll dropped be hind Aaron. losing a point at the top of a zap onto one of the narrow tilted barrels in section two. But sect ion three was the watershed moment of the trial. Bell put out a stea dying dab as he traversed the 90-degree midair turn , sneaking out for a one. Aaron, however, got hung up on the undercut wooden ledge entry to the tum. and after a desperate series of

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