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Yrjö Vesterinen thinks about Trial's current situation

posted by 30 November 2018 By in Classics news Last modified on Friday, 30 November 2018 03:54
Yrjö Vesterinen, trial world champion in 1976, 1977 and 1978, considers that the current situation of Trial sport is not very convenient for the future of the sport, for him this sport has been too many years focused as a show instead as a sport to practice. He himself tells us about that.

yrjo-vesterinen-bultaco-classic-trialYrjö Vesterinen thinks about Trial's current situation

After the Costa Brava 2 Days Classic Trial, in which probably has reached the entry trials record with about 470 riders, lots of comments invaded social media and forums. For many this type of trial is the real one, the one that should never have disappeared and they think that today's Trial is a kind of indoor trial that is practiced outdoor, and therefore its original spirit and respect for its heritage has been lost.

Others think it is very good to see riders as Dougie Lampkin or Takahisa Fujinami in this trials, but regulation should be also classic and respecting the origin of the sport, that means not allowing stops and hops. Among the various discussions and controversies there is an opinion that has stood out above the rest, both for its content, as for the entity of the one who gives it, due his proven experience and knowledge, none other than the triple trial world champion Yrjö Vesterinen. Yrjö himself has kindly given us his permission to publish this article with his own words:

"Earlier I made a comment stating that within trials we have two different sports. In order to understand what has happened and why, we need to go back in time.

In April 1974 there was the first indoor trial that I know of in Gothenburg in Sweden. It was organised in order to showcase trials to the wider public. It was a success as a commercial entity, but I doubt many new riders entered trials because of it. The feel good factor was there though.

Outdoor trials continued to prosper as before and entries were at record levels . New markets in far away countries were opened as well. The Japanese factories had also entered the game.

Little changed until Bernard Schreiber started to make his mark in the World Championship culminating in his 79 Title. He had brought us some new trick riding techniques. In the meantime there were already more and more indoor trials being organised. These events at times also paid at least some of the riders to attend as well as paying prize money, which was very welcome.

TrialLegends-J-Estepa-110 In hindsight it was easy to see that trials had started to change also in the outdoor events. Most events now had one or two indoor style man made obstacles and bigger and bigger steps were also brought in for a good measure. Us riders were turned into entertainers. Nobody had asked us riders if we liked the idea! Some did some didn't. The main change though was that trials was turned from a sport purely originally designed as a participant sport into some sort of entertainment to please crowds that were not paying a penny towards staging the show.

In the early eighties I was elected to represent the riders world wide in the FIM. I had no voting rights, but I was allowed to speak in the meetings and voice my opinions. Towards the end of my tenure I could see some dark clouds on the horizon. In my last speech at the FIM I voiced my concerns about the future of trials. My concern was the ever more increasing enthusiasm of the World Championship Organisers to please crowds. With all my respect to speedway riders in the world I used speedway as an example what might happen if we follow down the path that many of the organisers were now taking.

vesty-todotrial-yrjo-vesterinen The number of speedway riders world wide then as well as now is relatively small. Most of the riders are professionals and make their living out the sport. There are no proper factories building bikes as the rider numbers are too small to warrant building bikes in numbers. Most importantly speedway followers have never ridden a speedway bike and never will.

Round about this time I got married, started a family as well as started a business. My trials riding career as a professional rider was over. It is important to state that my main livelihood had come from Bultaco as well as from a number of outside sponsors. Bultaco were selling that many bikes that they could pay their riders, including me, to earn a living.

From that point on I kept a keen interest in trials and observed what was happening within my beloved sport.

TrialLegends-J-Estepa-110 Very rapid development with bikes tyres and suspension followed. The new breed of riders came up with new amazing riding techniques. Every one was in awe. Organisers came up with even more amazing obstacles to challenge the riders. Some organisers started collecting money from the spectators. The riders were given none. They were entertaining the crowds at their own cost. My worst fears were becoming true. Today a small number of "gladiators " entertain crowds and the factories can't even support all of them. Apart from two or three riders nobody makes a decent living anymore. Dream job for all the new comers? Organisers paying the riders? I think I would far rather consider a career as a speedway rider if I was young again!

Trials have been changed beyond recognition and what now looks like a fairly irreversible situation.

Now back to the point of having two different sports within trials. Classic trials offer me and countless others a sport that we can enjoy. We don't mind spectators, but neither are we there for them. We are not asking a penny. Our classic side of trials sport does not need changing or altering in any way, as far as I am concerned anyway. On the contrary it needs preserving and we are proud of our history and heritage.

As for modern trials I can see more challenges ahead. Somehow I do not see the speedway business model working too well! Good luck and needless to say, but I do have great respect and admiration for all the modern riders and their incredible riding skills.

In order to stop any further confusion I would like to see the current Trials World Championship  change it is name and add the word Extereme to it. As for the Classic Trials the original name Trials will do fine!"

 Yrjo Vesterinen

  • 9 comments

    •   Ricardo
      Comment Link Ricardo 14 December 2018

      Toni Bou es mejor que tu, Yrjo, cuatro millones de veces...y eso que el todavía no ha llegado al fin de su carrera y tu hace muchos años que si.
      Y hace Trial: que no se te olvide que no eres nadie para cambiar el nombre de las cosas, por muy campeón que hayas sido en épocas pasadas.

    •   N      ignasi
      Comment Link N ignasi 08 December 2018

      es ben beritat el autetic trial es el de abans

      el autentico trial es el de antes

    •   stepheno1
      Comment Link stepheno1 05 December 2018

      Yrjo suggests that there should be a distinction between the two types of Moto Trialing and here is my personal contribution in reply to Yrjo and Bernie. Please read on if you dare: My following comments I have said for years and it has only ever fallen on deaf ears and here is why. Extreme Moto Trials sounds appropriate; this has come about due to cyclo Trials thanks to the master himself OT PI. This form of Moto trials is great if you are prepared to put in the time and hard yards to perfect the new techniques to be able to compete and stay safe. Not to mention having the natural ability to achieve the higher standard of skill required, which the majority of general public do not. Although this extreme moto trials is good for some with the added challenge it is not as conducive for most mere mortals, hence the decline in numbers. And here is the double whammy, if this Extreme moto trials is now the only form of moto Trialing that gets to be seen by average Joe Blow via public media, then although the viewer will have huge admiration and view the action as awe-inspiring due to this high level of talent, however they are unlikely to feel compelled to join the fraternity and are unable to imagine themselves being able to achieve this level of riding, remember that I am referring to the mere mortals, I am not referring to the young hot shot. This now brings me to old style Trialing, that the oldie prefer, if for nothing else than their own self-preservation. Imagine this: if the same general public were to see this form of trialing via public media would they consider that “I might just give that a go” or would they think “That looks too easy so I would not be interested” Personally I consider that the first would be true as any form of Trialing looks interesting and exciting to the yet to be Trials rider at some level. So I would consider this to be more conducive to new bike sales as this is what we are all concerned about YES! So there is a need for both forms of Trialing, Extreme Trialing for those wishing to challenge themselves and are fortunate enough to have the natural talent and are prepared to dedicate the time necessary to achieve. And it was established years ago when this round and around debate starts all over that in the interest of participation numbers and new bike sales the older flowing more basic section and terrain set out with low risk of injury for the “ON ANY SUNDAY” riders is also necessary for the continued survival of our sport regardless of which side of the fence you are on. The most out spoken are those who feel threatened when someone like Bernie,Mick,Yrjo and the likes suggest that there may be a reason for such a decline in our sport other than rival sports and activities It would appear that those who have a bias towards pro Extreme Trialing are being blinded by their own ego and ideas of grandeur. I am speaking with my head out of the sand as I have NO issue with extreme Trials and enjoy riding this type of section, but from my four plus decades of competing I am only able to do this thanks to my young riding companions and two or three outings a week, time on bike means everything and natural talent. I am more fortunate than most when it comes to sport as I come from a very well-coordinated sporty family so we have an added advantage. Please think about what I have written as any kneejerk reaction is likely to be of condemnation. And those that agree will be too shy to comment for fear of being shot down. Experience and wisdom tells me so.

    • I agree with Yrjo comments. I also think the rules should not have changed in the mid-80s, this has only brought constant decline of the sport. I also agree with Yrjo comments about the Speedway business model, it clearly doesn't work.

      Also specially agree with you, Hugh Simpson. Let me explain a reason to decadence in Trials... I have had the opportunity to ask many young people interested in motorcycles (not trial or enduro riders) if they would like to practice trials or enduro. The answer was in 97% of the cases that they would like to ride enduro, not trials. When I asked them why not trials, their answer was that to be stopped in balance mading hops continously, is really boring, what they want is to ride... not to be stopped looking for balance... This is one more reason why I defend an image of Trials sport similar as it was in the 70s and 80s although updated. A sport to practice, not only to watch...

    •   Name  josep figueras
      Comment Link Name josep figueras 02 December 2018

      Le doy toda la razón. Li dono tota la raó. You are completely right.

    •   Hugh Simpson
      Comment Link Hugh Simpson 01 December 2018

      I totally agree with what you are saying . I believe the indoor part of trials riding has become a circus . No question the riding abilities are super to watch .
      The average club riding is not where it should be most people see the indoors as what trials riding is about . They then say I could not ride that , our sport is hurt by this .

    •   Andy Spencer
      Comment Link Andy Spencer 01 December 2018

      Interesting comments, sensibly made.

    •   Pierre BOCQUET
      Comment Link Pierre BOCQUET 01 December 2018

      Thanks a lot Vesty for these good words. You know trials practice better than anyone and so you can explain what to do or what to avoid. Your analysis is clear. I share it totally. I hope we'll be enough wise to make trials more popular as formally. Hope to meet you often in (classic) trials! Stay tuned!

    •   juan knight
      Comment Link juan knight 30 November 2018

      i agree with this. classic trials should be ran with classic rules. No stop. also on classic bikes but it might be a bit late to stop the trickery on some machines. as for modern trials it is following enduro with enduro there is about 4 different diciplines now, hard enduro and extreme,indoor,sprint,hare and hound etc with specialist riders for each one no allrounders now.i hope trials doesnt follow but you dont get toni bou,raga etc doing the scottish and scott etc so maybe it has split already. the main thing is to enjoy wichever one you do at any level.

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    Todotrial News Classic Yrjö Vesterinen thinks about Trial's current situation