Report from UK BikeTrials.com Ambassador,
For UK trials riders there is only one show worth attending
each year: the Bike show organised by the company behind MBUK magazine. Since
the beginning in 1995, the trials demos at Bike have been hugely popular with
the crowds. Headed by the ever present Martyn Ashton and Martin Hawyes, each
year has seen bigger and more challenging shows, from the gallery drop at Olympia,
to the speed trials events at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. In
a change to recent years the speed trials format was dropped in favour of a
more traditional demonstration event; huge logs, stacks of railway sleepers
and concrete piping with a backdrop of a few hundred screaming fans made for
some of the best riding yet. Four shows per day, each lasting up to 40 minutes
proved a huge improvement over the five minute BMX sprint of last years speed-trials
contest plus it gave each rider a chance to shine at their chosen discipline
and play to their strengths. The finale of each show was a gap jump competition
to really prove the riders abilities - the winning gaps were often in excess
of 10 feet. Impressive!
with recent tradition, the usual UK riders were joined by some international
superstars from abroad. The 9 rider line up represented a good mix of styles
and introduced some new faces to the UK audience. Martyn Ashton and Martin Hawyes
have been the focus of attention at Bike since the start, and simply get better
each year. UK Champion Chris Akrigg, riding for Pace, and Pashley's Eddie Tongue
have been demonstrating their unique styles for a number of years, helped by
huge audience support. British junior number 2, Kris Leeson was present, riding
the latest product of his father's engineering firm, the Leeson 660 (see photos
for more details) - expect to see great things from Kris in the near future.
Ex BIU world stock champion Petr Kraus, riding for team Animal Orange and the
amazing Thibuat Marriaux have always proved popular, even with the xenophobic
UK crowds. Two riders new to the UK were the Brisa professionals, Shaun Miller
and Nelson Reis, accompanied by Brisa owner and all round nice guy Roger Rodriguez.
For many, this was the first time they'd seen what a mod bike is capable of,
and what better introduction than seeing Nelson Reis ride.
Martin have been perfecting their shows for years and their performances were
pretty flawless. Chris Akrigg's BMXy style and general aggressiveness is always
impressive - the UK champion looked to be on good form even if demos are not
his style. Thibaut looked slightly under par at last years event - speed trials
doesn't seem to be his strength. This year he appeared much happier. Trying
every line possible, his smoothness really has to be witnessed first hand to
be appreciated - no matter how difficult the move, there is nothing but silence
from his machine.
The Brisa guys really did steal the show though - particularly Nelson. Highlights
for me were seeing him gap from a stack of concrete pipes right over the barrier
to the feet of the audience (you'll have to wait for Roger's video of that one);
dropping from front wheel off the 8 foot pipes and generally making the others
look a little stupid. Just to prove it was Nelson not the mod bike, Bikedock,
the UK Brisa importers, built up a B26 for his Sunday performances. 20 or 26
inch, Nelson was unbeatable.
Some negative points though - show security seem to be getting more and more
anal each year - they threatened to throw Nelson out for his leap over the barrier.
Health and safety concerns were totally unfounded; no one besides Nelson was
in any danger and the crowd, as ever, are blown away by these things. For me,
this was the most impressive piece of trials I'd seen in ages - trials riding
is all about pushing the limits and there was more than a little sour grapes
from some of the other riders. Anyone with any complaints should remember the
Sheffield indoor moto-trial where the riders entered the arena by riding down
the steps between the audiences seats - I don't remember signing any disclaimer
form to sit in the audience, or even being told this was going to happen. I
suppose it's only to be expected of people with no interest in extreme sports
or even cycling.
Besides that, and the fact that the rest of the show was as boring as ever (but
hey trials riders are only interesting in one thing right?) the experience was
positive. Shouts go out to the UK Brisa importers, Bikedock, for their generous
hospitality; Bikedock seem to be rapidly turning into the premier distributor
of exciting biketrial exotica in the UK, so remember to support and reward their
See you next year!
Photos of Bikes and People with Descriptions
Trials Demo Photos from Mart Spain
© 2005 BikeTrials.com