Trials bikes set to make tracks through Squamish trails for annual competition

Bikers roll through Crumpit Woods on Sunday as part of annual 99 Trials Association event

About 50 trial motorcycle riders will be taking to the trails around Crumpit Woods for the annual 99 Trials Association competition on Sunday, May 26.

For the unfamiliar, trials bikes differ from dirt bikes in several ways.

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"With trials bikes, there's no seat. They are about 50 to 75 pounds lighter — so they weigh about 150 pounds. The tire pressures are very low," Chessy Knight, 99 Trials Association president, told The Chief. "The tires are very sticky rubber so they don't have the big giant knobs as dirt bike tires do.... They kind of mould to the ground — conform around the ground."

Knight has been a trials rider for about a decade.

What is fun about trials riding, Knight said, is that it is a very technical sport.

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"The dirt bikes are faster, more open and flowy and trials bike terrain is typically slower, but way steeper and more technical."

The trials bikes don't have a seat because the technical nature of the terrain means riders need to stand to manoeuvre through it.

Squamish has amazing places for trials riding, Knight said.

"Trials has like 10 areas between Britannia Beach to Whistler — big areas. We have so much terrain to ride," she said.

The sport has a long history in the Sea to Sky Corridor.

"A lot of trails were built by trials riders," she said.

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"The guys that are still involved and who came before me have been building between here and Britannia for maybe 35 years."

Knight stressed there is a good relationship between the local dirt bikers, other trail users and trials riders.

"We built the trails, it is multi-use, whatever becomes of it, becomes of it," she said, of trials riders' general attitude toward sharing local trails.

The competition on Sunday is part of a Canada Pacific Trials Association series.

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Riders will move through two separate loops, one for the junior/intermediate class and one for the advanced/expert class.

With a dirt biking competition, basically, speed is the measure, while with a trials riding competition is not a race.

"There will be a loop... and it guides the rider to what are called 'sections.' The sections might be 50 to 200 metres long and they are marked with red ribbon on the right and blue ribbon on the left and the riders have to go through that section without putting their foot down," Knight said. "The objective is to get as few points as possible."

The public can come out to watch the competition, which runs from 10 a.m. until about 4 p.m. Best viewing is at The RAA rock. The staging area will be the dirt road behind Cherry Drive.

For more on the club, go to  www.99trials.ca.

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