Your First Competition


The Day Before

It's a good idea to have a checklist of all of the items you will need and go through this list the day before the event. If there's anything missing, you will have a chance of getting them. What you will need:

  • Bike / fuel / 
  • Helmet / boots / gloves / other clothing
  • ACU licence / club membership card / money / pen
  • Food / drink
  • Change of clothing / towel 

You might be able to download an entry form from a club or other website and if you complete this before leaving home, you will have already completed one job for the day. The entry form will also give other information such as the event location, postcode or other details of how to get to the event and any extra notices about the event. Read and follow these instructions. 

On the morning

If it's a morning competition, you will need to get a decent breakfast, fuel and load up your bike, get into your riding gear and get to the event. It's always best to arrive early, park and find the 'Signing-on' car. Usually the competition will allow entry on the day and this is where you will register. If you haven't already completed an entry form, pick one up and complete it. If you have time, have a walk around the first few sections and take a look at them. This will help you decide which course you are entering. Once you have completed your entry form, go back to the signing-on car and join the queue. If you have any questions, this is a good time to ask as most other riders will be regulars and able to give helpful advice. Let them know if it's your first trial.

Once you have handed in your entry form, you will be given a bib or number for your bike and now you should be ready to go. Usually, the numbers or bibs are colour-coded to indicate which course you are riding. There will be a riders briefing - usually signalled by a car horn - around the start time and you should pay attention to this as any late changes or notices are given out. Once this is over, you'll be able to start your engine and begin at your first section.

On the course

You are normally expected to visit each section in order and, unless the briefing says otherwise, you should start at number 1. At the start of a trial there will be a queue with many riders waiting for their turn. The first lap is usually the slowest but riders will space out and speed up as the trial progresses. On your first lap, take your time and take a good look at each section. Look for where other riders on your course are going. Where they are having difficulties. The riding lines they are using. When you're ready join the queue and, when it's your turn, take a deep breath and off you go.  If you think a section is impossible or too dangerous for you, wait until the observer has a moment and ask for a 'Five'.

Once you've attempted your first section, follow any course markers - often orange flags - and move on to the next to go through the same routine again. Most trials have several laps of a short circuit, so you will have several attempts at each section. You should complete all of the sections in order once on each lap - but, if you are losing time or battery power on an electric bike, an observer may let you 'double-up' and have more than one attempt on a single lap. 

On your last lap, it's a good idea to check with each observer that you have completed the required number of attempts and, of course, to say 'Thank you'. Then it's back to the car park and tidy up.

After the trial

Once you're back at the car park, it's time to load up your bike, have a change of clothes and get yourself back home. When you get home, unload the bike and wash it checking for any damage and do any servicing that needs doing. Keep an eye out for results which will usually appear on a club's website within a couple of days. And, that's about it! Until next time.

Always Remember

  • We can only keep our sport going by maintaining good relations with landowners and other country users. Follow all instructions related to noise, speed, gates, walkers, other users.
  • Observers are the most valuable people in our sport. They are happy to stand out for hours in all weathers so that you can enjoy yourselves. They may even have given up their own ride in a trial so that you can enjoy yours. Be polite with your enquiries and remember to say, 'Thank You'
  • Our sport relies on a very small number of helpers and officials giving their time and energy in lots of different ways. Land use needs someone to negotiate and get the owner's permission. Permits need applying for. Courses need planning, marking out. Results need to be produced. 

Please be polite, patient, clean and tidy. Don't be the person who loses a good piece of land through leaving gates open, leaving litter or upsetting livestock (or other country users)