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ACU Western Trials Grading and Championships Explained - Hopefully!

I have been tasked (as retiring centre trials recorder, Tom Welch) to clarify the existing Trials rider grading process and the Western Centre Trials championship.

A bit of history first

Firstly I think that it would be beneficial to take a historical look at how it used to be and why changes were made.

Things were very simple up to about 1980; there was one route to challenge the entire entry so when you started riding Trials you competed as a NOVICE on the same sections as the top EXPERTS.

FIRST CLASS AWARDS were usually given to the top 10% of the entry with an award for BEST NOVICE. To achieve EXPERT status you had to get a FIRST CLASS AWARD in an event of "Open to centre" status or higher. This was very hard to achieve and the majority of riders never made Expert status.

An Intermediate status was then introduced to give the Novices something to aim for. (See below for qualification criteria). An "Alternative", now called "Clubman" route was introduced by most clubs to encourage disillusioned Novice riders to stay in the sport.

Latterly the "Easy" now called "Sportsman" route was also introduced for the same reason, and to encourage riders of a "senior" age to keep competing.

50/50 routes between sportsman, clubman, and Expert have also been introduced to reduce the step between routes. It was, obviously, no longer practicable to use the simple method of achieving a FIRST CLASS AWARD for upgrading to Expert status so a points system was introduced.

NOVICE TO INTERMEDIATE. 6 points required where;-

1 point awarded for BEST NOVICE in an open trial

2 points for winning an open NOVICE trial

1 point for Second place in an open NOVICE trial.

INTERMEDIATE TO EXPERT. 10 points required where;-

2 points awarded for BEST INTERMEDIATE in an open trial

1 point awarded for Second Intermediate in an open trial

EXPERT STATUS is given to ANY rider achieving a FIRST CLASS award in an open Trial or classed as an EXPERT in another Centre. Experienced YOUTH A Class riders enter the grading system at Intermediate status.

ACU Western Trials Championship 2013-2017

The Centre Trials championship was also very simple in days gone by! One route, One Trial, the winner was the CENTRE CHAMPION.

This was changed to a multi round championship and a NOVICE (1998?) and INTERMEDIATE (2004) championship was introduced but what does this mean?

This was replaced by a "Route" orientated championship in 2007 so we had; "Clubman Champion", "Clubman Expert" champion and riders had to ride the route allocated to their status (e.g. Intermediates and Youth A rode the clubman expert route, Novices and Youth B rode the Clubman route).

In the last 30 years the whole demography of Trials has changed from 80% of the competitors in the age range 16 to 40, to the current wide range from 6 to 70 with 50% being over 40.

An open Trials meeting was held in 2013 with representatives from all the clubs running Trials in the centre and it was agreed to change the Centre Championship to an AGE related championship (same as the YOUTH championship) and allow competitors to compete on the route of their choice. Points would be awarded from 15 down to 1 dependent on the severity of the chosen route. For example – Joe Bloggs riding in the over 40 class (2) coming last on the Expert route would score more points than Fred Screw riding in the same class winning the clubman Expert route.

For this championship to work it is imperative for the riders to enter in the correct class, and for organisers to include a column in the results for the class number (e.g. 2 for over 40)

Where do we go from here????? Have your say by dropping the new Trials recorder John (Lawrence) Luff an email:

Tom Welch, ACU Western Vice Chairman and Treasurer