Based in Christchurch the Pioneer Motorcycle club is one of New Zealand’s largest "Trials only" motorcycle clubs. The club holds events once a month throughout the year at properties all over Banks Peninsula and north Canterbury. The club also hosts the annual Kaikoura 3 day event which has been run uninterrupted every Queens Birthday weekend since 1946. This makes it one of the longest running multi-day events in the world. Events cater to all ranges of ability from beginner to Expert riders. For more information contact us via our Contacts page or come along to one of our events posted on the Events calendar page.
What is Trials?
Motorcycle trials, also termed observed trials, is a non-speed event on specialized motorcycles. The sport is most popular in the UK and Spain, though there are participants around the globe.Trial motorcycles are distinctive in that they are extremely lightweight, lack seating (they're designed to be ridden standing up) and have suspension travel that is short, relative to a motocross or enduro motorcycle.The event is split into sections where a competitor rides through an obstacle course while attempting to avoid touching the ground with the feet. The obstacles in the course may be of natural or constructed elements. In all sections, regardless of content, the designated route is carefully contrived to test the skill of the rider. In many local observed trials events, the sections are divided into separate courses to accommodate the different skill level of riders, who compete in skill-rated classes.In every section, the competitor is scored by an observer (hence the sport's name) who counts how many times the competitor touches the ground with the foot (or any other part of the body). Each time a competitor touches the ground with a foot (commonly called "dabs" ), the penalty is one point.The possible scores in each section consist of 0, 1, 2, 3, or 5. If a competitor makes his or her way through the section without touching the ground with a foot, a score of 0 (called "cleaning the section") is earned. If he or she touches the ground only once, the score of 1 is earned. If he or she touches down twice, the score of 2 is earned. If he or she touches the ground three times or more, the score of 3 is earned, as long as the section is completed without stalling the motor, dismounting, going out of bounds or going backward. If the competitor fails to complete the section a score of 5 is earned. The winner is the competitor with the least points at the end of the event. Some events are also timed with penalty points assessed to late riders.
There is a world indoor and outdoor championship, as well as indoor and outdoor national team "world cups" (Trial des Nations). British competitor Dougie Lampkin is notable for winning seven world outdoor titles in the 1990s and 2000s. Previous observed trials greats include Northern Ireland's Sammy Miller (1960s), Finland's Yrjo Vesterinen (1970s), Spain's Jordi Tarres (1980s and '90s).
In addition to the world championship events, there are other major events, such as the Scottish Six-Day Trial (SSDT) and the Scott Trial.Major current manufacturers of trials bikes are Gas Gas, Beta, Sherco, Montessa Honda, and Scorpa. In the past there have been many manufacturers, from countries such as Spain, Japan, Britain and Italy
The Pioneer Motorcycle Club is one of several motorcycle clubs in the Canterbury area and has evolved into a club which now specialises in the running of Observed Trials throughout the Canterbury Area.We are Affiliated to Motorcycling New Zealand, who regulate all motorcycle competition events as the ruling body also providing some funding, training and also work with overseas bodies to provide competition and assistance to riders wishing to compete in international events. As part of the riders registration fee they provide riders insurance and club third party insurance.Our club originally started out in 1907 as part of the Pioneer sports club and was officially the Pioneer Cycle Club then with advent of motor cycles and cars became the Pioneer Motor club and later the Pioneer Motorcycle club. This group was part of a much larger club of many sports groups housed in a building on the cnr of Gloucester and Oxford terrace where the Canterbury Public Library now stands. When the Public Library was built the proceeds from the sale of the original Pioneer sports club building were donated toward the building of Pioneer Stadium and today only three of original clubs still exist these being the Pioneer Badminton club, Canty Mountaineering Club and Pioneer M cycle club. Our group holds meeting on the first Thursday in each month at Pioneer Stadium. Our club has been involved in all types of motorcycle events from beach racing to Enduro’s to road trials. The current sport of trials developed from the English version of sporting road trials which were road events held in the 1930’s – 1950’s which were road time trials with special difficult sections thrown in which incurred penalties. These sporting trials then developed into Trials were the rider rode his machine to an event and rode a series of courses which were marked by observers the object being to lose the least number of points for footing stopping or failing to complete the course. These events continued well into the 1960’s until specialist machines started appearing and motorcycles were then trailered to specific sites to compete. These events have evolved to the current day format with bikes being purpose built for the sport with bikes devoloping from the early 150 KG 3 hp machines up to current day machines which can develop up to 35 hp and weigh as little as 55kg..
The sport does not require a great deal of financial input and an older entry level motorcycle can be obtained for as little as $1500 – 2000 and the sport now naturally develops on from Pushbike trials which is the natural training ground for younger riders coming into the sport with even some of our regular riders using the pushbike trials as additional training. The sport now requires a reasonable level of fitness and on an international level riders may train on bikes and in related fitness programmes for 4 – 6 hours a day. Trials being a slower skill based sport results in far less injuries to competitors and is suitable for riders from age 7 to over 70 and Pioneer has grades that will suit all skill levels. We also run other social events during the year and are occasionally involved with public displays.