The US National MotoTrials Series gets underway next weekend, April 21-22, in Roswell, New Mexico, where the best Trials riders in the country will kick off the 2018 campaign on some of the most rugged terrain imaginable.
This year’s MotoTrials schedule consists of 10 rounds held over five weekends, beginning with next weekend’s two-day event in Roswell, New Mexico, and ending on September 1-2 with the two-day finale in Donner, California. In between are dates at Texas Creek, Colorado (April 28-29), Sequatchie, Tennessee (June 9-10), and Uniontown, Arkansas (June 16-17).
The first rider is out at 9:00 am each morning. For support classes, the schedule is divided into East and West Regional rounds, with the New Mexico, Colorado and California rounds serving as West Regional point paying events, while Tennessee and Arkansas make up the East Regional rounds. East and West champions in each class will be crowned at the conclusion of the season. The California dates are also part of the FIM North American championship, which is concluded on September 8-9 in Canada.
This weekend, nine-time and defending series champion Pat Smage will begin his quest to tie Geoff Aaron’s record 10 US National MotoTrials titles. The Sherco USA-sponsored rider is coming off perhaps the best performance of his career when he topped Spaniard Marc Freixa for the title in 2017.
Freixa won’t be competing in the 2018 series, but Smage will still have plenty of competition in the Pro division from a host of up-and-comers. The Torrot GasGas team, managed by Geoff Aaron, will present a formidable challenge to Smage in the form of young guns Alex Niederer and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet. Niederer is coming off a productive off-season and should be among the riders battling for the title, while Gonnet is making his debut with the GasGas team after riding for Montesa USA in 2017.
Sam Fastle, Smage’s Sherco USA teammate, will be the hometown favorite in New Mexico and will have the advantage of knowing the local terrain, which should put him among the pre-event favorites. Meanwhile, Sherco USA’s Andrew Putt, who finished third in last year’s series, will see limited action in 2018 as he juggles college with trials.
Scorpa USA will have a strong team represented by Karl Davis Jr. and Quinn Wentzel. Davis, a flashy rider from Florida, is juggling the MotoTrials series with his day job as an actor/stunt rider with Marvel Universe, while Wentzel will also compete in the AMA EnduroCross series.
In the Women’s Pro class, defending champion Madeleine Hoover will once again represent the Torrot GasGas team in an effort to defend her 2017 title. Hoover spent the off-season training in Europe and brings this invaluable experience to the U.S. series. Meanwhile, Sherco USA’s Kylee Sweeten and Montesa USA’s Christy Williams will be among the riders challenging Madeleine for the crown.
Scorpa USA’s Alexander Myers, Beta USA’s Andreas Niederer and GasGas North America’s Drew Fortner were the top three in last year’s final Expert division standings and it remains to be seen if any of this trio will make the jump to the Pro class for 2018. Either way, the Expert class should be another hard-fought division this year.
In addition to the Pro and Expert divisions, the US MotoTrials series offers several support classes for a host of age and ability ranges, including youth classes on Friday and Saturday.
This weekend’s event will take place at Haystack OHV Riding Area, 22 Miles Northeast of Roswell, New Mexico, just off US 70 @ mile marker 357.
Dry camping will be available at the event site for $20 per night (Wed – Sat). No reservation is required. Camping is primitive, with portable toilets on site, and there is no water or electricity.
The spectator fee is $15/day or $20/weekend (all non-riders or minders), $20 per rider/minder (weekend land use fee), 12 and younger is free and spectator parking is free.
For more information on the event, please go to https://nmta.weebly.com. For information on the US MotoTrials series you can check out www.mototrials.com.
Text and image courtesy of Shan Moore - Trials and Enduro News