The inaugural NATS event at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee, on 12 July 2003 was a blast. The TTC is best known in the Motorcycle Trials world as a premier riding area. I knew of it before moving to Tennessee in May 2002 but had never been there. Upon my first visit, I knew immediately that it would be the best venue for BikeTrials yet seen in the US. When Tim Williamson contacted me in Fall 2002 about hosting a BikeTrials training camp culminating in a NATS event there, I thought it was a brilliant idea.
The terrain consists of a lot of limestone and sandstone rocks in many wooded areas and dry creek beds. Well, that really doesn’t do it justice so you’ll just have to wait for the pictures. Suffice it to say, we could host an event here every year for the next ten years and never ride the same rocks, if we really wanted.
I setup four split-sections for Beginner and Sport to be ridden in three loops and six split-sections for Expert and Pro to be ridden in two loops. The sections were a bit more spread out than most events so as to use (and exhibit) the varied section possibilities. In addition, each section was somewhat longer than most events. It was hard make a judgment on how difficult to make the sections because we really had no idea who or how many would attend. Since the event was at the end of a weeklong camp of teaching by Ot Pi and it was the last NATS event of the year, I opted to really challenge the riders. Unfortunately, I can now see from the average scores for each class that I made most of them, especially Beginner and Sport, too hard. I would like to apologize to everyone for that and hope that I have not discouraged anyone from continuing to compete in BikeTrials.
We came into this event very unsure of the potential turnout. It’s always tough to make predictions for a completely new event. This is especially true when the event is so far away from the normal NATS venues. As it turned out, we ended up with 30 bike riders and 8 unicyclists. This is very respectable since Snowshoe only had about 29 total. We really enjoyed having the Unicycle Trials alongside thanks to Russell Fralick. They’re very interesting to watch and a great bunch to hangout with. Regrettably, they never turned in their scorecards to us so we have no idea of their scores. Russell, if you have them, please post your results.
I would also like to apologize again to everyone for the long delay of the awards ceremony. For those of you that had to leave, I regret to inform you that you missed a great performance by Ot. To show his appreciation for our involvement in the sport, he ignored his sore knee and did a little demo for us. The climax of which was him dropping in from the roof of one of the cabins behind the pavilion. For that and the rest, you’ll just have to wait for people to post pics and video.
Finally, we would like to thank everyone involved, those that pitched in and all the riders and family/friends of riders for coming out. Most of all, we must offer a huge thanks to the owners and operators of the TTC: Dan Brown, Charlie Roberts and Wendy Roberts for having he foresight to let us bring BikeTrials to their venue. Another big thanks must go to Matt Wieber, Tom Neb and Ot Pi for running the camp. I also have to thank my parents, Gloria and Charley, for their support and help with all the odds and ends. As for the rest, I’ll just say one big thanks to all of you because you are too numerous to name.
|Tom McNeal||12||6||Declined Ranking|