Matt Jones Appreciation Trial – #4

I participated in my fourth trial for 2020. It was held at Tomahawk Ridge in Snohomish, WA on Oct 3rd.

I performed a pre-ride inspection and packed up my gear the day before. I would leave the house just before 7am.

It was foggy but not cold as Michael, Jeff and I got ready to ride together. We started shortly after 8am.

Novice, Vintage and Intermediate riders were all scheduled for the morning while the advanced groups rode in the afternoon. In this way, and using online registration, we are able to have these events in Washington at this time.

I’d ride with Michael and Jeff, as usual. During the first round, each rider walks each section before attempting to ride through it without putting your feet down and while staying inside the boundary, without going backwards or stalling the motorcycle.

We are waiting for the group ahead of us to clear out,

There are 10 sections and each section is ridden three times. The sections are separated by a short ride, sometimes a slightly longer ride with the longest being maybe five minutes. Our first round usually takes about three hours. I think we took about five hours total to finish the trial, including a 15-minute break for food.


Jeff, on the vintage Montesa, kicked our butt, as usual. Michael and I are closely matched but I squeaked out ahead this time with a total score of 54, placing me in eighth position in the Novice category for the event.

Soft terrain in tight uphill turns seemed to be a consistent challenge. Keeping some weight on the front tire helps. And, twice I found my right foot mashing down on the back brake lever. I had not repositioned my foot used earlier in the section to press down on the rear brake lever.

Section 6 was in “the rocks,” a first for the novice group this year. On my third ride through that section, I was able to get both between the two rocks that were the first obstacle and over the later rock obstacle but then dabbed in a soft (downhill) turn later in the section. That was better than my second ride, where I lost it over the rock obstacle and fell over. Doh! 🙁 I was fine – it was nothing but injured pride. That was my only “5 score” for the day.

I captured two sections in the short video posted below. In the first section, I failed to hop over the first obstacle (a log) and put a foot down. Of course, the other two times I rode the section, I did clear it (really, I did!). I “cleaned” the second section in the video.

I will continue to work on capturing better video. You know, like getting the camera to look further ahead instead of almost straight down (Doh!).

Next Year

This is likely the last trials event I will participate in this year. I’m very appreciative of the effort the group’s leadership team put out to arrange online registration as well as changes to the event’s design to allow us to continue to ride during the pandemic.

I learned a great deal this season and look forward to continuing to practice as possible throughout the winter months. I look forward to my second year of trials riding in 2021.

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