Trials

Kyle Middleton Astounds At The 2018 X Trial Australian Championship

Author: Mitch Ladyman

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An overview of the insanity. photo credit Chris Love
Some say that Freestyle motocross riders defy gravity: If that is the case then X Trial riders defy practicality! And it would seem nobody can do that any better than four-times Australian Trial Championship rider Kyle Middleton.

The NSW based rider captivated audiences and captured the win at the Perth round of the 2018 X Trial Australian Championship last Sunday the 18th March. The Hell Team rider, aboard his Gas Gas TXT300, had everyone in the audience wondering just how the ‰Û÷Hell‰Ûª he made it over some of the most insane obstacles ever stacked (seemingly randomly, but obviously not) in sequence inside an indoor arena.

Honestly, when I walked into the stadium I thought I‰Ûªd gone to the wrong venue and was about to endure an episode of Australian Spartan. To be honest, the only real difference between these two competitions is that, where Spartans must overcome the chaffing of a little lycra between their legs, X Trial warriors must overcome the angry combination of two stroke and rubber between theirs. Rest assured, the insanity of the obstacles these competitors must overcome to get to the finish line differs very little.

What is X Trial? Six sections of obstacles, each to be negotiated in under 90 seconds. The primary objective is to get through each section without putting a foot on the ground. Like golf, the winner has the lowest score (but that is about the extent of the similarities). Maximum points per section is 5 and something as simple as rolling backwards with a foot on the ground or placing a wheel out of the confines of the section has you bowing out of that section with maximum points. The true spectacle of this sport is, of course, that the entire event can be enjoyed by the audience in the comfort of an indoor arena.
What gap? Titan Tyres Australia did not want to make it easy. Photo: Chris Love.
The eight riders assembled for the Perth round of the X Trial Australian Championship were the top eight riders in the country. Kyle Middleton dominated the Qualifying round dropping only 4 points to head off Tasmanian rider and Victorian Trials Champion Chris Bayles (10 points). Young South Australian star Connor Hogan, qualified with a solid ride on 19 points. Whilst the 4th and last place went to Colin Zarczynski (NSW) on a count back, after a 3-way tie, with his brother Kevin and Neil Price (WA). They all tied on 21 points apiece.

In the Final, the event managers thought they would mix it up a little for the crowd; so, they reversed the sections. At this point I really could not rationalise, despite mustering all my knowledge from middle school physics, how Middleton, Bayles, Hogan and Zarczynski were going to overcome obstacles that were simply not meant to be negotiated, even when they were the right way around. But, except for one single obstruction to forward momentum, they did, and I found myself bouncing up and down on the edge of my seat, holding my breath, clutching my privates and pointing like a three-year-old. It was literally overwhelming to watch.

These guys balanced along and hopped between the Coates Hire road barriers set at impossible angles to each other (Section 1), found a whole new purpose for ‰Û÷Wizz Binz‰Ûª skip bins (Section 2), floated their rubber across three-meter-high (that‰Ûªs 3m!) and wide gaps between Titan Australia haul pack truck tyres (Section 3), chipped away at an industrial concrete pipe set (Section 4), put mountain goats to shame on the Hell Team Helter Skelter ramps (Section 5) before coming to terms with the structural insanity of the Moto Dynamic Sevens (Section 6). Middleton took out the final on 19 points, five clear of Bayles on 24 points and Connor Hogan snuck onto the podium on 29 points.

‰ÛÏOnce again X Trial proved to be a real challenge for me, with its short, intense format and head to head style of competition. I am happy with my performance, but it was far from perfect.‰Û
Winners are grinners, but not while they are negotiating the Moto Dynamic Sevens.

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