Trials

Stars galore for Aussie trials title

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

The one category of motorcycle sport where speed takes a back seat to guile ‰ÛÒ moto trials ‰ÛÒ will be thrust into the limelight on October 29-30 when the Australian championship is held at Canungra (Qld). This year's title has, without question, attracted the best open solo field ever, with a procession of international stars set to compete ‰ÛÒ and then remain in Australia to contest the following weekend's International Two Day Super Trial in Victoria. Of the 148 riders who will compete in Canungra, eight will return to defend Australian titles, including Colin Zarczynski (Sherco) in the premier open solo class. Zarczynski has only finished outside the top three once since 1998, and his outstanding performance in 2004 was just reward for years of toil. "I'm really looking forward to the title, particularly with all the international competitors on deck," said Zarczynski, who watches trials videos to help improve his riding. "It's going to be hard, but I feel that I'm still getting better all the time, particularly with my consistency. "And I'm always looking for harder obstacles to conquer every time I get on my bike, because I know I've got to push myself harder if I am going to improve, especially when everyone is striving to knock me off." If Colin, a policeman, manages to keep the other 22 open riders in check, he will join Stefan Merriman (1993/1995), Robert Jones (1996/2000), New Zealander Warren Laugesen (1999/2002), Kevin Zarczynski (1992/1997) and Kale Reed (1998/2003) as recent multiple winners of the Australian title. Colin, 25, recently combined with Michael Byrne (Gas Gas), Trevor Campbell (Beta) and Dylan Rees (Sherco) to score Australia's best-ever finish in the Italian-hosted Trial des Nations (TdN) ‰ÛÒ second. However, the solidarity that existed at the TdN on September 25 will be a thing of the past at this year's Aussie title, with Zarczynski's three teammates all set to compete. Rees and Byrne were third and fourth respectively in 2004, while Campbell was seventh. However, Colin's biggest concerns in Canungra are likely to come from other sources ‰ÛÒ his brother Kevin and a gaggle of brilliant internationals. Kevin (Sherco) was second in the 2004 national championship and, in a continuation of the sibling rivalry, was also recently pipped in this year's NSW title by Colin. Kevin, 32, is a perpetual placegetter in the nation's biggest event, but is now desperate to add to his two previous wins - which would give him a huge boost as he embarks on the opening two rounds of the 2006 European trials title. Meanwhile, the international fortunes will be tied to the performances of James Dabill (Beta), Michael Brown (Beta), Dan Clark (Scorpa), former world No. 3 Joan Pons (Sherco); Diego Bosis (Montesa), 17-year-old German Christian Kregeloh (Sherco), Italian Fabi Lenzi (Montesa) and Sean Morris (Gas Gas). Dabill is the current FIM Junior World Cup champion, while Brown finished sixth in the same event. As for Clark, he was a member of Britain's 1997 TdN-winning collaboration, and previously competed in the 1999 Australian Moto Trials Championship. Pons finished third in the 1994 world title behind fellow Spaniard Jordi Tarres ‰ÛÒ universally regarded, alongside Britain's Dougie Lampkin, as one of the world's best-ever trials practitioners. Pons also won the iconic Scottish Six-Day Trail in 2003. Meanwhile, Bosis went one better than Pons during his most productive years in the early 1990s, and is a former world No. 2. Finally, Kregeloh was the 2004 European junior champion, the same year that Morris won the open European title, while Lenzi is the reigning Italian champion. "Lenzi is the dead-set favourite," said Kevin Zarczynski. "His level of riding is amazing, and he also rides in the European and world rounds when they come into his part of the world. "Lanzi and four of five of the visiting international riders are full-time professionals, so I reckon that a top 10 finish for an Australian rider will be a really big achievement. "I haven't raced in Canungra since 1995, but I remember the big, loose hills, and the really smooth rocks in the gullies. It's going to be fun." A foreigner hasn't won the Aussie title since New Zealander Warren Laugesen's hit-and-run mission in 2002. Other open contenders in Queensland will include Tom Scott (Montesa), in addition to three former national junior champions ‰ÛÒ Mitchell Green (Gas Gas), and another pair of brothers, Boyd Willcocks (Montesa) and Mitch Willcocks (Beta). In addition to open solo, the biggest gathering on October 29-30 will be in the Greybeard (40 years and over), Post-classic (twin-shock) and Junior classes. In Greybeard, which has an extremely devoted clientele base, the remarkable Steve Holzhauser has been defying the ‰Û÷junior' members of the class since 1995. The 55-year-old will be shooting for an 11th straight win in 2005, with last year's two and three, Paul Moore and Michael Frith, best placed to bring the imperious run to an end. Thirty-one riders will contest Greybeard, while 22 apiece will go at it in Junior and Post-classic. Fifteen-year-old prodigy Kyle Middleton, who finished third in the NSW open title behind the Zarzczynskis, is the junior beacon, while a new Post-classic champion will definitely be crowned in the absence of 2004 winner Andrew Clements. In Masters, for competitors 35 and over, Don Murray has designs on three in a row, while Chris Leighfield hopes to celebrate a seventh consecutive Lightweight Classic (pre 1965) victory. In the women's class, logic would suggest that it's Bev Anderson-Tranter ‰Û÷turn' to win in 2005. The 47-year-old claimed the honours in 2003, while long-time rival Michelle Owen prevailed in 2002 and 2004. However, 26-year-old Owen, who recently finished 15th in the Women's World Championship, following on from a 12th in 2004, is the raging favourite, and will be hard to dislodge. Finally, it's all a little egalitarian in Sidecar too, with Justin Gough-Maurice Blanchard and Todd Kuerschner-Todd Sparkes ‰Û÷sharing' the last four titles. Gough-Blanchard are the current champions after finishing ahead of Chris Schultz-Stuart Gerhardy and Kuerschner- Sparkes in 2004. All three will be back in 2005, in a class which should go down to the wire. The championship venue is north of Canungra on the Mundoolan Connection Road. Entry is via a gold coin donation, with the action set to commence at 10.00am and 9.30am on both days. For more information, contact Robyn Curtis, tel (07) 5543 6220 or 0411 091 924.

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