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GASGAS Invites Top U.S. Trials Riders to SoCal Competition

Last Friday, GASGAS (sister company of KTM and Husqvarna) held the California Trial Invitational at its private track in Murrieta, California designed by 10-time U.S. Trials champion Geoff Aaron. With the course just 10 minutes from our office, we were excited to check it out.

Riders, including both men and women pros, did three loops of five different sections put together by Aaron and his team. As you can see in the photos, the course was extremely tough. The women had their own separate course (marked by a different color arrow), which also included seemingly impossible obstacles.

Competitors try to score the lowest number of points – each foot-down (a “dab”) adds a point to their score. In the end, the top three finishers in the men’s division were Karl Davis (Scorpa) in first, Josh Roper (Sherco) in second and Alex Niederer (Beta) in third. Among the women, Louise Forsley (Sherco) took the win ahead of Maddie Hoover (GASGAS) in second and Kylee Sweeten (Scorpa) in third.

This is our first visit to a pro-level trial event in the United States, and we were blown away. Here is a series of photos, including a few sequences showing just how tough the course obstacles were, and how skilled these riders performed.

I ran into Roger DeCoster, five-time World 500cc Motocross champion, who is currently Motorsport Director of both KTM and Husqvarna NA.
This 6 foot plus log wall was a big challenge for both women and men (the men launched off the small rock kicker in the background).
Riders line up for qualifying, which determines their order of riding the course (it is an advantage to go last – riders watch each other to learn the best line).
The men’s course is marked by a black arrow, with the women’s course marked by a white arrow on a red background.
The women did some very gnarly obstacles.
Riders watch each other carefully before it is their turn.
This is the first in a sequence of 3 photos.
There are “minders” on the course to help the riders in the event of a crash. Here a rider gets off-line and heads straight for his minder.
This is the first in a series of 8 photos of men’s winner Karl Davis.
Here, Davis tackles the log wall in a series of 5 photos.
GASGAS had their current lineup of trial machines on display.


  1. mickey says:

    Trials riders are nuts but have some serious skills. I don’t have that kind of cat like balance. better off with both wheels on the ground at the same time lol.

    Wow Mick, sounds like you’ve moved around a lot and lived in some cool places.

    • Mick says:

      One of the bad things about living in a lot of places is that they will spoil some part of you for other places.

      Riding a bicycle to get around is fantastically easy and pleasant in the Netherlands. Everywhere else is really crappy by comparison.

      France has some really good food and drink items. I made sure that I learned how to make pâté before I left for instance. I made a batch when I moved here and the neighbors had never eaten such a thing. Only one of them was bold enough to even taste it. Wow! As a Minnesota boy who grew up eating Braunschweiger, I was floored.

      If you buy a smoked pork chop at a butcher in Minnesota or Wisconsin. They will be made from the best pork chops the butcher had. If you can find a smoked pork chop in New England. It’s made from what was a so so chop to begin with.

  2. Mick says:

    Trials is fun. I should really get another trials bike. I started riding trials when I lived in eastern Wisconsin. There was no decent dirt biking there. But they have an active bunch of trials riders.

    I continued when I moved back to Minnesota, where there is excellent dirt biking. The US trials riders are all salt of the earth. They ride “with” their competitors and help them improve.

    Then I moved to The Netherlands. I joined a trials club that was right in the town where I lived. The Dutch are a very competitive bunch who clearly ride “against” their competitors. When I signed up for my first of the 17 events that I rode there, I signed up in a class that I felt comfortable with. But the guys that I practiced with were in that class. They pulled out and a new class mysteriously popped up. I rode alone. So I singed up for the next tougher class. It was A LOT tougher. I crashed my brains out and destroyed a lot of expensive parts. I was consistently dead last. The guys in my class were friendly, as long as I was coming in dead last.

    I eventually improved. Some of those friendly guys would pack up and go home the minute I got a point on them. They had no interest in dicing with dead last guy.

    I sold my bike when I moved to Paris, France. There is no easy way to have any fun off road on a motorcycle anywhere near Paris. That place is hell. I am clearly NOT a city guy.

    Now I live I New Hampshire. Dirt biking is all but non-existent here. New England has a population density problem. I drive to Minnesota, like I did when I lived in Wisconsin, and ride a dirt bike there that I keep at a friend’s house. My NH dirt bikes seldom turn a wheel that doesn’t have an ice tire on it.

    Maybe the trials riders in this area have a pulse. Perhaps I’ll buy a trials bike and find out.

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