2008 World BikeTrial Championship
The 3rd leg of the 2008 World BikeTrial Championship – also its final round – was held on 23rd and 24th August in Itadori Seki, Japan. 113 riders from 11 countries took part in the event, with five Singapore riders amongst them.
The first day kicked off with the opening ceremony, followed by the rounds for the Femina and younger rider categories. The heavy rains that came down upon the event site did not stop the participants from proceeding to their respective sections and riding them in their rain gear!
Kazuki Terai in action
The second day was sunnier, and Japanese rider Kazuki Terai won the round on his home ground, Spanish rider Dani Comas placed second, but won the 2008 title of Overall World BikeTrial Championship Annual ELITE Champion.
Four Singapore riders – Walton Seah (24), Low Yang Ming (24), Chua Zheng Peng (23) and Mathew Tan (22) – competed in the Senior Category (age 19 and above). The fifth Singaporean, Gerald Lee (17), participated in the Junior Category (age 17- 18).
Gerald, am member of BikeTrial Singapore’s junior progression team, injured himself during the warm-up for the competition minutes before his start. Despite the pain, he proceeded to be flagged off, but suffered some penalties as a result of his injury.
However, this did not end his job for the day: Gerald returned to help out the rest of his team mates to support them as a minder. Being a minder entails keeping track of a rider’s time spent in the sections; the task also requires pointing out of danger points/ wheel positions, such that riders can prepare themselves to be in the best possible position for a jump or maneuver). Gerald’s injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise: his subsequent role as a minder paid handsome dividends for the performance of the BikeTrial Singapore Team in this competition.
The senior riders fought the cold and slippery terrain of the Japanese forest and rivers. These course conditions are especially slippery when any moisture is present. Having rained the whole of Saturday, even Sunday morning’s sunshine couldn’t dry up the moist terrain.
This situation pushed the Singaporeans over their own personal limits to perform better than ever. However, their physical limitations did not support their strong mental will – in many instances, they were unable to complete most sections with the minimum points.
BikeTrial Singapore has since included a new training program for the riders to include more physical/gym training. Walton will be leading the training program under the guidance of mentor S. Ramanathan.
Walton is aiming for a podium finish in 2009. He will be traveling to all legs of the World BikeTrial Championship series to collect his championship points, targeting a promotion to the Elite category to compete against the world’s best riders in 2010.
Here’s how the Singaporean riders finished at the end of the round:
Out of 48 riders in the Senior Category
Walton Seah 26th Position
Low Yang Ming 35th Position
Chua Zhen Peng 36th Position
Matthew Tan 39th Position
Out of 18 riders in Junior Category
Gerald Lee 12th position
2008 World BikeTrial Conference
Two representatives, Mr. S. Ramanathan and Mr. Walton Seah from Singapore participated in this conference with other international delegates.
The objective of this conference was to decide on the changes in rules, event dates for the 2009 calendar, suggestions, and future plans for BikeTrial. Delegates also reported the progression of the sport in their individual countries.
Mr. Ramanathan took advantage of this conference to officially hand over the position of BikeTrial Singapore President to Mr. Walton Seah, Mr Ramanathan will now head the Singapore-based BikeTrial Asia Union.
BikeTrial Asia Union reported on the growth and development of the sports in South East Asia: this included identifying multiple riders from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines that are practicing this sport. Planning has commenced for an Asia Pacific Championship event in March 2009, organized by BikeTrial Asia Union and BikeTrial Malaysia Union.