Competition Rules

The object in an Observed Trial is to ride various sections of difficult natural terrain in the woods, without putting your foot down (dabbing) to maintain balance. These terrain challenges include combinations of tight turns through the trees, jumping fallen logs, riding through rocky sections, short hill climbs, etc. The object is not speed, but rather control of your motorcycle on challenging terrain. The events are always held on private land. The sport is perhaps best known in Europe, but there are plenty of devoted followers in North America!

In a trial scored under the Moreland Gate System which we are using, riders are free to choose their own path through each section. There will be several obstacles (gates) to choose from in each section. The rider gains one bonus point for each gate completed, but must ride the entire section without dabbing. If the rider dabs even once, all score is lost for that single ride. High score wins.

The gate system is ideal for riders of all abilities, because they can pick only the obstacles that are appropriate for their own skill level.


General Information:                                  

NYACT events have four bike classes:
        Prehistoric- 1971 and older.
        Historic- 1972 through 1977.
        Classic- 1978 through 1987, twin shock and drum brake.
        Modern- 1991 and older, monoshock and/or disc brake.

All machines must be production trials bikes, or other bikes that have been modified for trials use. If you are contemplating a heavily-modified bike, it would be wise to consult with the NYACT Administrator before construction. Modified bikes must be approved by the Administrator before first use with us, and will be assigned to the bike class deemed appropriate. Period modifications are allowed, meaning there should be no major components newer than the newest year for that class. However, modern shocks, carbs and tires are acceptable. All tires must have trials tread (no knobbies). All bikes must have full-size wheels, generally 21” front and 18” rear. To preserve a vintage experience, all bikes must be air-cooled.

The signup period is from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, with a mandatory rider’s meeting at   10:45 AM. The trial starting time is 11:00 AM.

Spectators are welcome at no charge, but may not ride a motorized vehicle or bicycle on the rider loop. All dogs must be kept on a short leash.

Riding Rules:

All NYACT events are gate trials, using the original Moreland gate system of scoring, as explained below.   High score wins. There are no Observers; you check yourself. This is a family-oriented organization. We have women and youngsters riding with us, so conduct yourself accordingly. There are copies of the complete Rider Conduct Rule on the signup table.

Unless otherwise stated, there will be 10 sections and 4 loops.   Each section will have 5 internal gates, each worth 1 point. The exit gate is not a scored gate.  40 sections times 5 points per section means 200 points maximum.

The 5 gates will be marked with opposing white or orange arrows.   The white pairs are normal. Where two gates are close to each other, and might lead to confusion, one of the gates will be marked with orange arrows.   The value is still 1 point.

The object is to ride through as many gates as possible in each section.  There are no lines or class distinctions. Any rider can attempt any gate.  The gates can be ridden in any sequence, and different routes may be used on subsequent laps.

It is permissible to go backward through a gate.   However, a gate used in the backward direction cannot be used again in the forward direction.  There is no score or penalty for going backward through a gate. The forward direction is the side the markers are on.

Do not enter a section until the rider before you has exited. This is a safety issue.

All riding tricks may be used, such as hopping, backing, or stopping in balance.

Yellow tape is used to limit your path, and cannot be crossed or broken.

The standard allowed time to complete an event is 4 hours, so you must finish by 3 PM to maximize your score.   The official clock is on the signup table. However, there are no “Did Not Finish” (DNF’s) in NYACT. If you are unable to complete all 40 sections, just ride as many as you can,  but you must get your points on the scoreboard before 3 PM, and make a note on the yellow board card to indicate why you did not complete everything. If you have to leave the property before the awards ceremony, please make a note on your yellow board card.  

Failure Modes:

The following failure modes mean zero points for that section, that ride.

The first is a dab anywhere, anytime during the section attempt.   This means after your front axle passes the “Start” markers, until your front axle passes the “Finish” markers.   A dab is defined as any contact between the rider and a support, such as the ground, a rock, or a tree. Grazing a tree during continuous forward motion is not a dab, but using the tree for support is a dab.   Contact between the skid plate or tires, and a support, is allowed with the engine running.

The second failure is out of bounds.   This means one or both wheels outside the yellow boundary tape, breaking a tape, breaking or disturbing a stake or anchor holding a tape or marker, or knocking a marker from a stake, tree, or anchor.   Where there is no tape limiting his path, the rider may go where he chooses, but a dab anywhere still conststutes a failure.

The third failure is two-wheel path crossing.   This means crossing your previous path with both wheels.   This also means you cannot make a ground loop in a section.

The last failure is using a gate twice.   If a gate is used in either direction, it cannot be reused in either direction during that attempt.

Additional Reminders:

No shortcutting.  Stay on the marked loop unless pushing your bike.

No backward riding on the loop, subject to disqualification.   This is a safety issue. If you miss a section by a short distance, and need to go backwards, it is permissible to push the bike when dismounted.   If you miss a section by a lot, just ride an extra loop and pick up the section you missed.

Bike Swapping- If your bike breaks during the trial, and you have the use of a second bike in the same class in which you started, you may finish the event and all your points will count. If you only have the option to use a different class bike, you may finish out the event for experience, but your score will only count up to the point of the bike swap. Note it on your board card.

Helmet must be worn anytime you are on the bike.

Write your score after each section.   There will be pens on white cards, a few feet from the exit of the section.   Replace the pen. You can also carry your own pen. We have special pens for sale at our cost of $2.00, that are retractable and only require one hand to use. Keep your scorecards legible.   We may need them to break ties. If you need to correct your score, draw a single line through the old number and write the correct number alongside it. Do not remake the old number into the new one.

After each lap, total your lap score and write it both on the lap card and on the yellow scoreboard card.   Put your old lap card in the box and take a new one. Write your name and lap number each time. Please do not take more than one scorecard per lap.  This will help us to gauge the progress of the trial, and to order the food on time.

After 4 laps, total your yellow scoreboard card to get your event total, and write it at the bottom.   Leave the yellow card on the scoreboard.

If you are addition-challenged, there are calculators on the table.  Most addition errors occur in the lap cards. One easy technique to avoid errors is to add forward, starting from box 1, then add a second time backwards, starting from box 10.  Write the total somewhere on the card.

Finally, we use these tiebreakers at each event, in the following sequence:
Oldest class of bike,  best 1st lap,  best 2nd lap,  best 3rd lap,  best 4th lap,  oldest rider.

Rider Conduct:

Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated at any NYACT event. This will include verbal, written or physical action, cheating while self-scoring, or violating, ignoring or “bending” the rules.

Drugs are not permitted at any time. Alcohol is not permitted before or during any trial or school. However, responsible use of alcohol is permitted after you have finished competition.

Violations may be directly observed by the Administrator, the Trialmaster of the event, or may be reported to either of them by two or more witnesses who observed the infraction. Levying of penalties will be at the discretion of the Administrator. Penalties will range from subtraction of points, to permanent exclusion from future NYACT activity.

Questions or comments? Contact NYACT Administrator Ron Bors at: or (607) 257-5640

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