BMW NorCal Asphalt Trials

Linda Cicero won the B class in the Asphalt Trials in 2002 and 2003.

This is a contest developed for for the BMW Northern California (NorCal)-sponsored 49er Rally, though of course it could be run anywhere for any similar class of motorcycles.

Anyone with any motorcycle can compete in the Asphalt Trials. It is really just an extended version of the MSF ERC course. We usually run it the day after we have had a skills workshop in which participants hone their skills and learn the course.

The Skills Workshop is run by Tony Westlake, and MSF instructor, and allows you to practice the same course as is run in the Asphalt Trials. It also allows Tony and me to put you in your proper category: A (expert), B (intermediate), or C (novice). There will be one First Class award given in each category. If you just show up at the Asphalt Trials without having done the Skills Workshop, we may assume that you an expert.

The Asphalt Trials course consists of obstacles requiring the same techniques as you may find in every day life in parking lots. We time the participants for the sake of rating them. We classify people into three general skills groups, and there is a first place in each catagory.

The rules specify the kinds of obstacles and the typical course. The scoring specified ensures that it is better to "clean" the course, rather than go through it fast. Knocking over a single cone or putting a foot down will essentially cost you a second. And similarly skilled people will go through the course within about a second of with each other.

This course is formally held once a year at the 49er rally, and the main way to prepare is just to practice your slow-speed skills in normal riding during the year. But there are a few techniques we teach in the Skills Workshop. And we try to help riders at the Asphalt Trials as well. Please let me know if you want any pointers.

Running the slalom in 2003
Pictures by Martin Morris