The 2022 New Zealand Trial Championships

 CAPTION: Porirua’s Dylan Ball, now with another valuable piece of silverware to add to his bulging trophy cabinet. Photo by Andy McGechan,

Making it look easy, as all the best sportsmen seem to do, Porirua’s Dylan Ball romped to his third consecutive national crown at the 2022 New Zealand Trial Championships in Southland over the long Labour Weekend.

This is the ultimate level of the sport of motorcycle trial riding in New Zealand and it was those who possess the greatest skills who rose to the occasion over the three days.

Run by the Pioneer Motorcycle Club, the Monteith’s-sponsored event – held at different venues near Alexandra over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, October 22, 23 and 24 – delivered all the highlights that it promised, the various courses offering up stark challenges for even the most experienced of riders, although different courses were, as always, provided to suit all the various skill levels.

But it was the 18-year-old Ball, a year 13 pupil at Whitby Collegiate, who had the best measure of things, winning outright on each of the three days and forcing his rivals to be content with scrapping over the minor positions.

Taranaki’s Matt Foster eventually claimed the No.2 spot in the Expert Grade after a monumental see-sawing struggle with Christchurch’s Jules Huguenin.

Huguenin, juggling his role as Motorcycle New Zealand trial commissioner alongside his bid to win a national title in the premier Expert Grade, was content nonetheless to complete the podium in this elite category.

Seven-time former Expert Grade champion Warren Laugesen, from Hawke’s Bay, and Dunedin’s Blake Fox rounded out the top five.

“It’s quite remarkable. He had been off for a year following a knee reconstruction,” said Ball’s proud father Nick Ball.

“The weather was appalling on day three, with it becoming very cold and wet, and Dylan had a few tyre problems, which meant he dropped a few points. But he still didn’t lose as many points as the other riders, so it worked out well for him in the end.

“The terrain was spectacular and there was a great-sized crowd on hand to watch the action too,” said Nick Ball. “There were more riders entered in the nationals this year than we’ve ever seen, so I guess the sport is pretty healthy state at the moment.”

Other class winners were Porirua’s Cameron Judd (junior class); Christchurch’s Gabby Gundry (women); Christchurch’s Glenn Smith (veterans 1); Manawatu’s Kevin Pinfold (veterans 2); Christchurch’s Paul Jackson (twin shock class); Christchurch’s Max Blanchard (mini 1); Christchurch’s Ted Ceci (mini 2); Christchurch’s Isabel Hopkins (mini 3).

Sharp rocks, slippery tree roots, treacherous creek beds and steep hills … none of these obstacles got in the way of these talented bike riders.

With this branch of motorcycling sport, the emphasis is not on speed, but on fine balance, bravery and delicate throttle control.

The prime aim is to conquer the extreme terrain without touching feet on the ground or falling off. Points are lost for these “faults” and a rider with the lowest score wins.

Credit: Words and photo by Andy McGechan,