Let me preface my remarks with the following… I have only been involved in one trials event, Motorama 2004. That event used the U system. Joe Merrill, event organizer had Kris Holms (U system creator) there to help with set up and to offer guidance. I have great respect and admiration for each of these men for the uni skills and event organizing knowledge they brought to this event. I have also read the standard trials event system that is used for bicycle trials events. These are way too difficult and complex in my book. It might be that my lack of experience in this event gives me a fresh look at it. OR, maybe I am missing some critical points due to my inexperience. Thus a post for your thoughts and ideas!
Someone help me here, I lost the link to Kris’ U system description. Please post the link for those unfamiliar with the U system.
I have been thinking more about the U system for trials. I think one of the strong points of this system is the simplicity of it. Easier to judge and to score. At Motorama this past spring it worked very well. The main point of this post is…If it’s a better system because it is simpler, why not make it even simpler? I really liked the overall system and have a few ideas that might make it easier to use. One of my main concerns with the U system is that it takes a very knowledgable person to establish the point value for each section. In my opinion, that makes it harder for event organizers to use it. If it was simpler, it would be easier for someone to put together a uni trials event, thus it would be more likely to be done. In keeping with the simpler version thinking I have the following thoughts for your comments.
OPTION # 1 (the ultimate in simplicity?)
Don’t assign difficulty ratings or points to each section. Just have numbered identification for each section. Scoring is done by showing a point for each section completed.
- Easiest to set up, requires less time for rating and more time is available for setting up and building the sections.
- Beginning riders don’t have as great a gap between their scores and the top rider scores. This may help to encourage the newbies.
- Quick and easy tallying of scores at the end of an event. Less room for math errors and easier to verify the total score.
- Top riders don’t get to rack up mega scores. May not look as impressive.
- It’s harder for spectators to know which sections are the highest difficulty.
- It might be easier for the people setting up the course to overlook some key skills.
OPTION # 2 (slighty more involved that # 1)
Assign U system difficulty ratings to each section. This rating would then become the point value of the section. For example, a U4 difficulty section would be worth 4 points, U5 worth 5 points, etc.
- Would be more useful in showing the difficulty of the sections in an event, especially if signs were posted that spectators could see.
- Would also give riders a sense of the difficulty level they can ride.
- Closer attention to the U system levels would help create a more balanced course, all the skills would have a better chance of being included at each level.
- It would be harder to set up the course for the organizer of the event. Takes more knowledge of uni trials.
- This would require a well defined description of each U level.
One last idea… In case of a tie score for first place I think it would be a great idea to have a ride off. A strength of the U system is that the time used for the event can be controlled very precisely. That allows the organizers to allow time at the end if needed for a ride off to break a tie. A ride off would be a great event for spectators as the top riders fight for the top spot! Each of the riders picks two sections to attempt (strategy and drama here!) Then each rider gets 3 attempts to complete each section. If both riders complete a section, then the one doing it in least attempts wins that section. I think it would be a lot of fun to watch a ride off as a spectator and it gives additional exposure to the top riders. It might even be fun to do this with the top 3 or 4 riders even if there wasn’t a tie. A rider challenge just for the fun of it and to give the top riders a victory lap.
Again, I feel the U system is a good one. But it is young and still getting established. I hope my $.02 worth of ideas might help make it a little better.