Top riders rev up for indoor spectacle
Hall Three at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre will become a cauldron of high-octane action when the inaugural Indoor Trial World Championship - Hong Kong Grand Prix is held tonight and tomorrow.
Organisers are confident the two-day motorcycle spectacular will leave spectators breathless, enthralled by a competitive activity unlike anything seen here before.
Motorcycle trials are the ultimate adrenaline rush, said seven-time outdoor world champion Dougie Lampkin, one of six riders who will compete in Hong Kong.
'The good thing about indoor trials is that it is being held in a stadium and it's for all the family, including kids,' Lampkin said.
'It is not racing and it is not all over in a flash. The spectators are relatively close to it. I think it is very different to see. When people see it, they can't believe it really,' said the 27-year-old from the Isle of Man in Britain.
'I think people are going to be interested in this sport in Hong Kong. They might have seen it on television, but it is very different on TV than in real life,' he added.
Being close to the action is one of the main attractions of the sport, said Hong Kong Automobile Association chief executive, Andrew Windebank.
'It can be mind blowing for the audience to see some of the skills the riders have - people often ask 'how do they do that'?,' said Windebank.
'It can be an excellent sport for young people. It takes discipline to develop the speed and precision required,' he added.
Another feature that makes the sport exciting is that obstacles are custom designed at every event.
The layout for the Hong Kong competition will be a surprise for everyone including the riders.
Lampkin explained: 'Every time you ride you are riding something new. It is not like racing where you are always going back to the same track. Year after year, everywhere we go, it is always different. That makes it challenging.'
The ongoing Indoor Trial World Championships pit the top six riders against each other over a 12-event international circuit.
Stops in the 2004 season include Monza in Italy, Madrid and Barcelona, Paris and St Petersburg, Russia.
Hong Kong will serve as the second stop on this year's championship circuit.
The competition sees each rider navigating eight to 10 obstacle sets in approximately nine minutes.
Competitors are judged on their riding skills and ability to control their motorcycles. Points are accumulated for penalties, crashes or if the riders use their feet to balance.
Points gathered over the 12 legs will decide the overall champion next March.
Tickets for the championships can be obtained through Hong Kong Ticketing.
Call 2534 5063, or e-mail email@example.com For more information, check out www. worldtrials.info