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Alshine

Observer problem.

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In our part of the country where club memberships are small and run by members who are riders it has always been a problem getting observers.

Events normally end up short of observers resulting in members giving up rides or sharing observer duties.

What are other clubs doing to attract/reward people who are kind enough to observe or do they have some kind of system for riders to do the observing and ride..

Large membership clubs who have non riding members perhaps don't get this problem or do they?

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We have a few observers that routinely turn up but not enough to cover all the sections.  So where there is no one the rider observes the next rider and passes the sheet on to them.  Or - mostly - we just score ourselves and everyone trusts that we are honest.

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My local club pay £15 to observers and still struggle,seems like every one wants to just ride.

Edited by Bilko

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 You could go to score cards and ride in small groups. Say 2-4 riders, which score each other. Quite a good time, but takes a little longer.

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Our club made the decision this year to put the entry fees up slightly from £15 (which it has been for a long,long time) to £18. We pay the observers £20 each and give them a meal voucher for the burger van. If a rider brings an observer they get a free ride. I couldn't say it has improved things as there is much more to it than that with there being dates clashes, regular observers on holiday etc. I have no idea what the cure is but I would imagine riding round in small groups would take forever as this is generally what a lot do in club trials with no observers.

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Has the observer problem came about because  clubs put so many classes and courses on giving more people a chance to ride ? when this was not the case people that could not ride observed 

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It's possibly just because people are more "busy" nowadays so if you're not riding, then there is probably something else you feel you should be doing. I'm guessing most observers are either the old guard or parents of riders? I often think I should observe every now and then but as I still have a lot to learn then I prioritise riding. When I'm satisfied I've reached my likely potential then I'd be more likely to observe. 

Obviously observers are critical for the sport and I'm so grateful to them, especially as I really wouldn't want to stand in the cold for four hours watching the same section over and over if it wasn't necessary for the sport. 

Often there are self observed sections but I am astonished at the level of cheating that goes on when that happens. 

Another option is more laps of fewer sections which is ok.

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16 hours ago, on it said:

Has the observer problem came about because  clubs put so many classes and courses on giving more people a chance to ride ? when this was not the case people that could not ride observed 

I think you have something here, it used to be Dads, family and friends that would observe as they began to ride less, now everyone keeps riding. In fact I would expect the median age at most club trials now is between 40 and 50. I like the idea of the AMCA MX set up where its no work, no ride, everyone in the club has to observe or no ride. Or its a continuing decline in actually observed trials, though I do wonder just how much this bothers the majority !

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hi im just returning to trials at 57 and to be honet i just dont have any spare time i would love to help out but it would mean i would have to miss riding that month

i must admite there are to many routes  its to confusing what with 50/50 etc stick to 3

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within MOTA (Michigan Ontario Trials Association) we have 6 Clubs, each club hosts 2 events per season.  For a rider to be awarded season championship points they must work 2 events per season.

This is how we get the majority of our observers, the members of the club will set up, run, observe their 2 events for the season.  and then you ride the other 10.  Season championship standings are determined by your best 8 rides.

It seems to work pretty good.

 

But you do not have to be a member of one of the clubs to ride the events. You will get a trophy that day (provided you finish in the top 3) but you will not be awarded season championship points for the year end awards.

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When I started trials riding, in the 1960s, all the trials were road trials with 40 sections.   So theoretically we used to get 40 observers.   This might have been reduced by the section 1-5 observers covering sections 35-40 later in the day.

Also many sections were multiple sections, with 2 or 3 sub-sections to be ridden as one.   This would mean that one observer recorded 2 or 3 scores for those continuous Sub-sections.   

Maybe for our 4 lap events, the sections could become joined double sub-sections, then we would only need 5 observers to cover the whole event.    It would mean a lot of work for each observer however.

Edited by phiggs

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I'm very much a beginner but don't compete as I don't have transport and can only get to my local site.

I wouldn't mind giving observing a go but have no idea what I'm doing. Is there a Tricks and Tips crib sheet for first time observers published anywhere...?

I'll do some googling as well...

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On 3/20/2020 at 4:02 PM, v1nn1e said:

I'm very much a beginner but don't compete as I don't have transport and can only get to my local site.

I wouldn't mind giving observing a go but have no idea what I'm doing. Is there a Tricks and Tips crib sheet for first time observers published anywhere...?

I'll do some googling as well...

vinnie - really good question, i don't have a set answer to hand. depending upon the difficulty of the trial, normally the answer can be as simple as

no feet = 0

1 foot = 1

2 feet = 2

3 or more feet = 3

stop, crash, miss, etc = 5

 

now i also run trials CofC seminars, and we go through both TSR22A and B, look at the 10+ causes of a 5, and i know for BTC and WTC rounds there are observers breifings and really detailed discussions to be had on what constitutes a five or not (hence this year's BTC rule change)

 

when i allocate / recuit observers (always welcome), and i know someone is new, where i can i send someone to help / assist / supervise - or - get them to help another observer, especailly in a long section (so you don't feel like a spare part!). some trials are relitivly simple and some sections are relitivly simple so there is often good opertunities to have your first observing experience.

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Could be that when a rider costs up each event that they compete in say transport, fuel and food etc,  say a nominal £30 for something local. Obviously the further away the event the costs increase. Now from the point of view of the observer, travel, parking fuel and food. Plus having to stand in one place and observe fairly (section) while all the riders go through. Comfort breaks, just taking the weight off and obviously toileting, where is that going to happen, for a rider its a little different they can just pop off into a secluded area....the observer can’t just disappear for however long it takes. Weighing that up with the similar travel costs for an observer to get to the event £15-£20 from the club even with a food voucher thrown in is not really offsetting an observers investment (not everyone likes burgers or to eat food from a vendors van. Weekends too are important for the social aspects of family life as opposed to standing about, wet, cold and watching someone else have a good ride, fun and enjoyment. 

The idea that each club rider should perform observer duties so many times a year sounds like a positive suggestion. Last time I volunteered to observe by responding to a request the organiser never even bothered to acknowledge my offer. So I unmade my planned Sunday absence from family life and stayed warm-and dry in the comfort of home. 

The number of routes and the severity of some sections makes observing a bit tricky, with riders jostling for a view of the same section very often obscuring the observers sight of the rider under observation. Another reason for a lack of observers perhaps. 

Food for thought!

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Our lass will not observe  asked her why ? This is why -- she gets to a 3+ in1 section then has to figure out all the splits in the flags were the section goes ,  then has to try to make out a felt tip pen cross on the number to see which course there on,  when shes done all this then put in the position  to make the hard decision on was it a stop or not as the sections are marked out to tight and then having to wait for the  expert course riders  to come round a lap after everyone else has finished ! Thats why theres 1 less observer .  

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