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Interview with Richard Kent, QLD Moto Trial Icon.

Logan River Club is proud to have Richard Kent as a valued member and coach. Richard is an A Grade rider who is passionate about developing the sport and promoting the many benefits of electric bikes. Below are some things you may not know about this highly respected rider who has done much for moto trials.

1. What is your Moto Trials history?

My Dad, Jim started riding Trials around 1976, as a then 7 x year old, I used to play in the creeks and watch the sections at Trials events, my Mum Chris would often be one of the scorers on the sections, it was a great family day out. Dad was introduced to Trials by a Scottish chap, Harry Craven who had a shop in Brisbane selling Honda and Bultaco bikes. Dad had originally visited Harry's shop to buy a Trail bike but instead came home with a Honda TL 250 Trials bike, thus the journey began. My folks acquired my first moto, Honda MR 50 in 1980 when I rode my first Logan River Motorcycle Trials Club event at Christmas Creek. In 1981, Dad swapped his Bultaco Sherpa for road bikes for a few years, he was an avid reader of Motorcycling magazines which I also devoured from cover to cover in my quest for knowledge on the hobby of motorcycling. We came back to Trials in 1984 when I started riding my Yamaha TY 175. I can recall finishing my first Australian Championship event in the Barossa Valley, 1984 in second-last place as a Junior.

2. Why did you choose Trials over other motorcycle sports?

I was exposed to all forms of motorcycling when I was young. Motocross was very popular with all the glitz and glamour however, the concept of all the riders going for the same line on the first corner seemed stupid to me. It was obvious that all the protagonists of MX and other forms of “racing" have a limited career shelf life due to crashing at speed. Trials required skill and determination and was much more appealing to me.

The charismatic Harry Craven set up his projector screen and 8mm film projector at a Trials camp out at Ormeau in 1978. The movie was about the Scottish 6 x days Trial with on-bike footage from Mick Andrews whilst riding the sections in glorious sunshine. I knew from then that all I wanted to do in life was ride the Scottish 6 x day Trial..

3. Where overseas have you competed in Trials?

While I have enjoyed all of the obscure locations that Trials has taken me to in Australia, the trips abroad have been fantastic experiences. Firstly, the trip to NZ organised by Logan River's, Jeff Hill to compete in the 1987 championship 3 x day event was my first adventure as an 18 x year old. In 1992, I landed a deal to ride the first Gas Gas bike here in Australia plus a bike supplied by factory to ride some World Championship events and the mythical Scottish 6 x day.

I also stayed at Andreau Codina's house in Spain for a month on that trip and rode some local Spanish Trials which were the highlight of my Euro Trial holiday.

The SSDT turned out to be quite a test for each of the 6 x days, thanks to the miserable weather. I recall arriving at the “Pipeline" section to have my attempt, just like Mick Andrews in the movie I saw at the camp out 14 x years earlier. It was pouring rain, bitterly cold and nothing like what I had dreamed of. I was relieved to have completed my first SSDT, if there is a next time, for sure I will have more effective wet weather clothing to reduce the suffering.

I have met many excellent Trials folk along the way and figure that whatever sacrifices had to be made to achieve the goals, it was worth it. Looking back, representing my country in the Trials des Nations in 1994 was the peak of my competition Trials riding career.

4. What would be your advice to parents who may consider Trials for their children?

For the young rider, there are many personal development skills to be gained from Trials riding. The riders can develop self confidence through the determination and perseverance required to learn how to control the machine and themselves. The young rider will need some simple practice sections to work on skill development, these can be achieved in the back yard at home. Some riding days out with other more experienced riders is also recommended to add to the fun factor and a great way to be at one with nature.

         What do you enjoy most about coaching Junior riders?

There is usually some sort of “light bulb" moment with every rider at our coaching days with LRMTC. It is that moment when a technique ‘works' for the first time for a rider. Maybe it is the first time the rider cleans a tricky obstacle, that look of amazement/ happiness at that moment is my reward as a coach.

5. When did you develop a passion for electric bikes?

I began to develop an interest in electric transport in 2013. There were several compelling reasons for me. As it is now possible to make and store your own electricity at home, why not use it to also power up the transport we need and be self sufficient. I figured that I should still be able to enjoy my hobby without the need for petrol. In August 2014, I started riding my Electric Motion bikes. It was like an experiment and an adventure all in one to understand how to get the best out of the new electric drivetrain with no one to ‘learn' from. It was important to me to prove the worthiness of the EM in Trial competition despite been totally out-numbered and even out-gunned by the competition. At age 50, I am as motivated to ride as I ever have been and look forward to seeing the sport of Trial move towards a zero emission future. Viva (life) Electric.

Richard's Trial Competition Results on EM-

2016 Queensland Champion Masters

2018 Victorian Champion A Grade

2018 Australian Championships 3rd Trial 2

2019 New South Wales Champion Masters

2018/2019 SQTA Champion Div. Zero

 

Photos by Steve Spencer

Interview by Andrew McD-Smith

 

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