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The Art of Observing
As we get geared up for a new season, questions always come up regarding the rules
RMTA follows and scoring. If the riders does such & such is it a dab? One point?
Two points? A five? What rules do we follow anyway?
On this page you will find the answers to all these questions and more.....
NATC produces a video for demonstration purposes only - the official rules are the
The number one rule to follow for observing is:
The Benefit of Doubt always goes to the rider - if you are not 100% sure the rider
took a point or what the rule is in a particular situation - do not give any points.
We haven’t chatted about observing for a bit and we’ve have a couple of things occur
at the last few events that merit discussion.
Situation #1: The observer punches the wrong score or line on the riders scorecard.
A) The correct way to fix punching the wrong score is to punch out the whole row
- except the correct score. If the observer has a felt pen with them the correct
score can also be circled. B)If the score is punched correctly but on the wrong
line - leave it - do not re-punch the score on the correct line. Again, if a felt
pen is handy the observer can indicate that they punched the wrong line & which section
the score is actually for.
Once the card is given back to the rider, the observer can no longer make corrections
and under no circumstance can anyone else, including trials masters, change a rider’s
score. Only the rider can protest their own score and they may do so whether the
score is to their advantage or not. Only when a rider has protested a score may the
trials master talk with the rider, observer and/or club officers about the merits
of the protest.
Situation #2: Riders taking a line through a section that may not be the line intended
by the trials master. As long as the rider stays on the designated side of any split
markers for their class - there is no penalty. This generally happens when riders
find a ‘snivel’ line the trials master did not see. Part of riding trials is for
the riders to find the best possible line through the section. No one may modify
the section layout after the first rider has ridden the section, including trials
masters, observers, riders or spectators.
Our first discussion will be two situations that have happened at our first two events.
Situation #1: Rider removes one hand from their handlebars to adjust their helmet,
Score - 0.
The rule: Section 6 B: Failure Definitions #4: The rider does not have both hands
on the handlebars when footing while stationary.
So our rider receives no penalty points as they were not footing. A rider can adjust
their helmet as long as they don’t put a foot down when their hand is off the handlebar.
Situation #2: Rider dabs with right foot on the left side of their bike with their
left foot still on the peg. Score - 1.
The rule: Section 6 B: Failure Definitions #3: The rider dismounts from the machine
and has both feet on the ground on the same side of or behind the machine.
This rider should receive a penalty of 1 for their right foot touching the ground.
As long as only one foot touches the ground the rider has not dismounted and the
rider receives a 1 for the dab.
Send in your questions or comments for our next “The Art of Observing” discussion.