The 2016 U.S. men’s team clinched fourth place in the Trial des Nations International Trophy Division on Sept. 11 on a two-loop course totaling 36 sections in the French and Italian Alps.
The U.S. men’s and women’s teams were organized by the American Motorcyclist Association and the North American Trials Council.
After the first loop, the U.S. men’s team of Andrew Putt, Bryan Roper and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet was tied for second place with Sweden, with just 3 points for the 18 sections. Germany was in the lead with a single mark, and the Czech Republic was holding at 4.
A few minor mishaps on the U.S. team’s part added 6 to the score for the second lap, leaving the team with 9. This allowed the other teams to edge out the United States and put the U.S. team 3 points behind third place.
“The amount of determination, precision and teamwork displayed by Blanc-Gonnet, Putt, and Roper should make our country proud,” said Team Manager Todd Roper.
The U.S. women’s team of Madison Leigh, Kyle Sweeten, and Sadie Webb encountered some trouble and placed 10th. With Webb sick and Leigh injured, the pressure fell on Sweeten. This was the first time competing in Europe for each of the team members.
“Trials competition at the international level is intense, and we are proud of the men’s team that was able to secure fourth place,” said AMA Director of Racing Bill Cumbow. “While the women’s team faced challenges this year, we are just as proud of them and hope that the team will return to the competition next year stronger than ever.”
The event was sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme.
The support of sponsors is crucial to the ability of the teams to compete. For 2016, sponsors included: AIReS Relocation Services (Bryan Putt / www.aires.com); Specialty Welding and Machine (Sid Maulden / www.swmtx.com); Integrated Solutions Inc (Ropers / www.isiaz.com); Ryan Young Products (Ryan Young / www.rypusa.com); and the motorcycle manufacturers and importers. Special thanks go to Martin Belair (www.usmontesa.com) for representing the U.S. as the FMN Delegate and Bryan Putt for making sure the team has all the necessary tools at the event.
The sport of trials involves riders navigating motorcycles over seemingly impossible terrain. The FIM Trial des Nations began in Europe in 1983 as a way to bring the best trials riders from each country together to compete as teams, and it has evolved into one of the most anticipated motorcycle events of the year. Each competing country fields two teams: a men’s and women’s team consisting of three riders each.