Up a wall, down a slide, on top of a stadium, underneath a boat; freestyle trials riders are taking motorcycles to hitherto impossible impossible places all in pursuit of one prize — a stunning image. Here’s 29 of the best ever taken.
Lead by riders like Dougie Lampkin (up top) and Julien Dupont (below), trials is braking out of remote venues and the upper echelons of cable TV to become a visually stunning representation of motorcycle fantasy. The sport is at once more visually compelling and more relevant to today’s world than the outmoded daredevils of generations past. It’s less about risk and more about spectacle.
It all started, for me at least, with this picture of Julien Dupont riding up a wall in his hometown of Lyon, France back in 2007. A fairly simple feat on a lightweight trials bike, but a stunning image nonetheless, largely thanks to a skate-style photo complete with a popped flash and gritty (for southern France at least) urban backdrop.
Skating is perhaps a good role model for freestyle trials as it attempts to legitimize a motorsport in the eyes of young people. Watch a skate video from the early ’80s and it’s all gawky kids rolling around a park in San Francisco, doing little kick flips and shit, shot on a shitty consumer video camera. That’s a good parallel to the above photo. Now, skating is an multi-billion dollar industry with the production values to match. Could freestyle trials achieve even a small part of that success and influence?