World's Best Trials Competitors in Duluth - Dirt Rider

The best observed trials riders in the world will test their skills against some of the United States' most challenging and beautiful terrain in Duluth, Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6. More than 40 riders from throughout Europe, Japan and North America will compete that weekend in the Spirit Mountain World Round, the fourth round of the 2004 world championship series of the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).Overlooking Lake Superior and Duluth's international harbor, Spirit Mountain is one of the region's top ski slopes in the winter. In the summer, its rugged cliffs and stunning waterfalls have helped it win national and international honors in observed trials circles. This marks the second time a world-championship event has been held in Minnesota. The first was at Spirit Mountain in June 2002, when it won the FIM's Environmental Award that recognizes adherence to the FIM's strict environmental code as well as the event's overall organization and setting. The Spirit Mountain trials was selected for the award from more than 1,000 FIM-sanctioned events held that year in more than 90 motorcycle disciplines.The Duluth event will most likely boil down to a showdown between Montesa teammates Dougie Lampkin and Takahisa Fujinami, and Gas Gas-youngster Adam Raga. Lampkin has won seven-straight world titles, while Fujinami has been runner up for the past five years. At the last event at Duluth in 2002, Lampkin defeated a very disappointed Fujinami in a tiebreaker. No doubt, Fuji-gas will be looking for revenge in '04. Raga is a member of the "new wave" of young riders making a showing in the sport. He has won the last two World Indoor titles and is a sure bet to push Lampkin and Fujinami for the outdoor title in 2004.Some of the most spectacular section areas from 2002 will be tweaked and used again, including a jaw-dropping leap up a 14-foot sheer rock face that tested the limits of both the riders' nerve and the motorcycle's power.Many spectators at the 1998 and 2000 national events in Duluth could barely believe their eyes when they saw riders launch their highly specialized motorcycles up Spirit Mountain's waterfalls and cliffs. The world-round sections, however, are far more challenging; not a single section previously used in national-level competition approaches the difficulty required to test the abilities of the world-championship riders.A great feature of the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area is that it is designed to easily accommodate spectators. The site is well-marked and accessible from Interstate Highway 35 as you approach Duluth from the south. There is ample free parking. All sections are within a block or two of the parking area, pits and starting gate. Spectators also are welcome to tour the riders' paddock area located on the lake side of the ski chalet; no special passes are required. Concessions and rest facilities will be available at all section areas.Gates to the event will open at 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 5 and 6 and the competition will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Featured classes will be the main class for the world's top riders, a junior trial world cup class for ages 18 to 20, and new this year, an FIM youth trials cup class for riders 16 to 18 on machines of 125 cc.Cost for tickets is $20 per day, or $30 for both days. Tickets are half price for those under 10 and free for those under 6. For more information, including advance tickets (available starting April 1), directions to Spirit Mountain and information about accommodations in the tourist-friendly Duluth area visit the event's Web site, Three sites to learn more about the sport of trials in general are, and