The M & M Trials Scoring System.
Since it was first designed by Carl Peters, the Gate scoring system has seen a number of variations used by different organisers. In its original form a section is marked by a START and FINISH, and contains a number of marked obstacles which can be attempted in one direction only, and for which points are awarded for a successful attempt. There are no fixed "lines" the rider choosing which gates they would like to attempt. If however while in the section a rider "dabs", all of the gate points won in that section are lost. At the trial's end the highest score wins.
For the NYACT series it was decided that there should be a fixed number of gates, 5, and that they should all be of 1 point value. This brought the scoring in line with normal trials as the maximum points available in a section is 5, just as the maximum penalty in the standard system is 5. This solved two problems; it made the scoring easier as there were not varying numbers of gates in the sections with varying points values for each gate, and it also made for closer competition as if a rider lost all of the points in a section having 20 points available he was unlikely to be able to make up such a large deficit if the scores between riders were close.
For the Richford Trophy Trial, and the M & M Trial, Mike Komer and I made two changes to the NYACT system. In order to give an incentive to beginning riders, or those on Pre-65 type machines, we made the FINISH the final gate. This meant that if a rider did not/could not attempt any gates but managed to get through the section "clean", they would get 1 point. We also felt that losing all of your points if you dabbed tended to make people ride conservatively, and as we laid out our sections to tempt people to challenge themselves, the scoring system was self defeating. We changed the system so that you could keep the points you had accrued until the time you dabbed, then you would stop counting. A complete failure of course still meant zero points for the section.
Now that great trials thinker Mike Komer has come up with a further variation which takes the best of both the standard trials system, and Gate scoring. It still gives the rider the option to choose the line he thinks best for his bike and ability, and keeps the points per section to a closely competitive limit, but now it gives him a further incentive to try more difficult gates. The system is as follows:
Each section has 7 gates for a total of 10 points.
Each section has 5 gates worth 1 point (including the FINISH), 1 gate worth 2 points, and 1 gate worth 3 points.
The rider is allowed to dab during the section, but each dab deducts 1 point from the Gate score for that section.
Zero is the minimum score for a section (there are no negative scores).
As an example of the thinking behind this change imagine a rider who chooses his line but keeps looking at a difficult gate that he would like to try. In the original system if he tried it and dabbed his ride was over, zero points for the section, so he decides not to try. In our old variation if he tried it and failed he would have some points, but there would be no point trying for any more. In the new system if he tried and dabbed he would lose 1 point, but he would be able to keep going and try more gates. Mike felt that this was more like the standard system where you keep going, possibly losing points as you dab, trying to ride the whole of your designated line. After all, in a normal trial you don't get a 5 the first time you dab.