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TEAM EXTREME Cyclist's stunts will thrill audience



Published: Sun, August 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Team Extreme champion will perform at 11 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CANFIELD -- If seeing is believing, fairgoers are in for a pleasant awakening at the Canfield Fair.

A Team Extreme champion motorcyclist will thrill audiences defying gravity as he maneuvers his specially designed, lightweight motorcycle through a course of obstacles that include vertical walls and cliffs.

Team Extreme Trials Showcase features champion cyclist Tommi Ahvala, 1999 U.S. National Champion. Ahvala, 29, came to the United States from Finland in 1998 to help promote the sport. The following year, he won the U.S. National Championship. He's also won the 1992 World Championship and 1993 World Indoor Championship.

Trials: His performance will include "flying" his motorcycle over obstacles that are up to 14 feet high. Ramp and platform stunts include nose wheelies, kick turns and flip turns, said Renee Baier of RPM Promotions. RPM, based in Lincoln, Neb., is Ahvala's exclusive agent.

The stunts exceed those of the national championship competition because the obstacle course is designed to challenge the sport's best riders and mandate their peak performances, explained Daryl Baier, RPM Promotions president.

"Trials are very exciting to watch. It's the ballet of motor sports," Renee Baier added. "It requires incredible balance, technique and nerves of steel don't hurt. If anyone in the audience isn't smiling, it's because they're in shock."

Evolution: Trials competitions evolved from a trail riding sport to a radical obstacle course sport in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Daryl Baier said. It often requires riders to make 180-degree flip turns and is the newest extreme sport that will be featured at the 2004 Olympics.

While trials are popular in Europe and Japan, he said, they are still relatively unknown in the United States.

There will be three shows a day near the south end of the fairgrounds. Showtimes are at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Free color posters will be available at each show and performers will be available for autographs.

kubik@vindy.com




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