When the art of the ride is more about balancing the high-powered motorbikes deftly over jagged rocks and logs than about power and times, the margin for error is never up for negotiation.
Kurt Pickering knows it well and lives it every year.
The 25-year-old dipped his way over rough terrain outside of Bendigo towards a breakthrough title win at the Australian Motorcycle Trial Championships last week.
But the real contradiction of the ride comes when the Launceston trial biker in one breath calls it his perfect ride but in another admits he was one mistake from blowing it.
“Any year it can only take one mistake and you’ve done your weekend,” Pickering said. “It’s so easy to score five points in one section.”
That is planting your foot on the ground in any one of the 90 sections over the two days of the championships.
Near-misses in five of Pickering’s rides had already cost him the win twice, content to settle for the second place in Sydney and Adelaide.
But conceding just four points put his first victory in the bag. So Pickering hoped.
“I don’t think I could have ridden much better, actually – you always say that you could,” Pickering said.
“I was very happy with the way I rode and the bike went really well, but I got to the last two sections and I thought it was going to break down – it wouldn’t start.
“I quickly ran it back to the pits, changed the spark plugs and got it going.
“I jammed it in gear, raced off to the section, thinking I didn’t want to find out it was more than a spark plug. “I was able to gun through the last couple of sections.”
That feat alone is worth a celebration. But Pickering can sit back and take pride in another achievement.
His score deduction was the best out of any rider at the championships.
Riding a 1983 post-classic in the Twinshock class that weighs up to 25 kilograms heavier than the newer bikes, his flawless performance shocked organisers.
“I’m pretty happy to about that too,” Pickering added.
Pickering has spent up to four years restoring the bike that has fewer suspensions and two more shock absorbers to make it a bumpy ride.