History will be made this coming weekend at the 2017 TrialGP France in Lourdes when the first ever FIM TrialE Cup for electric motorcycles is staged.
A healthy entry of thirteen riders from five countries representing four different manufacturers will be in action, giving fans a tantalising glimpse into what could be the future of Trial.
With classes for battery-powered motorcycles becoming increasingly more commonplace across many disciplines it is a natural progression to incorporate them into the FIM Trial World Championship.
For 2017 it is a single-event competition, but this weekend’s FIM TrialE Cup is the first step in paving the way for bigger and better things.
A quick flick through the entry list produces one stand-out name.
The 1996 FIM Trial World Champion and a three-time FIM X-Trial World Champion, Marc Colomer was one of the sports’ big hitters for over a decade until his retirement at the end of the 2003 season.
The forty-two-year-old from Olot in Spain is in charge – no pun intended - of Trial sport and development for Gas Gas and will ride the Spanish marque’s prototype electric motorcycle which was first unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last November.
Having been one of the driving forces behind the development of the new machine it was only natural that he would want to debut it in competition.
“As I’m responsible for the evolution of this bike and also as a test rider too,” says Marc, “we thought that there was nobody better to do it than myself since I have been the only one who has been testing and developing the bike so far.”
Marc views the inaugural FIM TrialE Cup as an unmissable opportunity to continue development work on the prototype Gas Gas.
“I have been retired for fourteen years and I think that the current riders in our team have a higher level than me, but we see the first FIM TrialE Cup as an unbeatable test to continue collecting data and developing this electric trial bike.”
“It's a bike very similar to the one we presented at the EICMA show in Milan with electric propulsion, gearshift and a clutch. An electric and authentic Trial bike with the same components as a more conventional motorcycle.”
Marc is keeping an open mind as he prepares to give the Gas Gas its first competitive test against machines from Electric Motion, SoREV and Mecatecno.
“The truth is that we cannot draw any conclusions until we are there – maybe the day before when we see where each of us is during training and qualifying.”
“The competition has always been good and that makes the championship more solid so the championship grows stronger and that encourages other brands to become involved in it.”
While Marc is maybe downplaying his ambitions for this weekend it is clear that at heart he is still the same fierce competitor who dethroned the great Jordi Tarres and ended the seven-time World Champion’s domination of the sport.
“For us being first is a challenge,” he adds, “and a great motivation.”