Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) kicked off the defence of his TrialGP title by demolishing the opposition at round one of the FIM Trial World Championship at TrialGP Italy in the foothills of the Alps at Arco di Trento’s Metzler Offroad Park today.

Starting fifth following last night’s super-tough qualification session, the sublime Spaniard – who’s aiming for his 13th consecutive title this season – led from the front and underlined his status as the greatest rider in the history of the sport with his final total of 33 marks lost almost half that of second-placed Jeroni Fajardo (Gas Gas).

The rain that had made yesterday’s Qualification session so tough kept falling into the morning and although the sections eventually began to dry out, grip was hard to find on the steep and imposing rock-strewn bankings as mud was dragged onto the hazards.

Leading at the halfway stage on a score of 25 compared to second-placed Jaime Busto (Vertigo) who had picked up 40 penalty points, Bou then moved up a gear on lap two to part with just a further four marks to claim a devastating victory despite four time penalties – inevitable given the conditions – increasing his total to 33.

“Today is a nice start to the season and I’m very happy because it’s very difficult after 12 years to stay on top,” says Toni. “My second lap was fantastic to only drop four points so I’m very happy. I enjoyed myself today and it’s a perfect start to the season.”

A clear second after the opening lap, Busto couldn’t maintain his form and dropped back to fifth as Fajardo and Adam Raga (TRRS) showed their undoubted class to recover for second and third. Fajardo’s final score of 61 included five time penalties and Raga’s total of 66 had two extra marks due to delays.

France’s Benoit Bincaz (Beta) was last away following yesterday’s ballot and was rewarded with a career-best fourth overall. Japanese fan favourite Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Honda) ended the day in sixth ahead of Miquel Gelabert (Sherco), Franz Kadlec (TRRS), James Dabill (Beta) and Oriol Noguera (Jotagas).

The Trial2 class was shaping up to be a battle between last season’s main men Matteo Grattarola (Honda) and Toby Martyn (Beta) and it was the home hero and reigning champion who emerged on top.

The veteran Italian seized the early advantage thanks to a low-scoring opening lap of 13 and a further 14 dropped second time around ensured an eventual 16-mark victory over Britain’s Jack Peace (Sherco) with Martyn a further five marks off the pace in third.

In Trial125 it was Kieran Touly (Scorpa) who posted the best opening lap of 12 and the French teenager held on to win from Italy’s Carlo Alberto Rabino (Beta) whose final lap score of just seven saw him match his 2018 finish in second with Spain’s Alex Canales (Gas Gas) third.

The championship will now resume at TrialGP Japan on June 7-9 at the iconic Twin Ring Motegi circuit where the TrialGP Women class will join the action.