14/09/19 – Why Spain is the powerhouse of World Trial…
Given the honour of hosting the final round of the 2019 FIM Trial World Championship on September 21-22 at La Nucia near Benidorm on the Mediterranean coast, Spain is the powerhouse of World Trial – and has been since 2005 – and you only need to take a quick flick through the history books to confirm this.
The FIM Trial World Championship didn’t start until 1975 and the nation was forced to wait another 12 years until the legendary Jordi Tarres put Spain at the forefront of the sport. Tarres, of course, went on to dominate Trial and won a further six titles before his compatriot Marc Colomer claimed his sole World crown in 1996.
Following the seven-year reign of Britain’s Dougie Lampkin who ruled from 1997 until 2003 before Japanese fan-favourite Takahisa Fujinami claimed his one and only championship, Spain returned to the top thanks to Adam Raga who took back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006.
It was widely thought that Raga would go on to rule at World level for many years but 2007 belonged to his fellow countryman Toni Bou and the Barcelona rider has proved to be unbeatable over a full season ever since, racking up an amazing 13 titles – his latest being clinched at TrialGP France in July.
Bou also leads the way when it comes to TrialGP Spain wins with an incredible 14 to his name but to find the first Spanish rider to come out on top on home soil we have to go back to 1981 when Manuel Soler claimed a hugely-popular victory that was made all the more memorable given the fact he was riding a Spanish-built Montesa.
However, Soler’s win wasn’t the first time a Spanish manufacturer celebrated a home triumph.
TrialGP Spain has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since 1970 when the series was still known as the FIM European Trial Championship and that inaugural event – held at Matadepera near Barcelona – was won by British rider Mick Andrews on a Spanish-built Ossa.
For the following nine years Spanish machines topped the podium every time with Ossa, Bultaco and Montesa all taking their turn in the spotlight in the hands of Andrews, Martin Lampkin, Ulf Karlson, Yrjo Vesterinen and Bernie Schreiber and it’s a dominance that continues to this day through the formidable partnership of Bou and the Spanish-Japanese Repsol Honda team.
Now factor in Spain’s remarkable 25 wins in the 35-year history of the Trial des Nations for men – plus its seven victories in the women’s category – and it’s clear to see which is the #1 Trial nation on the planet!
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