The Hertz FIM Trial World Championship hits the halfway mark this coming weekend with the Andorran TrialGP – round three of the 2020 series – staged high in the Pyrenees around the scenic town of Sant Julià.
With sections rising up to 1600 metres above sea level, the altitude will test riders and machines to the limit with hazards plotted in a steep-sided valley where huge rocks will call for both courage and commitment in equal measure.
Defending champion Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) now calls Andorra home but he has by no means dominated here in the past with his main rival and fellow Spaniard Adam Raga (TRRS) – who is 10 points behind in the premier TrialGP championship chase – having won three times in the mountain principality in the last five years, including a double win in 2015.
In TrialGP Women Britain’s reigning champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) starts favourite and Matteo Grattarola (Beta) from Italy will be aiming to extend his advantage in Trial2 while his compatriot Andrea Rabino (Beta) heads the Trial2 Women class and Pau Martinez (Vertigo) is the man to beat in Trial125.
Bou has dominated the sport since his first World title in 2007 but he has had to savour the bitter taste of defeat already this year on day two of the opening round in France. However, despite carrying an arm injury the 33-year-old has won three out of the four days of points-paying competition held so far and will be looking to add to his career total of 115 wins.
So who will challenge him? Raga is the obvious candidate. World Champion in 2005 and ’06, the classy Catalan has chased Bou closely ever since and was a worthy winner on day two at Isola 2000 – in the process inflicting the champion’s first defeat since the Japanese TrialGP in June 2018.
But the other riders are lining up to pile on the pressure with Jaime Busto (Vertigo) currently holding third in an all-Spanish top-seven, four points behind Raga but a comfortable 22 clear of Miquel Gelabert (Gas Gas). You also can’t rule out class rookie Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) – tied on points with fifth-placed Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) – who scored a sensational debut podium finish with third last time out.
Bristow is the undisputed queen of the TrialGP Women class. Unbeaten since the final round of the 2017 series, she has opened up a 16-point lead in the championship but was pushed hard on the second day of competition at the Spanish TrialGP by Sandra Gomez (TRRS) who sits second in the title chase, tied on points with her fellow Spaniard Berta Abellan (Vertigo).
It’s wide open in Trial2 Women with three different winners out of the four days of competition. Rabino has taken two of those victories to lead on 70 points but French rider Naomi Monnier (Beta) – winner of the opening day on her home turf at Isola 2000 – is just three behind and Britain’s Alicia Robinson (Beta) won last time out to move into third on 63 points.
This weekend will see both women’s classes coming to a conclusion so there’s no room for error among the feet-up females.
The Trial2 division is currently being bossed by 2018 champion Grattarola. His switch to Beta over the closed season obviously suits him and the veteran has run 1-2-1-2 to pull out a 17-point lead over France’s Alexandre Ferrer (TRRS) whose title hopes received a body blow in Spain with an 11th-placed finish on day two. Norwegian Sondre Haga (TRRS) is a long way back in third another 12 points behind.
Apart from Bristow, the only other rider with a perfect score is Martinez and the super-cool Spanish teenager is showing no signs of cracking under pressure. At the halfway stage he has a 20-point lead from France’s Leo Guiraud (Beta) who in turn is 15 ahead of Czech prospect David Fabian (Beta).
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