The undisputed Queen of Trial, Emma Bristow (Sherco) has remained unbeaten in the TrialGP Women class throughout the 2020 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship with six wins from six starts to claim her seventh title in a row.
In fact, the 29-year-old British star hasn’t been beaten since the final day of the 2017 season – that’s an amazing total of 15 consecutive round victories, a record that’s only been bettered by TrialGP Women legend Laia Sanz.
“It feels really good,” said Emma. “When I’m in the moment and just want to win, win, win it’s difficult to step back and look at what I’ve achieved so when the season’s over as well as thinking how I’m going to do it again next year I’ve got to sit back and think ‘well done, pat on the back everyone’!”
Following strong performances at the opening two rounds in France and Spain, Emma headed to Sant Julià in the Pyrenean principality of Andorra firmly in control and put in a devastating performance on the rain-soaked opening day of competition when she finished a full 45 marks clear of her nearest rival.
“I couldn’t believe the points difference but everything went well and I had some really good rides on sections that were tough. That’s how I feel I should be every round but it’s hard to perform at your best all the time and on the first day in Andorra I feel I probably was at my best.
“I love the more difficult sections because I always train on sections that are probably harder than we’ll ever get. I don’t enjoy the simpler ones as much.”
Virtually assured her of the crown, her fiercely-competitive spirit meant she refused to take her foot off the gas on day two and she signed off on a high.
“On day two in Andorra people were coming up to me and saying ‘you don’t need to win today’ but that’s not how I am. I always want to be at my best – there’s no way I would ever sit back and settle for a third. I’d be really disappointed if I finished the season off with a bad result so although I didn’t need to win I really wanted to.”
When we caught up with Emma she was following UK COVID-19 regulations and in self-quarantine at home after returning from the Andorran TrialGP. The pandemic has seriously affected almost the entire year and played havoc with her pre-season preparations.
“It was tough not knowing when the World Championship was going to happen. It’s difficult because you want to be peaking at the right time so it was hard going out training and not knowing the date I had to be ready for.
“I’m usually riding events throughout the whole of the year so I have got a good idea of the level I’m at and what I need to work on and sometimes competing is the only way to know. You can be brilliant at home riding something you’ve done 200 times and then you get to a competition and it’s very different but as a team we’ve managed well.
“Everyone was quite nervous before the first round and didn’t quite know what to expect but as a championship I think it ran as smoothly as possible. Without the spectators it was a bit weird, a bit different.
“Masks have been mandatory throughout the series. Obviously, you’ve got your own little bubble with your team but you still have to try to be as careful as possible.”
So with seven titles to her name, will we see Emma attempt to surpass Sanz’s incredible total of 13 crowns?
“The thing is that you’ve got to enjoy it because if you don’t you’re fighting a losing battle as Trial is mentally exhausting as well as physically so you’ve got to have your head right. I’m still enjoying bettering myself and I still feel I’ve got some improving to do. You can’t just sit back and expect it to happen – over the years I’ve put in a lot of hard work.
“I don’t know how long I’ll go on for but as long as I’m still enjoying it and still performing I can’t see myself giving up. A lot of the top guys in TrialGP are still so athletic and so strong and they are quite a bit older than me so that’s what I’m looking at. Okay, I’m not 18 anymore but as long as I stay injury-free I’ve got a good few more years left in me.”
The 2020 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship concludes on October 9-11 at the Italian TrialGP at Lazzate. For regular updates and live results go to the new-look www.trialgp.com website or check out our social media platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – just search for TrialGP.