“We did it!”
In just three words Thierry Michaud, Director of the FIM Trial Commission, perfectly sums up the euphoric mood sweeping the TrialGP family following the successful completion of the most challenging season in the history of the Hertz FIM Trial World Championship.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced a radical reworking of the 2020 calendar but strategic forward-thinking saved the series, resulting in a completely credible four-round championship spread over eight points-paying days.
“It’s a real satisfaction,” said Michaud, himself a three-time TrialGP World Champion. “We had dreamed so much of this 2020 championship but it’s taken so much effort from everyone to face these unprecedented constraints and uncertainties with which we have lived throughout the season.
“Bravo to the riders – not only to the champions but to all those who participated despite such unique conditions. It is first and foremost for them that the FIM does its utmost to ensure that its championships exist, making it possible to give meaning to the life of the riders as well as to the actions of all those who invest in FIM disciplines.
“Thanks also for the energy and passion of the manufacturers, private teams and partners plus the amazing support of parents and we mustn’t forget not only the national federations and organising clubs – well supported by local authorities – but also all the volunteers who redoubled their efforts and put forward their unwavering passion. Without them the 2020 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship would not have taken place.
“Finally, thank you to the TrialGP staff and the FIM administration who were called upon as never before. Well done to everyone but, above all, thank you!”
The blue ribbon TrialGP class followed a familiar path in 2020 with defending champion Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) emerging on top for the 14th consecutive time and in the process pushing his triumphant total of day victories up to an astounding 118!
It wasn’t, however, all plain sailing for the sublime Spaniard and his compatriot Adam Raga (TRRS) pressed him hard throughout the championship and inflicted defeats on Bou – his first since June 2018 – on day two of the French TrialGP and the opening day of the Andorran TrialGP.
With his job made harder by the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury, Bou was forced to dig deep but ultimately he was victorious with a comfortable 31-point winning margin over Raga and six more wins added to his record.
The all-Spanish top-six was completed by Jaime Busto (Vertigo), Jorge Casales (Gas Gas), Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) and sensational class rookie Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) who scored a podium finish on day two of the Spanish TrialGP in just his fourth event at the highest level.
It was also a case of business as usual in the TrialGP Women class where Britain’s Emma Bristow (Sherco) recorded six wins from six starts to whitewash the opposition and claim her seventh title in a row.
The 29-year-old hasn’t been beaten since the final round of 2017 and not even series-long pressure from the Spanish pairing of Berta Abellan (Vertigo) and Sandra Gomez (TRRS) could break her stride.
So evenly matched were Abellan and Gomez that second and third positions in the championship were only decided on the final day of competition in Andorra where Abellan’s runner-up finish earned her silver on a tie-break.
The most dominant performance this year came in Trial2 where Italy’s Matteo Grattarola (Beta) ran out a clear winner by 52 points following an incredibly consistent campaign that netted him five wins and two second-placed finishes along with a third on the final day of competition when the championship was already in the bag.
Champion in 2018, Grattarola lost out on the title last year at the final round but kept his focus this time around as Alexandre Ferrer (TRRS) – who was tied for the series lead after the opening round in his native France – went off the boil and slipped to a distant second.
Britain’s Toby Martyn (TRRS) by his own admission didn’t have the best of seasons but victory on the final day of the Italian TrialGP was good enough to earn him third overall ahead of Spain’s Aniol Gelabert (TRRS) – who took a day win in Spain – and Jack Peace (Sherco) from Britain.
After testing the water in 2019 with just one appearance, French sensation Naomi Monnier (Beta) embarked on her first full season in the Trial2 Women class and the 15-year-old set the pace from the get-go with victory on the opening day of her home event.
Andrea Rabino (Beta) from Italy matched her in France and then moved ahead at the Spanish TrialGP but Monnier sealed the deal with a decisive double win in Andorra that gave her a 10-point advantage.
Rabino’s title challenge was derailed on the opening day of the final round when she slipped to fifth which allowed Britain’s Alicia Robinson (Beta) – winner on day two in Spain – to steal second from her in the final standings by a single point as France’s Lenna Volpe (TRRS) and Martina Gallieni (TRRS) completed the top-five.
Trial125 is the place to look for the stars of the future and Spain’s Pau Martinez (Vertigo) underlined his enormous potential with a clear 32-point victory from series newcomer Leo Guiraud (Beta) from France.
The 17-year-old won the opening four days of competition and then backed this up with a pair of second-placed finishes in Andorra before putting the title out of reach with a win on the opening day in Italy.
Britain’s Ben Dignan (Vertigo) and Jack Dance (Gas Gas) both claimed a day win apiece as they came home third and fourth and their compatriot Harry Hemingway (Beta) took a debut podium in Spain on his way to fifth.
The FIM TrialE Cup was fought out over two rounds and four days with 2019 winner Albert Cabestany (Gas Gas) expected to dominate but on home turf at the French TrialGP Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) came out swinging and beat the veteran Spaniard into second place on both days.
With a six-point lead heading into the Italian TrialGP, Chatagno held the advantage but Cabestany – drawing on all his years of experience of top-flight Trial – put matters beyond doubt with a pair of wins good enough for him to take the title on a tie-break by virtue of his better result on the final day of competition.
France’s Julien Perret (Electric Motion) ended the season in third with a full-house of third-placed finishes behind the dominant leading pair.
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