Following a five-week break in the schedule, the world’s best riders will converge on the famous Alpine ski resort of Sestriere for round six of the 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – the TrialGP of Italy – this coming weekend (21-23 July).
- Alpine appointment for world’s best riders
- Toni Bou and Jaime Busto continue their TrialGP duel
- Emma Bristow and Berta Abellan resume fight for supremacy in TrialGP Women
For the first time this season all five classes will be in action with the elite riders of TrialGP and TrialGP Women joined by competitors in the Trial2, Trial2 Women and Trial3 classes for the penultimate round of the series.
Staged at altitude, much higher than even the previous round in Andorra, this will be the first time Sestriere has featured on the Hertz FIM Trial World Championship calendar since Dougie Lampkin and Takahisa Fujinami shared the wins there in 2003, although it was the venue for the 2005 FIM Trial Des Nations.
Bidding for an incredible seventeenth consecutive TrialGP title, Spain’s Toni Bou (Montesa) heads into round six on the back of four straight victories in San Marino and Andorra which have helped him move into a fourteen-point lead over his compatriot Jaime Busto (GASGAS).
The pair had been evenly matched during the opening three rounds with three wins and three second-placed finishes each before thirty-five-year-old Bou pulled clear of his much younger rival who, with two rounds and four scoring days to go this season, knows he must be inch perfect to keep his title dreams alive.
While Bou and Busto will start as favourites for victory, three other riders – home hero Matteo Grattarola (Beta) and the Spanish pairing of Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) and Adam Raga (TRRS) – have all finished on the podium this season and all have the skills to push for a win.
Marcelli is still looking for his debut victory in the blue-ribbon class, but Grattarola claimed a day win in Italy last season while Raga – who missed the previous round after undergoing knee surgery – is a two-time TrialGP champion and no stranger to the top step of the podium.
TrialGP Women has seen a game of chess between Britain’s reigning champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) and Berta Abellan (Scorpa) at the opening three rounds in Spain, Portugal and Japan.
Abellan struck first with a double win on home soil in Spain before Bristow – who has her sights set on a ninth title in ten years – put together four straight victories, but with Abellan following her home in second each time the gap at the top of the table is just four points.
The pair have dominated top-flight women’s Trial for the past two seasons, but third-placed Andrea Sofia Rabino (Beta) from Italy did beat Bristow on day one in Spain and will be hoping strong home support could give her an advantage.
Britain’s Alice Minta (Scorpa) and Naomi Monnier (GASGAS) from France have also been on the podium this season and both could still catch Rabino for third in the championship.
In Trial2 it is Billy Green (Scorpa) who leads by seven points from fellow British rider Jack Peace (Sherco) with Spain’s Pablo Suarez (Montesa) a further five off the pace.
While this leading trio are looking good to claim the top three positions at the end of the season, this weekend’s results are very hard to predict in a class where everyone has at times struggled with consistency.
Spain’s Arnau Garcia (Sherco), defending champion Sondre Haga (GASGAS) from Norway and Britain’s Jack Dance (GASGAS) have all won this year and will be determined to pick up podium finishes at the very least.
With their championship getting under way last time out in Andorra, the competitors in the Trial2 Women class have just two points-scoring days to their names so far this season with France’s Alycia Soyer (TRRS) setting the pace with a pair of victories in the Pyrenees.
However, both her wins – over Alessia Bacchetta (GASGAS) from Italy and Spain’s Laia Pi Ramirez (Beta) – have been by just a single mark so this class is wide open.
After four rounds and eight days of competition the Trial3 title is now down to a two-rider battle between Britain’s George Hemingway (Beta) and Jone Sandvik (Sherco) from Norway with the pair separated by seven points before a big gap back to Britain’s Alfie Lampkin (Vertigo) in third.
On day two in Andorra another British rider, Jamie Galloway (TRRS), became just the third rider to take a day win in this class this season so he will be aiming to carry his momentum into Italy while Poland’s Pawel Ryncarz (GASGAS), Italy’s Mirko Pedretti (Beta) and Romeo Piquet (Beta) from France will all be looking to add to their 2023 podium count.
The action gets under way at at 09:00 CET on Saturday and will be streamed LIVE on FIM-MOTO.TV.
The cost is for €7.99 for full weekend coverage or €24.99 for the new mid-season pass, including the FIM Trial des Nations.