Superstar Spaniard Toni Bou (Montesa) produced a textbook display of motorcycle mastery to record a clear victory on the opening day of the TrialGP of Andorra – round five of the 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – at Sant Julià de Lòria, high in the Pyrenees.
- Toni Bou in control in the Pyrenees
- Pablo Suarez and Jone Sandvik top Trial2 and Trial3
- First blood to Alycia Soyer in Trial2 Women
With its twenty-fifth edition the TrialGP of Andorra was celebrating a silver anniversary, but the defending champion – who is bidding to claim a seventeenth consecutive crown in the elite TrialGP class – was more concerned with striking gold and his rivals simply could not match the thirty-six-year-old’s sublime skills.
“Today has been super-important for me,” said Bou. “I was riding well and had a good feeling. I made some mistakes at the end of the first lap, but I had a very good second lap.”
With the majority of sections comprising huge rocks on the side of a steep, wooded hillside, Bou established an early lead which he never looked likely to relinquish and he remained clean until section seven where he parted with his first mark of the day.
The final three sections were the toughest of the Trial and Bou added an additional fifteen marks to his score here, but despite this a total of nineteen gave him a twelve-mark lead ahead of Italy’s Matteo Grattarola (Beta) at the halfway point with Jaime Busto (GASGAS) – Bou’s main title rival – a further three off the pace and tied with Aniol Gelabert (Beta).
Underlining his dominance today, Bou recorded a meagre second-lap total of four, but it was the battle for the remaining podium positions that produced the day’s real drama.
Locking horns in their fight for the second step of the podium, Grattarola and Busto went head-to-head on lap two. A series of small slips by Grattarola at the start of the lap handed the advantage to Busto before a maximum by the Spaniard on section seven allowed the veteran Italian to move ahead once again.
Busto then parted with a mark on section eight where Grattarola dropped a five as the pendulum once again swung back in favour of the twenty-six-year-old.
With rain threatening and riders rushing to finish, Busto put the result beyond doubt with single dabs on the final two sections leaving him nine marks clear of Grattarola who ended his day with a pair of maximums.
Jorge Casales (Scorpa) recorded his best finish of the season in fourth from a disappointed Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa), although the young Spaniard strengthened his hold on third in the title chase after Adam Raga (TRRS) – who is waiting for knee surgery – did not start.
Trial2 winner on the opening day of the championship in Spain in mid-April, Pablo Suarez (Montesa) finally returned to the top step of the podium with a confident performance as his two main title rivals struggled.
Leading France’s Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) by a single mark at the halfway stage on a total of five, the Spaniard then kept his cool to record a second-lap total of three.
“It has been a good day,” said Suarez. “The first lap was a little bit slippery, but I managed to have some good rides. On lap two I was under pressure so it was good to win again.”
Flying the flag for electric motorcycles, Chatagno was in contention right until the end and he matched Suarez’s second-half score to miss out by a single mark. Britain’s Harry Hemingway (Beta), last year’s Trial3 champion, jumped to a career-best third with an amazing second-lap score of just one for a total of thirteen to win a tie-break with compatriot Jack Dance (GASGAS).
On a low-scoring day, Britain’s Jack Peace (Sherco) and Billy Green (Scorpa) maintained their one-two in the championship despite Peace finishing back in ninth, three places behind Green and two behind Norway’s defending champion Sondre Haga (GASGAS).
Springing into action for the first time this season, Trial2 Women saw France’s Alycia Soyer (TRRS) come out on top – although the seventeen-year-old came close to throwing the win away in the closing stages.
Soyer has posted solid results contesting the first two rounds of the TrialGP Women championship this season and after dropping down to her chosen class in Andorra she looked in control on the opening lap with her score of three giving her a six-mark lead.
However, mistakes started creeping in during the second half of the Trial and a maximum on the final section meant her victory was by a single mark from Italy’s Alessia Bacchetta (GASGAS) who took second on a tie-break ahead of Laia Pi Ramirez (Beta) from Spain.
“I am very happy,” said Soyer. “I made some mistakes, but I am very happy to win and tomorrow I will try to do the same again.”
A double winner at the opening round, Jone Sandvik (Sherco) came out on top of an incredibly close Trial3 competition with all three podium positions decided on a tie-break.
The Norwegian teenager led after lap one on a score of five from Britain’s Alfie Lampkin (Vertigo) on six and Romeo Piquet (Beta) on seven, but it was all-change on lap two.
A maximum on section eleven cost Sandvik a clean lap and almost cost him the victory as Lampkin and Piquet slipped off the pace and Poland’s Pawel Ryncarz (GASGAS) and championship leader George Hemingway (Beta) came on strong.
Ryncarz completed his second lap with the addition of just two more marks and Hemingway dropped a solitary dab as the first three all ended the day on ten with Sandvik taking the tie-break from Ryncarz and Hemingway.
The action from Andorra gets under way tomorrow at 09:00 CET and will be streamed LIVE on FIM-MOTO-TV.