Extending his win-streak to five wins from five starts, reigning champion Toni Bou (Montesa) produced another polished performance to dominate a wet opening day at the TrialGP of Italy – round three of the 2024 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – as Arnau Farre (Sherco) became the first two-time winner this year in Trial2 and George Hemingway (Beta) strengthened his grip on the Trial3 class.

  • Rain makes conditions tough on a wet opening day in Valsassina
  • Toni Bou in unbeatable form to claim clear-cut TrialGP victory
  • Arnau Farre and George Hemingway on top in Trial2 and Trial3

With the series making its first-ever visit to Valsassina in the north of the country, competitors faced a challenging mixture of man-made and natural hazards plotted on super-steep bankings and in a riverbed studded with huge rocks. Heavy overnight rain meant many sections had to be reworked before the action got under way, but despite this early-morning maintenance there was a shortage of grip all around the course and opening lap scores were the highest we have seen so far this season.

Starting the day unbeaten following the opening two rounds in Japan and Andorra, Spanish superstar Bou needed just two sections to seize an early lead, but even the seventeen-time world champion incurred an early five on section three that claimed maximums from all the elite TrialGP riders on the first lap.

The steep, slippery bankings and tree roots of section five also took maximums from the entire TrialGP field on lap one and Bou then picked up back-to-back fives on sections seven and eight that wound their way up an imposing boulder-strewn riverbed. Despite this, his score of twenty-two at the halfway mark put him nine clear of local hero Matteo Grattarola (Beta) who held second, one ahead of Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) and three in front of two-time world champion Adam Raga (Sherco).

With rain falling all day, Bou defied the tough conditions with an incredible second lap total comprising single dabs on sections one and five as he added a miserly two to his score as his main rivals all posted improved second lap totals, although no-one came close to challenging him.

I’ve started the season amazingly well and I’m always super-happy to win here in Italy,” said Bou. “The rain made things difficult on the first lap, but on the second lap I rode at my best.

Cheered on by his home fans, Grattarola – whose hometown is less than twenty kilometres from Valsassina – rose to the occasion. The two-time Trial2 world champion always seems to ride well on his native soil with at least one podium finish at every TrialGP of Italy since 2021 – including a day win two years ago – and the thirty-six-year-old maintained this impressive record with a solid second lap total of nineteen seeing him end the day in second position on fifty.

The fight for third raged until the last section, a man-made jumble of large logs, with Marcelli, Raga and Jaime Busto (GASGAS) – who had recovered well following an expensive opening lap score of forty – all in contention for the final step of the podium.

With grip in short supply where the bark had been ground away over the course of the day, twenty-four-year-old Marcelli held his nerve and went clean to make sure of third on a total of fifty-six, just two clear of Raga and five ahead of Busto with Jorge Casales (TRRS) a further mark adrift in sixth.

With four different winners from the opening four days of competition, the Trial2 class was wide open at the start of the day with no one rider yet to emerge as a clear favourite.

Having claimed victory on the opening day in Andorra, Farre already knew what it takes to get on the top step of the podium and the Spaniard put this knowledge to good use as he became the first repeat winner of 2024. Leading after the opening lap on a score of twelve, he knocked one off this total at his second attempt to end the day on twenty-three with a comfortable nine-mark winning margin over Britain’s Jack Peace (Sherco), the winner on day two in Japan.

Today was a difficult day,” said Farre. “It was very muddy and very slippery and I didn’t start well with a five in the first section, but then I found a good rhythm and a good feeling with the bike and the terrain and I am so, so happy with the victory.”

Britain’s defending champion Billy Green (Scorpa) completed the podium on a score of thirty-four, two ahead of his compatriot and 2022 Trial3 champion Harry Hemingway who won a tie-break for fourth with Spain’s Alex Canales (Sherco) who won last time out in Andorra and now holds a two-point lead ahead of Peace in the standings.

After winning both days in Andorra, defending Trial3 champion George Hemingway had already opened up an advantage at the top of the table and the sixteen-year-old extended his lead with a clinical performance today.

His first lap total of twenty placed him nine ahead of Romeo Piquet (Beta) at the halfway mark before he put the result beyond doubt after parting with a further ten on lap two which saw him finish sixteen ahead of the French teenager. Norwegian Jonas Jorgensen (Beta) posted his best result of the season in third on fifty-two to complete a clean sweep of the podium by the Italian manufacturer.

“It’s been another good day for the championship,” said Hemingway. “I had a little mechanical issue in the morning which set me back a bit with four time penalties, but on the second lap I rode well.

Focus now shifts to day two in Italy with the action scheduled to get under way at 09:00 local time. LIVE streaming on FIM-MOTO-TV will commence at 13:00 local time with a season pass – covering all seven rounds and the FIM Trial des Nations – priced at €34.90.

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