High altitude, even higher temperatures and super-challenging sections made today’s Hertz FIM TrialGP of Andorra – round two of this year’s world championship – the toughest event so far this season.
At its highest point a lofty 1600 metres above sea level, bikes and bodies were pushed to the absolute limit at Sant Julià de Lòria as the best trial riders on the planet fought it out in the Pyrenean principality.
The first four sections were plotted on the side of a steep-sided valley with big rocks set into loose ground before the focus shifted to a partially dry riverbed where grip was in short supply.
The premier TrialGP class is proving to be incredibly competitive this year and we saw our third winner from the first three events as Adam Raga (TRRS) emerged on top with a dominant 10-mark winning ride ahead of defending champion Toni Bou (Montesa).
Sitting third in the championship heading into Andorra, the Spaniard’s ninth win in the Pyrenees ties Bou’s record and sets up a dramatic encounter on day two as both riders push to get their win total here into double figures.
Following a high-scoring opening lap, Raga led the 15-time champ by seven marks before sealing the deal with a second-lap total of 12 that was easily the best of the trial.
“I’m very happy because I rode my best and had a very good second lap and pushed to the end to take the victory,” said Raga. “I have a good feeling now after not a perfect result at the first round.”
Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) was a distant third after winning a tie-break with fellow Spanish rider Jorge Casales (Scorpa) as Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) claimed fifth.
Jaime Busto (Vertigo), who shared the championship lead with Bou at the start of the day following his victory at the series’ opener, came home a disappointing seventh.
A double winner last time out, Britain’s Emma Bristow (Sherco) was defeated by her long-time rival Berta Abellan (Scorpa) from Spain who claimed a career-first win in the TrialGP Women class.
Bristow, who’s aiming for title number eight this year, led after the opening lap with a comfortable cushion of four but Abellan battled back on lap two and added just a further eight compared to Bristow’s 13 which gave her the win by a single mark.
“I’m feeling excited,” said Abellan. “This is incredible for me. I have been fighting for a lot of years and this is my first day at the top.”
Another 27 marks behind, 2020 Trial2 Women champion Naomi Monnier (GASGAS) from France edged out Italy’s 2021 Trial2 Women champion Andrea Sofia Rabino (Beta) by three with Norwegian Huldeborg Barkved (GASGAS) a further three behind.
In Trial2 it was 20-year-old British rider Billy Green (Scorpa) who claimed a career-first victory at this level. Green, the 2018 Trial3 champion, climbed another big step on the ladder with his total of eight giving him a five-mark winning margin over Norway’s Sondre Haga (Beta).
“It was an emotional day,” said Green. “It’s been a good day and I’ve been riding well so I’m happy.”
Green’s result moves him ahead of compatriot Jack Peace (Sherco) in the championship standings but Spain’s Pablo Suarez (Montesa) – a double winner last weekend – still leads the stacked 37-strong field in front of Haga after finishing third.
A hotbed of young talent, Trial3 saw its third different winner from three events with class rookie Jamie Galloway (TRRS) shading the win from fellow British rider Harry Hemingway (Beta).
Hemingway, who went 1-2 at L’Hospitalet de L’Infant to take the series lead, held a slender one-point advantage at the halfway point but Galloway’s second-lap total of six gave him the victory by a single mark.
“It’s been a great day,” said Galloway. “It was really tight but the bike worked mint at altitude so I can’t complain.”
Italy’s Mirko Pedretti (Beta), following a pair of below-par performances in Spain, showed his class with a fine third ahead of the Czech Republic’s David Fabien (Beta) – winner on day two in Spain – with George Hemingway, Harry’s younger brother who’s making his debut this season, rounding out the top five.
The action kicks off tomorrow with the first rider away at 9am.
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