Spain’s Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) raced to his third consecutive Qualification victory this evening at TrialGP Portugal – round five of the 2019 FIM Trial World Championship – in Gouveia as Maria Giro (Montesa) topped the TrialGP Women class.
Bou was in devastating form in the Qualification section which snaked up and down a boulder-strewn river bed, providing perfect viewing for the large turn-out of spectators who could watch the action from above.
“We were able to make a little better time than the first run so I am super-happy with this pole,” said Bou. “It is very important to be able to be the last rider to leave tomorrow morning. There will be sections in the dry where we will not lose so many points but in the river areas I imagine that more penalties will be lost.”
All rounds this year feature two Qualification sessions with routes varying in severity depending on class. First and foremost riders must stay feet-up and then aim to complete the section in the fastest time possible.
Riders are balloted for starting positions for Q1 and their results in this then determine the running order for Q2 with their best result from both sessions determining where they begin Sunday’s main points-paying competition. The highest-placed finishers earn a valuable position at the back of the field.
Bou won both sessions. His first attempt was in what looked to be an unbeatable time of 0:24.61 before James Dabill (Beta) from Britain, Japan’s Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Honda) and Spain’s Jorge Casales (Vertigo) all went faster in Q2. However, in his final run the record-breaking 12-time TrialGP champion recorded an incredible time of 0:23.22 to beat Dabill by just 0.2 of a second!
Fujinami was third with a time of 0:23.50 with Casales just over a second further back but still comfortably ahead of Germany’s Franz Kadlec (TRRS) in fifth.
Bou’s main title rival Adam Raga (TRRS) ended the session back in 11th after failing at his second attempt and as a result will start third tomorrow.
In the TrialGP Women category it was Spanish rider Giro whose Q2 time of 0:27.98 saw her run out winner by just over half-a-second from America’s Maddie Hoover (Gas Gas).
Spain’s Sandra Gomez (TRRS) led the field after Q1 but a maximum at her second attempt placed her third with her compatriot Berta Abellan (Vertigo) in fourth. Reigning champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) from Britain held second after Q1 and posted the second-fastest time in Q2 but dropped a single mark and as a result ended the session in fifth.
Toby Martyn (Beta) and defending Trial2 champion Matteo Grattarola (Honda) went head-to-head in both sessions. Martyn led the Italian by just under a second after Q1 with a time of 0:24.38 before Grattarola responded in Q2 with a sensational run that shaved almost three-and-a-half seconds off the British rider’s time.
Holding his nerve, Martyn then posted an incredible 0:19.28 to take his second consecutive Qualification victory. Francesc Moret (Montesa) was a very close third, leading home fellow Spaniards Aniol Gelabert (Scorpa) and Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa).
The Trial2 Women championship got under way at Gouveia and it was Britain’s Alice Minta (Scorpa) who drew first blood. After picking up a five at her initial attempt, she raced through the section in Q2 in a time of 0:21.01 to come home over two seconds clear of her nearest rival Erika Melchior (Sherco) from Norway.
French rider Caroline Moreon (Sherco) was third just over a second further back with Germany’s Vivian Wachs (TRRS), who topped Q1, fourth ahead of Britain’s Gabby Whitham.
The action will resume tomorrow with the first rider setting off at 9am local time.