Sublime Spaniard Toni Bou (Montesa) tightened his grip on the Hertz FIM Trial World Championship with victory at today’s TrialGP of Belgium – round four of the 2022 series – at Comblain au Pont.
The 35-year-old is aiming to claim an astonishing 16th consecutive TrialGP title this year and, after trailing his compatriot Jaime Busto (Vertigo) at the halfway point, he upped his game on lap two to run out a comfortable winner and in the process extend his series lead to 26 points with just three scoring days remaining.
In a super-close Trial2 category, Italy’s Gianluca Tournour (GASGAS) came from behind to secure a dramatic victory while in Trial3 brothers and Beta team-mates Harry and George Hemingway went 1-2 as the British ruled the roost in the class for up-and-coming talent.
The sections were plotted in a quarry and on a severe wooded hillside overlooking the medieval town with the lay-out very spectator-friendly for a big turn-out of trial fans who flocked to the venue after a pandemic-enforced absence of two years.
Conditions were dry but humid in the east of Belgium which meant that fitness played a big part in the results – and there’s no-one better prepared than Bou who has dominated the sport since 2007.
The toughest hazard was section nine that was perilously steep and super-technical with a series of huge rock steps with little in the way of run-up and only Bou and Adam Raga (TRRS) made it to the ends cards on the opening lap.
Busto, who took just his second career-victory on the first day of the series in Spain back in June, led Bou by three after the opening lap but – as we’ve seen on countless occasions – the reigning champ has the ability to soak up pressure like a sponge.
After parting with 15 on his opening lap plus one on time, Bou raised his game and recorded the lowest score of the event second time around to pick up an additional 11 marks which gave him an eventual winning margin of eight ahead of Busto who incurred two time penalties.
“It’s a big pleasure to be here again after the Covid pandemic,” said Bou, “and to win again is super-important for the championship. I’m super-happy.”
After narrowly missing out on a podium finish on both days at the previous round in Germany, Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) was back on the box in third just two marks adrift of Busto as Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) and Raga completed the all-Spanish top five.
Down in Trial2 where there was a huge entry of 38 riders, joint series leader Sondre Haga (Beta) from Norway showed his class with an opening lap total of just 11 giving him a clear lead as his title rival Pablo Suarez (Montesa) from Spain faltered on 16.
Haga’s still looking for his first win this year and victory was denied him by Tournour who rode out of his skin to record a second-lap total of just five which brought him home two clear of Britain’s Billy Green (Scorpa) who snatched second on a tie-break from Haga.
However, with Suarez slumping to seventh Haga now leads the class by six points as Green consolidated his third place in the championship.
“I’m really happy to finally win,” said Tournour. “I’ve managed to make it happen and I’d like to thank my team and all my family and friends. I’m looking forward to the next round which will be more of an indoor style which suits me perfectly.”
Harry Hemingway has bossed the Trial3 division from the first round in Spain and the 16-year-old took a giant step towards the title today.
His lap totals of five and seven saw him run out a clear winner by 18 marks ahead of his younger brother and, with rising Czech star David Fabian (Beta) ending the day in third after losing out on a tie-break, with just one round to go he has a virtually unassailable 18-point lead.
“It’s been perfect for me to be honest,” said Hemingway. “My first lap was ideal – I was riding well all day – but after a stupid five on the second lap I thought it was going to be closer. This result is perfect for the championship.”
Fans now have less than a week to wait before round five of the 2022 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – the TrialGP of France – is staged at Cahors over the weekend of August 27-28.
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For more information on the Hertz FIM Trial World Championship go to www.trialgp.com