Jaime Busto (GASGAS) drew first blood at the TrialGP of Spain – round one of the 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – at Arteixo today, claiming his third career-win on a day when the defending champions in TrialGP, TrialGP Women and Trial2 all struggled to make an impact.
As Busto inflicted a rare defeat on sixteen-time TrialGP champion Toni Bou (Montesa), TrialGP Women reigning champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) slipped to third behind Spain’s Berta Abellan (Scorpa) and Andrea Sofia Rabino (Beta) from Italy. The Spanish pairing of Pablo Suarez (Montesa) and Arnau Farre (Sherco) also beat 2022 Trial2 title-holder Sondre Haga (GASGAS) into third as series newcomer Jone Sandvik (Sherco) from Norway topped Trial3.
- Jaime Busto takes his first outdoor victory for GASGAS
- Berta Abellan kicks off her 2023 campaign on top in TrialGP Women
- Pablo Suarez completes Spanish hat-trick of victories with Trial2 win
Busto won last year’s opening day and the twenty-six-year-old again seized an early advantage with a comprehensive six-mark victory ahead of Bou as the best riders in the world negotiated a challenging course comprising huge granite rocks set into a steep wooded hillside.
Rain on Friday resulted in early slippery conditions but Busto parted with just two late marks on the opening lap as Bou collect nine penalties. With the victory seemingly in the bag, Busto incurred a second-lap maximum on the big hillside rock slabs of section ten but by this point it was game-over and he signed off with a clean over the indoor logs and concrete pipes that formed the final section.
“It has been an incredible day for me,” said Busto. “I felt great from the first section. It wasn’t hard but it was easy to make mistakes. We were very well prepared and the bike and the team worked perfectly.”
All-action young gun Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) was a further eight marks adrift of team-mate Bou but it was still good enough for the twenty-two-year-old to take just his second career podium in third, two ahead of veteran Adam Raga (TRRS) with Aniol Gelabert (Beta) completing the all-Spanish top-five.
With her sights set on a ninth TrialGP Women title in ten years, Bristow headed to Spain armed with an all-new 300cc Sherco but a high-scoring opening lap put her on the back foot and she could not recover as Abellan remained brilliantly consistent, parting with two marks on each lap.
Bristow recovered from a score of eight on lap one to match Abellan on lap two but the damage was already done and she had to settle for the third step of the podium, one mark behind Rabino who ended the first lap tied with Abellan.
“It was an incredible way to start the season,” said Abellan. “I was feeling so good but I need to maintain this for tomorrow.”
Remaining in Trial2 to defend his title, Haga put in a solid performance in third with eighteen marks lost but he had no answer to Suarez who parted with half as many marks and Farre who finished four off the winner’s pace in second.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” said Suarez, who won the opening day last year. “I made mistakes but it was a good first lap and I got the win so I’m very happy.”
Making his debut in Trial3, Sandvik eased ahead with an opening lap score of four and maintained his advantage on the second lap to end the day on nine, two ahead of Poland’s Pawel Ryncarz (GASGAS). Alfie Lampkin (Vertigo), the son of Trial legend Dougie, completed the podium on a distant twenty-five.
The 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship reconvenes tomorrow for day two of the TrialGP of Spain. The action gets under way at 8.30am CET and will be streamed live on FIM-MOTO.TV.