Michelin riders, Toni Bou (Repsol Honda-ESP) Jaime Busto (Gas Gas-ESP) and Adam Raga (TRS-ESP) dominated the opening event of the 2019 indoor season at the Martin Lampkin Memorial Trial. Britain’s James Dabill (Beta) joined the Spanish riders in the final, as Michelin once again dominated the event which dates back to 1996.
Run as a standalone event with its own rules and using a separate format from the FIM X-Trial World Championship series, the trial provides a challenging and intense night of competition taking in six hazards and a dual-lane race in front of a crowd of just over 6,000 enthusiastic fans.
Michelin and Toni Bou have dominated the event since 2007 and the undisputed 24 time FIM world champion arrived in the UK with his mind focused on another victory at the invitation-only indoor competition in Sheffield.
The eight invited riders contest the qualifying against the clock riding over man-made hazards including the huge Michelin earth moving tyres, steel skips, a selection of rocks, logs and a HGV flatbed vehicle testing their abilities to the limit. The one-minute time allowance (with riders penalised a single mark for every other minute that exceed this allowance) adds to the action and excitement of the event. A dual-lane race decides the starting positions and in the final the same hazards are ridden in the opposite direction.
The qualifying did not throw up any surprises, even though the eventual top three finishers Toni Bou, Jaime Busto and Adam Raga all made mistakes, conceding five-mark penalties as they worked out the best lines through the challenging hazards.
Bou was in front by a small margin as Busto and Raga both parted with 19 marks. Current British trials champion, James Dabill, was the fourth rider to make the final with 22 marks lost.
In the final, Dabill rode the hazards first followed by Busto and Raga, but unusually it was defending Sheffield winner from the past, Bou who made the first mistake as he slipped out of the HGV hazard.
Now on the back foot as both Busto and Raga kept their calm the tension to decide the eventual winner moved to the steel oil drums. Dabill crashed and ended his chances of the podium, while Raga parted with 5 marks and Busto narrowly missed the chosen line to also take a five.
Looking very calm and collected it was left to the master Bou to make the perfect passage for yet another Michelin victory.
Toni Bou: “Despite the fact this isn’t a championship event I still wanted to give my very best. My body is still sore from my crash in late December when I broke two ribs, but the Sheffield event is one to gauge who is on form at the start of the season and very important. I felt quite comfortable in the qualifying as both myself and my main rivals made some small mistakes.
“In the final I was trying to pull back from my early failure on the HGV section. With the feedback and the confidence that my Michelin X-Light tyres gave me I was able to secure another victory with a flawless ride on the final hazard”.
Results 2019 Sheffield GBR – Martin Lampkin Memorial Trial
Final – 1: Toni Bou (Repsol-Honda-ESP) 8; 2: Jamie Busto (Gas Gas-ESP) 14; 3: Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP) 16; 4: James Dabill (Beta-GBR) 17.
Qualification – 1: Toni Bou (Repsol-Honda-ESP) 13; 2: Jamie Busto (Gas Gas-ESP) 19; 3: Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP) 19; 4: James Dabill (Beta-GBR) 22; 5: Toby Martyn (Beta-GBR) 26; 6: Jack Price (Gas Gas-GBR) 26; 7: Jorge Casales (Vertigo-ESP) 26; 8: Jack Peace (Sherco-GBR) 29.