With an unprecedented 13th consecutive title already sewn-up in France at the end of July, Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) ensured he will start in the preferential position of last away at tomorrow’s TrialGP Spain – the seventh and final round of the 2019 FIM Trial World Championship – at La Nucia after demolishing the opposition in Qualification.
Competing on his home turf, Bou ended the two Qualification sessions over four seconds ahead of his compatriot Jaime Busto (Vertigo) while in TrialGP Women defending champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) from Britain was more than a second clear of Spain’s Maria Giro (Montesa) as Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) and Alice Minta (Scorpa) came out on top in the Trial2 and Trial2 Women classes.
Introduced in 2017 to determine starting positions, Qualification has been a huge success among riders and fans alike. The name of the game is to stay feet-up in the quickest time possible and Bou has mastered the art of being both fast and faultless having claimed his fifth Qualification win in a row in Spain.
“It’s been the perfect start to the weekend here in La Nucia with pole in Qualification,” says Bou. “I had to take some risks but my riding was good and I’m happy to start last tomorrow.”
The grippy, arena-style section – with varying degrees of severity depending on class – didn’t trouble Bou who led comfortably following Q1 before blowing his rivals away in Q2 with an incredible ride that saw him easily come out on top with his second clean run timed at 0:31.85. Busto’s best was 0:35.94 before a big gap back to Spain’s Jeroni Fajardo (Gas Gas) who came home third in 0:38.20.
Separated by just over a second, British rider James Dabill (Beta) narrowly beat off two-time World champion Adam Raga (TRRS) for fourth with Miquel Gelabert (Sherco) taking sixth.
Amazingly, today was the first time this season that Bristow – who is in pole position for her sixth consecutive top-flight women’s title with a 16-point lead – has qualified at the front of the TrialGP Women field but she was in imperious form and her Q2 time of 0:26.04 saw her comfortably ahead of Giro who broke the timing beam at 0:27.39.
“I’m pleased to have won today,” says Bristow, “and to be at the back tomorrow will be a really big advantage because I will be able to see how the sections are developing. I’m feeling good on the bike and hopefully will end the year on top.”
Spain’s Sandra Gomez (TRRS), who sits third in the title chase, will start third from last behind Sarah Bauer (TRRS) and Berta Abellan (Vertigo) who is Bristow’s closest rival for the championship.
Trial2 is too close to call with Italy’s defending champion Matteo Grattarola (Honda) leading by just a single point from Marcelli whose Qualification victory by half-a-second ahead of Spain’s Aniol Gelabert (Scorpa) hands him a huge advantage heading into tomorrow’s title decider.
Grattarola was third but had to reply on his Q1 performance following a maximum at his second attempt.
It’s also close in Trial2 Women where Britain’s Alice Minta (Scorpa), who’s currently second, came out ahead of the French duo of Caroline Moreon (Sherco) and Lenna Volpe (Sherco).
Germany’s Vivian Wachs (TRRS), who has a six-point lead at the top of the table, will start tomorrow’s competition fourth from the back.
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