After a six-week summer break the FIM Trial World Championship fires back into action this coming weekend with TrialGP Czech Republic at Sokolov, round seven of the 2017 series.
While most of us will have taken a well-earned holiday during August you can be sure that the best Trial riders on the planet have been putting themselves through punishing practice schedules to prepare for the series showdown.
With TrialGP Czech Republic followed just one week later by TrialGP Italy – the final round of the 2017 FIM Trial World Championship – and only one week after that the FIM Trial des Nations in Spain it is certainly a case of if you snooze, you lose!
One rider who most definitely does not do siestas is Spain’s number one Trial hero Toni Bou – Repsol Honda who is on course for an incredible eleventh FIM Trial World Championship on the bounce. The winner of ninety-six TrialGPs, including seven out of a possible eight this season taking into account the two-day events in Japan and the USA, brilliant Bou holds a twenty-eight point lead heading into the final quarter of this year’s series.
The only rider who has a mathematical chance of stopping Bou’s record-rewriting run is his fellow Spaniard Adam Raga – TRRS who won at TrialGP Andorra in mid-June.
Raga, who has finished runner-up to Bou every year since losing the FIM Trial World Championship crown to his great rival in 2007, and who has consistently demonstrated both his skill and determination over a pro-longed period, will know that realistically the 2017 title is now Bou’s to lose.
With a twenty-four-point gap back to third Raga is virtually assured of his eleventh consecutive runner-up finish so it is the battle for third where we need to look to find the possibility of a shake-up in the order.
Now in his third year with the mighty Repsol Honda team, shy Spaniard Jaime Busto is enjoying the best season of his short career. The nineteen-year-old from Bilbao finally got the podium monkey off his back at TrialGP Andorra where he finished second and since then, apart from a dip in form at TrialGP Great Britain, has not been out of the top three.
As long as he can pick up where he left off at TrialGP USA in July expect Busto to defend and extend his eight-point advantage over fourth-placed Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda who suffered a dramatic loss of form on both days in Arizona to surrender his third place in the TrialGP standings.
Fujigas is now tied on points with Spaniard Jeroni Fajardo – Vertigo and with Albert Cabestany – Sherco from Spain just ten points behind and British hero James Dabill – Gas Gas only three points further back the slightest slip could drop the 2004 FIM Trial World Champion down to seventh.
The top ten is rounded out by Spain’s Jorge Casales – Beta, Germany’s Franz Kadlec – Gas Gas and Italy’s Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas, but realistically none of them have a chance of climbing higher than eighth this year.
Britain’s Emma Bristow – Sherco got the defence of her TrialGP Women title off to the best possible start at TrialGP USA with a double win and the twenty-six-year-old, bidding for a fourth consecutive World crown, starts as clear favourite.
Unbeaten in the World Championship competition since May 2015, Bristow leads Germany’s Theresa Bauml – Beta by eight points and is ten points ahead of third-placed Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas from Spain.
Berta Abellan – Beta from Spain is the only other rider with a podium finish to her name this year, but is already twelve points behind Bristow before a big gap back to Germany’s Ina Wilde – Gas Gas.
In Trial2 it’s Britain’s Iwan Roberts – Beta who holds a seven-point advantage over Gabriel Marcelli – Honda with fellow Spaniard Francesc Moret – Honda third, albeit a further nineteen points adrift.
Marcelli won both days at TrialGP USA and, with Roberts third each time, slashed the gap to the leader by ten points so this championship is by no means over.
Just four points separate the top six in Trial2 Women, currently led by Spain’s Neus Murcia – Beta by only one point over a three-way tie for second between the USA’s Kylee Sweeten – Sherco, Norway’s Erika Melchior – Sherco and the USA’s Maddy Hoover – Gas Gas.
The action in all four classes kicks off with qualification on Saturday before Sunday’s points-paying competition.
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