After regaining the upper hand with a dominant victory last time out, Toni Bou – Repsol Honda will start TrialGP Great Britain at Tong near Bradford, round five of the 2017 FIM Trial World Championship, this coming weekend with a commanding thirteen-point lead over fellow Spaniard Adam Raga – TRRS.
Following victories at the opening two rounds in Spain and Japan, Bou’s bid to claim a record eleventh consecutive FIM Trial World Championship title suffered a blow when he was beaten into third by Raga and Jaime Busto – Repsol Honda in a close-fought TrialGP Andorra.
However, the most dominant rider in the series’ forty-three-year history struck back at TrialGP France and recorded a crushing victory with his final score of twenty-one – including a sensational clean second lap – almost half that of Raga who ended the Trial with thirty-nine marks. The result puts Bou on ninety-five points to Raga’s eighty-two.
Bou has enjoyed a phenomenal run of success in Great Britain. He holds the record for the most TrialGP victories here with fourteen and under the previous two-day format has won ten times in the last five years. In fact, the last rider to beat him on British soil was Raga all the way back in 2011.
On paper this weekend looks to be a two-man battle between Bou and Raga, but as the 2017 FIM Trial World Championship moves into the second half of the season there are still a number of contenders to consider.
After coming frustratingly close on a number of occasions Busto claimed a career-first podium finish in Andorra. He followed this up with third at TrialGP France signifying that the nineteen-year-old has come of age and surely now must be considered a threat for the top step of the podium.
The young Spaniard currently sits third in the standings, tied on sixty-one points with his team-mate Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda. Without a win for over a year, Fujigas last took victory in Great Britain on the opening day in 2011 and the hugely-popular Japanese rider will be keen to rectify this at the Parkwood Off Road Centre this weekend.
Still looking for his first podium finish of 2017, Spain’s Jeroni Fajardo – Vertigo is fifth in the standings on sixty points, three points ahead of fellow countryman Albert Cabestany – Sherco thanks to a consistent run of results.
With the new qualification to decide starting order throwing up shocks at every round, Cabestany has so far fared the worst from last season’s top five finishers so he will be determined to get the balance between precision and speed right on Saturday. Winner of the opening round of 2016, if he can start near the rear of the field he could be a contender.
With British riders traditionally going well at their home GP, James Dabill – Gas Gas could potentially improve on his second place on day one at TrialGP Japan. Consistently fast in qualification, could fervent home support spur him on to a famous first career victory?
Britain’s Iwan Roberts – Beta holds a ten-point lead in Trial2 over Spain’s Gabriel Marcelli – Honda. Both riders have struggled at times with consistency, as have third-placed Luca Petrella – TRRS from Italy and France’s Gael Chatagno – Gas Gas and Spain’s Francesc Moret – Honda in fourth and fifth.
Trial125 is also close with Italian Lorenzo Gandola – Scorpa eight points clear of Britain’s Billy Green – Beta going into the final counting event for this class with round four winner Fabien Poirot – Gas Gas from France in third but already a long way adrift of the leading pair. Green will need a win and some good fortune if he is to lift the title on home soil.