The 2018 FIM Trial World Championship signs off this coming weekend with TrialGP Italy – the eighth and final round of what has been an epic contest – at the picturesque Metzler Offroad Park at Pietramurata Di Dro in the foothills of the Alps.
The dramatic, purpose-built venue made its World Championship debut last year with the mixture of man-made and natural sections proving to be a huge hit with riders and Trial fans alike so it is the perfect location to conclude the 2018 series.
Never one to rest on its laurels, championship promoter Sport7 continues to innovate and will mark its Italian programme with the first-ever floodlit second qualification session on Saturday night to determine starting order for Sunday’s points-paying competition.
The major prize, the TrialGP title, was clinched last time out by Toni Bou – Repsol Honda at TrialGP Great Britain for an astounding twelfth consecutive time, but the final podium is still very much up in the air with a three-way fight over the second and third steps of the podium.
“It was great to be able to win the title early in England,” says Bou, “so we can face the last round without any pressure and fully enjoy the event. That, however, does not mean that we are not going to fight. On the contrary, we will try to perform our best at the Trial to be able to finish the season at the top, the way we started it.”
With Bou now untouchable, the fight for the remaining podium places is an all-Spanish affair between Gas Gas team-mates Jeroni Fajardo and Jaime Busto and two-time champion Adam Raga – TRRS. Just five points separate the trio, making for the most dramatic finish in recent years.
Despite the TrialGP title being already in the bag, there are still two championships to be decided with the Trial2 and Trial125 crowns very much up for grabs.
In Trial2 we have seen some incredibly competitive performances throughout the season with Italian Matteo Grattarola – Honda and Britain’s Toby Martyn – Montesa going toe to toe for the World Championship. Veteran Grattarola, who has dropped down from the TrialGP class for 2018, started the strongest and dominated the early stages before eighteen-year-old Martyn found his groove.
A hat-trick of wins in France, Belgium and Great Britain has seen Martyn open up a five-point gap at the top of the standings but the class is still wide open and Grattarola will enjoy home advantage this weekend.
“We will be competing on home soil,” says Grattarola, “which is always good for someone, but not for another. To win at home would be the best thing, but I’m sure the rivals will all give it their best shot at the victory too.”
Also still in with a mathematical shot at the title, Spain’s Gabriel Marcelli – Montesa holds third, but the eighteen-year-old has yet to win a round this season despite regular podium finishes and has to be considered a very long shot.
Following almost a three-month break in action, the young guns of the Trial125 class resume hostilities and it is Britain’s Billy Green – Beta who starts as a firm favourite. With four wins from five days of competition, Green holds a commanding eighteen-point lead over Spain’s Martin Riobo – Gas Gas with another young Spaniard, sixteen-year-old Pablo Suarez – Gas Gas, in third a further point adrift.
Follow all the action and drama from TrialGP Italy as it unfolds over the weekend, with full coverage across all the official TrialGP social media channels, via the free TrialGP LIVE app, on TrialGP.com plus live qualification on the TrialGP Facebook page at 20.00hrs CET on Saturday night.