Defending champions Toni Bou (Montesa) and Emma Bristow (Sherco) were in dominant form on day one of the Taisei Rotec TrialGP of Japan – round three of the 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – with both riders recording comfortable victories to move to the top of the elite TrialGP and TrialGP Women points standings.
- Reigning champions on top in front of huge crowd at Taisei Rotec TrialGP of Japan
- Tough conditions lead to high scoring day at Mobility Resort Motegi
- Triumphant return of Hertz FIM World Trial Championship to the Land of the Rising Sun
Torrential rain on Friday resulted in the sections being altered for the opening day of action, but with grip in short supply in the morning the scores after lap one were the highest we have seen so far this year in the premier TrialGP class.
Heading to Japan locked together on points with Bou at the top of the TrialGP class, Jaime Busto (GASGAS) led his Spanish compatriot by three marks at the halfway mark thanks to an incredible clean ride on section twelve where everyone else picked up a maximum.
On an overcast, but warm day the conditions began to rapidly dry out on lap two and this was reflected in the scores.
Despite momentarily stalling, Bou drew level with an amazing clean ride on section four which featured a series of challenging rock steps before a super-slippery exit as riders negotiated a gripless gulley between two rocks. Busto was the only other rider to see the ends cards here, but his three meant it was all-square at the top and – ominously for the twenty-six-year-old challenger – the record sixteen-time champion had found his rhythm.
Bou pulled in front with a clean on section seven where Busto needed a single dab and once ahead the thirty-six-year-old eased clear to win by thirteen marks after Busto incurred four time penalties.
“It is always very important to win here for the championship and the team so I am super-happy,” said Bou. “On the first lap I had many mistakes, but I had a very good second lap and it was possible to take the win.”
By his own high standards former champion Adam Raga (TRRS) has had a disappointing start to the season, but the veteran Spaniard was back on form and he claimed a strong third ahead of young gun Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) before a big gap to Italy’s Matteo Grattarola (Vertigo) in fifth.
Bidding for her ninth TrialGP Women title in ten years, at the start of the day Bristow trailed Berta Abellan (Scorpa) by two points despite a double win last time out in Portugal.
The British rider started strongly and her opening lap total of sixteen plus five time penalties gave her a clear early lead over her Spanish rival who parted with twenty-nine marks plus two time penalties.
It was much closer on lap two as Bristow added nine to her total compared to Abellan’s ten which gave the defending champion a comfortable cushion of eleven at the end of the day.
“It was really good today and I felt like I was riding well,” said Bristow. “Lap one was super-slippery, but I had some really good rides and I carried my form into lap two.”
Britain’s Alice Minta (Scorpa) fought off early pressure from Huldeborg Barkved (TRRS) to claim her second consecutive podium on a total of sixty with Alicia Robinson (Beta) matching her career-best finish in the women’s premier class in fifth.
The Trial2 class was also in action and despite slipping to fourth on the day, Britain’s Billy Green (Scorpa) maintained his series lead although he is now tied on points with his fellow countryman Jack Peace (Sherco).
It was Spain’s Arnau Farre (Sherco) who emerged on top with a comfortable eight-mark victory ahead of Peace who picked up seven time penalties with Pablo Suarez (Montesa), who won on day one in Spain, a further six adrift in third.
“I had a very nice feeling with the bike and had a good first lap,” said Farre. “I made a few mistakes on the second lap, but finally I got the win and I’m very happy.”
Hugely-popular Japanese veteran Kenichi Kuroyama showcased the new electric Yamaha TY-E2.1 and the forty-four-year-old finished among the series regulars in sixteenth, just seven marks away from the top-ten in this super-competitive class.
The action from the Mobility Resort Motegi resumes tomorrow at 08:30 local time and will be streamed LIVE on FIM-MOTO-TV.
The cost is for €7.99 for full weekend coverage or €34.99 for the entire season, including the FIM Trial des Nations.