Repsol Honda’s Toni Bou was crowned as the 2017 FIM Trial World Champion following the penultimate round in the Czech Republic last weekend.
And with Italian Lorenzo Gandola already installed as Trial125 champ following the final round of that series in Great Britain in July) there are still three classes to be decided in the eighth and final (third and final for the Women) round this weekend.
And there are British champs elect in two of them!
Emma Bristow is unbeaten after two days of competition in the United States of America and the Czech Republic, the Sherco factory star odds-on for a fourth consecutive Women’s Trial World Championship and only an unforseen disaster can stop the 26 year-old Queen of trials.
And Beta riding Iwan Roberts just has to hold it together to become the first ever FIM Trial2 World Champion (previous years champs were classed as World Cup winners) having re-established what should be a defendable 16 point Championship lead meaning that five points from eleventh place would be enough for the Welsh ace, although he will be looking to end the year in style in the Italian factory’s home round.
Once again Italy has the honour of staging the final round of the year, a year that has seen a major shake-up in the Trial World Championship that has been run under the auspices of British promoter Trial7.
The main visible innovation - there has been plenty more work completed behind the scenes - has been pre-trial Qualification, used to determine start order in the trial and introduced to try and make it fair for all riders, not just the established factory riders who previously always enjoyed the advantage of riding at the back of the entry.
The venue, the purpose-built Metzeler Off-road Park, Arco de Trento, is new to trials but not new to top class events having staged The Wall extreme enduro.
A total of 73 riders have pre-entered with the split being TrialGP 17, Trial2 25, TrialGP Women 15 and Trial2 Women 16.
In TrialGP Toni Bou and Adam Raga (TRS) have already retained their Champion and vice Champion titles but third is still up for grabs.
Teenager Jaime Busto is favourite as the Repsol Honda understudy holds a 10 point lead over Vertigo’s Jeroni Fajardo but the more experienced campaigner is capable of a win and can’t be ruled out although his fourth place is under threat as he only holds a two point lead over veteran Japanese Takahisa Fujinami.
Fujigas will be looking for a strong finish and hopefully yet another year’s contract with Repsol Honda!
Factory Gas Gas rider James Dabill currently sits in seventh place but just six points behind Sherco’s veteran Albert Cabestany.
Cabes has not had the best of years and The Dibsta has just a six point defecit to make up to end the year in what would be a strong sixth place. Gas Gas team mate Jack Price will be looking to end his debut season in the Blue Riband class on a high and a good ride could see the hard working Pricey end the year as high as twelfth.
There’s been the now expected strong showing of Brits in Trial2 with Iwan Roberts leading the way and next week will hopefully see the Beta rider crowned Trial2 champ.
His closest rival, Spanish Montesa rider Gabriel Marcelli has taken four wins to Iwan single victory but has been nowhere near as consistent, Iwan having only been off the podium once, in Andorra.
Gas Gas mounted siblings Dan and Jack Peace and Vertigo’s Toby Martyn are all capable of podium placings though with Dan and Toby battling over fourth place in the series, sitting on 100 points apiece. Hugo Jervis will complete the British Trial2 contenders in Italy.
Emma Bristow may be comfortably clear in her quest for a fourth consecutive Women’s title but the 26 year-old professional is driven by personal achievement and will fight to increase her impressive unbeaten run. Jess Bown has committed 100 per cent to the series this year and the Scorpa rider has impressed with consistent scoring and can improve on her current seventh place with a strong finish in Italy.
The incredibly gutsy Nikita Smith and fiesty young contender Alicia Robinson will be joined in Trial2 Women by Victoria Payne and Jennifer Stephen, the series looking like throwing-up a winner from Spain with Beta’s Neus Murcia in pole position after two victories from the three scoring rounds, two in America and one in the Czech Republic.
It has been an incredibly tight-fought class though and there are many positions that can change this Sunday, a good ride could see Nikita move up from sixth to a podium place.
All will be revealed next week when hopefully we will be celebrating a double British success...