Trial World Championship

TrialGP: Great Britain report

TrialGP: Great Britain report

Toni Bou TrialGP Great Britain

The 2018 TrialGP Great Britain, staged for the first time on the rocky crags of Addingham Moorside, Silsden, Yorkshire, was an all-action weekend with a host of high spots. Repsol Honda’s star Toni Bou not only took a cliffhanger win on the day, he also tied up his 12th Trial World Championship.

Britain’s Queen of Trials Emma Bristow weighed-in with a confident victory in Women’s TrialGP and with it a fifth consecutive crown on the factory Sherco. Montesa-mounted Toby Martyn shaded a popular Trial2 win on the day on the sixth tie-break from his similarly-mounted rival, Italian Matteo Grattarola.

And Italian teenager Alex Brancati (Beta) took a tie-break win on the day, from Germany’s Rosita Leotta (Beta) to maintain her 100 per cent record in a well-supported Trial2 Women class, to claim the 2018 title. Britain’s Hannah Styles (Vertigo) took a fine fifth on the day after sensationally winning Qualification on Saturday.

Qualification

Toni Bou powered to his fourth qualification win of the 2018 FIM Trial World Championship season on Saturday afternoon, while fellow Spaniard Sandra Gomez completed her qualification clean sweep in TrialGP Women.

Adam Raga TrialGP Great Britain

Set in a natural mini amphitheatre at the base of the Addingham moorside venue and encircled by an enthusiastic crowd. And there was a thrilling atmosphere with the Qualification section comprising twists and turns over and between the huge boulders.

And there was an abundance of British talent and endeavour to cheer with James Dabill and Jack price in TrialGP, the awesome Toby Martyn plus Dan and Jack Peace in Trial2, Emma Bristow and Jess Bown in Ladies Trial1 and a real surprise ‘bonus’ in Women’s Trial2 when Hannah Styles steamed-in to take top spot

Starting second in the all-important Q2 session following a shock maximum in Q1, Spain’s Jaime Busto set the early pace and was still in the hot seat with just James Dabill, Adam Raga and Bou to go.

Roared on by his home fans, Dabill really went for it and punched the air as he stayed clean and knocked almost a second off Busto’s time.  Dabill’s joy was short-lived, though, as Raga immediately shaved 0.7secs off his time before Bou danced his way across the crests of the rocks to go top – more than a second faster. It was a stunning display. Jack Price finished 10th following a confident ride.

Bou said: “I like the qualifying system, it is expensive if you make a mistake, but when you take the pole it is incredible and it is fantastic for the public. I had some little problems early in the year in qualifying, but I have now taken my fourth pole and I’m happy for this. Starting tomorrow in the last position is very important for me.”

In TrialGP Women, defending champion Emma Bristow won Q1 by an incredible six seconds and was within centimetres of victory in Q2 when in the last turn her front wheel washed-out and she needed a dab – which dropped her to eighth.

Emma had been absolutely crushing it, her time was more than two-and-a-half seconds quicker than Gomez – but observation is key and the mistake meant that the Sherco star would be fourth away on Sunday. Always a trier, the always enthusiastic Jess Bown battled to tenth.

In the end, speedy Gomez was over five-and-a-half seconds clear of Germany’s Theresa Bauml with Britain’s Donna Fox, making the most of a wildcard ride following her last TrialGP appearance in 2016, giving the fans something to cheer as the Foxy Lady turned back the clock. Gomez said: “I’m so happy to win all the qualifications this year but the Trial is tomorrow so let’s see.”

Hannah Styles TrialGP Great Britain

The home crowd then really got behind Trial2 series leader, Cornishman Toby Martyn who raced to a hugely-popular win, breaking the timing beam over a second quicker than Norway’s Hakon Pedersen.  Starting last after a stunning victory in Q1, 18-year-old Martyn blasted off the line like a motocrosser and maintained break-neck pace.

Martyn’s main championship challenger, Matteo Grattarola led early on, but the experienced Italian was pushed back to seventh as Spain’s Gabriel Marcelli snatched third. The Brits are strong in Trial2 and Dan Peace took fourth, with younger brother Jack sixth, while local hero Jack Challoner made a TWC comeback with 16th in the Quali.

“We’ve had a very good start,” said the likeable Martyn. “Winning quali one and quali two is a first for me and it will make a big difference tomorrow. Lines will be in place and we’ll be going for the win.” He would be proved right on both counts!

There was a final treat in store for the crowd as Brit Hannah Styles claimed victory in Trial2 Women over American favourite Maddie Hoover – Gas Gas.

The talented 25-year-old, making a comeback to the top-flight after a long absence, was a delight to watch. “I really enjoyed it,” said Styler. “It’s my first time back for about seven years so it has been quite a shock as I didn’t know what to expect. I was also a bit nervous so it is great to get the win.”

Norwegian Hanne Haga was third from Germany’s Rosita Leotta as runaway series leader Alex Brancati plunged to 13th after parting with a stray dab.

The British girls were out in force with local Silsden girl Gabby Whitham took a fine fifth, Alicia Robinson 10th, Victoria Payne 15th while Jennifer Stephen was unlucky to pick up a maximum.

TRIALGP

The amazing Toni Bou nailed his twelfth consecutive Trial World Championship on Sunday with a last-gasp TrialGP victory on Addingham Moorside after a terrific scrap with long-time rival Adam Raga and teenager Miquel Gelabert. Gelabert was the surprise package, revelling on the grippy, dry, rockery and actually led the trial for most of the day.

The young Sherco ace only lost out on what would have been a sensational victory with a shock maximum in the penultimate section. In turn Raga missed out on victory thanks to his factory TRS running out of fuel in the last section on the opening lap.

That resulted in a nasty crash just as he fired at an imposing piece of Addingham rockery and stunned into the rock face resulting in a collected gasp from the crowd. In a perfect finish, Bou arrived at the final section needing a clean to win and, after much discussion with his veteran Repsol Honda team-mate Takahisa Fujinami, made the perfect ride to nail the win – and of course the title – to a tremendous cheer.

Bou had incurred two time penalties and Raga three after both took too long on the opening lap, to put extra pressure on themselves as the top riders sped through the final three sections virtually without inspection.

In the end Bou just shaded the win – his sixth of the season and fifth in a row – on 13 marks while Raga in turn only took second on a most-cleans tie-break with Gelabert after both dropped 15.

Jack Peace TrialGP Great Britain

Ever-popular veteran Japanese rider Takahisa Fujinami was just six marks further back in fourth after a very steady ride by his standards, although he couldn’t resist a spectacular leap to the Ends cards in the final section.

Fuji was chased by a Spanish trio of Albert Cabestany (Beta) – who made a strong comeback on the second lap – and Gas Gas team-mates Jeroni Fajardo and Jaime Busto.  The latter was particularly disappointing taking far too many maximums on the day.

Britain’s hopes rested mainly on the shoulders of James Dabill and while the Beta rider enjoyed some superb cleans and only dropped three maximums, too many small mistakes frustrated Dibs.
An eventual eighth, after losing a tie-break with Busto, was not what he wanted and to be frank, he deserved better.

Gas Gas pilot Jack Price weighed in with a confident ninth place, foiled by an expensive opening lap of 25 but Pricey bounced back brilliantly, just 10 marks dropped on the second circuit which was actually the fifth best of the lap. Newly-crowned Champion Bou said: “I’m very happy. To take the title with a victory is a very special moment.

“I had to fight to section 15 for the win with Miquel and Adam today. It was a perfect way to take the championship. “For me it was a difficult season after injuring my back so I’m really going to enjoy this moment.”

TRIAL 2

In Trial2 it was all about Britain’s teenager Toby Martyn and Italian Veteran Matteo Grattarola, the Montesa mounted duo who have been locked in battle for the 2018 title since the opening round.
And it could not have been scripted better as Toby came out on top of a photo-finish in Trial2, after they contrived to tie on a total of 20.

Almost unbelievably, the pair recorded identical tie-break numbers of cleans, ones, twos, threes and fives with the 18-year-old from Corwall taking the verdict thanks to his victory in Qualifying!

The win – Martyn’s third in a row – gives Toby a narrow five-point lead in the championship heading into the final round, which is effectively in the lion’s den, Italy. In the most popular and competitive class, Grattarola led on just four marks after the opening lap, yet even this effort saw him just a single mark ahead of Martyn.

Toby Martyn TrialGP Great Britain

The pair then went head-to-head on lap two with the advantage swinging between them as both felt the nerves before Martyn finally drew level with a sensational clean on the final section, after seeing Grattarola go through for a dab.

Following an expensive first lap, Spain’s Gabriel Marcelli fought back for third, just two marks in arrears to make it a Montesa four-stroke lockout of the podium.

Britain had plenty of interest in the class headed by the Gas Gas mounted Peace brothers, Dan and Jack, both looking for podiums. And it was Jack who finished best, just one place off it with a superb second circuit of just nine marks, fighting back from a costly 20-mark opener.

Dan was more consistent but just off the leaders’ pace as he claimed sixth, just pipped by last year’s Trial125 champ, Italian Lorenzo Gandola on the Scorpa. Jack Challoner, in a one-off TWC appearance, raised plenty of local cheers as he took points for 11th on his Montesa, encouraged by pal and minder, former World Champs challenger Martin Crosswaite.

Last word to Toby: “I’ve had a tough day and it’s been a close day, but we’ve put it on top of the podium which is mega for the championship. We’ll go to Italy fighting as hard as possible.”

TRIALGP WOMEN

Following a disappointing end to Saturday’s Qualification, when she slipped to eighth with a dab while on a certain winning time, Sherco’s Emma Bristow put that straight behind her and stormed to a strong victory on Sunday to ensure her fifth straight Trial World Championship.

With Great Britain hosting the third and final round of the 2018 Women’s series Emma signed off in style with a fitting victory. After trading cleans with Norwegian Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS) through the first five sections on the opening lap, Bristow then took with her total of seven just half that of her leading rival. On lap two Emma added a further dozen to her total, but with Hakonsen dropping 24 on her second lap Bristow’s eventual winning margin was a healthy 19.

The main attack was expected to come from Spain but strangely this just didn’t happen on the day. Vertigo’s Berta Abellan was the leading Spaniard, completing the podium in third place.

Emma Bristow TrialGP Great Britain

The Ladies’ shock was provided by Britain’s Donna Fox. The Foxy Lady hasn’t even contested the British Champs this year but acquiring a Montesa four-stroke has fired Donna up and she nailed an excellent fourth place.

This demoted the Spanish trio of Maria Giro (Montesa), Sandra Gomez (Gas Gas) and Neus Murcia (Beta) down the order. Sixth place was a disappointing result for the experienced Gomez but was just enough to keep her third in the Championship behind runaway Champ Bristow and emerging talent Abellan.

Hakonsen’s best result of the year at Addingham wasn’t quite enough to make the top three overall, having to settle for fourth just two points from the TWC podium. Scorpa-mounted Jess Bown finished eighth on the day and eighth in the series, while Donna’s welcome appearance saw her finish the year ranked 12th.

But at the end of the day it was all about Emma and that fantastic fifth title. Emma said: “What a great day, I’ll remember it forever – I’ve won the title with a win at my home GP.

“I’m always hard on myself and I didn’t have the perfect day and was a little bit wobbly to begin with, but everyone has been so supportive and it is such a nice feeling.”

TRIAL2 WOMEN

IN the Trial2 Women class, well supported with no fewer than 17 hopefuls, Italian teenager Alex Brancati (Beta) came back from a poor opening lap to take victory and with it the 2018 title.

The 17-year-old, who like Bristow in TrialGP recorded an unbeaten season, was down in fifth at the halfway stage, but fought back strongly with a second lap total of just six.

This put her on a total of 23 which amazingly she shared with German pairing Rosita Leotta (Beta) and Sophia Ter Jung (TRRS).

So it was down to the tie-break which was decided on most cleans with just one clean separating each of the top three, 20, 19 and 18 respectively.

Top Brit was Hannah Styles, with Vertigo mounted Styler following on from her superb Qualifying win with a fighting fifth place on the day and taking the scalp of American title-hunting Madeliene

Alex Brancati TrialGP Great Britain

Hoover, the Gas Gas rider sadly making her worst result of the series. And there were three more Brits in the top 10 with young Alicia Robinson (Beta) in seventh, after a particularly strong second lap.

Eighth went to Bristol’s Victoria Payne (Sherco) who could have been even higher but faded in the closing stages. Gabby Whitham, just five minutes from her Silsden home, completed the top 10 with a gritty ride that she clearly enjoyed every minute of. Jen Stephen battled round to finish 17th.

Brancati, like Bristow, took the Championship on a maximum 80, while Hoover did enough to hold off the rapidly improving Ter Jung. Alicia Robinson finished a promising seventh, and there is much more to come from the Oxford teenager, while Victoria Payne was right behind in eighth and showing increasing skill and confidence.

Hannah Styles’ 11 points for her ride jumped her straight in with a ranking of 13, ditto gabby Whitham in 16th, while Jennifer Stephen completed the 2018 series in 18th overall. A smiling Brancati said: “I was nervous and my first lap was very bad, but on the second lap I was riding very good, I am so happy.

“I want to ride TrialGP Women next year. It is very exciting.”