This coming weekend will celebrate the start of the 2011 FIM Women's Trial World Championship, as twenty-nine female riders from eight different countries gather in Germany for the first leg of the three stop tour. With only two days counting towards the title, there is little room for error, as each of the riders will look to claim maximum points at every given opportunity.
The championship will commence in the small market town of Grossheubach, Germany when the action kicks off on Sunday 21st August. Situated approximately eighty kilometres from Frankfurt the Bavarian settlement has a population of only five thousand inhabitants. With barely time to reflect or take breath the series will then move east only one week later, arriving in Tanvald, Czech Republic on the 28th August. The women's finale will be held as part of the FIM Trial des Nations in Tolmezzo, Italy on Friday 16th September.
Whilst reigning World champion Laia Sanz – Repsol Montesa remains the hot favourite to lift her eleventh World title, she will face fierce competition from Britain's Rebekah Cook – Sherco. Always the bridesmaid never the bride, so to speak, Cook has finished second to Sanz during the previous three seasons and is devoted to reaching the top step of the rostrum this time around.
Despite that, Cook has already witnessed Laia's dominance this year after watching her take victory at the first round of the 2011 Women's European Trial Championship. On that occasion Cook could only manage third whilst compatriot Emma Bristow – Ossa took an impressive second place.
Although only twenty-years of age, Bristow has already made a name for herself amongst the Trial paddock. Since first arriving on the World championship scene in 2006, when she finished thirteenth in the general standings, Emma has steadily progressed up through the rankings. Taking a well-deserved fourth spot in last year's final series table, Bristow will now almost certainly be looking to break into the top three this time around.
Another name to watch out for during 2011 is eighteen-year-old Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas. Sister to Alfredo Gomez who is currently leading the SPEA FIM Junior Trial World Championship, Sandra finished fifth in the 2010 rankings, on equal points with fourth placed Bristow. Marking her fourth year in the World series Gomez will now be hoping to go one better this season and establish herself in the top four on this occasion.
Host nation Germany is well represented at the opening leg of the series, with no less than ten riders prepared to do battle on home soil. Of them, Rosita Leotta – Sherco and Ina Wilde – Sherco are favourites to make their mark at the sharp end of the results, having finished sixth and seventh respectively come the end of 2010.
Only time will tell whether British riders Cook and Bristow have what it takes to challenge Sanz for the title. Whatever happens we can expect to see some exciting battles as the World's leading female Trial riders prepare to contest the 2011 FIM Women's Trial World Championship.