FIM President Vito Ippolito officially declared the 2011 FIM Trial des Nations open during a colourful opening ceremony yesterday evening. Twenty-two men’s teams and ten women’s teams who will represent over twenty nations paraded through the narrow streets of the Italian town of Tolmezzo before gathering in the main square. Here the celebrations continued with a display of local costumes plus music and dance from a group of Italian youngsters.
The Mayor of Tolmezzo welcomed the teams and the FIM President, during his opening speech and wished all the competitors the best of luck for the next two days of competition. Each nation was invited to take to the stage in front of the assembled audience and media, as the riders were introduced to the large crowd who were seated in front of the main town buildings. The two loudest moments of applause were reserved for the home nation – Italy – quite obviously and for the Japanese team who brought their own message of thanks following the natural disaster that happened in their country earlier this year.
Although missing their captain elect Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa, with him having had to return to Japan at short notice due to the imminent birth of his third child, the presence of the Japanese squad and the reaction to their participation was typical of the emotion that the FIM Trial des Nations continues to evoke.