Adam Raga (TRRS) turned the formbook on its head on the second day of competition at TrialGP France, the opening round of the 2020 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship, held high in the Alps at the Isola 2000 ski resort.
Raga – World Champion in 2005 and 2006 – bounced back from his fourth-placed finish yesterday to inflict the first defeat on defending champion Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) since June 2018. Bou, a comfortable winner on Saturday, slipped to third today in the premier TrialGP class behind 22-year-old Jaime Busto (Vertigo) as Spanish riders once again filled the podium steps.
In a repeat of yesterday’s results, Britain’s Emma Bristow (Sherco) once again ran out on top in the TrialGP Women category, Pau Martinez (Vertigo) clinched victory in Trial125 and home hero Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) was the rider to beat in the FIM TrialE Cup.
France’s Alexandre Ferrer (TRRS) reversed yesterday’s defeat to come home first in Trial2 on a tie-break with Matteo Grattarola (Beta) and Andrea Rabino (Beta) claimed a narrow win in Trial2 Women from Saturday’s winner Naomi Monnier (Beta) from France.
The revised sections were a lot harder today across all classes but still comprised big rocks on an imposing hillside with loose ground in between meaning grip was at a premium.
The deciding hazard in TrialGP was section six which featured two huge steps where Bou – who appeared to be riding with an injured forearm – added three maximums to his final score of 41 compared to Raga’s 1-0-1 scores on his way to a total of 33. Busto also excelled here, overcoming a five on the opening lap to record a clean and a two as he finished the day on 40 marks lost.
Spain’s Jeroni Fajardo led after the first two laps but any hopes he had of repeating his round wins in 2009 and 2018 evaporated as Raga carded a sensational final-lap total of just three and the Sherco rider ended the day in fourth on 44, three ahead of Jorge Casales (Gas Gas) who matched his day-one finish.
“Today was fantastic and I’m very happy,” said Raga. “It was difficult at the beginning of yesterday for me but we worked a little bit with the bike and today I felt very good. It’s always very difficult to beat Toni and also the other riders are very strong but I’m looking forward to keeping going and have a lot of motivation.”
Bristow’s bid to make it seven consecutive TrialGP Women crowns was further enforced with her commanding total of 25 a full 22 clear of second-placed Berta Abellan (Vertigo) with Sandra Gomez (TRRS) another eight marks adrift in third.
“The sections were really good today which gave me the chance to put some strong rides in,” said Bristow. “I felt a lot better on the bike than I did yesterday and I’m happy with the weekend and now will focus on the next round.
In Trial2 it was much, much closer than yesterday and Ferrer took the narrowest of victories on a tie-break from Italian veteran Grattarola who was champion in 2018. Britain’s Toby Martyn (TRRS) took third, although his total of 22 was double that of the leading pair.
“I’m very, very happy to win for my new TRRS team,” said Ferrer. “Today is very special because I’ve had to fight all day with Matteo and it’s amazing to win at home in France.”
A close second on Saturday, Rabino reversed the positions from the opening day with a two-mark victory over Naomi Monnier (Beta) from France in Trial2 Women with French rider Lenna Volpe (TRRS) claiming third for the second time in a row.
“I’m very, very happy,” said Rabino. “The sections were very hard but that suited me and I’m very excited for next weekend.”
Spain’s Martinez dominated Saturday’s competition and he stamped his authority all over the Trial125 class today with a 21-mark winning margin over compatriot Alex Canales (TRRS) with Leo Guiraud (Beta) from France claiming his second successive third-placed finish.
“It’s been a great weekend,” said Martinez. “Today was difficult with the pressure so I’m really happy with the win. I made some mistakes but the other riders made mistakes also.”
Last year’s leading FIM TrialE Cup rider Albert Cabestany (Gas Gas) was expected to control the 2020 series but for the second day in a row he was forced to play second fiddle to Saturday’s victor Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) from France who won on a most-cleans tie-break after both riders ended the day on four marks lost.
France’s Julien Perret (Electric Motion) was third for the second time in a row but was a long way off the pace with a score of 28.
“I didn’t expect this but it was a perfect weekend,” said Chatagno. “Albert put a lot of pressure on me but it’s really cool to beat one of my idols so I’m really happy for all of my team.”
The 2020 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship resumes next weekend with TrialGP Spain at Pobladura de las Regueras in the North West of the country.
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