Following in the tyre tracks of last year’s Tour de France cycle race, the 2014 FIM Trial World Championship will break new ground this coming weekend as the series visits the beautiful French island of Corsica for the first time in its almost forty year history. Situated in the Mediterranean Sea, west of Italy and southeast of the French mainland, the small island which consists mainly of mountains can be found just north of the perhaps more known Italian island of Sardinia. The Grand Prix of Europe marks the third round of the current series and the first back in the more central continent after the opening two encounters in Australia and Japan.
The two days of competition will take place in the north of the isle in the town of Ile Rousse that lies just eighteen kilometres from the larger city of Calvi. Whilst the last year’s Tour de France crisscrossed the island’s many mountains the Trial GP will play out on the coast with both the paddock and hazards rising only a few metres – six to be exact - above sea level. The compact course, just five kilometres in length, will feature three laps of twelve sections on both Saturday and Sunday.
Corsica has a rich tradition of motorsport with the World Rally Championship – WRC – having visited the island on an annual basis since the inception of the series back in 1973 right through to 2008, and always as the French round of the four-wheel tour.
Whilst this weekend’s GP is a first for Corsica, it is not the first time that the FIM Trial World Championship has been hosted on a French isle. Way back in 1999 the series made the long trip to the Reunion Island that sits in the Indian Ocean close to the holiday isle of Mauritius. On that occasion it was a certain Dougie Lampkin who was the victor on both days of competition, however this time around it will be Adam Raga – Gas Gas who will be looking to be victorious and to continue the form that saw him take back to back wins at the last round in Japan.
Raga will arrive in Corsica trailing championship leader and reigning FIM Trial World Champion Toni Bou – Repsol Honda by just a single point and will be hoping that he can turn that small deficit into an advantage by the time he leaves the scenic French island.
Speaking after the Japanese GP Raga said. “It has been a good weekend for us, to win both days is the perfect situation and to be so close to Toni (Bou) as we move back to Europe has to be good.”
“Each time the championship visits a new country or place it is a new opportunity for our sport. I think for Trial it is important to explore new places. Corsica is not a big island, but it has a good history and passion for motorsports, especially with World Rally and then also the Tour de France more recently.”
“I have had a good record at the French rounds over the years and one that I hope I can continue in Corsica. My goal is to win again and to move to the top of the championship, but I know that will be difficult up against Toni and the other riders.”
“Corsica will be a new event and a new course for all of us, so we are not too sure what to expect, but from what I know I think they have some good areas for the sections so I am looking forward to and hoping that it will be a good competition for me and the other riders.”
Photo credit FIM / G2F Media