Determined not to let compatriot Adam Raga - Gas Gas gain a foothold in the 2012 FIM World Trial Championship, Toni Bou - Repsol Montesa hopped, skipped and jumped to a convincing victory over Raga on day one of the second round of the series.
Held for the first time ever in Australia, a stone’s throw from the historic gold rush village of Maldon in Victoria, Bou was on a gold rush of his own, finishing a full thirty marks clear of his arch rival. The reigning champion was the only rider to record a sub ten-mark lap as he romped home to cement his dominance of a damp course at the end of a testing day for all the riders.
The difficult course snaked its way over large granite outcrops across the western edge of Mount Tarrengower, which provided a picturesque and fitting backdrop to what proved an excellent debut for Australia. Bou was on song from section one, notching up just seventeen marks on lap one compared to Raga’s thirty-five for the same period.
It was on his second outing, however, that Bou really shone. The Catalan dropped just seven marks en route to a clear and emphatic victory. Albert Cabestany - Sherco was third, but only just. He was pushed hard by Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Montesa as both riders finished Saturday on sixty-five marks. Cabestany was awarded the final podium position courtesy of scoring more cleans than his Japanese rival.
Jeroni Fajardo - Beta completed the top five. Competition in the Junior class was equally fierce, with Alexandre Ferrer - Sherco topping Pol Tarres - JotaGas by a narrow two-point margin. The victory marked Ferrer’s third win from three starts, but the French rider was shadowed by Tarres, who came within a whisker of stealing the win with a composed second circulation that kept Ferrer honest throughout. Francesc Moret - Monetesa completed the rostrum ahead of Britain’s Jack Sheppard - Beta. France’s Benoit Dagnicourt - Beta was fifth in a frenetic division that is providing plenty of action this season.
It was less tense in the Youth class as Steven Coquelin - Gas Gas came home a clear winner after two classy laps that saw the French pilot carve out a seventeen-mark gap over runner-up Bradley Cox - Beta. Coquelin scored just one five and, like Bou, was in a class of his own, making very few mistakes as he navigated the tricky course. Norway’s Sverre Lundevold - Beta was a distant third, a further twenty-three marks adrift. New Zealand’s John Haynes - Beta and Australia’s Jonathan Chellas - Gas Gas finished fourth and fifth respectively, albeit a far way from the series’ regular protagonists.
While drizzle and light showers made Saturday’s obstacles slippery the forecast for tomorrow is dry and bright, with sunshine expected to light up the mountainside. However, the western edge of Mount Tarrengower is notorious for its changeable weather so the World’s best riders can expect another challenging and cold day down under for the next session of the 2012 FIM Trial World Championship.