Toni Bou, Takahisa Fujinami and Jaime Busto line up as the Trial Outdoor World Championship season gets underway this weekend. The much anticipated championship opens in Camprodón, Spain where Repsol Honda Team will once again go in search of the title.
Sunday 14th May sees the opening round of trial’s top category with the Spanish GP. The event which has been a regular feature in the trial calendar every year since 1975, will this time make its first visit to Camprodón – a natural enclave just fifteen kilometres from France in the heart of the Pyrenees. The championship begins with a Repsol Honda Team trio raring to go and keen to improve on previous results. Behind the bars of the Montesa Cota 4RT, the riders of the team managed by Miquel Cirera and Òscar Giró, will face a tough challenge, particularly as the 2017 season will have some new features.
EN ROUTE TO AN 11TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE
Ever since Toni Bou scooped his first world title back in the 2007 indoor championship, the Catalan rider has managed to clinch the indoor / outdoor double every single year without fail. Bou now sports a full decade of absolute domination of the trial scene and is hungry to keep on going. Bou was recently re-crowned X-Trial world champion for the eleventh consecutive time. With the indoor title in the bag the rider now moves on to the more taxing and troublesome outdoor discipline in a bid to renew the number one currently emblazoning the Montesa Cota 4RT.
FUJINAMI IN RECORD FIGURES TOO
At 37 years of age Takahisa Fujinami is the most veteran rider in the paddock, but in spite of this maintains a level of physical fitness, technique, tenacity and ambition that are the envy of his adversaries. Last season the team stalwart posted third overall place in the championship. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the Japanese Repsol Honda Team rider won the world title back in 2004, but as he admitted to Bou at the end of the 2016 campaign, there is nothing he would like more than to retire as champion. Charismatic ‘Fujigas’, the rider with most participations and points achieved at World Championship, will be looking to sustain the momentum for as long as possible and sees the top of the podium as a distinct possibility for 2017.
JAIME IN SEARCH OF A PODIUM FINISH
Basque rider Jaime Busto tackles a third season with Repsol Honda Team, well aware that he needs to take a leap forward on the scoresheets. This winter, the team’s youngest rider has diligently trained alongside team-mate Toni Bou in a bid to raise his level. A podium finish still remains the maximum priority for the rider from Górliz, after having narrowly missed out on the feat on various prior occasions. Busto, likewise, will be wishing to improve on the sixth overall position in which he has finished the two previous seasons.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW TRIAL GP?
• The arrival of a new promoter
The world championship moves into a new era as a new promoter takes over the organization and promotion of the world pro category. Sport7 has introduced several changes to the rules which, on paper at least, should bring greater interest and repercussions in the trial competition.
• New categories
New categories have been established in the world championship. TrialGP is the top category featuring the sport’s elites and most-garlanded riders. Trial2, Trial125, TrialGP Women and Trial2 Women will be the categories making up the rest of the championship.
• Ten trials with points counting towards the championship
The FIM Trial Outdoor World Championship will have eight events, six of which will take place on a single day, with the overseas competitions in the U.S. and Japan having two days which will total ten trials whose points count in the championship.
• Qualifying round on the eve of the GP
It has been decided that a qualifying round will take place to decide the race day’s starting order. The rider with the least number of errors in a single section will have the best starting position. In case of draw, the fastest of the riders will occupy the better position.
• United timetables
The Friday before the competitions at 15:00 hrs riders will be able to look over the course. Technical and administrative scrutineering will take place on Saturday for the top category from 10:00 to 11:00 hrs. From 11:00 to 13:00 hrs there will be training for the qualifying section. Fans will be able to enjoy an autograph opportunity with the riders at 14:30. The qualifying round will take place on Saturday afternoons at 15:00 hrs. The main events will kick off in each GP at 09:00. The podium prize giving will be held at 15:45 hrs.
• 15 sections 2 laps
The format of the course for the new TrialGP will be different to previous seasons. A fixed number of sections and laps has been established for all the trials made up of 15 sections and 2 laps with a maximum time of 5 hours (two and a half hours per lap with a twenty minute break).
• Constructor’s Championship
For the first time the manufacturers of trial bikes participating in the world championship will be able to choose a maximum of two riders per constructor and category (TrialGP and Trial2) the top rider in each class getting points towards the constructor’s championship. In TrialGP the riders representing Montesa will be Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami and in Trial2, Francesc Moret and Gabriel Marcelli.
2017 TRIALGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
|11 June||Sant Julià Lòria||Andorra|
|9 July||Tong||Great Britain|
|10 September||Sokolov||Czech Rep.|
Toni Bou 1
The Trial GP World Championship begins a bit later than usual this year and thanks to that, we have had a bit more time to prepare ourselves after the end of the X-Trial world championship. This year will be really difficult for everyone with the changes that the new world championship promoter has introduced: besides the qualifying, there will be only one day of competition in the six European dates, which means that we will have to be very focused throughout as the slightest error could be really costly. This winter the whole team has worked very hard to be the best because last year the rivals had made the championship really tough. More and better: that’s the objective of the team.
Takahisa Fujinami 3
After finishing in third place last year, you always think that you can improve. For me, the aim is just that: to improve. I want to feel good in the sections and on the bike and fight like I have always fought. I think that I’m on form at the moment; I’ve trained hard and I will arrive at the first trial very motivated. Yes, I’m the most veteran rider in the paddock, but for the same reason I’m the one with the most experience and that’s always a good thing. I will fight like I did last season to win and I will try and be on the podium as many times as possible.
Jaime Busto 6
I’m very confident that this will be a good year for me after having got some good results in X-Trial where I was invited as a wildcard. I think that I have enough experience to fight in every trial and be able to finish on the podium in this new Trial GP world championship and I’m going to try it. Of course I’m in the Repsol Honda Team, with Toni and Fuji as team-mates which is the best place that I could be in to achieve these objectives. We have trained a lot for this season and I think that I arrive on very good form.
As we start the new season this weekend Repsol Honda Team is awaiting the changes to the format that have been introduced by the championship’s new promoter. I don’t really think there will be any big surprises in the results. The main objective is that Toni Bou retakes the title, that Fujinami repeats or improves upon last year’s great result and that Jaime moves up into better positions in the classification. We will see how things turn out in the end, but the aim is clear: a repetition of the individual title and also the constructor’s championship. For the latter, it won’t be easy as the introduction of the new Trial2 category will play an important role in the constructor’s championship. The riders who represent Montesa and who rely on assistance from the manufacturer are Gabriel Marcelli and Francesc Moret, who thanks to the RFME team, will be in the competition. Marcelli is young and has great potential and Moret relies on experience and we hope he can bring some good results.