Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2006, the news that Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) has successfully defended his Hertz FIM Trial World Championship crown shouldn’t come as a major shock – after all, he’d won it 13 times on the bounce so title 14 wasn’t exactly unexpected.
It wasn’t, however, all plain sailing for the sublime Spaniard and his compatriot Adam Raga (TRRS) pressed him hard throughout the championship and inflicted defeats on Bou – his first since June 2018 – on day two of the French TrialGP and the opening day of the Andorran TrialGP.
With his job made harder by the reoccurrence of a shoulder injury, Bou was forced to dig deep but ultimately he was victorious with a comfortable 31-point winning margin in the in the premier TrialGP class over Raga and six more wins added to his record.
The all-Spanish top-six was completed by Jaime Busto (Vertigo), Jorge Casales (Gas Gas), Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) and sensational class rookie Gabriel Marcelli (Montesa) who scored a podium finish on day two of the Spanish TrialGP in just his fourth event at the highest level.
It was also a case of business as usual in the TrialGP Women class where Britain’s Emma Bristow (Sherco) recorded six wins from six starts to whitewash the opposition and claim her seventh title in a row.
The 29-year-old hasn’t been beaten since the final round of 2017 and not even series-long pressure from the Spanish pairing of Berta Abellan (Vertigo) and Sandra Gomez (TRRS) could break her stride.
So evenly matched were Abellan and Gomez that second and third positions in the championship were only decided on the final day of competition in Andorra where Abellan’s runner-up finish earned her silver on a tie-break.
The most dominant performance this year came in Trial2 where Italy’s Matteo Grattarola (Beta) ran out a clear winner by 52 points following an incredibly consistent campaign that netted him five wins and two second-placed finishes along with a third on the final day of competition when the championship was already in the bag.
Champion in 2018, Grattarola lost out on the title last year at the final round but kept his focus this time around as Alexandre Ferrer (TRRS) – who was tied for the series lead after the opening round in his native France – went off the boil and slipped to a distant second.
Britain’s Toby Martyn (TRRS) by his own admission didn’t have the best of seasons but victory on the final day of the Italian TrialGP was good enough to earn him third overall ahead of Spain’s Aniol Gelabert (TRRS) – who took a day win in Spain – and Jack Peace (Sherco) from Britain.
After testing the water in 2019 with just one appearance, French sensation Naomi Monnier (Beta) embarked on her first full season in the Trial2 Women class and the 15-year-old set the pace from the get-go with victory on the opening day of her home event.
Andrea Rabino (Beta) from Italy matched her in France and then moved ahead at the Spanish TrialGP but Monnier sealed the deal with a decisive double win in Andorra that gave her a 10-point advantage.
Rabino’s title challenge was derailed on the opening day of the final round when she slipped to fifth which allowed Britain’s Alicia Robinson (Beta) – winner on day two in Spain – to steal second from her in the final standings by a single point as France’s Lenna Volpe (TRRS) and Martina Gallieni (TRRS) completed the top-five.
Trial125 is the place to look for the stars of the future and Spain’s Pau Martinez (Vertigo) underlined his enormous potential with a clear 32-point victory from series newcomer Leo Guiraud (Beta) from France.
The 17-year-old won the opening four days of competition and then backed this up with a pair of second-placed finishes in Andorra before putting the title out of reach with a win on the opening day in Italy.
Britain’s Ben Dignan (Vertigo) and Jack Dance (Gas Gas) both claimed a day win apiece as they came home third and fourth and their compatriot Harry Hemingway (Beta) took a debut podium in Spain on his way to fifth.
The FIM TrialE Cup was fought out over two rounds and four days with 2019 winner Albert Cabestany (Gas Gas) expected to dominate but on home turf at the French TrialGP Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) came out swinging and beat the veteran Spaniard into second place on both days.
With a six-point lead heading into the Italian TrialGP, Chatagno held the advantage but Cabestany – drawing on all his years of experience of top-flight Trial – put matters beyond doubt with a pair of wins good enough for him to take the title on a tie-break by virtue of his better result on the final day of competition.
France’s Julien Perret (Electric Motion) ended the season in third with a full-house of third-placed finishes behind the dominant leading pair.