One of the biggest stories to emerge from the opening round of the FIM Hertz Trial World Championship was the competition in Trial2 where British riders Jack Peace and Toby Martyn swapped wins and podiums.

Sherco’s Peace struck first at the Italian TrialGP at Tolmezzo to defeat Martyn by a single mark on Saturday before the pair ended Sunday’s action locked together on observation with Martyn’s TRRS getting the decision thanks to his faster overall time over the two laps of 12 sections.

It should come as no surprise that the pair – who have both only recently turned 21 – have been close rivals for much of their trial careers, despite coming from opposite ends of England with Martyn from Cornwall in the south west and Peace based 400 miles away in North Yorkshire.

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“I’m knackered,” said Martyn on the Sunday evening in Italy. “It’s been a long weekend and it’s been 30 degrees pretty much all day. The sections have been in a riverbed and it’s all white rock so there’s been no way of getting away from the heat but it’s been a mega day.

“I knew Jack was going to be strong and he works very well under pressure but I didn’t think we’d both be battling for the win on Saturday and Sunday. It’s great for the Brits and we’ve both ridden mega – it’s sort of like old times. It’s been a proper battle.”

Peace, Trial125 champion in 2016, was delighted to start his 2021 campaign with two such strong performances.

“I was pleased with how I rode and it’s great to get off to such a good start,” he said. “I’ve been riding well so I knew I was capable of doing it – as always, it was just a case of being on form on the day.”

Both riders readily acknowledge the sky-high standard of Trial2 competition – and both know that consistently good performances are essential if they are to contend for the title at the end of the season.

“I know I can’t relax at all because everyone is so on it in Trial2 and if you have a couple of fives then you’re quickly out of the top 10 but this weekend has been a great confidence booster,” said Martyn. “I want to stay inside the top three all year – that’s my plan – and if I can do that hopefully I can be on top at the end.”

Peace, who like Martyn is starting his fifth full season in Trial2, readily agrees.

“In Trial2 you can not do much wrong at all and finish seventh or eighth instead of getting on the podium,” said Peace. “It’s that close. I need to be consistent at every round – that’s the main thing. There are probably six or seven riders in the class this year that on their day are all capable of winning and I think throughout the year we’ll see a lot of different riders on the podium.

“Over the last few years the level in the class has just got higher and higher.”

The pair have their sights set on joining Peace’s big brother Dan in TrialGP in 2022 and Martyn is encouraged by the form of Matteo Grattarola (Beta) – last year’s Trial2 champion – who ended the opening day in Italy in third in the premier class.

“Matteo has done a lot of training over the winter but going into that class and having a podium is an incredible result and it’s great for us because we can use his performance to gauge our level,” said Martyn. “I’ve beaten Matteo over the years and knowing that gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

The pair will head to Charade on July 3-4 for the first French TrialGP of the season – round two of the 2021 championship – locked together on 37 points.

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