After having finished as the bridesmaid for the last three years in the FIM Women’s Trial World Championship Britain’s Emma Bristow – Sherco will arrive in Andorra later this week for the final encounter in the 2014 series with her best chance ever of finally taking the title. Beaten by the reigning FIM Women’s Trial World Champion Laia Sanz during a dramatic last day duel last season, Bristow will only be too aware that she again faces a tense final GP if she is to realise her dream and become only the third winner of the Women’s series alongside Sanz and Iris Kramer.
The current campaign represents Bristow’s ninth season on the World stage with the soon to be twenty-four year old having made her debut in the FIM Women’s Trial World Championship in 2006 and ironically in Andorra where this Friday’s deciding competition will take place. Emma’s arrival in the series was a strong one with her placing ninth in her initial GP, and then finishing thirteenth in the final overall standings. Two years later in 2008 the now Sherco teamster moved up to sixth in the rankings an achievement she was to repeat the following season.
By the close of 2010 Bristow had taken her place in the World’s top four and was now starting to show the real extent of her potential as she claimed her first podium spot - a third place, this coming at the French Grand Prix held at St Michel Maurienne. 2011 was to mark the start of a three year run when Emma would be forced to play the bridesmaid to Sanz as each time she finished as vice champion to the thirteen times FIM Women’s Trial Champion.
With Sanz missing from the opening round in Andorra last season Bristow was immediately elevated to the new favourite and was soon to feel the pressure that was to come with this role. A self-induced mistake with her overall time allowance cost Emma the win on the first day of her 2013 campaign. Both Rebekah Cook – Beta and Sandra Gomez – Ossa were to punish the potential champion in waiting as they occupied the top two places to demote Bristow to third. However a day later she was to rectify her error and was to dominate proceedings to put Emma back in the title hunt for the closing three days.
Unfortunately for Emma, Sanz made a surprise return to the series later in the year and won the final three days to cruelly steal the title away from Bristow at the death. With Sanz having confirmed that she will not compete in this year’s championship, Emma was again thrust back into the limelight as the favourite to take this year’s crown. Now older and more mature the British rider looked to relish her new opportunity as she dominated the opening day of the 2014 series in Belgium. However last weekend’s round in Spain showed once again that perhaps Emma remains not totally comfortable with the added pressure as she had to fight back to win day one before missing her opportunity to take the title on day two as Cook stole an important victory to keep the championship race alive.
Emma was brave enough to acknowledge the situation. “It wasn’t a very good weekend for me, I just didn’t seem to be riding as well as I can, but at least I finished with a good last lap which is what I will take with me in my mind to the next round in Andorra. I probably let the pressure get to me a bit here in Spain, and now I know I can’t let that happen as one mistake has left the title open. I’m going to remain positive as I love the Trial in Andorra and my bike always runs well there. I’m going to take a few days rest and only do a small amount of riding this week, as I don’t need to practice too much at this stage. I am looking forward to resuming the battle in Andorra, and although its a shame that not all rounds count, it’s the way the series is and I know whoever is best on the day is going to be the champion.”