He may not have got the result he was aiming for at last weekend's British Championship round in Cumbria, but young Veritgo rider, Toby Martyn made the trip from Cornwall to Holland worthwhile by taking victory at the opening round of the 2017 FIM European Trial Championship. The small village of Zelhelm, east of Arnhem was to play host to a full complement of classes over the weekend with the Women's and Youth classes competing on Saturday and the main Championship and supporting classes on Sunday.
It wasn't the best of starts for Martyn however with Spaniard Arnau Farre - Gas Gas setting the early pace riding clean until the eighth section. Closely behind him was rising Brit starlet, Jack Peace - Gas Gas with elder brother, Dan - Gas Gas nipping at his heels. It was to be the eighth and ninth sections that were ultimately to decide the outcome of this opening event with only Martyn and Jack Peace riding the eighth clean on their first visit and none of the top five managing to complete the ninth. At the end of the opening lap it was Jack Peace who held the lead by a single mark over Martyn with Farre third and Dan Peace just one mark further adrift.
With the first lap under their belts, predictably the scores were much lower on the second visit to the fifteen sections that comprised the course. It was Dan Peace who launched his challenge for the podium top spot dropping just three marks on his second lap. Martyn came very close to an impeccable ride, being clean until his unlucky thirteenth section where he dropped his only marks of the lap with a score of five. This left both young Brits on a score of nineteen at the end of play with Martyn prevailing in the most cleans tie-break by twenty four cleans to Peace's twenty two. Third place went to Farre after, despite leading in the early stages, Jack Peace was unable to maintain his consistency and had to settle for fourth.
The previous day also saw the Women in competition with the opening round of their 2017 European Championship. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was reigning FIM Womens Trial World Champion, the very much on-form Emma Bristow - Sherco who took home the spoils with a convincing win, dropping just a single mark the entire day. Second place went to Germany's Theresa Bauml - Beta with Norwegian Ingveig Hakonsen - Beta completing the podium line-up.
The 2017 FIM European Trial Championship moves swiftly on with Bilstain in Belgium due to hold Round 2 of the Men's competitions next weekend, 29th & 30th April whilst the Women take a break until the end of May when their next competition will take place in Liepaja, Latvia.