2013 World Trial Championship Round 1

Bou headReigning champion Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa will relish the opportunity to begin the defence of his crown at the opening Japanese Grand Prix this coming weekend, with the Twin Ring circuit at Motegi being the homeland of Honda by whom he is ultimately employed. The 2013 FIM Trial World Championship will provide the chance for Bou to extend his period of dominance and to go in search of a record equalling seventh successive title. The twenty-six year old from Barcelona, Spain currently is currently one behind Dougie Lampkin and Jordi Tarres, who have each won seven outdoor crowns.

Adam Raga – Gas Gas who eventually finished as runner-up to Bou last season, and who recently secured second spot behind Toni in the 2013 FIM X-Trial World Championship would appear to be the main threat to the reigning champion. However, whilst on his day Raga is a match for his compatriot, inconsistency over the last seasons have robbed Raga of a real title challenge. The trip to Japan in 2012 highlights this point with Adam having slumped to sixth and fifth respectively over the two days of competition. Hopefully Raga’s strong close to the indoor season will carry forward to the outdoor campaign and he will be able to give Toni a real run for his money right from round one.

Raga headThe other title challengers have a familiar feel with Jeroni Fajado – Beta topping the list having recorded his highest ever ranking by taking third spot, just a single point behind Raga last term. At twenty-eight years old Fajardo is running out of time if he is to progress higher up the order and must make his move in 2013 if he is ever to be considered a real title contender. Age is one thing that does not seem to be a limiting factor when it comes to Albert Cabestany – Sherco and Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa, with both of the thirty-year old plus competitors riding as well as they have ever done. Fujinami with his home advantage could just provide the upset of the weekend, especially with his flamboyant approach perhaps best suiting the new no-stop rules.

The British pairing of James Dabill – Beta and Jack Challoner – Beta and the newly promoted 2012 FIM Junior Trial World Champion Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco, are sure to lead the charge in terms of breaking up the established top five runners. With Ferrer now in the World Pro category, the way is now clear for Francesc Moret – Gas Gas to go one better this season and take the Junior crown, cabes headalthough he will have to fight off the much fancied Pol Tarres – Sherco, who has switched teams over the winter plus the emerging talent that is the slightly unknown Jorge Casalas – Gas Gas. Also 2012 FIM Youth Trial Wold Champion Steve Coquelin – JTG should not be discounted as being a real threat.

Bradley Cox – Beta heads the assault to capture the Youth title after having finished as runner-up to Coquelin in the general standings last season. French rider Quentin Carles de Caudemberg - Beta would appear to be Cox’s main rival, having closed out 2012 with his best results to date. The fifty-five entries for the opening encounter will see representatives from nine nations take part, with a solid contingent of Japanese riders joining the more regular contenders as they look to play havoc with the form book and go all out for success.