Honda Racing Team In France

honda racingToni Bou - Repsol Montesa HRC endured a tough close to the 2013 FIM Trial World Championship at the French Grand Prix held at Isola 2000, but recorded a brilliant second day win on board his factory Cota 4T to clinch his seventh successive outdoor title. His latest World crown sees him draw level with both Jordi Tarres and Dougie Lampkin, who each won seven outdoor titles during their own illustrious careers. Adam Raga – Gas Gas pushed Bou all the way including winning day one in Isola 2000, however fell short at the final attack as he again finished runner-up to Toni in the title race.


It was not such a good weekend for Bou’s team-mate Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa HRC as he placed sixth on both days of the competition and in doing so cruelly slipped from third to fifth in the final rankings, despite having occupied a top three position for most of the season. Jeroni Fajardo – Beta was the rider who benefitted most from Fujinami’s poor showing as he went 2 – 4 over the weekend to claim third place in the general standings. Albert Cabestany – Sherco was the other protagonist who was to overtake Takahisa at the last gasp, much due to his second spot during Sunday’s trial which was an improvement on the fifth spot he had taken just twenty four hours earlier.


The FIM Trial World Championship last visited the French ski resort of Isola 2000 back in 2011, with this edition of the event marking the third time that the mountain station has hosted the final round of the series. Once again the course followed a similar route with the boulder-strewn sections being well spread on the slopes that surround the town and that become ski runs each winter. The smooth nature of the rocks means that any moisture on their surface can destroy grip levels, a fact the riders were apparently aware of as the clouds loomed overhead at various points throughout the weekend.


Despite bringing a ten point lead into the final round, Bou was on the back foot from the opening lap on Saturday, as Raga attacked with little to lose as he went all out to close the gap. Adam’s tactic’s paid off and certainly put Toni in a tense and nervous mood in what was to prove a relatively low scoring competition. Raga seized the lead early on Saturday morning and was in no mind to surrender it as he rode to a three mark win over Fajardo, which left Bou down in third spot and having conceded five valuable championship points.


With his advantage halved overnight and the threat of rain on Sunday, Toni faced another difficult day as he attempted to wrap up his seventh title. The real scale of his plight became apparent as Bou found himself down in fourth place at the end of lap one, with Raga once again ahead of him and threatening to steal his crown away from him in a dramatic end to the series. Toni re-found his composure as the trial wore on to move into second spot behind Raga by the end of the second lap, which would have been enough for him to have successfully defended his title if this was the final result.


However events were about to turn in Toni’s favour as Adam wrongly gambled on the rain arriving and rode at speed on the closing lap which was to cost him marks, and ultimately the title. Bou held his nerve brilliantly despite the dark clouds overhead and put together a final lap aboard his four-stroke machine that was to win him the trial and more importantly his seventh outdoor crown in a row.


Toni Bou: “This feels almost as good as my first title, as it has been such a tough championship and an incredibly difficult weekend for me. Yesterday I was not confident on the bike as I have not ridden so much since the last round due to the injury I sustained at the British GP. Adam and Jeroni rode really well and punished me. I was very nervous going into today, especially about the rain and then when I made some mistakes on the first lap that put me in fourth place, I thought it was not going to be my day. In the end as a team we did a good recovery and managed to win the trial and the title, which feels so incredible at this moment. ”


Takahisa Fujinami: “This really hurts as I have ridden well for most of the season and then to have my worst performances at the last round when it matters. I have not had a good feeling all weekend, there is nothing to blame, I just never found my rhythm and found that these type of sections did not really suit my style. I am very happy for Toni and the team, but I am also disappointed for my own results this weekend.”