When the 2015 FIM Trial World Championship arrives in Penrith, Great Britain this weekend it will mark the third successive Grand Prix in three weeks for the elite competitors that make up the three classes in the series. Reigning FIM Trial World Champion, Toni Bou – Repsol Honda certainly has the momentum with him having not yet tasted defeat this season and comes into round four of the current campaign as the clear favourite to continue his winning ways. On his previous visits to the Nord Vue venue Toni has not been beaten, with him claiming victories on both days of the events held there in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Bou has only experienced one hiccup at the British GP in more recent years and that was when he was rushed to hospital on the second day back in 2013 with a deep cut to his stomach as a result of a late crash, but only after he first secured yet another victory on English soil.
Whilst Bou’s thirty-eight point advantage at the top of the general standings confirms his six out of six wins to date and his total dominance of the 2015 series thus far, the points gap does not tell the full story. With the exception of the opening GP in Japan, which Toni controlled from start to finish on both days, the last two rounds in the Czech Republic and Sweden have seen the defending champion put under real pressure. James Dabill – Vertigo and Jeroni Fajardo – Beta, the latter on two separate occasions, have headed Bou in the early stages of the respective competitions but have failed to convert their initial advantages into an actual win. Similarly Adam Raga – Gas Gas had Toni on the ropes last time out in Sweden as he went into the final lap tied on marks with his archrival, but despite an incredible closing performance he was still defeated by the reigning King of Trial.
Raga and Fajardo have been the most consistent of the challengers and currently occupy second and third positions in the points table. Both are sure to be amongst those riders who pose the biggest threat to Bou this weekend and they will be joined by a rejuvenated Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda and Albert Cabestany – Sherco, who was back on the podium in Sweden plus the likes of Dabill, rookie Jaime Busto – Repsol Honda and Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco in trying to topple Toni.
Other riders who require a mention as the action shifts to British shores are Germany’s young Franz Kadlec – Beta who has quickly established himself as a now regular top finisher, Sweden’s Eddie Karlsson – Montesa who rode to an heroic sixth place on the first day of his home GP after only recently returning from horrific facial injuries. On the subject of injuries, Pol Tarres – Sherco made his first appearance of the season last weekend following his absence due to a knee injury sustained earlier this year.Michael Brown – Gas Gas will sadly miss his home GP this time around as he continues to recover from the knee injury he suffered in Japan, whilst Jorge Casales – Beta who damaged his foot at the same event could be a possible starter this weekend subject to passing a late fitness test.
Whilst Bou has been dominant in the World Pro class it has been a completely contrasting story in the FIM World Cup category. The opening three rounds have produced four different winners and see first to fifth in the current general standings separated by a mere ten points. Although Spain’s Miquel Gelabert – Sherco leads the title race he is yet to record a win. Second overall, Quentin Carles de Caudemberg – Beta was twice victorious in the Czech Republic, but struggled last time out which is a similar story for double Japanese winner Benoit Bincaz – Scorpa who has failed to feature in the top five since then. The British pairing of Iwan Roberts – Beta and Jack Price – Gas Gas scored a win apiece last weekend and will therefore be confident of further glory heading into their home GP.
Marco Fioletti – Beta is the runaway leader in the FIM 125 Cup with five wins from six starts putting him twenty-seven points clears of his closest challenger Maxime Varin – Scorpa. After a surprise defeat to Norway’s Sondre Haga – Beta on the opening day of the Swedish Grand Prix, Fioletti then returned to his winning ways by destroying his opponents last Sunday to reconfirm himself as the clear favourite to lift the title come the close of the season. The compact and spectator friendly course at Nord Vue is sure once again to deliver a great weekend of competition in a country that man considers as the motherland of Trial sport.