The dust has barely settled on the previous round and already the world’s top trial riders are preparing to go into battle at the second French TrialGP of the season this coming weekend, round four of the 2021 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship.
France has always been a passionate supporter of trial and the venue at Cahors is situated in the heart of the country, just over 100km north of Toulouse.
The TrialGP, Trial2, Trial125 and Trial-E classes will again be in action – hot on the heels of two days of competition in Andorra – but this time around the points will only be up for grabs on Sunday.
Despite slipping to just his second defeat of the season on day two in Andorra, Spain’s reigning champion Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) remains firmly on course to claim an amazing 15th consecutive TrialGP title with a commanding eight-point lead from his compatriot Adam Raga (TRRS).
However, it’s by no means a done deal and having tasted victory last time out, Raga – world champion in 2005 and 2006 – will undoubtedly fancy his chances of upstaging his younger rival.
Matteo Grattarola (Beta) has been on the podium on three of the five points-paying days held so far this year and while the Italian is a long-shot for the title, he could still play an important role in the eventual outcome and will definitely be aiming to go one better than his second-placed finish at Charade in early July.
Another rider to watch out for is Jaime Busto (Vertigo) who led at the halfway stage on day two in Andorra before dropping to second and only a fool would discount Japanese veteran Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Honda) who became the oldest-ever TrialGP winner when he claimed a shock day-two victory at this year’s opening round in Italy.
Up until the second day of action in Andorra the Trial2 class had been a battle of the British with Jack Peace (Sherco) and Toby Martyn (TRRS) trading wins and seconds. Spain’s Aniol Gelabert (Beta), however, turned the formbook on its head when he took a clear victory on day two in Andorra ahead of his compatriot Arnau Farre (Scorpa) with Peace third as Martyn came home a disappointing sixth.
With four scoring days still to go, Martyn remains confident that he can claw back the five-point gap to Peace but he will need to start reducing the deficit in Cahors.
The destination of the Trial125 title will be decided on Sunday and Britain’s Jack Dance (GASGAS) is looking like a shoo-in for the crown. A commanding nine points ahead of his fellow countryman Harry Hemingway (Beta) following his 2-1 finishes in Andorra, the championship – the first rung on the TrialGP ladder – is his for the taking.
Completing a British 1-2-3 in the class, Harry Turner (Scorpa) could still end the season in second if Hemingway slips up on Sunday.
Trial-E will also come to a conclusion in France and it’s home hero Gael Chatagno (Electric Motion) who is in pole position with an unbeaten three wins from three starts. His fellow Frenchman Julien Perret will be aiming to sign off on top but, realistically, Chatagno holds all the cards.
Practice starts just after noon on Saturday before the action gets under way in earnest at 10am CET the following day.
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Picture Caption: Jaime Busto will be aiming to improve on his second-placed finish on day two in Andorra Pic (c) Pep Segales