The British Grand Prix this coming weekend marks round six of eight in the 2014 FIM Trial World Championship. With a mere four points separating the two main title contenders the two days of action at the Nord Vue venue near Penrith may prove decisive in the ultimate fight to become King between Toni Bou – Repsol Honda and Adam Raga – Gas Gas. Bou will bring a slender lead to the British mainland much due to his back-to-back wins in Italy and in Belgium last weekend. Surprising his latest victory was only his third of the season and confirms just how strong a challenger Raga is once again proving this year.
Twelve months ago Bou’s brace of victories at Nord Vue did proved to be decisive as he opened up a ten point advantage heading into the last round in France where he finally clinched his seventh successive outdoor crown to see him draw level with Jordi Tarres and Dougie Lampkin in terms of FIM Trial World Championship wins. Raga will know that he will need to improve on his 3 -2 showing in Britain in 2013 if he is to maintain pressure on Bou going into the closing two events of this year’s series. The Gas Gas teamster sighted ‘too many mistakes’ as being the reason he missed a prime opportunity to punish Bou in the muddy Belgian conditions a few days ago.
Although someway back from the leading pairing in the general standings Albert Cabestany – Sherco is currently enjoying one of his best campaigns in some years and sits third in the table. His recent run of four podium finishes on the bounce has seen him climb above fans’ favourite Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda. Fujinami’s fourth place last time out signalled a slight return of form for the Japanese rider who continues to struggle with the knee injury he sustained last September. The veteran protagonist will undergo surgery immediately after the last round in Spain to attend to the damaged joint.
Beta team-mates Jeroni Fajardo and James Dabill continue to battle it out for the final place in the top five, with the Spanish rider currently holding the upper hand over his British counterpart. Dabill will be hoping that he can capitalise on the normally strong home support to record his best result of the season to date, and perhaps even match his top three placing that he earned at Nord Vue back in 2012. Expect Jorge Casale – Gas Gas, Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco, Pol Tarres – Sherco and Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas to be in the mix, with all four riders capable of causing an upset on the day. The home charge is sure to include Alexz Wigg – Gas Gas, Michael Brown – Gas and Jack Sheppard – Beta who all will be desperate to perform well on their own patch.
Franz Kadlec – Beta appears to be the man of the moment in the FIM Trial World Cup with the seventeen year old from German now closing in on Spain’s series leader Jaime Busto – Beta thanks to win his win in Belgium and second place in Italy. After recording four wins in Japan and Corsica Busto has failed to make it on to the podium on he last two occasions and has seen his lead in the general standings now reduced to just eight points. Steven Coquelin – Gas Gas holds third overall and was happy with his runners up placing last weekend after having not scored points in Italy, in a class that is fierce and where the top fifteen positions were spilt by a mere fifteen marks last time out.
Gael Chatagno – Sherco remains the runaway leader in the FIM 125 Trial class. The young French rider has only been beaten once this season and is the clear favourite to take the 2014 title with rounds to spare. Sixteen-year-old Thomas Minta – Sherco from Britain made a sensation debut by finishing second in Belgium and will be looking to go one better in front of his home fans this weekend. Teo Colairo – Gas Gas and Noe Pretalli – JTG are two other riders to watch out for in this feeder category as the best of Trial hits Great Britain this coming weekend.