In a dramatic finish to day two of the Taisei Rotec TrialGP of Japan – round three of the 2023 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship – Jaime Busto struck back at the Mobility Resort Motegi to tie the lead in the TrialGP points standings.
In scenes straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster, the win went down to the very last section of the Trial after Busto – who had led all day – almost threw it away with maximums in the final two hazards. Saturday winner Toni Bou was handed a lifeline, but a single mark in section twelve left the Spaniards tied at the top and the victory went to Busto who completed the course just thirty seconds faster than the defending champion.
“The TrialGP of Japan was incredible for me,” Busto enthused. “I rode really well both days. Yesterday I was fighting with Toni all day but in the end, I made some silly mistakes which cost me the race. Today I started with a clear mind, focused from the first section on and I led the whole day. I had Toni behind and it’s just a pity on the last two sections I had two fives which nearly cost me the race but in the end I got the win so I couldn’t be happier. I’ve scored some really good points for the championship, and we hope to continue like this for the rest of the season.”
With conditions much better than on Saturday, the sections were stiffened up for all three classes, but with the ground much drier scores were lower across the board.
Busto, who the previous day could only watch as Bou put on a masterclass to open up a three-point championship advantage, looked like a rider at one with his machine on the steep bankings and imposing boulders. He still parted with twenty-two on his opening lap – collecting four maximums in the process – but that was good enough to give him a three-mark advantage over Bou at the halfway stage after the sixteen-time champion picked up a five on section eleven for stopping.
Lap two was a different story and the twenty-six-year-old completed the first ten sections for the loss of just a single mark as Bou slipped six further behind.
In the final two sections nerves appeared to get the better of the younger man and he added another ten marks to his score. Bou made no mistakes in section eleven this time around which meant a clean on section twelve would give him the win by a single mark, but a stray dab left the pair all square on thirty-three and Busto got the decision on a tie-break due to his faster time over the two laps.
“It was a difficult day for us, with many problems on the first lap,” Bou explained. “We picked up two fives for stopping, made many mistakes and I even thought that we would have to fight for second position. At the end of the second lap we had the opportunity to challenge for the victory and we were tied, but we were second due to time. Jaime performed at a high level today and when you make so many mistakes you can’t win. In the next race I have to be very focused because the title battle is very close, not make mistakes and get back to our best.”
Former champion Adam Raga continued his return to form with third for the second consecutive day and he could not disguise the joy on his face which was live streamed across the world on FIM-MOTO-TV. His total of forty-seven was two ahead of Gabriel Marcelli and as a result, the pair are now tied on points for third in the championship.
Jorge Casales made it four different manufacturers in the top five with his total of sixty-four ensuring he matched his best finish of the season.
The action now returns to Europe for the TrialGP of San Marino on 9-11 June.