The 2022 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship got off to a scorching start with the first points-paying day of competition at the opening round – the TrialGP of Spain – at L’Hospitalet de L’Infant.
Based around 70 miles southwest of Barcelona, the Tarragona venue hadn’t seen top-flight trial action since the 2015 FIM Trial des Nations.
Defending champion Toni Bou hasn’t lost an opening-round since 2016 but the record-breaking champ – who’s looking for his 16th straight title this year – had to settle for second after a sensational performance by fellow Spaniard Jaime Busto.
In baking temperatures, Busto recorded only his second career win at the highest level – and the first-ever TrialGP victory for the Spanish manufacturer – to put himself on top of the world!
“Today has been incredible,” said Busto, “and I’m so happy to start the season like this. The bike and the team have been incredible and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
After an opening man-made section of logs and concrete pipes that took a shock maximum at the first attempt from Bou, the action was predominantly in and around a dry riverbed where super-steep bankings and huge rocks provided a serious challenge for the best riders in the world.
Following a high-scoring opening lap with plenty of time penalties that ultimately had no bearing on the podium positions, Miquel Gelabert was leading on 22 followed by Busto and Gelabert’s younger brother Aniol – who was riding out of his skin after graduating to the TrialGP class this season – on 24. Bou was next best on 25 with Adam Raga completing the all-Spanish top five on 27.
Ultimately, two sections decided the outcome of the trial – section four set under a viaduct with precipitous bankings and imposing boulders, and section eight in the riverbed with its series of massive rock steps.
Bou couldn’t get to grips with either and picked up maximums at each attempt while Busto added just eight to his total as he ran out winner with 25 on observation and four time penalties giving him a six-mark advantage as Bou parted with 32 and picked up further three on time.
“It’s always better to start the TrialGP Championship winning, but, as far as the trial went, second position is not bad,” Bou said of his second-place finish.
“I started the event pretty badly, but then I was able to recover,” Bou continued, “It was a tough trial, with a lot of heat and some very demanding sections. It was easy to make mistakes, in fact, I made a lot of errors and, physically, I wasn’t at 100% either. So, after such a difficult day, I think that a second place today is a good result for the beginning of the championship. Besides, the rivals were very tight today and it’s going to be a complicated championship. For tomorrow, the idea is to start stronger, to see if I can get my riding together and see if things go better for me. Today I was tired and it was difficult to pull back after making so many mistakes.”
Gelabert was a career-best equalling third on a total of 45 which put him six clear of his brother as Raga came home in fifth on 51 with his four time penalties costing him a position.
The action resumes tomorrow with the first rider away at 9am.