This coming weekend the battle for the 2019 FIM TrialGP World Championship gets underway as Pietramurata di Dro, Italy, plays host to Toni Bou, who sets off on the path to conquer a thirteenth consecutive outdoor trial world title.
This weekend, May 25th and 26th, just a couple of weeks after the culmination of the X-Trial World Championship, the 2019 edition of the TrialGP World Championship kicks off. Repsol Honda Team once again line up their two official riders: multi-time champion Toni Bou and Japanese veteran Takahisa Fujinami.
For Toni Bou, the challenge is even greater. After twelve outdoor and thirteen indoor titles, the goal will be to maintain the exceptionally high level that he has shown for over a decade, which has seen the Spaniard remain the discipline’s undisputed number one. With eight trials this season, the Repsol Honda Team rider believes it will be very important to maintain a solid consistency to achieve this aim. In Pietramurata, Bou has managed to clinch top step of the TrialGP podium on the two most recent occasions.
In the fray, as always, will be Takahisa Fujinami, Repsol Honda Team’s Japanese trial rider. Twenty-four years after debuting in the Trial World Championship in Spain, ‘Fujigas’, who finished 2018 with 330 top-level participations, will be hunting down a top five overall place and, in addition, has the goal of a podium place in each round.
The Italian TrialGP starts on Saturday 25th with the mandatory administrative and technical checks. Once out of the way, riders will compete in the night-time qualification section, under the floodlights of the Metzeler Offroad Park in Pietramurata di Dro. Sunday 26th is race day, with ignition time set for 09:00 and the final podium due at 15:45.
Interview with Toni Bou: “Achieving all these successes is a dream”
Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou won the 2019 FIM X-Trial World Championship after a stellar season, winning five out of the six scheduled events. This marks a thirteenth indoor title for Bou, bringing his overall title tally to 25. The battle to add another indoor-outdoor double gets underway this weekend.
-This week a new TrialGP World Championship begins. What condition is Toni Bou in for the first calendar event?
-It was a very intense pre-season, where I wasn’t able to train as much as I had wanted after the fractured ribs in Japan which meant I was practically out for two months. In Barcelona I had another fall and took a turn for the worst, but little by little I have been getting it together physically and, after a great indoor season, I think we are ready to start a new TrialGP World Championship. Hopefully the physique will hold up well.
-13 world X-Trials. Is the next goal is to get the double with a thirteenth TrialGP World Championship?
-The positive part is that you win and you are successful. The “negative” part is that you are obliged to win in everything that you participate in. Everyone is expecting it from you! I am already used to this pressure and that is why I try to enjoy everything that I achieve. Now, we are well-prepared for the outdoor season and we will try to fight for this objective.
-Knowing you, I should imagine that the objective is the title… but what obstacles could be in the way this season?
– It will be a difficult year because there are only eight events and that means you can’t fail and miss out on the podium as that could complicate your goal. It will be very important to maintain good consistency and win the maximum number of trials possible. The rivals are always very motivated because beating the number one is a great victory. In addition, some have changed teams and can also be a good motivation for them.
-It was an intense and very closely-fought indoor championship
-Yes, it was a very tight year, things were getting tricky and qualifying for the final it was hard work! The slightest mistake and you are out! It is gruelling and it’s easy to make mistakes. We have to work a lot mentally, we have to be very focused, but I think we achieved that this year. I am happy for the character that we showed. It was a season complicated by injuries; riding without being at 100%, then battling in all the trials and getting the final win in Andorra, which I think was the best way to end the championship.
-13 titles, 62 wins and 75 podiums… those stats are hard to replicate.
-The numbers are incredible. It is a dream. As a child I wanted to be a world champion and having achieved all this is an outrage, something I could not even imagine. Not just one title -now there are 13 and these figures which are just unthinkable. Now, we just have to enjoy it, take advantage of everything and savour the positive moment.