Having dominated the FIM Trial des Nations for the last eight editions in a row, the Spanish men’s team will head to Moutier, Switzerland this coming weekend confident of taking their ninth straight win. Who would bet against them when you consider their formidable line up that consists of the current top four riders in the World? Reigning and six times FIM Trial World Champion Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa will lead his equally able compatriots into battle as this famous team event takes place on Swiss soil for the first time since the competition was conceived in Poland back in 1984. Bou will be joined by 2012 FIM Trial Vice World Champion Adam Raga – Gas Gas, World number three Jeroni Fajardo – Beta and Albert Cabestany – Sherco who placed fourth in this year’s outdoor series.
Great Britain were Spain’s nearest challengers when the FIM Trial des Nations was hosted in the Italian mountains last year, but in reality they never posed a real threat to their southern European rivals. In fact it was team GB who were the last nation to defeat Spain, with their victory ironically being in Italy back in 2003 and marking back-to back successes for a squad then captained by Dougie Lampkin. Lampkin made his final appearance at this event last year after having competed in no less than fifteen editions and collecting four gold medals. This year James Dabill – Beta leads the British quartet, which also includes Jack Challoner – Beta, Michael Brown – Gas Gas and Alexz Wigg – Gas Gas.
Once again Italy and France look the likely contenders for the last podium place in the World Championship class that is rounded out by Norway, who have elected to be part of this elite group. In the International Trophy Group a total of nineteen teams from as far afield as Australia and South America will fight it out for top honours. Germany were victorious in this category twelve months ago, though Jan Junklewitz – Sherco, Micro Kammel, Christian Kregeloh and Jan Peters will have a tough fight on their hands to retain the trophy, with Sweden, the Czech Republic and Australia sure to be amongst their main contenders once again.
The weekend of action will kick off with the FIM Women’s Trial des Nations taking place on Saturday, when eleven countries will be represented in an event that promises to be equally as hotly contested as the men’s competition that will take place the following day. Matching their male counterparts, Spain’s women were also worthy winners in 2011 as they made it two wins in a row. Laia Sanz – Repsol Montesa, Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas and Mireria Conde – Beta are back to defend their title and to resume their rivalry with Great Britain who have won this competition on three previous occasions and who finished as close runners-up last year. Again Germany, France and Italy seem the obvious nations to also be in the mix when the rostrum places are finally decided.
The twenty-ninth edition of the FIM Trial des Nations is almost upon us, when Spain’s men and women will aim to defend their respective team titles.