Very few people would bet against the might of Spain’s men lifting the FIM Trial des Nations trophy for a tenth time in a row when the competition takes place this Sunday at La Chatre, France. Led by recently crowned FIM Trial World Champion Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa, Spain’s male quartet also includes 2013 vice FIM Trial World Champion Adam Raga – Gas Gas, plus Albert Cabestany – Sherco and Jeroni Fajardo – Beta who finished fourth and fifth in this year’s general standings respectively. Their current collective rankings alone set them apart from their rivals and makes them the clear favourites to defend their title once again.
The Great Britain line up of James Dabill – Beta, Jack Challoner – Beta, Michael Brown – Gas Gas and Jack Sheppard – Beta has the task of maintaining its position of being the best of the rest as they again look to follow home the unstoppable Spanish squad. Last year Great Britain had no answer to Spain’s domination and finished well behind the eventual winners whilst having to defend off the attention of the Italian team who finally took the last podium place. Like Britain’s Sheppard, Poli Matteo – Beta will make his FIM Trial des Nations debut in France as he joins Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas, Francesco Iolitta – Montesa and Fabio Lenzi – Beta to represent Italy.
Loris Gubian – Gas Gas, Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco, Benoit Dagnicourt – Beta and Cedric Tempier – Sherco will carry the hopes of the host nation as they look to improve on the fourth spot they achieved in Switzerland twelve months ago. The French, who won five out of the first seven editions of the FIM Trial des Nations, were last on the podium back in 2001 when the event was held in La Bresse, France so are sure to be hoping to repeat a similar homecoming this time around. Norway will be the fifth and final team in the top category and will be looking to uphold Scandinavian honour against the other four European representatives.
Nineteen teams from as far a field as Australia and the USA will contest the International Trophy Group, with this category promising to be as close and fiercely fought as ever. Winners of last year’s International Trophy Group will once again be amongst the favourites, but will have to fight off the attentions of Sweden and Germany who finished second and third respectively in 2012. Belgium and Ireland are two previous winners of this class who cannot be discounted from taking top honours once again if they perform to their potential on the day. The USA and Australia will hope their long distance travel is worthwhile, as they both look to break into the top five after having just missed out last year.
Spain’s women will be missing Laia Sanz as they look to make it four wins in a row in the FIM Women’s Trial des Nations that will take place in La Chatre this Saturday. Sandra Gomez – Gas Gas and Mireia Conde – Beta will be joined by Elisabeth Solera – Gas Gas on this occasion, as the latter of the team makes her debut in this prestigious competition. The established British duo of Emma Bristow – Sherco and Rebekah Cook – Beta will welcome back Joanne Coles – Gas Gas to their ranks, who was a part of the team when Great Britain last won back in 2009, as they look to improve on the runners-up placing they claimed last year. Marilyne Journet – Beta, Pauline Masanes – Gas Gas and Sandrine Juffet – JTG will have the proud honour of representing France on home soil and will hope to at least match the podium place they earned in 2012.