Reigning FIM Trial World Champion, Toni Bou - Repsol Montesa will be looking to defend his title for the sixth year in a row, and to maintain his winning run, as the 2012 FIM Trial World Championship gets underway in La Bresse, France this weekend. The season opening event will see sixty-four riders from thirteen nations compete across four classes - World Pro, Junior and Youth, plus the newly introduced Open International category.
Bou is the clear favourite to win the World Pro category, having won the series for the last five years. The Spanish rider will arrive in La Bresse fresh from his domination of the recent 2012 FIM X-Trial World Championship in which he recorded an amazing seven wins in seven rounds. Bou will be hoping to achieve similar success outdoor and will also have the chance to make history this season by winning the FIM Trial World Championship’s first-ever Australian round.
There will be seventeen riders battling it out alongside Bou out in the World Pro, with Bou’s biggest threat coming from fellow Spanish riders Albert Cabestany - Sherco and Adam Raga - Gas Gas who will be eager to break Bou’s winning streak. Raga was the only rider other than Bou to win a round in 2011. Indeed Raga occupied the top spot four times last year in Breal-sous-Montfort, France (day two), Great Britain, Japan (day two) and Isola, France (day one). Although Cabestany finished fourth in the final outdoor ranking last year, he was Bou’s closest rival in this year’s FIM X-Trial World Championship.
Bou can expect further pressure to come his teammate Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa. Fujinami, who ended up third in the 2011 general standings. The Japanese rider has experience on his side as one of the longest standing competitors in the World Pro category. After a torrid campaign last season World number five Jeroni Fajardo - Beta is now back with within familiar surroundings, Both he and the Beta factory team will be aiming for better result in 2012.
Other riders competing in this year’s World Pro category include the likes of Great Britain’s Michael Brown - Gas Gas, James Dabill - Beta and Alexz Wigg - Gas Gas, and Loris Gubian - Gas Gas from France. All of which are capable of causing an upset amongst the more established names on their day.
Among the frontrunners in the Junior class will be Spain’s Pol Tarres - JTG and Francesc Moret - Montesa, who are sure to be pushed hard by Benoit Dagnicourt - Beta and Alexandre Ferrer - Sherco from France will, all of whom finished in the top-five last year. Joining them will be eighteen-year-old Jack Sheppard - Beta from Great Britain who will be making his debut in this class after winning the 2011 FIM Youth Trial Cup 125cc. With Sheppard promoted to the Junior division, Steven Coquelin - Gas Gas from France and Ignacio Martin - Gas Gas from Spain are among his most obvious successors in the Youth category.
Two days of hectic action lies ahead of all the riders in France, as the 2012 FIM Trial World Championship gets under way to mark the thirty-seventh edition of this unique series.