Can Toni Bou Challenge At World Championship Opener?

toni bou trials 2016 spain preview storyA recent training injury has cast a doubt over if Toni Bou - Repsol Honda will be fully fit or not as he looks to open his title defence and to claim a tenth consecutive FIM Trial World Championship as the 2016 season gets underway in Cal Rosal, Spain this coming weekend. Bou was forced to sit out of last weekend’s FIM X-Trial des Nations after he damaged his right shoulder as the result of a practice crash. Ironically it was Bou’s archrival Adam Raga – TRS who stepped in at the last minute and helped lead Spain to victory in the team competition. There is no doubt that this will have boosted Raga’s confidence as he again looks to lock horns with his dominant compatriot. 


Raga leads a trio of Spanish challengers who will look to topple Toni, these include Jeroni Fajardo – Vertigo who will make his debut for his new team in the series, and Albert Cabestany –Sherco who continues to be a threat to the front runners although sometime lack the consistency to mount a serious attack on the title. At opposing ends of their careers veteran Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Honda and his rookie team mate Jaime Busto – Repsol Honda.


A total of twenty-three contenders will line up in the newly named TrialGP class with younger riders like home countryman Jorge Casales- Beta and Swede Eddie Karlsson- Montesa looking to move up the rankings from their current ninth and tenth places respectively, and thus making life tough for established contenders Frenchman Alexandre Ferrer - Sherco and Britain’s James Dabill- Vertigo.


German teenager Franz Kadlec – Gas Gas, just eighteen and currently ranked eleventh, heads the rejuvenated Spanish factory’s challenge while the reigning Trial2 champion and vice Champion, France’s Quentin Carles de Caudemberg - Montesa and Spain’s Miquel Gelabert- Sherco add a further youthful presence in the top category. 


Trial 2 - With the top two Trial2 competitors of 2015 having moved up to TrialGP, the intermediate class is wide open for the new season with current number three, nineteen year-old Welsh champion Iwan Roberts - Beta, one of the favourites. Roberts’ British compatriot Jack Price - Gas Gas has been practising hard in Spain over the winter months and will be looking to improve his current seventh place ranking, but France’s attack also looks very strong with Benoit Bincaz - Scorpa and Gael Chatagno- Sherco all looking to take the newly titled Trial2 crown. This division is again the largest class with twenty-eight contestants for the opening round and as in 2015 is sure to be hotly contested right to the final round in Italy come September.


Trial125 – Germany’s Christopher Wengler – Ossa is the highest ranked rider from last season who remains in the newly christened Trial125 class. His main threat appears to be from his compatriot Max Faude – Beta, Australia’s Connor Hogan – Sherco plus Jack Peace – Gas Gas from Britain. 


Two days of competition awaits the sixty-six riders on the pre-entry as this weekend’s Spanish Trial Grand Prix gets the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship started.