World Championship Heads To France

alexandre ferrer lourdes preview storyFrench hopeful, Alexandre Ferrer will be looking to make the most of home advantage at LourdesWith no time to pause the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship continues this weekend coming as the series stays in the Pyrenees for the French GP at the new venue of Lourdes, which will mark the fifth round of the current series.


France has been a prolific supporter of the FIM Trial World Championship having only been absent from the calendar for one year (1990) since the legendary Mick Andrews won the first Trial GP held at Amberieu back in 1975.


There has actually been a total of forty-one Trial Grand Prix events staged in France, including on three occasions those being in 2002, 2011 and 2014 when as well as hosting their home round, a separate event classified as a ‘European’ round was also staged on French soil. During the period 1975 through to today an amazing thirty-four venues have been utilised, the series having visited many regions from the Pyrenees to the Alps to the south coast.


Many talented French riders have graced the FIM Trial World Championship from Charles Coutard in the early years through to Pascal Couturier, Adrian Prato, Philippe Berlatier and Bruno Camozzi but there have only been three home GP winners. This elite trio includes Thierry Michaud, three times – 1983, 1985 and 1986; Gilles Burgat twice – 1981 and 1982 and a surprise win in 1988 for Thierry Girard at Montbrison, who remains the only rider ever to win a Trial GP on a Yamaha TY250.


Thierry Michaud and Gilles Burgat are the only French FIM Trial World Champions. Michaud took his titles in 1985, 1986 and 1988. Burgat's single World crown came back in 1981 when aged just nineteen, he was the FIM Trial World Champion, French Champion and took victory in the Scottish Six Days Trial all in the same year.


The rider with most victories at Trial GP events staged in France is Britain’s Dougie Lampkin with an amazing thirteen, but right behind Doug on twelve wins is 2016 title challenger Adam Raga - TRS. Raga also has the most podiums, an astonishing twenty-three and will be aiming to increase his total this weekend as he continues to attempt to depose nine times World Champion Toni Bou –Repsol Honda.


French hopes this year are pinned on current World number seven, Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco and Loris Gubian –Beta. Both riders have been struggling to achieve their true form in 2016 and will be looking to score big at their home GP in Lourdes.


There is every chance of home success in the Trial2 class though with Benoit Bincaz – Scorpa and Gael Chatagno - Sherco leading the challenge from Maxime Varin - Scorpa, Teo Colairo – Beta, Remy Corna – Beta and Pierre Sauvage – Sherco.


Finally in the Trial125 class the host nation’s hopes rest with Paul Mehu - Beta and Kieron Touly – Sherco as the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship returns to France yet again this weekend to continue its long history with the series.