After slipping to third in Andorra seven days ago Toni Bou - Repsol Honda re-established his dominance at TrialGP France, round four of the 2017 FIM Trial World Championship, with a commanding performance. On the back of his qualification victory yesterday, the reigning FIM Trial World Champion took full advantage of his starting position at the rear of the field to destroy the opposition in Lourdes with a divine display of Trial technique.
Following a wet opening lap that saw the majority of the field incurring time penalties after being caught up in section queues, the ten-time FIM Trial World Champion led fellow Spaniard Adam Raga - TRRS by twelve marks after parting with fifteen on observation and six on time compared to his rival's twenty-five on observation and eight on time. With conditions drying dramatically any hopes Raga may have entertained of reeling in the leader were blown out of the water when Bou recorded a sensational clean second lap, earning him an eighteen-mark victory.
"After the mistakes in Andorra this was a very important victory," says Bou. "It was a strange Trial with the conditions very different between the first and second laps. Staying clean on the second lap was fantastic - I rode at one hundred per cent and I'm very happy for this. My lead now is thirteen points and I'm very much looking forward to the next round in England."
Sections one and fifteen were man-made in the town centre and took few marks, but the remainder - comprising rocky outcrops on a wooded hillside - proved costly in the wet conditions of the opening lap.
Never in contention for the win after an expensive opening lap that saw him part with thirty-six on observation and five on time, Spain's Jaime Busto - Repsol Honda backed up his debut podium at TrialGP Andorra with a fighting third place, his solid second lap of just seven placing him four marks ahead of Japanese team-mate Takahisa Fujinami.
Jeroni Fajardo - Vertigo was a further three marks adrift in fifth before a big gap to his fellow Spaniard Albert Cabestany - Sherco who, starting first following his qualification nightmare yesterday, showed great form to end the day with sixty-seven marks lost.
Spain's Miquel Gelabert - Sherco parted with seventy-four marks for a career best equalling seventh ahead of Franz Kadlec - Gas Gas from Germany on eighty-one, Italy's Matteo Grattarola - Gas Gas on eighty-four and a disappointed James Dabill - Gas Gas from Britain who, after finishing third in qualification, rounded out the top ten on eighty-five marks.
Spain's Gabriel Marcelli - Montesa parted with twenty-nine marks to hand him a four-mark victory in Trial2 ahead of Iwan Roberts - Beta from Britain who extended his series lead. Italy's Luca Petrella - TRRS was third on forty-two.
In Trial125 Fabien Poirot - Gas Gas dropped twenty-six marks to take a popular home win with a narrow one-mark victory from Italian Lorenzo Gandola - Scorpa who overcame a disaster in qualification to retain his series lead over Britain's Billy Green - Beta who finished third on thirty-two.
In the inaugural FIM TrialE Cup for electric motorcycles, riding the same course as Trial125, 1996 FIM Trial World Champion Marc Colomer - Gas Gas destroyed the opposition.
Dropping just nineteen marks, the Spanish legend - who retired from the top-flight fourteen years ago - finished forty-eight marks ahead of compatriot Cesar Panicot - Mecatecno who finished one mark clear of France's Bastien Hieyte - Electric Motion.
The 2017 TrialGP series will now pause briefly before heading to Great Britain for round five in two weeks time.