Barcelona

Classic Trial - - CONTENTS -

Events en­ter the his­tory books rarely, for cer­tain rea­sons, and with great cel­e­bra­tion. The cel­e­bra­tions of the 40th in­door com­pe­ti­tion in Barcelona were no dif­fer­ent. Times change as do rid­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers, and rules, but this iconic event has re­mained very much an open win­dow to the world of tri­als, hav­ing given, as it does, to­tal trans­parency for the pub­lic to view the top rid­ers in ac­tion for forty years. Many read­ers as­so­ciate in­door events with the week­end, as they now take place on Satur­day and Sun­day with the odd one on a Fri­day. The first event was on the Thurs­day evening of the 24th Jan­uary 1978, and it lit­er­ally sold out. It took place at the city’s Palais des Sports sta­dium. Free ac­cess was granted to those peo­ple who were in pos­ses­sion of a copy of the SoloMoto magazine, who had or­gan­ised the com­pe­ti­tion in re­sponse to the Span­ish mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers Bul­taco, Mon­tesa and Ossa. Af­ter the suc­cess of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als man­u­fac­tur­ing in Great Bri­tain had faded the man­tle was taken over by the Spa­niards, with the ‘Big Three’ dom­i­nat­ing sales. Tri­als was the talk of the city of Barcelona, and the roof was well and truly raised when it pro­duced a home win­ner at the first event, with Jamie Su­bira rid­ing a Mon­tesa Cota 348 model tak­ing his win in front of the Tri­als World Cham­pion from Fin­land, Yrjo Ves­ter­i­nen on the Bul­taco.

The first event was very much a demon­stra­tion of the art of tri­als but based on this ini­tial pop­u­lar­ity it soon be­came a main­stay event on the in­ter­na­tional cal­en­dar. It would open the door for other coun­tries to stage in­door tri­als as they had noted the suc­cess in Barcelona. Other in­door types of event would start to ap­pear across Europe and Amer­ica, fo­cussing more as a demon­stra­tion of rid­ing and not al­ways as a com­pe­ti­tion. Fans of mo­tor­cy­cle tri­als were more than happy to go and see an in­door show in­stead of trudg­ing across open moor­land or fields! Span­ish ma­chin­ery con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the in­door event, with Schreiber in 1979 and 1980 on the Bul­taco, be­fore Toni Gor­got stole the show for Ossa in 1981. The fol­low­ing year the rid­ers watched in amaze­ment a young Bel­gian rider on a four-stroke Honda. The rider was Eddy Le­je­une, who would take three straight wins from 1982–1984.

In these early years, the rid­ers would take a break be­fore the fi­nal, and the packed crowd would be en­ter­tained by a young Span­ish kid, An­dreu Co­d­ina on the new Mon­te­sita cy­cle tri­als bike pro­duced by Mon­tesa. In 1985 he re­stored home pride as he trans­ferred his cy­cle skills to a mo­tor­cy­cle and took the win on the new Mon­tesa. Watch­ing Co­d­ina tak­ing the win that night was Jordi Tar­res. From 1986 un­til 1993 he would win ev­ery year, rid­ing first Beta and then Gas Gas. The only in­ter­rup­tion was Ital­ian rider on an Ital­ian ma­chine: the late Diego Bo­sis in 1987 on an Aprilia. Tar­res was the king of Spain.

The Palau Sant Jordi Sta­dium

In 1992, and with con­tin­ued suc­cess, the event moved to the Palau Sant Jordi sta­dium sit­u­ated high on the hill over­look­ing Barcelona. The venue had a much larger floor space and of­fered the op­por­tu­nity for more spec­ta­tors to at­tend and a bet­ter se­lec­tion of sec­tions for the rid­ers to per­form on. With Tar­res ap­proach­ing the end of his suc­cess­ful tri­als ca­reer in moved the new Span­ish star Marc Colomer rid­ing a Beta, who would take his first win in 1994. His move to Mon­tesa would bring three more vic­to­ries, un­til 1998 when Great Bri­tain’s Dougie Lamp­kin stole the show with a crowd of just un­der 15,000 show­ing their ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Colomer took re­venge with another win in 1999.

Lamp­kin moved to Mon­tesa in 2000, giv­ing the home fans a win­ner for the next two years, but once again a new Span­ish up­start on a Span­ish ma­chine was ready to take over: Adam Raga on the Gas Gas. Adam Raga would start to make his mark on the event, rid­ing the new ‘Pro’ model from 2002–2005. The ar­rival of Toni Bou on the Beta started a win­ning run of the event in 2006 be­fore the move to the mighty Rep­sol Honda team con­tin­ued the suc­cess. Apart from another win for Raga in 2008 Bou has re­mained un­beaten on his way to 10 FIM X-Trial World Cham­pi­onships and ten out­door ti­tles. In 2017 he made it his eleventh win in Barcelona, much to the de­light of a packed sta­dium of scream­ing fans, just like at the start of this in­door ad­ven­ture back in 1978.

Clas­sic Trial Magazine and John Hulme would like to recog­nise the help from the event pro­moter RPM in the gen­er­a­tion of this ar­ti­cle.

Rid­ers young and old were pre­sented with me­men­toes from the evening, in­clud­ing the fa­ther of the late Ital­ian rider Diego Bo­sis. The 1978 win­ner Jamie Su­bira opened up the evening’s cel­e­bra­tions. To show the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween in­door and out­door a Scot­tish Piper Band marched into the arena.

A dis­play of win­ning ma­chines was made avail­able to the pub­lic. This is the front cover of Solo Moto show­ing the 1980 com­pe­ti­tion. Free ac­cess was gained in 1978 by those peo­ple who were in pos­ses­sion of a copy of the SoloMoto magazine, who had or­gan­ised the first com­pe­ti­tion! It was good to see Amer­i­can Bernie Schreiber at the event. Jordi Tar­res won on Beta ma­chin­ery at the start of his ca­reer.

The trial was well pub­li­cised in Barcelona, the home of the com­pe­ti­tion. The orig­i­nal event took place in the city’s Palais des Sports sta­dium. In 1981 Toni Gor­got would re­store Span­ish pride with a win for Ossa on the new yel­low ‘Grip­per’ model.

As­sem­bled here is the school of 1983. From left: Toni Gor­got (Mon­tesa-ESP); Jamie Su­bira (Fan­ticESP); Joseph Jo (Mon­tesa-ESP); Joan Freixas (Mer­lin-ESP); Al­berto Jua­vantey (Ossa-ESP); Gilles Bur­gat(Fan­tic-FRA); Charles Coutard(JCM-FRA); Bernie Schreiber (SWM-USA); Curt Comer (Fan­ticCAN); Eddy Le­je­une (Honda-BEL); Danilio Galeazzi(SWM-ITA)

Wa­ter haz­ards were in­cluded as the rid­ers went through up­turned refuse skips.

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