Costa Brava Classic
In 2017 the event was pleased to welcome two of the current top ten riders from TrialGP, world number five and the 2004 World Champion Takahisa Fujinami, and world number ten from Italy Matteo Grattarola. Fujigas, as he is affectionately known, is the original playboy from the trials world having spent over twenty years competing in the championship. His enthusiasm and encouragement for the world of motorcycle trials is a credit to his ongoing commitment to the sport. He loves the fun factor — and anyone who will have seen him being thrown into the swimming pool after the awards presentation will know exactly what we mean! Matteo Grattarola was encouraged to ride the event on a twin-shock Honda four-stroke as has moved to the Montesa Cota 4RT for the 2018 TrialGP season. In this article we have a look at the past and present with the many riders who have given so much to our sport over the years. We also look at other winners of trials events in more recent times.
I have been attending trials since my earliest recollections, from 1967 of Mick Andrews at Hawk’s Nest. Over the next fifty years I would witness some of the most magical events in trials, watching so many of the great riders in action. In more modern times, and with my work now totally focussed on both this publication and our sister one Classic Trial Magazine, my travels take me far and wide around the globe. This was my second year at the Costa Brava Classic Two Day in late November, and it is with great delight that I can witness some of my early trials heroes in action as they are now very much a part of the classic scene. With a full entry of three hundred and sixty riders it was very much a who’s who of the trials world.
96 TRIAL MAGAZINE2004: Takahisa Fujinami (Honda-JPN) – Trial World Champion: 2004. Since his first appearance on the world scene in 1996 the ever popular Japanese rider has remained in the top ten of the Trial World Championship over a long and distinguished career, taking many individual world round wins. What makes Fujinami quite unique is the fact that he has remained loyal to the Honda/ Montesa machinery on this incredible adventure. Taking the 2004 championship, which was the last for the brand using two-stroke engines, he last won a world round in France 2016 on the fourstroke Cota 4RT and still remains a force to be reckoned with at the very cutting edge of the sport.
2017: Yrjo Vesterinen (Bultaco-FIN). Inset: 1976: Yrjo Vesterinen (Bultaco-FIN) – Trial World Champion: 1976–1978; Scottish Six Days Trial Winner: 1980; Finnish National Champion: 1970–1980; British Trials Champion: 1982. In a career which has now been extended to the classic world, Yrjo ‘Vesty’ Vesterinen was the first foreign winner of the ‘Scottish’ on Montesa in 1980 before becoming the only ever foreign winner of the British Trials Championship, for Bultaco in 1982. After retiring from top flight trials he started the world famous Apico brand in 1984 with his wife Diane. After selling the business in 2014 he became more involved with classic trials, where he is just as competitive now as he was when he was chasing world championships.
2017: Steve Saunders (Fantic-GBR). Inset: 1983: Steve Saunders (Armstrong-GBR) – Vice Trial World Champion: 1986; Scottish Six Days Trial Winner: 1988–1991; British Trials Champion: 1983–1992. After a very successful youth career on both Fantic and Bultaco machines Steve moved to the new Armstrong trials project in 1983, and his domination of the British trials championship would run for ten years riding Armstrong, Honda, Fantic and Beta along the way. During his world championship years he would win nine individual rounds. His four consecutive Scottish wins were won on both Fantic and Beta machines, two each. Now the official UK importer for TRS, his skills are still a pleasure to watch in classic trials.