An electrifying start for TrialE
The timeline is France 2017, at the introduction of the FIM TrialE Cup at Laudes as a single round event. The promoter of the FIM Trial World Championship, Sport7, dipped their toes in the water to gauge reaction to these new generation electric powered machines. As it happened it proved a huge hit with the public, in both the qualifying and the event itself the following day. Spanish manufacturer Gas Gas had embraced this opportunity and produced a game-changing new electric trials machine to be ridden by the 1996 FIM Trial World Champion and three-time FIM Indoor Trial World Champion Marc Colomer; he is now the manufacturer’s Competition Racing Manager. The victory went to Marc on the Gas Gas and quite rightly so, based on the amount of effort and innovation that had gone into the new machine. Wind the clock forward to 2018 and it’s now a two-event world championship, with this first round in France followed by the second round in Belgium one week later. Has the series got a future, you may ask? Yamaha certainly think so, as the new Yamaha TY-E model from Japan was unveiled for the first time in Europe with its number one rider Kenichi Kuroyama holding the handlebars. I must take this opportunity to apologise to the readers because, due to production schedules, we had to go to print before round two, so the next time you read the magazine we will have a new TrialE World Champion; will it be from Japan?
The sun was out on the new era of the Trial-E championship for the first of the two-round championship in France. Riding on home soil Loris Gubian had the home support but after cruising through qualifying one, which would have given him the better starting position, an unexpected stop was rewarded with no time recorded and five marks putting him as the second rider to start behind fellow countryman Bastien Hieyte in qualifying two. As it happened this played into the hands of Yamaha and Japan’s Kenichi Kuroyama. Many of you will remember the Japanese rider from when he was resident in Europe riding a factory Beta in the world championship before an indoor accident stalled his career. His usual mount is the development four-stroke Yamaha on which he has already scored TWC points. In qualifying two he set the fastest time, putting a huge smile on the factory personnel who had travelled from Japan to see their new creation in action.
The only casualty of the timed qualifying sessions was Takumi Narita, who retired from the event having aggravated an old back injury he carries from his world championship days.
Riding any trials competition with an early start number can either work for you or against you, and in Gubian’s case it went the wrong way. The opening hazard was quite a severe exposed jumble of rocks on a steep hillside. Bastien Hieyte opened the action parting with two marks before Gubian followed his line and had to part with three marks to keep forward motion. Kenichi Kuroyama made his attempt on the hazard, taking a new line and with it the advantage of keeping his feet firmly on the footrests to record a clean ride. Christophe Bruand opened his day also with a clean passage through the hazard. Gaining confidence on every section ridden, the Japanese rider recorded a clean lap parting with no marks followed by Gubian on that solitary three marks lost and Bruand with his only loss which was a five on section twelve.
No way back
Knowing he had the advantage Kuroyama rode a very calculated second lap, parting with just two marks in the knowledge that Gubian was the one under pressure. Gubian parted with one more mark on section four but he knew riding against the Japanese top rider there was no way back from his earlier disaster. Looking very different in his black and white riding kit Christophe Bruand came home, pretty happy with his day’s riding, in third.
The other big loser of the day was the unfortunate Joan Cordon on the Mecatecno. The Spanish rider had some issues with the mechanics of the machine and struggled to finish, but at least he scored some points before the action moves to Belgium in one week’s time.
The terrain in France was very dry with wheel grip at its very best, but we will have to wait and see what happens in Belgium as last time the Trial World Championship visited this same venue the heavens opened!
Looking very different in his black and white riding kit, Christophe Bruand certainly entered into the spirt of the event. He also made his way to the podium with some inspired riding on the Electric Motion machine. Having been involved in electric trials machines for some time now Bastian Hieyte (Electric Motion-FRA) will be disappointed with his result. Using all his years of experience in world championship events Loris Gubian came home a close second on the new Gas Gas. The moment Loris Gubian lost the trial on the very first hazard, when he parted with three marks. The opening hazard was pretty difficult as an opener for the E class.