Classed by many as the most competitive of the Trial World Championships, T2 has seen a change for 2018 in the fact that TrialGP riders are allowed to drop down to this class. Two riders who have taken advantage of this rule are Matteo Grattarola from Italy and Loris Gubian from France. This year’s action started with the qualifying rounds, where some surprises were thrown up as Gubian clearly topped the session despite coming very close to disaster on the tricky entry to the section. Fifteen riders all posted times without dropping any marks, the biggest loser being the eventual winner Grattarola with a very costly two-mark loss.
Sunshine greeted the opening of the day and with Grattarola riding close to the front of the entry he soon used it to his advantage before the rain came. Looking very comfortable since the move to four-stroke power with the Montesa after years on the Spanish two-stroke Gas Gas, his opening lap score of a mere three marks lost was the only sub-ten mark as everyone else handed their scorecards in with over 10-mark losses. Great Britain’s Jack Peace, the younger of the two brothers, had his lap spoilt by a single five-mark loss but remained strong all day to finish second.
With Loris Gubian finishing third followed by one of the pre-championship favourites Toby Martyn it was once again a younger brother, this time of the Gelberts, as Aniol on the Scorpa rounded off a mixture of experience and youth in the top five positions. The following marks, from fifth to tenth, remained very close showing just how competitive this class is with every mark lost counting. With only one round gone, it is a brave man who could determine the outcome of this championship in 2018!
This class remains quite unique to the TrialGP one as it’s not a Spanish domination, with five different nationalities finishing in the top fifteen positions. Great Britain has had a strong presence here, producing many world cup champions, but what is notable is the resurgence of Italy as a trialling nation. Yes, Grattarola has moved down a class, but Italy has a new breed of younger riders coming through the ranks as well as riders from Norway.