Trial2 Italy 2018
First and foremost, before I go further with this article, I want to say a massive thank you to all the organisers, promoters, marshals and observers around the globe who make the world of trials happen. Just remember all those as mentioned above when you have a lousy ride, maybe a bad day, and that the vast majority are unpaid and out to enjoy their day just as much as you, during my time in trials, I have seen some very good decisions and some very bad ones, at all levels of the sport. During my competitive riding days, I have had some decisions go against me, some that I have benefitted from and others I have not. What I saw unfold right in front of my very eyes at the 2018 final world round in Italy left me wondering just who had won! In the end, history would record it was Italy’s Matteo Grattarola who was crowned the 2018 FIM Trial2 World Champion. The scene is set in the 2018 Trial2 World Championship class for a fantastic finale to see who would become the world champion. Having moved down from the TrialGP class Italy’s experienced Matteo Grattarola started the eight-round series, meaning nine points-scoring days as Japan was a two-day event, on a high where he dominated all the way through to round four in Andorra with three wins from four starts. The only interruption was Toby Martyn from Great Britain, who won in Japan on day two. The points were in favour of Grattarola on 77 to Martyn’s 59. Dan Peace won in Portugal on the Gas Gas at round five, the only two-stroke to win in 2018 in this class. Both Grattarola and Martyn were off the pace, but Martyn started his fight back here as he finished in fourth position compared to Matteo in tenth! In France, Toby was bang on form to take another win, as Grattarola once again finished behind him as the advantage closed. Martyn won again in both Belgium and Great Britain to bring us to the last round in Italy. If Grattarola won and Toby was second, it would be the English rider who would take the title, but if he finished third they would tie on points and the Italian would take the title, it was that close.
They both shook hands in a very sporting manner as they set off on their quest to win the 2018 Trial2 World Championship. Fair dues to Grattarola, he was in fantastic form parting with a single mark on each of the two laps of 15 sections to take a convincing, clear victory. For Toby Martyn he was on the back foot from section one, with a five-mark penalty recorded as things went from bad to worse with another five in section two – his title hopes were already slipping away. Throw the talented Spanish rider Gabrielle Marcelli into the equation. Martyn held second position after the opening lap with Marcelli in third, but on the final lap the Spanish rider produced the form that he had been promising all season as he approached the final hazard on four marks lost to Martyn’s nine, and it looked like it was all over for the Englishman. All Marcelli had to do was clean the last section, and he would finish second.
‘Pause’ For Thought
Now get this clear in your mind: Marcelli rode into the final hazard and after a pause, was awarded a ‘feet-up’ five by the observer who held the board up and blew the whistle; Toby Martyn was the 2018 Trial2 World Champion! By the time Marcelli had finished the hazard, Matteo Grattarola was the 2018 Trial2 World Champion though, as the observer – remember the unpaid guy having a sporting day out observing at an FIM Trial World Championship round – had changed his mind.
The patriotic Italian crowd had verbally demonstrated about the five-mark penalty, and the observer had buckled under the pressure; maybe anyone else would have done, imagine this at a world round where the home rider is being denied the championship title. At the prize-giving ceremony, Matteo Grattarola was crowned the 2018 Trial2 World Champion as Toby Martyn graciously shook his hand in a very professional manner.
Before I close this article remember that none of the three riders involved – Matteo Grattarola, Toby Martyn or Gabrielle Marcelli had anything to do with the observer’s decision. On the podium, they at all times remained very professional with one another, and the 2018 season was over.
The top three riders in the 2018 FIM Trial2 World Championship: (2nd) Toby Martyn (Montesa-GBR), (1st) Matteo Grattarola (Honda-ITA), (3rd) Gabrielle Marcelli (Montesa-ESP)
25 Toby Martyn Matteo Grattarola – 2018 FIM Trial2 World Champion