After the first four world rounds of the 2019 sea­son we pass the half­way stage of the se­ries with a strong lead in the Trial World Cham­pi­onship. The points ad­van­tage may look good but with the tar­get, as always, on my back I have to be at the very top of my rid­ing. In Ja­pan on day two I once again took it to the very limit, part­ing with no marks and tak­ing the vic­tory in the process.

Al­ready it’s been a strange cham­pi­onship, start­ing as it did with the qual­i­fy­ing prob­lems in Italy with the heavy rain; it meant our start­ing or­der in Tri­alGP was de­cided by a bal­lot. It’s always dif­fi­cult at the start of the sea­son to know your lim­its in your rid­ing but after the first lap in Italy, I parted with just four marks on the sec­ond lap to take the vic­tory, which I was happy with.

The long-haul flight to Ja­pan, which is the only two-day event in the sea­son, is re­warded with the op­por­tu­nity to per­form in front of the HRC ‘Top Brass’. On day one my qual­i­fy­ing time left me be­hind two of my ri­vals but in the wet con­di­tions I took a clear vic­tory. On day two, and with the haz­ards dry­ing out, I went around the two laps of 15 haz­ards with my feet firmly on the footrests; yes a vic­tory, part­ing with no marks, as they say: ‘Clean to the Fin­ish’. You would not be­lieve the pres­sure you put your­self un­der but the bonus is the ela­tion when you fin­ish. It was also a good sen­sa­tion to have my Rep­sol Honda team-mate Takahisa Fu­ji­nami on the podium as he took two third-placed fin­ishes.

On our first visit to the Nether­lands since 1979, it was the heat that was the problem. I topped qual­i­fy­ing for the first time and took another con­fi­dent vic­tory with my score of one mark on ob­ser­va­tion and five on time. It was then to Bel­gium, where the ac­tion was hot­ter in more ways than one! The heat was un­be­liev­able, as was the ac­tion. After the open­ing lap, I was trail­ing Jeroni Fa­jardo by three marks as we both lost one mark each on time. On the sec­ond lap, it was very close go­ing right to the last hazard of the day. I at­tacked the steep climb of sec­tion 15 and the four-stroke power was at its very best as I main­tained my 2019 100 per cent win­ning record.

Un­til next time! – Toni Bou

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