CLEAN TO THE FINISH
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