Carrying on where she left off in Japan at rounds one and two of the 2019 series, Great Britain’s Emma Bristow remains on track to record her sixth consecutive world title. In qualifying she has not been the quickest, but has ridden with an air of confidence knowing that she can use her experience to its full advantage in the actual trial. The full house of 80 points speaks for itself.
In the tricky river hazard in the middle of the town of Gouveia it was the small frame of Maria Giro who set the quickest time, the first for the four-stroke Montesa since qualifying was introduced. In the trial the hazards were a mixture of the slippery wet rocks in the river and the bone dry exposed ones in the sun.
Defending champion Bristow started well but was hit by a freak disaster on section five. A rock-step out of the river proved too much for the Sherco rider, who suffered a nasty crash; but worse was to come as the machine immersed itself in one of the deep water-filled rock-holes.
Quick action by her husband and minder, James, saw him pull the machine out but the engine had taken in water. He soon had the machine back to life, but now she was pushed for time and had to use all her experience to avoid any time penalties.
Her second lap score of 14 rescued the day, but two consistent laps from Spain’s Berta Abellan left her just seven marks off the win.
QUALIFYING: 1: Maria Giro (Montesa-ESP) 0 + 27.98; 2: Madeleine Hoover (Gas Gas-USA) 0 + 28.54; 3: Sandra Gomez (TRRS-ESP) 0 + 28.58; 4: Berta Abellan (Vertigo-ESP) 0 + 28.89; 5: Emma Bristow (Sherco-GBR) 0 + 29.65; 6: Alex Brancati (Beta-ITA) 0 + 29.93; 7: Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS-NOR) 0 + 32.76; 8: Sarah Bauer (Sherco-DEU) 0 + 32.98; 9: Jule Steinart (TRRS-DEU) 0 + 35.54; 10: Neus Mercia (Gas Gas-ESP) 3 + 43.53.
RESULTS: 1: Bristow 32; 2: Abellan 39; 3: Gomez 49; 4: Brancati 59; 5: Hakonsen 61; 6: Mercia 61; 7: Hoover 66; 8: Giro 68; 9: Bauer 78; 10: Steinart 87.
Using her Enduro experience it was Sandra Gomez who set the fastest time in qualifying from Emma Bristow, setting up an exciting day of competition in France. The opening lap over the rocks and banks in the dried-up river beds witnessed a terrific battle between Bristow and, once again, Berta Abellan.
The opening lap scores were 15 in Bristow’s favour to the 17 of Abellan, followed by Neus Mercia on 24 marks lost. On the second tour of the 15 hazards Bristow showed why she is the queen of the ladies’ trials world, with a superb score of five giving her the victory. Sandra Gomez came fighting back with a lap score of ten but it was Abellan with a score of 11 who took the runner-up spot once again as Gomez clawed back to third and the final step on the podium.
With the 80 points in the bag Bristow has one hand on the 2019 trophy, but with the final round in Spain you can bet that Berta Abellan riding in front of a home crowd will want to take the victory away from Bristow; it should be very interesting.
QUALIFYING: 1: Sandra Gomez (TRRS-ESP) 0 + 21.00; 2: Emma Bristow (Sherco-GBR) 0 + 22.37; 3: Madeleine Hoover (Gas Gas-USA) 0 + 22.39; 4: Maria Giro (Montesa-ESP) 0 + 23.06; 5: Sarah Bauer (Sherco-DEU) 0 + 23.43; 6: Berta Abellan (Vertigo-ESP) 0 + 24.14; 7: Jule Steinart (TRRSDEU) 0 + 24.30; 8: Alex Brancati (Beta-ITA) 0 + 25.03; 9: Neus Mercia (Gas Gas-ESP) 0 + 25.20; 10: Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS-NOR) 0 + 25.32.
RESULTS: 1: Bristow 20; 2: Abellan 28; 3: Gomez 37; 4: Giro 43; 5: Mercia 36; 6: Brancati 52; 7: Hakonsen 74; 8: Bauer 64; 9: Hoover 74; 10: Steinart 74.
2019 TrialGP Women’s World Championship Positions
RESULTS: 1: Emma Bristow (Sherco-GBR) 80; 2: Berta Abellan (Vertigo-ESP) 64; 3: Sandra Gomez (TRRS-ESP) 60; 4: Neus Mercia (Gas Gas-ESP) 47; 5: Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS-NOR) 45; 6: Maria Giro (Montesa-ESP) 42; 7: Alex Brancati (Beta-ITA) 40; 8: Sarah Bauer (Sherco-DEU) 32; 9: Madeleine Hoover (Gas Gas-USA) 28; 10:
Jule Steinart (TRRS-DEU) 22; 11: Aya Nishimura (Beta-JPN) 14; 12: Erika Melchior (Sherco-NOR) 8.
There is only one thing on the mind of Sandra Gomez (TRRS-ESP) in qualifying and that is to set the quickest time, which she did in France. Emma Bristow (Sherco-GBR) It was a very determined and focused Maria Giro (Montesa-ESP) who took the pole position in Portugal, the first for the four-stroke Cota 4RT in the ladies’ TrialGP class since qualifying was introduced.
The podium in France: Berta Abellan, Emma Bristow and Sandra Gomez; is this how the final championship positions will be? We will have to wait and see. Maturing into a good strong rider is Berta Abellan (VertigoESP). Her impressive style has put her in second position in the championship as we approach the final round in Spain. Neus Mercia (Gas Gas-ESP) will be disappointed with her form but still finds herself in fourth position in the championship Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS-NOR) stands just two marks behind Neus Mercia in the championship; the final round should be interesting.