Repsol Honda Team face up to a crucial challenge this weekend in Portugal in the penultimate event of the season which could see Toni Bou secure a ninth career title.
The holidays are over for Repsol Honda Team ace Toni Bou who returns this weekend to Paços de Ferreira, Portugal for the eighth GP of the FIM Trial World Championship, hoping to clinch the title. This would be the ninth consecutive championship title as the Repsol Honda Team legend heads towards what could prove to be an unmatchable milestone.
Two straight wins in the United States GP, before a well-deserved summer hiatus, stretched the lead over nearest rivals and leaves Bou in a comfortable position. The champ will get a first shot at taking the season’s top honours in Portugal, needing victories on the Montesa Cota 4RT on both days to mathematically seal the prize.
Bou can expect the same kind of tough, dogged competition that he has experienced throughout the entire season with main rival Adam Raga expected to be hot on his heels. Raga is currently in second place, 34 points off the Repsol Honda Team top gun.
It will also be an important date for fellow Repsol Honda Team riders Takahisa Fujinami and Jaime Busto, in the fray for possible podium places. ‘Fujigas’ is fifth in the overall standings and still has options open to improve on this position. ‘Rookie of the year’ Jaime Busto, from the Basque Country, will also be hoping to advance up the general rankings while completing his mission of accumulating experience in the top flight. Busto is sixth overall. Busto took part in two competitions over the summer with two days at the Trial de Arinsal (Andorra) and two days in the Vall de Lord (Lleida, Spain), winning the Andorran race.
This weekend’s trial takes place in Monte Pilar de Penamaior, five kilometres from Paços de Ferreira and some 35 km from Porto, one of Portugal’s most important cities. The course will be 12 kilometres in length, during which riders confront twelve sections over three laps. The final competitor to start will do so at 11:00 local time.
Montesa in with a title shot too
Bike manufacturer Montesa, on which Repsol Honda Team riders Toni Bou, Takahisa Fujinami and Jaime Busto all compete, also look poised to take a tenth constructor’s championship, the eighteenth in the history of world trial championships. Montesa, having won half the titles disputed since 1975, is the most successful world championship marque with 188 victories and a total of 506 podiums. Saturday in Paços de Ferreira gives the manufacturer the first chance of mathematically securing the 2015 season title.
• Toni Bou has won the Portugal GP on three occasions (2008, 2009 and 2010-1) and Takahisa Fujinami twice (2006 and 2010-2).
• Takahisa Fujinami has been on the podium nine times in the Portuguese Trial GP.
• Jaime Busto has yet to compete in any of Portugal’s World Championship events at any level.
• Montesa riders have achieved 20 podiums in the 15 races that have been disputed in the GP of Portugal.
• 2015 will be the tenth edition of the Portuguese Trial GP.
• Paços de Ferreira has received the Trial World Championship on four previous occasions (2000, 2001, 2010 and 2015).
• The most recent Portugal GP was disputed in 2010, with wins for Toni Bou on the Saturday and Takahisa Fujinami on Sunday.
• Montesa has summed up a total of 188 Trial World Championship wins.
• Toni Bou has won eleven times so far this season and has been runner up three times.