The Repsol Honda Team rider has been crowned 2019 TrialGP World Champion. Toni Bou, who triumphed in the French trial, takes his tally of consecutive title wins to 13 in TrialGP, in addition to the 13 indoor trophies. 26 titles for the greatest rider in history!

“This is not a miracle, it’s a legend” reads the slogan printed across the Repsol Honda Team commemorative t-shirts for the 26th Toni Bou world title. The latest trial victory, the seventh of the season, means that Toni Bou mathematically seals the TrialGP World Champion title for the thirteenth time in a row.

The Repsol Honda Team rider was a cut above the rest from the get-go in a trial full of long, steep sections and Bou was clearly feeling at ease as evidenced by the mere nine marks accrued throughout. The trial or the title never looked in question. The triumph is the 111th victory for Toni Bou in Trial World Championships as well as the thirteenth consecutive trial win since Andorra last season. The Repsol Honda Team star has made a clean streak so far in the 2019 Trial World Championship, with one event still to contest.

Team-mate Takahisa Fujinami finished in fifth position on the day. ‘Fujigas’ rode a notable first lap with good sensations but went into the second lap and began to collect marks and eventually had to settle for fifth position. In the championship standings, Fujinami sits fourth in the rankings with everything to play for at the final event.

The next trial for the Repsol Honda Team will be the final round of the TrialGP World Championship set to take place on 21st and 22nd September in La Nucia, Spain.

Toni Bou

TRIAL: 1ST   STANDINGS: 1ST

Today was a day where I had to work hard to make any difference, especially during the opening sections. But that is what we did and we made it to section eight on zero. I think I rode an intelligent trial. I felt very comfortable on the bike. As always, there is no better way to win a new title than with a victory and with good feelings. It was a short but intense world championship. I think that this season we have matured a lot. Last year we had so many injuries, this year we have been very comfortable on the bike, which we’ve seen reflected in the wins and the riding, so now it’s time to savour the moment and enjoy the holidays.

Takahisa Fujinami

TRIAL: 5TH   STANDINGS: 4TH

During the first lap around the sections, I felt very confident with the bike and I cleaned many of the sections and was tied with Busto in second. By the second lap I have already started to feel that the pace was not good enough. In the end I finished fifth, which was not bad. But hey, that’s the way trials are and at the moment I’m fourth time of the championship. Now for the final event in Spain. I also wish to congratulate Toni Bou, the family and the whole team for his 26th World Championship because they have all worked really hard. I am very happy to be his team-mate.

Miquel Cirera

Team Manager

Celebrating a title is always great. First of all I want to thanks and congratulate Toni as always. Congratulate all the team of doctors who helped us, the HRC team, the Honda team and everyone who helped Toni. Obviously congratulations to his closest associates, the mechanics. We have all done a great job. This season Toni started in very good shape, that’s why he has been able to win all the trials which we’ve been in until today. As we always say, ‘He’s a monster!’ And as we have put on the shirt. “This is not a miracle, it’s a legend”. We can’t ask for anything more, if we could, we would add more, year after year.
Today Fujinami tried hard but it wasn’t to be. Trials are like that and the rivals are very strong. Congratulations to him because he always fights and gives it his best shot. Now we have the final trial at home and as always we will do everything to win.
Last, I want to congratulate Toni and Gabriel Marcelli, from Trial2, that helps to get another constructors title.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 140 Repsol Honda Team
2 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 113 TRRS Factory Team
3 FAJARDO Jeroni 2 SPA 95 Gas Gas
4 FUJINAMI Takahisa 6 JPN 88 Repsol Honda Team
5 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 77 Vertigo Factory Team
6 DABILL James 22 GBR 68 Beta Factory Racing
7 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 65 Vertigo Factory Team
8 BINCAZ Benoit 73 FRA 53 Beta Factory Racing
9 KADLEC Franz 66 GER 53 TRRS Factory Team
10 GELABERT Miquel 9 SPA 50 Sherco Factory Team
11 PRICE Jack 34 GBR 36 Gas Gas
12 FARRE Arnau 19 SPA 21 Team Jotagas
13 PEACE Dan 38 GBR 19 Sherco Factory Team
14 NOGUERA Oriol 13 SPA 10 Team Jotagas
15 RIVA  Andrea 96 ITA 9 TRRS Factory Team
16 KUROYAMA Kenichi 98 JPN 7 Yamaha Racing
17 NOZAKI Fumitaka 99 JPN 3 Yamaha Racing
18 OGAWA Tomoyuki 97 JPN 3 Honda

Photos: Pep Segales / Honda Racing Corporation

There were six different winners in seven rounds of competition this season, but, in the end, there could only be one champion and this year it was Seth Reardon.

The Whanganui rider was heavily favoured to wrap up the main title in this season’s Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-sponsored New Zealand Enduro Championships and that’s what he did at the weekend’s double-header, the final two rounds of the series near Hokitika on Friday and Saturday.

Christchurch international Hamish Macdonald (Sherco), at home for a seven-week spell as the FIM Enduro GP World Championships take their regular (Northern Hemisphere) summer break, dominated both days at Hokitika.

But these two race days were his only appearances in New Zealand this year and so he was never likely to be a title contender. It was a similar story with several of the other event winners too.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton (KTM) won round one of the series near Whangamata in March, Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury (Husqvarna) clinched the win at round two near Porirua in April, Thames rider Chris Birch (KTM) topped the podium at round three near Tokoroa two weeks later, Reardon (Yamaha) won round four near Martinborough on June 9 and Rotorua’s Bradley Lauder (Husqvarna) won round five near Masterton on the last weekend of June.

However, overseas riding commitments meant neither Buxton, Yearbury or Birch could mount a full domestic campaign this year, virtually ruling themselves out of New Zealand title contention.

The 21-year-old Reardon therefore began his weekend near Hokitika with a massive 23-point advantage over his nearest challenger, Cambridge’s Beau Taylor (Husqvarna), and when Reardon finished third on Friday and then third again on Saturday it was job done.

Reardon earned the ‘overall’ trophy for the premier AA Grade (formerly referred to as Expert), ahead of Taylor and Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman (KTM).

Masterton’s Philip Bly (KTM) won the A Grade (formerly referred to as Intermediate), finishing ahead of Thames rider Natasha Cairns (KTM) and Omihi’s Ethan McBreen (Husqvarna).

“It was a bit wet on Friday, but conditions were perfect on Saturday,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “The host Westland Motorcycle Club named it the ‘Mud Fest’ for a reason, but I think everyone enjoyed the two days. There had been 10 consecutive days of rain around Hokitika leading up to the event, so it was about as good as it was going to get. The organising club did a great job of running the event. It was certainly a challenge for everyone involved, riders and event crew alike, but they coped well. We are already talking with clubs about events for next season and hope to use some new venues too. We are also looking now ahead to the extreme series, set to kick off at Whangamata in September.”

The various class winners this season were Reardon (Yamaha, E1, up to 200cc 2-stroke, up to 300cc 4-stroke); Stratford’s Josh Hunger (Husqvarna, E2, 201cc+ 2-stroke); Christchurch’s Josh Dando (Husqvarna, E3, 301cc + 4-stroke); Whangarei’s Adrian Broughton (KTM, Vet 1, 40yrs +); Thames’ Natasha Cairns (KTM, women); Masterton’s Philip Bly (KTM, Vet 2, 50-54yrs); Auckland’s Jeff Van Hout (KTM, Vet 3, 55yrs +).

New Zealand Top Trail Riders Championship class winners were Omihi’s Ethan McBreen (Husqvarna, TTR1 up to 200cc 2-stroke, up to 300cc 4-stroke); Pakotai’s Josh Alexander (KTM, TTR2 201cc + 2-stroke, up to 301cc+ 4-stroke); Upper Hutt’s Kevin Birdsall (Honda, Vet 4 40yrs +).

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Kiwi Rider magazine, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

The Silk Way Rally, the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, has concluded in Dunhuang, China, with all three of the Monster Energy Honda Team trio crossing the finish-line after more than 5,000 kilometres of rally.

The Silk Way Rally came to an end in Dunghuang some ten days after getting underway in the Russian city of Irkutsk and crossing from the north to the south of Mongolia on the maiden appearance of the motorcycle category in the competition. En route competitors had to deal with nine stages packed with a multitude of terrain types on territory as yet unchartered for most of the bikers involved. All three Monster Energy Honda Team riders managed to make it to the end of the rough ordeal. The arduous 5,000 km slog brings a wealth of experience to each of the riders as well as producing some crucial information that will help to further develop the Honda CRF450 RALLY.

Kevin Benavides, who took fourth overall place in the rally, also snatched four stage victories to become the rider with most wins in the special timed stages. In spite of having shown some serious on-track clout, the Argentinean fell foul of a note of the roadbook misinterpreted which effectively curtailed chances of overall victory.

Joan Barreda’s fall while in contention with the front-runners likewise ruled the Spaniard out of the battle for the final glory. Barreda displayed high-speed and showed fine race pace throughout the rally and, over various stages, held top positions for lengthy stretches.

 

Chilean rider José Ignacio was also demonstrating improved handling, in spite of some of the adverse conditions on the Russian routes. Nevertheless, the rider was progressing in leaps and bounds until a penalization put paid to chances of finishing among the top guns.

 

“It was a tough race for everyone,” outlined Monster Energy Honda Team’s Sporting Director, Ruben Faria. “This was a new date in the calendar and a brand new adventure as we faced three unknown countries with different languages. It really was a great adventure for everyone involved. It didn’t turn out to be the result that we were looking for but we did manage to finish the rally with all three of the bikes and all the riders made it to the end without any physical problems which is also important. The next race will be the Atacama Rally and hopefully the luck that was missing in this race will accompany us in that one. We have learned a lot from this race and we will keep working so that things go even better in Chile.”

The next race for the Monster Energy Honda Team will be the Atacama Rally. The third round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship will have the Chilean city of Copiapó as its nerve-centre. Riders can expect a curtain-raising prologue and five stages from 2nd to 7th September.

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

The next round of the TrialGP World Championship will be held this weekend in the French location of Auron in the midst of the Alps. The Repsol Honda team duo, unbeaten Toni Bou and brother-in-arms Takahisa Fujinami, arrive confident they can achieve a good result from the highly-demanding trial.

The altitude of the Auron ski resort will present a new challenge for Repsol Honda Team. The TrialGP campaign this weekend stops off in the tiny Alpine village which will host the event some 1,600 metres above sea-level, which will test the strength and performance of both riders and bikes in this, the sixth round of the world championship.

Toni Bou, clear leader in the championship standings and undefeated after five wins on the spin in the GPs held so far in 2019, will also get his first shot at sealing the overall world title – the thirteenth in TrialGP and the twenty-sixth career title in the elite class. The Spaniard sits in a privileged position at the head of the leader board with a 22-point cushion over arch-rival Adam Raga. Finishing ahead of his fellow-Spaniard in France will be enough to mathematically guarantee the 2019 championship.

Bou’s Japanese partner Takahisa Fujinami, currently lying in fourth position in the championship, will once again go in search of a position that could potentially keep him in the running for an overall podium at the end of the season.

The French TrialGP gets underway on Saturday with the technical and administrative shakedown at 08:00 CET with the qualifying section starting at 15:30. On Sunday the main event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 with the final podium due to take place at 16:45.

Toni Bou

POSITION: 1ST  POINTS: 120

We are having a great championship and we are confident that it could continue this weekend in France too. We are going to try to find the right rapport with the bike in Auron, where altitude can influence things a lot. We will also try to arrive there after having physically recovered, so that we will be at our best. We know we can win the championship, sure, but the first thing we want to do is have a good trial and make sure nothing strange happens, then we’ll be able to go away and have a good vacation.

Takahisa Fujinami

POSITION: 4TH  POINTS: 77

Physically I feel very well and I think that technically I am also better this year. We have not been able to rest much between Portugal and France because we want to prepare for the Auron trial as best we could as it will be a complicated one. In the championship, if I want to improve my position, I will have to fight a lot. Now I am fourth, but there are always options to gain a position… or also to lose one. I will fight to get the best possible result.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 120 Repsol Honda Team
2 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 98 TRRS Factory Team
3 FAJARDO Jeroni 2 SPA 82 Gas Gas
4 FUJINAMI Takahisa 6 JPN 77 Repsol Honda Team
5 DABILL James 22 GBR 60 Beta Factory Racing
6 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 60 Vertigo Factory Team
7 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 55 Vertigo Factory Team
8 KADLEC Franz 66 GER 47 TRRS Factory Team
9 BINCAZ Benoit 73 FRA 46 Beta Factory Racing
10 GELABERT Miquel 9 SPA 41 Sherco Factory Team
11 PRICE Jack 34 GBR 31 Gas Gas
12 FARRE Arnau 19 SPA 17 Team Jotagas
13 PEACE Dan 38 GBR 17 Sherco Factory Team
14 NOGUERA Oriol 13 SPA 10 Team Jotagas
15 KUROYAMA Kenichi 98 JPN 7 Yamaha Racing
16 RIVA  Andrea 96 ITA 6 TRRS Factory Team
17 NOZAKI Fumitaka 99 JPN 3 Yamaha Racing
18 OGAWA Tomoyuki 97 JPN 3 Honda

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

The 10th and final stage of the Silk Way Rally proved to be one of the toughest of the event. Winding its way along fast rocky tracks and through the ravines and dry river beds of the Gobi Desert, the 255-kilometre timed special required 100 percent focus right to the finish.

Sam Sunderland, having ridden superbly in terms of speed and navigation through Russia and Mongolia, created a comfortable advantage at the head of the overall motorcycle class when the rally entered China. Using his extensive skill and experience, he put in a champion’s ride to maintain a fast and largely mistake-free pace and carried his lead to the final stage of the event, finally claiming outright victory.

With no fewer than three stage wins – one having opened stage five – Sam’s dominant performance at the Silk Way Rally gives him his second consecutive victory in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship to extend his lead with two rounds left to race.

Sam Sunderland #6

“It’s really cool to take the win here in China. I’m really happy with the job done by myself and the team – it wouldn’t have been possible without this big effort from everyone to come to Russia, Mongolia and now China. It’s been a huge adventure and one that we’ll all remember for a long time, that’s for sure. For me I’m so happy to get the win, it makes it two-out-of-two this championship and it’s a really important one because of the points earned this round. I felt really good at the beginning of the event and was able to create a good gap. I felt a bit sick during the middle stages but was able to manage the race and stay on a good pace right to the end. I’m really pleased for Andrew, who has ridden a great race, and also Luciano and Laia. Now I’m looking forward to a bit of rest.”

Putting in an impressive performance throughout the event, Luciano Benavides placed eighth on the final stage to claim fifth place overall and top the Junior class. Continuing to learn and gain experience, the young Argentinian rode a mature race, often bouncing back from small navigation errors to complete each stage consistently and secure his solid top-five result. With two rounds of this year’s FIM championship remaining, Benavides’ goal is to increase his rally knowledge and overall speed.

Luciano Benavides 

“For me, it has been a really good rally – I finished fifth overall and won the Junior category. It’s been a tough rally, but I have certainly learned a lot. I made a few mistakes in the last few days that ended up costing me some time, but I know what I did wrong and I need to go away now and work on those areas. Overall, I am happy with how I rode and the bike has been perfect. My confidence is growing all the time and each rally we do I learn a little bit more and gain a lot of experience. Finally, I want to thank the team – to be in this KTM family is an amazing feeling and everyone did a great job.”

KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz rode to a safe 13th place on stage 10 in order to minimise any possible mistakes and safeguard her position in the overall standings. The Dakar Women’s Champion marked her first competitive outing in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with an excellent seventh place overall – beating many of the championship regulars in the process. Laia’s impressive speed and consistent, error-free finishes paid off, especially at an event as tough and demanding as the Silk Way Rally. Sanz will now take some rest before continuing her Dakar preparation at the next race in Chile.

Laia Sanz

“I took it easy today as I wanted to stay safe and keep my position in the standings. Overall, it has been a good rally for me, these last days have been tough and certainly very tiring as well as being technical. I’m happy to be at the end safely and I’m very happy with my result. The organisation of the rally has been really good and I’m so happy that I came. I had some really good days in Mongolia but here in China I struggled a bit more. Now, after some rest, I will continue to train and focus as always on the Dakar Rally next year.”

Rider Standings – Final

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team 26:12’47
2 SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +20’22
3 VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +21’01
4 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +21’37
5 BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM Factory Racing Team +36’50
6 MENA Oriol SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally +51’50
7 SANZ Laia SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +1:56’26
8 TOMICZEK Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +2:08’04
9 BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team +2:54’25
10 GIEMZA Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +3:10’31
11 CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +4:06’10

Photos: KTM Press Center