WOMEN’S TRIAL DES NATIONS
Riders: Berta Abellan, Sandra Gomez, Alba Villegas
While the male competition was virtually a foregone conclusion, the FIM Women’s Trial Des Nations was a much closer-fought affair – although the end result was the same with victory going to Spain for the third successive time.
At the start of the day at the legendary Italian venue of Monza in the north of the country the fight for glory in the women’s class was, on paper at least, between defending champions Spain and Great Britain and that is exactly how it turned out.
The record books will show another victory for the Spanish trio of Berta Abellan – Scorpa, Sandra Gomez – TRRS and Alba Villegas – Sherco, but they had to fight tooth and nail every step of the way against an extremely motivated British team.
Led by newly-crowned FIM TrialGP Women champion Emma Bristow – Sherco with Alicia Robinson – Beta and Kaytlyn Adshead – TRRS riding shotgun, the British lionesses enjoyed a two-mark advantage over Spain after the opening lap of fifteen sections.
Lap two was super-tense but the Spanish, who boasted two of the most experienced riders in the field in twenty-three-year-old Abellan and twenty-nine-year-old Gomez, stayed calm and added just a single mark to finish on six to match Great Britain’s total and claim victory following a tie-break.
Gomez has now been on the winning team on eight occasions with Abellan victorious four times while Villegas was making her first appearance in the event.
In terms of national honours, Spain has now won the FIM Women’s Trial Des Nations on ten separate occasions with Great Britain’s eight victories making them the best of the rest.
FIM Trial des Nations Champions: 2000, 2002, 2008, 2010 to 2012, 2017, 2019 to 2022
Riders: Berta Abellan, Sandra Gomez, Laia Sanz
While their male counterparts have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the FIM Trial des Nations, Spain’s feet-up females have been pushed to their limit multiple times in the competition, but this year at Gouveia in Portugal the trio had a relatively easy run.
With returning hero and newly crowned TrialGP Women world champion Laia Sanz (GASGAS) at the helm backed up by Berta Abellan (Vertigo) and Sandra Gomez (TRRS), the awesome Spanish threesome ran out commanding winners with their total of five leaving them seven clear of Great Britain’s Emma Bristow (Sherco), Alicia Robinson (Beta) and Alice Minta (Scorpa).
The Spanish ladies took control midway through the first lap and refused to loosen their grip on the title they won in 2019, the last time the event was staged. The result means Spain moves ahead of Great Britain in the all-time win-list with nine victories.
Sanz has now been on the winning TdN team seven times and her record perfectly bookends the event with her debut victory coming in 2000 – the first year the women’s competition was staged. Gomez has seven victories and Abellan has been on the winning team on three occasions.
SPAIN STEP UP AGAIN
Spain’s ladies returned to the top step of the podium in the FIM Women’s Trial of Nations in 2019, having reluctantly conceded to their great rivals Great Britain last year. Riding on home soil on the Balearic island of Ibiza, Sandra Gomez (TRRS), Berta Abellan (Vertigo) and Neus Murcia (Gas Gas) wrestled back the title they last held in 2017, taking charge from the start with their opening lap score of just two - a full six marks ahead of the Brits.
Represented by six-time FIM Women’s Trial World Champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) along with Donna Fox (Montesa) and Jess Brown (Scorpa), the British ladies fought back hard, although their second lap total of just two was still a mark behind the near-perfect Spaniards. Meanwhile, after ending qualification in second, Norway kept the momentum going and their team of Huldeborg Barkved (Gas Gas), Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS) and Erika Melchior (Sherco) ended the event in a solid third, eight marks behind Great Britain, but four ahead of Germany’s Theresa Bauml, Vivian Wachs and Sarah Bauer (all TRRS).
This year no fewer than ten teams competed in the event, representing countries from Europe, Australia and United States, with Team USA – comprising Kylee Sweeten (Sherco), Maddie Hoover (Gas Gas) and Louise Forsley (Scorpa) – taking fifth, a further four marks behind Germany. For Spain, this was their eighth success since the ladies’ event was launched back in 2000, bringing them level with Great Britain.
Team manager: Salvador Garcia
Riders: Sandra Gomez, Berta Abellan, Maria Giro
SPANISH WOMEN WIN ON HOME SOIL
Great Britain's hopes of a fifth straight FIM Women Trial des Nations title were left in tatters at Baiona after an almost faultless display of sparkling Spanish brilliance was rewarded with a famous victory on home soil. Roared on by their passionate and partisan fans, the Spanish trio of Sandra Gomez (Gas Gas), Berta Abellan (Beta) and Maria Giro (Montesa) parted with just one miserly mark conceded on the penultimate section of the Trial.
The defending champions, led by reigning TrialGP Women's Champion Emma Bristow (Sherco), started the day on the back foot after a disaster in the timed qualification section when, despite posting the fastest time by almost three seconds, a stray mark dropped them back to sixth, while Spain comfortably topped qualification so had the advantage of being last away.
With warm, sunny conditions the fifteen sections plotted over a two-kilometre course on rocks around a headland on the Atlantic coast remained dry and grippy, which meant that the slightest slip would be punished. Great Britain were playing catch up from as early as section six on the opening lap where they lost three marks. Despite matching the Spanish score-for-score on lap two the damage was already done and the Brits were forced to concede defeat.
Tied on three marks with Great Britain after the opening lap, the German team saw their chances of a fifth consecutive podium finish disappear on lap two after they added a further eight marks to their total, allowing Norway to claim a surprise first Women's TDN podium since 2002.