The Steel City showdown is a sell out

Top-flight arena action will return to the UK for the first time since 2019 and in front of a sell-out audience when the DL12 Indoor Trial is staged at the Utilita Arena, Sheffield this coming Saturday.

Promoted by twelve-time World Champion Dougie Lampkin, the best riders on the planet will go toe-to-toe with a shared desire to claim bragging rights at the Steel City showdown with it being the first major event of 2023.

Starting as favourite will be Spanish legend Toni Bou – Repsol Honda. The thirty-six-year-old secured an incredible thirty-second consecutive FIM Trial World Championship in 2022 – that is sixteen X-Trial crowns and sixteen TrialGP titles since 2007 – and was beaten just once during his latest X-Trial campaign.

“Sheffield has always been a very special race for everyone and also for me because I got my first World X-Trial victory there,” said Bou. “For my part, as always, I will do my best so that the Sheffield fans can enjoy the show.”

Bou has been beaten just once in fourteen appearances at Sheffield and the man who inflicted that solitary defeat is his veteran compatriot Adam Raga – TRRS who will be determined to repeat his 2017 victory in the Steel City.

Another Spanish star who will be pushing for victory is twenty-five-year-old Jaime Busto – GASGAS who returns to the marque for the first time since 2018. Busto beat Bou at the last round of the 2022 FIM X-Trial World Championship in Andorra and the TrialGP Vice World Champion will be aiming to make an immediate impact on his debut for his new team.

The Spanish contingent is completed by twenty-two-year-old Gabriel Marcelli – Repsol Honda who has second-placed X-Trial finishes in Barcelona in 2021 and Madrid in 2022 on his CV.

The passionate home fans will be desperate to see a British rider on the Sheffield podium and their hopes rest on the broad shoulders of Toby Martyn – Montesa, Jack Peace – Sherco and sixteen-year-old FIM Trial3 World Champion Harry Hemingway – Beta.

Martyn, who has won back-to-back British outdoor titles, had a slice of X-Trial podium pie last year and there is a lot of interest in the twenty-two-year-old and what bike he will be riding on the night having departed from TRRS at the end of last year.

The eight-rider field will be completed by Norway’s FIM Trial2 World Champion Sondre Haga – GASGAS and another high-ranking rider who will be revealed on the day, both of whom have changed teams at the end of last year.

Haga is relatively inexperienced indoors, but the twenty-three-year-old scored a solid fourth at Andorra’s 2022 X-Trial finale.

With all-new custom-made sections, Lampkin is determined to set a benchmark he can build on for future events.

“I want it to be different so the arena lay-out will be changed,” he said. “There will be some amazing hazards to test the riders and to entertain the fans. We’ve not really had the opportunity to build new stuff before and this is my chance to make something new.”

“We have an initial three-year plan and need to set the foundations for a great event and have something we can build on, especially with the first edition now being a total sell out.”