The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is pleased to congratulate Team USA on its performance at the Trial des Nations (TdN), held in Darfo Boario Terme, Italy, on Sept. 19-20. Competing in the premier classification, the men’s squad of Patrick Smage, Cody Webb, Will Ibsen and Keith Wineland scored fifth place overall, America’s best finish ever in the world championship event.
"The world stage for trials competition is enormously competitive, and this event often features the most difficult terrain our riders face all year," said AMA Director of Racing Joe Bromley. "The AMA is proud of both the effort and result of Team USA this year."
The Spanish team of Toni Bou, Adam Raga, Jeroni Fajardo and Albert Cabestany won the TdN this year. Defeating the Great Britain team by an amazing 65 points, it was Spain’s sixth TdN title in a row.
According to U.S. team manager Kip Webb, Team USA "pretty much gave a go at each section with some very good rides. We still have a way to go to catch the top teams, but our guys didn’t back down from the challenge. We finished in fifth position, which is an all-time high for an American TdN effort."
Rain on Saturday night had already left the ground greasy in some places, but when the skies opened on the second lap, the steep rocky outcrops presented a new level of difficulty. Without exception, all five teams in the top class suffered heavier point losses on their second trip through the 18 sections around the small spa town. Despite the radical change in conditions, Spain’s win was never in doubt.
The American women’s squad of Sarah Duke and Caroline Allen finished eighth in the Women’s division while riding with only two team members instead of the usual three. U.S. member Louise Forsley was unable to attend the event due to last-minute travel complications.
"Without the third rider you just cannot make any mistakes, as every point counts," Webb said.
Great Britain won the Women’s division. The team of Rebekah Cook, Joanne Coles and Emma Bristow edged the Spanish team of Laia Sanz, Mireia Conde and Sandra Gomez by a single point to claim the 2009 title.
The sport of trials involves riders navigating their motorcycles over seemingly impossible terrain. The Trial des Nations began in Europe in 1983 as a way to bring the best trials riders from each country together to compete as teams, and it has evolved into one of the most anticipated trials events of the year. Each competing country fields two teams: a men’s team consisting of four riders and a women’s team consisting of three riders.