How far can Toni Bou go?
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These are the best trials riders of all time

Throughout the sport’s illustrious history, these six riders have really stood out from the pack.
By Lluís Llurba
4 min readPublished on
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Dougie Lampkin

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It's more than a century since trials first developed in the UK, and while the exact date of the sport's birth remains shrouded in mystery, it's widely accepted that the Scottish Six Days Trial in 1909 was the real founding moment.
From then until the 1950s, it was a pursuit that was largely practiced in the UK only, where it was used as a winter training method for motorcycle racers from other disciplines.
It's safe to say that the sport has expanded internationally since then, but who are the most influential trials riders to have left their mark on the sport? Here are our top six.

Yrjö Vesterinen (Finland)

World champion in 1976, 1977 and 1978
Three times world trials champion Yrjö Vesterinen at round of the series in the late 1970s
Yrjö Vesterinen was admired far and wide
Vesterinen was the first multiple world champion in trials history, and like many trials riders he started on a bicycle.
The Finn's riding style drew attention for being different from the British riders of the time, and was regarded as smooth and elegant. His professionalism also stood out and after he retired, he created his own very successful brand of equipment and accessories.

Eddy Lejeune (Belgium)

World champion in 1982, 1983 and 1984
Four times world motorcycle trials champion Eddie Lejuene of Belgium competing on his Rothmans-backed Honda
Eddy Lejeune pioneered a new way of riding trials
Lejeune was born into a family steeped in trials and he debuted in the world championship at the age of just 17, surprising many with his extraordinary skills. Not long after, he'd won three world titles and was on the verge of a fourth.
The Belgian changed the face of trials and was crowned champion once more whilst riding a four-stroke machine in a two-stroke dominated sport. Before Lejeune, nobody used high-quality brakes or clutches, but he mastered this and kick-started a change in approach to riding styles.

Thierry Michaud (France)

World champion in 1985, 1986 and 1988
Three times world motorcycle trials champion Thierry Michaud of France bridged the gap between old school and modern trials riding techniques
Thierry Michaud was a great rival of Jordi Tarrés
Michaud is considered one of the riders who was a key factor in the transition from a classic to a modern riding style, such as that introduced by riders like Jordi Tarrés. In fact they were rivals in the final years of Michaud's career, as Tarrés emerged on the international scene.
Unfortunately, the Frenchman suffered a series of injuries in 1989 that sped up his retirement and in 1990 he stepped back from competitive riding altogether.

Jordi Tarrés (Spain)

World champion in 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995
Seven times world motorcycle trials champion Jordi Tarrés of Spain is considered by many the greatest trials rider of all time
Jordi Tarrés is another man who changed the sport
Jordi Tarrés revolutionised trials riding in the 1980s with his spectacular and innovative style. He was also one of the first riders to attract big sponsors, helping to progress the sport even further.
Following his retirement after the 1997 season, Tarrés became director for Gas Gas and played a key role in the Gas Gas School, through which passed riders such as Marcel Justribó, Marc Freixa and Albert Cabestany.
He currently runs his own team, the SPEA Tarrés Trial Team.

Dougie Lampkin (UK)

World champion in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003
Seven times world motorcycle trials champion Dougie Lampkin of Great Britian won all of his titles back-to-back
Dougie had a great inspiration in Martin Lampkin
Along with Tarrés, Dougie Lampkin is the second-most decorated trials rider in history, with seven world titles, which he won consecutively.
Son of Martin Lampkin, the first ever trials world champion in 1975, Lampkin started young and won his first three titles on a Beta. His next crowns came on a Montesa, before he returned to Beta and then finished his career with Gas Gas.
Recently, Lampkin delivered one of the greatest achievements of his career, completing an entire 60.6km lap of the TT Isle of Man circuit on just the rear wheel of his motorcycle.

Toni Bou (Spain)

World champion in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016
Spanish rider Toni Bou is the most successful rider in the history of the world trials championships, having a won a huge 10 world titles so far in his career
Toni Bou is the most decorated rider of all time
Bou's story in trials started when he was just four-years-old, when he received an electric bike so that he could ride trials with his father.
Success soon came and in 2000 he won his first title. Bou competed in both motorcycle and bicycle trials until the age of 14, when he focused on trials and was crowned Spanish Junior champion in 2001.
Bou's career has rocketed since then. He debuted in the world championship in 2003, the same year in which he won the European title. In 2007, after six seasons, Bou left Beta and joined Repsol Montesa Honda. The rest, as they say, is history. Bou now has 10 world titles to his name and shows no signs of slowing down.
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