The 19th of September saw the last of the first ever Portuguese Championships take place in the beautiful city of Guimarães. The five sections were concentrated around the Castle and the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza on the “Holy Hill”. Riders were able to make trials history in the glorious settings of one of Portugal’s most historic places where, in the Middle Ages, the nation of Portugal was formed. Guimarães is therefore considered to be the birthplace of Portugal, and the statue of King Afonso Henriques (1109 - 1185), stands testament to this, watching over the riders as they competed for the title of first ever Portuguese Champion… Guimarães also has an eye on the future and in 2012 will be the Eurpean Culture Capital, The competition, organised by the Minho Cycling Association and the Portuguese Cycling Federation, featured five sections, three natural and two artificial, with a level of technicality that took all of the riders by surprise.
In Elite, the suspense lasted until the very last moment. It was not until the final lap that the winner was obvious, João Sousa took the title, ahead of his brother Daniel and "Mister Trial", Jorge Ferreira. Before the start, each rider was apprehensive about the comp in their own way. Daniel Sousa predicted that in this type of competition – the title decided in just one day – the winner would be the rider that took the most risks and made the least tactical dabs. All or nothing! His brother João talked of the pressure that was on all riders who wanted a shot at the title. Jorge Ferreira, with 17 years of competition behind him, had a very precise goal: the podium! On the technical Guimarães sections the title was all to play for. Pedro Araújo finished fifth, a great result for the 16 year old. In fourth place was Filipe Gomes, who had a very good second lap, dropping just eight points. Jorge Ferreira, "Mister Trial", achieved his goal, finishing on the podum after an excellent third lap (6 points). The battle for the title was therefore between the brothers Sousa. Daniel became the Portuguese Vice-Champion, behind a majestic João who was more and more at ease over the three laps. He was also the only rider to clean the last section. The competition was tight but there was a great camaraderie between the riders – the Sousa brothers were encouraging each other all the way round. In Senior class the title went to José Eduardo Torres who was followed by José Capelo and Mário Fonseca. In Open 2, João Pinto took the top spot, with Nuno Dantas and Hugo Magalhães finishing off the podium. In Open 1, for 7-13yr old riders, Vítor Feio dominated, taking the win ahead of Gonçalo Pereira and Luís Araújo.
After being officially recognised by the Portuguese Cycling Federation I 2009 (see our Interview with Joao Sousa), Portuguese trials has reached new heights this year with this first national championship. They couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular setting for this historic competition than below the magnificent Guimarães castle. João Sousa, the young rider from Minho, will go down in history as the first rider to be crowned Portuguese Champion. Below is the report by the Portuguese public TV channel, RTP2, and some photos of the top three riders in Portugal! More photos on Trialportugal.net !
RTP 2’s report:
Some photos of the competition by Rui Jorge, a professional photographer from Guimarães. The event’s photo gallery can be found here: Campeonato Nacional de Trial Bike with a full report and results here: João Sousa Campeão Nacional.