Alford rider Emma Bristow makes winning start to title defence in USA

Riders faced extreme heat and high altitude in Arizona EMN-170308-095221002
Riders faced extreme heat and high altitude in Arizona EMN-170308-095221002

Emma Bristow began the defence of her FIM Women’s GP Championship title in style with maximum points and a convincing double win in the United States.

The championship opened in Arizona in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Haualapai Mountain Park, not far from the Grand Canyon with high altitude and extreme heat testing the riders’ fitness.

Emma Bristow finished with half the score of her nearest challenger in the USA EMN-170308-095210002

Emma Bristow finished with half the score of her nearest challenger in the USA EMN-170308-095210002

The new system of qualifying allowed the Alford rider to gain an early advantage before the trial began, and with a clean ride and quickest time, she took pole position.

“My priority was not to make a mistake by pushing too hard but keep a good pace,” she said. “It was a great way to settle into this year’s championship.”

Going into day one, Bristow was feeling confident and some strong early rides gave her an early lead which she extended throughout the trial.

Lap scores of five and nine saw her finish day one gave her a total which was half that of her closest rival.

With overnight thunderstorms, day two was slightly more slippery on the first lap, but by the end of it, the Lincolnshire rider had again opened up an eight-point lead.

On the final lap, Bristow showed why she is a three-time world champion and produced some outstanding rides to post a great final lap score of just eight points, giving her a total of 22, a full 25 points ahead of the runner-up.

“Today’s trial has been incredible,” she added. “I have never experienced such an appreciative and enthusiastic crowd; anyone would think I was American.

“This is a great win for me and I couldn’t have wished for a better start to my title defence. I’m so motivated to continue training as I attempt to win my fourth world title when we resume our championship in the Czech Republic and Italy this September.

“I want to give special thanks to the Ryan Young And the Sherco USA team for the amazing service and support they have given me this weekend.

At a venue where many bikes struggled my Sherco 300 was incredible and I have complete confidence in my bike which makes winning easier.”

Bristow heads to Italy this weekend for the final round of the European Championship as she looks to keep alive her hopes of a treble of British, European and World titles in the same year.