Bou masters Montpellier
Once again it was the Repsol Honda rider Toni Bou who was the man on form in round two in France. This time the win was not as easy as the hazards took more marks from him in round one but he kept his nerve to further extend his championship lead in the early part of the season. Suffering with fatigue in his arms, the six man-made hazards were more difficult than at the opening round but in front of a crowd of 6,000 trials fans and under a fantastic light show, once again Bou managed to hold off the opposition to take the win in front of his arch rival of many years, Adam Raga – TRRS.
It was France again for round two of the eight round series as it moved to the Sud de France Arena in Montpellier in the south of the country. Throughout the last decade Montpellier has been the scene of various X-Trial events. Following its new format, the five fixed riders were joined by the automatic qualifier from round one, Jeroni Fajardo, who qualified to the second round as the best performing ‘Event Rider’ in the opening event. He was joined at this round by the Japanese veteran Takahisa Fujinami, local rider Benoit Bincaz and the young exciting Spaniard, Miquel Gelabert. This new system aims to increase the variety of different riders participating whilst also enabling a wide selection of riders to gain experience in the X-Trial indoor competitions. In this way, competitiveness and the highest possible level of spectacle are guaranteed, enabling the development of the FIM X-Trial World Championship and its young riders from various nationalities.
The new exciting format threw out some real surprises at round two as the man who was expected to be the new challenger to Bou, Jaime Busto – Gas Gas, never even reached the second phase of the competition. It was once again left to Adam Raga to push Bou all the way as he was joined on the podium by Great Britain’s James Dabill who was riding the new Beta looking radiant with its new colour scheme. Right from the opening heat it was going to be a tough night as Fujinami parted with too many marks to finish at the bottom of the three riders. In the second heat it was very close as a confident looking Fajardo – Gas Gas,
looked to be on form to finish in front of Dabill with the home rider Bincaz posting a good enough score to go through to the second round. The big surprise though came in the third group of riders as Busto looked very out of place amongst Bou and Raga and his score dropped him to dead last.
DABILL’S GOOD FORM
In the second heat the riding was very close with only a single mark separating the great rivals Bou and Raga with the advantage going to the TRRS rider. He gained the advantage of going behind his great rival for each attempt at the six hazards. Dabill showed good form to join the other three riders and to gain his pass to the podium in a happy night for the lone British rider. In the final, Raga was the early leader but a stop on the huge wooden cable drums halted his progress as Bou opened up the advantage to take yet another victory and open up a good point’s advantage even at this early stage in the eight round championship.
Toni Bou (Repsol Honda-ESP) Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP)
James Dabill (Beta-GBR) Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Honda-JPN) Benoit Bincaz (Scorpa-FRA)