THE BOU SHOW

Trial Magazine - - INTERNATIO­NAL -

Por­tu­gal

It was a re­turn to the Sen­hora dos Verdes Park venue, with its rugged sky­line dom­i­nated by moun­tains and rocks, for the se­cond year in suc­ces­sion. The heat was in­tense and so was the ac­tion, as this year the or­gan­is­ers had a new group of rivers haz­ards mak­ing it an ex­cel­lent venue for the world cham­pi­onship oc­ca­sion. Toni Bou ar­rived very con­fi­dent, know­ing that a vic­tory here would give him an even bet­ter points ad­van­tage over his ri­vals.

Once the early morn­ing mist had burned away the event’s venue was opened up to the sun, which led to a very dif­fi­cult open­ing lap for the de­fend­ing cham­pion. He parted with marks in the first three haz­ards be­fore tak­ing a very wel­come clean on sec­tion four. The man on form on the first lap was the sea­soned world cham­pi­onship con­tender and the team-mate of Bou, Ja­pan’s Takahisa Fu­ji­nami on the se­cond Rep­sol Honda. He was the early leader but was to suf­fer four time penal­ties in his quest to be the best in the sec­tions, which would even­tu­ally deny him third po­si­tion and the chance to make the podium.

As we have wit­nessed so many times be­fore, when un­der pres­sure Toni Bou per­forms at his very best and he coaxed the four-stroke Cota 4RT through the 15 haz­ards for a mere six marks on the se­cond lap, made up of a sin­gle mark and a five-mark penalty for a stop in the tough sec­tion 12. The fight be­hind him was all about who would make the podium and his sea­soned ri­val Adam Raga on the TRRS was the one to once again push Bou, fin­ish­ing just seven marks be­hind him. The next three riders all lost 15 marks on the se­cond lap but it was the lack of any time penal­ties that se­cured se­cond for Raga and third for Jeroni Fa­jardo. The cham­pi­onship ac­tion would con­tinue seven days later in France.

RE­SULTS: 1: Toni Bou (Rep­sol Honda-ESP) 25; 2: Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP) 32; 3: Jeroni Fa­jardo (Gas Gas-ESP) 36; 4: Jorge Casales (Ver­tigo-ESP) 39; 5: Takahisa Fu­ji­nami (Rep­sol Honda-JPN) 40; 6: James Da­bill (Beta-GBR) 45; 7: Jaime Busto (Ver­tigo-ESP) 55; 8: Miquel Ge­labert (Sherco-ESP) 58; 9: Benoit Bin­caz (Beta-FRA) 68; 10: Ar­nau Farre (Jo­ta­gas-ESP) 74; 11: Jack Price (Gas Gas-GBR) 81; 12: Franz Kadlec (TRRS-DEU) 84; 13: Dan Peace (Sher­coGBR) 104.

France

A re­turn to the small win­ter ski re­sort town of Auron, France, wel­comed the riders after the suc­cess of the event in 2018. On a small course of ap­prox­i­mately four kilo­me­tres with a mix­ture of haz­ards in­clud­ing rocks, dry river beds and steep climbs the ma­chines would have to cope with the high al­ti­tude, which at times reaches the 1,700 me­tre mark. Bou knew a vic­tory here would seal the 2019 world ti­tle.

The start­ing or­der is de­cided by a bal­lot and Toni Bou went out in the mid­dle of the field to record a time which no one could bet­ter; on the se­cond at­tempt he laid down the gaunt­let send­ing out a clear mes­sage to his ri­vals: he wanted to win.

The hot weather in the area con­tin­ued and the ac­tion was as close as ever on the open­ing lap of the 15 haz­ards to be rid­den twice. In the first half of the open­ing lap it was the young Jaime Busto who was show­ing the form that we had waited for all sea­son, and once again ‘Fu­ji­gas’ was in the mix putting the pres­sure on Bou. The prob­lem for the other riders is that when Bou is un­der pres­sure he per­forms, ev­ery time. Bou had a stop in sec­tion ten as Busto mas­tered it, but then he had two stops in sec­tions 12 and 14 to spoil his score. It was Toni Bou who held a five­mark ad­van­tage as the lap closed with him part­ing with one time penalty.

As he has demon­strated so many times be­fore, once he gets into a good rid­ing rhythm no­body can match him. Bou sim­ply blew the op­po­si­tion away on the se­cond lap part­ing with just a sin­gle mark on sec­tion 13 to se­cure yet an­other world ti­tle, much to his de­light.

RE­SULTS: 1: Toni Bou (Rep­sol Honda-ESP) 9: 2: Jaime Busto (Ver­tigo-ESP) 23; 3: Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP) 25; 4: Jeroni Fa­jardo (Gas Gas-ESP) 30; 5: Takahisa Fu­ji­nami (Rep­sol Honda-JPN) 36; 6: Jorge Casales (Ver­tigo-ESP) 42; 7: Miquel Ge­labert (Sherco-ESP) 45; 8: James Da­bill (Beta-GBR) 54; 9: Benoit Bin­caz (Beta-FRA) 57; 10: Franz Kadlec (TRRS-DEU) 71; 11: Jack Price (Gas GasGBR) 75; 12: Ar­nau Farre (Jo­ta­gas-ESP) 97; 13: An­drea Riva (TRRS-ITA) 110; 14: Dan Peace (Sherco-GBR) 137.

Adam Raga (TRRS-ESP): With one hand on the run­ner-up spot in the cham­pi­onship you al­ways have to take your hat off to Adam, the will to win never goes away. Jeroni Fa­jardo (Gas Gas-ESP): It’s been a tough year for the Gas Gas num­ber one rider, but round after round he has main­tained the push for the podium po­si­tions.

Jorge Casales (Ver­tigo-ESP): If he can move past the men­tal bar­rier of self-be­lief we will see the full po­ten­tial of this ex­cit­ing rider. Ex­pect some bet­ter re­sults in the se­cond half of the sea­son if the con­fi­dence grows. James Da­bill (Beta-GBR): Still head and shoul­ders above the other English riders, ‘Dib­sta’ will be keep­ing his eyes on sixth po­si­tion and his closet ri­val Casales as the sea­son reaches its con­clu­sion. Takahisa Fu­ji­nami (Rep­sol Honda-JPN): Yes ‘Mr Cool’ him­self, ‘Fu­ji­gas’ is like the vin­tage wine that just gets bet­ter. The fight for the top three in the cham­pi­onship con­tin­ues, as it will un­til he has rid­den the fi­nal sec­tion in Spain. Jaime Busto (Ver­tigo-ESP): Will he close the sea­son with a win? On home soil in Spain for the fi­nal round maybe it will be his day; we will see!

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