Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou clinched victory ahead of Jaime Busto in Vendée, France in the opening round of the 2018 FIM X-Trial World Championship.
In the first qualifying round, Bou laid down the gauntlet, collecting just a single penalty point in the six-section course, as the eleven-times champion sauntered through the relatively low-difficulty obstacles. The second phase of the competition, held in the Vendespace Sports Complex, saw Toni Bou included in a group with James Dabill and Benoît Bincaz, with only the top-finisher going through to the final. The Montesa Cota 4RT rider replicated the near perfect first lap to comfortably seal a place in the final.
The X-Trial Vendée podium
The final turned out to be a face-off with former team-mate Jaime Busto, whose six points were no match for the incumbent champion who picked up a solitary penalty mark en route to victory.
"We have started a new season and we knew that we would have a fight on our hands, especially when we saw how easy the sections were," Bou said. "Jaime pushed harder than we’d expected, putting in a very good lap and turning out to be a great rival. I think I made a few more mistakes and if things continue like this, the championship could turn out to be a hotly-disputed one. It is important to start with a victory and with good sensations. Now we will rest a bit and continue with the pre-season which we haven’t yet been able to do so far."
Jaime Busto was happy with his second place finish on debut with his new GasGas team.
“It´s been a great debut with a new team and on a new bike," Busto said. "I felt comfortable right from the start, and making it to the Final is the result of excellent work from the whole GasGas team. I tried my best to make things difficult for Toni right to the last momento, and I´m happy with the result, my riding and the atmosphere in Vendée today."
After a scary moment in the final Adam Raga was content with the final podium place.
“I had a scary moment at the end of the last section on the first lap because I lost control of the bike, and it was a big hit," Raga explained. "Thankfully I wasn´t injured, and I rode well in the Semi Final, even if a place in the Final got away from me by a point. Considering how the trial started, making it to the podium is a good result.”
The next round of the 2018 X-Trial World Championship will be held on Saturday January 13th in Montpellier, France.
Winner Toni Bou in action.
X-Trial Vendée 18 1 Bou Toni SPA 1 2 Busto Jaime SPA 6 3 Raga Adam SPA 3 4 Fajardo Jeroni SPA 7 5 Dabill James GBR 13 6 Bincaz Benoit FRA 16 7 Casales Jorge SPA 11 8 Grattarola Matteo ITA 11 9 Farre Arnau SPA 14
Top 8 Rider Standings 1 Bou Toni SPA 20 2 Busto Jaime SPA 15 3 Raga Adam SPA 12 4 Fajardo Jeroni SPA 9 5 Dabill James GBR 6 6 Bincaz Benoit FRA 4 7 Casales Jorge SPA 2 8 Grattarola Matteo ITA 1
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