Toni Bou starts the X-Trial World Championship season with victory ahead of Adam Raga in a close-fought first Round
Reigning X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou (Repsol Montesa-HRC) claimed his first victory of the season in front of 5,400 spectators at the opening event of the season in Budapest. The Spaniard secured his 58th career success ahead of 2018 X-Trial Budapest winner Adam Raga in a close final where there were never more than six marks between the two.
Bou suffered a scare in Section One of the head-to-head Final, dropping three marks after Raga had notched just one. But Raga failed to take advantage of his early lead, suffering a first fiasco of the lap in Section Two and handing the impetus to rival Bou. Raga took the X-Trial to the last section after Bou made an uncharacteristic error in Section Five, but both passed the decider clean to give Bou the 2019 Championship lead.
In the main change to the event format for this new season, a Consolation Final now determines third and fourth positions, and it was Jeroni Fajardo who came out victorious in the third place play-off´s first iteration. Veteran Fajardo claimed his 28th career podium after beating GasGas teammate Jaime Busto, the latter struggling with two fiascos after performing well to qualify from Round Two.
Busto made it through at the expense of his perennial rival Benoit Bincaz (Beta) in an entertaining Heat Two, the Frenchman two marks behind the rider who beat him to third in the world last season. Also eliminated in the second Round was Jorge Casales (Vertigo), who nonetheless proved himself an effective performer in his first X-Trial appearance since the opening event of 2018.
British representatives James Dabill (Beta) and Dan Peace (Sherco) were eliminated in Round One along with Japan´s Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Montesa-HRC) leaving five Spaniards against Frenchman Bincaz in the Heats.
Toni Bou (1st): The best way to start the season is with a win, but the Final was certainly very demanding today with a couple of sections in particular that were really challenging. In fact, the whole X-Trial was tough. This victory is especially pleasing after I missed X-Trial Budapest in 2018 through injury. I was quite satisfied with my physical condition after my more recent crash in December, and I am therefore sure that I will be able to compete at full-strength in Barcelona next time out.
Adam Raga (2nd): It´s obviously a shame that I missed out on the win by so little, but I was able to take it right to the end which is the main thing. Second place is a good way to start the season, and most importantly I had a good feeling on the bike in some really demanding sections.
Jeroni Fajardo (3rd): I was only one point from the Final after a fall in Round Two but I am pleased I recovered quickly and third place is a good reward. My performance and victory in the Consolation Final prove that I can now fight for the podium places at every Round.
The competitors now look ahead to X-Trial Barcelona in two weeks´ time in the Palau Sant Jordi.