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Toni Bou draws first blood at 2018 X-Trial Championship opener

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Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou clinched victory ahead of Jaime Busto in Vend̩e, 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 Benǫt 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.
Toni Bou draws first blood at 2018 X-Trial Championship opener
The X-Trial Vend̩e 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‰Ûªd 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‰Ûªt yet been able to do so far."

Jaime Busto was happy with his second place finish on debut with his new GasGas team.

‰ÛÏItå«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 Iå«m happy with the result, my riding and the atmosphere in VendÌ©e today."

After a scary moment in the final Adam Raga was content with the final podium place.

‰ÛÏI 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 wasnå«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.‰Û
Toni Bou draws first blood at 2018 X-Trial Championship opener
Winner Toni Bou in action.
X-Trial Vend̩e 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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