The first round of the FIM X-Trial World Championship held over the weekend in Andorra la Vella saw Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou clinch the victory.
The action got underway with the first qualifying round, where riders had to overcome a total of six sections with Bou making several mistakes to finish fourth on seven penalty marks. In the second round, where just the top riders in each group would make the cut for the final, the Repsol Honda Team rider stormed back, delighting the Andorran spectators with a fine display of riding skills, finishing the round with a clean sheet to grant the champion direct access to the final round.
In the final, against one of his toughest rivals Adam Raga, Toni Bou once again pulled it off, cleaning all six sections for 0 points compared to Adam Raga’s 11, thus sealing the win at the Andorrean season opener.
For the eighth consecutive X-Trial it was Adam Raga who finished second to Bou in the Final as he secured his 37th consecutive podium. On the night he passed Dougie Lampkin in the all-time appearance records with his 136th start, Raga matched Bou in Round One but could only finish second to him in the two subsequent laps. A disastrous failure in Section One of the Final set the tone for the decider, and six dropped marks in the last two sections left him on a score of eleven.
Jaime Busto defeated Matteo Grattarola in an entertaining third place Play-Off. Grattarola was one of the riders of the night in his first X-Trial appearance since December 2017, topping the opening Round by three marks ahead of Raga and Bou.
But the Consolation Final proved one step too far as, after matching Busto in the opening Section, he failed in the tie-break. That ride left Busto with the eighth podium of his X-Trial career, his second with Vertigo and his first since La Réunion almost two years ago.
Reigning world number three Jeroni Fajardo was restricted to fifth position after saving just three marks in the first four sections of heat two.
Miquel Gelabert took no further part in the X-Trial after a spectacular crash in Section Two of Heat One, although thankfully he was able to walk away from the incident and claim sixth position.
“I’m very happy with this victory,” Bou said. “After 20 months without participating in X-Trial the sensations were strange today. To be back competing in front of the fans and, on top of that with an Andorran crowd that was incredible. We know that Barcelona – which is also my home trial – will be very tough and that’s why it was so important to win here today. I am very pleased with my riding, but above all with the team. I want to thank them for all the work they have done this last month after winning the outdoor world championship, to get the bike ready for the indoor championship”
Adam Raga was happy with second saying, “I’m satisfied to have started the season like this because it keeps my options open for the title in Barcelona. I rode very well throughout, but a mistake in the first section of the Final really left me with little chance of victory. The battle against the stopwatch, knowing I needed to do it in both directions, made me rush.”
In two weeks the Repsol Honda team and Toni Bou will once again be back in action for the second and final trial of the X-Trial World Championship at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona on Sunday 21 November.
X-TRIAL ANDORRA LA VELLA 2021 – STANDING
1 Toni Bou
2 Adam Raga
3 Jaime Busto
4 Matteo Grattarola
5 Jeroni Fajardo
6 Miquel Gelabert
7 Gabriel Marcelli
8 Toby Martyn
9 Jorge Casales