The 2022 FIM X-Trial World Championship opened in Nice, France, with another stunning victory for the reigning title-holder, Toni Bou.
Already fifteen -times X-Trial World Champion, Toni Bou started his pursuit of another with victory at the 2022 season opener, X-Trial Nice. A packed crowd in the Palais Nikaia witnessed another Bou masterclass as he secured a maximum score of 22 Championship points, winning Round One with just a single dropped mark, Round Two with a perfect clean, and the Final by an eleven-mark margin.
Bou’s regular rival Adam Raga pipped Matteo Grattarola for second after the Italian made the first podium of his X-Trial career. On top form, Grattarola conceded just a single mark from the opening Round to set himself up perfectly for qualification to the Final. From there the 34-year-old was almost a match for Raga over the six decisive sections, heading the reigning world number two after three and only losing out when he failed sections five and six consecutively.
It was a difficult night for 2021 bronze medallist Jaime Busto, two failures in each of the opening two Rounds depriving him of a place in the Final. And he was somewhat fortunate to squeeze home in fourth on countback thanks to his superior Round Two performance over Benoit Bincaz. The Frenchman, on his return from injury, looked back to something close to his best. And Toby Martyn impressed with sixth, progressing to the Second Round for the first time in his short X-Trial career and finishing just two marks short of Busto and Bincaz.
The first two riders out onto the Round One sections, Norway’s Sondre Haga and home Wild Card Téo Cairo were eliminated at the preliminary stage in seventh and eighth respectively.
“This is the best way to start the season,” Bou said. “My performance was almost perfect and my new bike was working really well, so I have to congratulate the team for all of the hard work they have done this winter. It’s been great to win in front of a packed crowd after two difficult years with Covid, it is brilliant to be back here in France and that makes it a special feeling,” The Repsol Honda Trial Team rider concluded.
Adam Raga was positive about his runner up place, “I’m satisfied with this second place because it is a good way to start the season. In the Final I made a couple of mistakes and really I choked a bit but overall I view this Round positively,” Raga said.
Matteo Grattarola was happy to make his first podium, “This is my first podium in X-Trial so you can imagine how happy I am. I felt really good throughout the night and I’m particularly pleased with my first lap. This result is another step forward continuing my progress from 2021,” Grattarola said.
The X-Trial World Championship remains in France for the Second Round of the season on the 25th March in Chalon-Sur-Saône.
2022 X-Trial Nice Standing
1 Toni Bou
2 Adam Raga
3 Matteo Grattarola
4 Jaime Busto
5 Benoit Bincaz
6 Toby Martyn
7 Sondre Haga
8 Téo Colairo