HAVING already tied-up his fifth consecutive World X-Trial (Indoor) championship the previous week in Madrid it was very much an end of term party for Toni Bou as he completed a clean sweep of six wins from six starts in the 2011 series in Milan last Saturday evening.
But while Toni entertained the crowd packed into the Medialarum Forum on the Repsol Montesa it was all going-off behind him as Sherco’s Albert Cabestany failed to make the final, allowing Gas Gas pilot Adam Raga to almost steal the runner-up spot in the final standings, Raga in turn being foiled by Jeroni Fajardo on the night as Jeroni gave Ossa their best placing so far with second place. And to top it all James Dabill finally made it through qualification to challenge for his Beta team in the four man final.
Bou sailed through the five section Qualification on a clean sheet to lead Cabestany, Dabill and Fajardo as Italian wild-card Matteo Grattarola was joined by Takahisa Fujinami and sadly Jack Challoner as non qualifiers while Michael Brown guaranteed himself sixth place on the night.
Pictures: FIM/ RAY ARCHER
The surprise in the semi final was the exit of a very nervous Cabestany, who was holding second place in the series.
With Cabestany fifth it was suddenly game-on for Adam Raga who sniffed a chance to overhaul Cabes in the Championship. His countryman Fajardo was having none of it though, determined to nail a podium spot for himself and Ossa and the two fought out a real head to head while Bou played to the crowd and showed-off his skill – although an over the handlebars excursion in the races wasn’t actually part of the master plan!
With Raga having to accept third on the night, 18 points to Jeroni’s 17, this brought him up level on points with Cabestany in the Championship and both riders had to wait while the tie-break was confirmed. Cabestany just held on thanks to three runner-up placings against two for Raga. Adam immediately congratulated his long-time rival who could do nothing but stand and watch the final unfold.
It was an exciting final round to what has been an interesting six round season and although Bou has dominated there has been plenty going on for the placings. It was a strong ending for Dabill and while disappointed at failing to qualify on the night 20 year-old Sheffield youngster Jack Challoner still finished as top Brit in the series with an amazing sixth overall in his rookie season.
Said Dabill. “I wanted to show the Italian crowd that Beta and James Dabill are a wining combination and they responded with fantastic support. I have never doubted my ability on the Beta and look forward to the rest of the season.
Said Bou, “The important thing for me tonight was to enjoy myself and also, without getting obsessed, to end the championship unbeaten. I achieved both things – it would have been a mistake not to take advantage of this very rare opportunity.
WORLD X-TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 6 – Fila Forum, Milan, ITALY
FINAL (4 sects + Semi + Lane Races): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) 1 + 2 + 6 = 9 marks, 2 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 7 + 8 + 2 = 17, 3 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 6 + 11 + 1 = 18, 4 James DABILL (GB – Beta) 15 + 12 + 1 = 28.
SEMI-FINAL (4 sects + Lane Race): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) 2, 2 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 8, 3 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 11, 4 James DABILL (GB – Beta) 12. ELIMINATED: 5 Albert Cabestany (E – Sherco) 16, 6 Michael BROWN (GB – Gas Gas) 21.
QUALIFICATION (4 sects): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) clean, 2 Albert Cabestany (E – Sherco) 6, 3 James DABILL (GB – Beta) 10, 4 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 11 (tie-break), 5 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 11, 6 Michael BROWN (GB – Gas Gas) 12 (tie-break). ELIMINATED: 7 Jack CHALLONER (GB – Beta) 12, 8 Takahisa Fujinami (J – Montesa) 18, 9 Matteo Grattarola (I – Gas Gas) 25.
FINAL SERIES STANDINGS: 1 Toni Bou 120 points (CHAMPION), 2 Albert Cabestany 75, 3 Adam Raga 75, 4 Fajardo 60, 5 Fujinami 34, 6 CHALLONER 24, 7 DABILL 22, 8 BROWN 19, 9 Gubian 5, 10 Grattarola 2, 11 Gomez 1, 12 Iolitta 1.