Toni Bou claims his fifth World Indoor title in Madrid
TONI Bou nailed the 2011 SPEA FIM X-Trial World Championship with a round to go by winning the fifth round of the current series, staged in front of a packed house of spectators in Madrid on Saturday evening. It was Bou’s fifth consecutive Indoor title and he claimed his latest crown with a clean sweep of five wins from five starts on the factory Repsol Montesa. He will be going for a full-house six wins in Milan this weekend.
Pictures: RAY ARCHER
The Madrid trial was played-out to a virtually full stadium of trials mad Spaniards. Barcelona may be the centre for trials in Spain but Madrid showed that there is plenty of enthusiasm for the sport in the capital city. The eight contracted riders were joined by wildcard Alfredo Gomez on a third Montesa.
Qualification was split into two parts with the first four sections being contested behind closed doors in the afternoon. Barcelona ran all qualifying in the afternoon but that was because the trial shared the evening billing with the Enduro champs. The deciding two Qualifying sections were staged in the evening so that the vrowd at least got to see all nine riders although three would be eliminated pretty quickly. Sadly, it was Brits Michael Brown and James Dabill squabbling over the elimination places with Gomez, Takahisa Fujinami and Jack Challoner. Dabill has only been a shadow of the rider he was last season Indoors, when he was fighting for podiums, and this week he only finished ahead of the wildcard with four maximums from the six sections. Browny beat him by a mark but was still shown the exit while Challoner once again showed that he can cut-it Indoors by outqualifying the experienced Takahisa Fujinami on the factory Montesa. Jack took just two fives, one less thna Fuji, to qualify a fine fifth on the Beta.
The top four though were shaping to have a battle royale with Bou showing who’s boss with just a single mark loss on the second section, pipping Gas Gas number one Adam Raga, who dropped just a single five. Adam and Jeroni Fajardo on the Ossa both cleaned the section where Toni had his dab to boost their confidence ahead of the finals. Jeroni qualified third having cleaned five sections and fiving just the one with the always consistent Albert Cabestany.
The semi finals proved tricky and at the sharp end Adam Raga, with Dougie Lampkin now firmly in his corner, is visibly gaining in confidence as the series progresses. He lost his initial dual-lane race with Bou but kept the reigning champ well in range through the four sections to go into the final just two marks in arrears. These two were out on their own at this stage as Cabestany only just got the better of Fajardo on 13 and 14 marks respectively and Challoner and Fujinami were also right in the mix, Jack and Fuji hitting the exit but only after another excellent showing from the Indoor find of the year, Jack Challoner!
The final, shown live on Eurosport, saw Raga continue to apply the pressure. It was actually a thrilling final with all four riders performing to a really high standard. All three sections were long and hard and Jeroni did a good job as he led the way through each one juggling observation against time while his rivals were able to better judge their ride.
The final hazard included a step too far and even Bou had to accept a five. But as the organisers and live TV crews were flapping around trying to get him out of the section and into the interviews – well, he had just won the World Championship – Toni was having a second, and then a third crack at the huge vertical step before, to a huge roar from the crowd, he conquered it – and then blasted off for the celebrations with team-mate Fujigas the first to congratulate him.
Said Bou, “It’s been thrilling to achieve this fifth consecutive title. If anyone had told me this would happen when I won my first title I would not have believed it. This season has gone perfectly with a really high level at each event and a bike that hasn’t let me down. It would be impossible to ask for more!”
WORLD X-TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 5 – Palacio de Deportes, Madrid, SPAIN
FINAL (4 sects + Semi + Lane Races): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) 6 + 7 + 0 = 13 marks, 2 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 9 + 9 + 1 = 19, 3 Albert Cabestany (E – Sherco) 10 + 13 + 2 = 25, 4 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 10 + 14 + 3 = 27.
SEMI-FINAL (4 sects + Lane Race): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) 7, 2 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 9, 3 Albert Cabestany (E – Sherco) 13, 4 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 14. ELIMINATED: 5 Takahisa Fujinami (J – Montesa) 16, 6 Jack CHALLONER (GB – Beta) 15.
QUALIFICATION (4 sects): 1 Toni Bou (E – Montesa) 1, 2 Adam Raga (E – Gas Gas) 5, 3 Jeroni Fajardo (E – Ossa) 5, 4 Albert Cabestany (E – Sherco) 8, 5 Jack CHALLONER (GB – Beta) 14, 6 Takahisa Fujinami (J – Montesa) 15. ELIMINATED: 7 Michael BROWN (GB – Gas Gas) 19, 8 James DABILL (GB – Beta) 20, 9 Alfredo Gomez (E – Montesa) 23.
SERIES STANDINGS with 1 round remaining: 1 Bou 100 points (CHAMPION), 2 Cabestany 69, 3 Raga 63, 4 Fajardo 45, 5 Fujinami 32, 6 CHALLONER 21, 7 BROWN 14, 8 DABILL 13, 9 Gubian 5, 10 Gomez 1, 11 Grattarola 1, 12 Iolitta 1.
FINAL ROUND: March 19 – Fila Forum, Milan,