Following the finale of the 2012 FIM X-Trial World Championship in Paris last weekend, ten riders will make the short journey south to Nice this Friday for the first ever FIM X-Trial des Nations. Five nations will fight for glory at the city’s Palais Nikai, those being Spain, Great Britain, France, Japan and Norway.
Although the famous FIM Trial des Nations has been running since 1984, until now there has not been a similar annual event to the mirror indoor discipline. Conceived to reinforce the longstanding FIM Trial des Nations, the all-new FIM X-Trial des Nations invites teams of just two riders, instead of four. Spain is the bookies’ favourite to win the inaugural event with the World’s top two FIM X-Trial riders, Toni Bou - Repsol Montesa and Albert Cabestany – Sherco riding on side.
There will be at least one 2012 FIM X-Trial World Championship rider on all, but one of the remaining teams. Michael Brown - Gas Gas, who finished the series in seventh place, will be waving the flag for Great Britain alongside his teammate, James Dabill - Beta who was part of last year’s championship line-up. Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Montesa, who was third on the podium in Paris but finished fourth in the 2012 FIM X-Trial series, has been teamed up with fellow Japanese rider, Tomoyuki Ogawa - Beta. Sixth-placed Loris Gubian - Gas Gas will ride for France with Alexandre Ferrer - Sherco who impressed crowds last weekend by becoming the first and only wild card rider of the season to make it through to the semi-final stage of the competition.
Norway lacks a FIM X-Trial World Championship rider, and considering the international credentials of the other four teams it is fair to say that the Norwegians will be the underdogs of the FIM X-Trial des Nations. Norway is a relative newcomer to World championship class team events. The Norwegian team had its first outing in the World Championship Group of the FIM Trial des Nations last year, after winning the supporting International Trophy Group in 2010. The country has handpicked its most successful two riders, Hakon Pedersen - Sherco and Ib Andersen - Gas Gas, to compete on its behalf this weekend.
One rider from each team will each complete a lap consisting of six challenging hazards plus one speed section. The combined score of the two riders in each team will ultimately decide the first ever winners of this unique competition. The FIM X-Trial des Nations will be broadcast live on Motors TV Friday, with the event starting at 21:00hrs local time.