Boasting the largest seating capacity of any of the venues that the FIM X-Trial World Championship visits it is not difficult to understand why it remains one of the biggest and most important stops of the tour each year. This Sunday’s clash at the famous Palau Sant Jordi arena, that will mark the second round of the current campaign promises to be yet another occasion of significant importance as defending FIM X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou – Repsol Honda looks to prevent his arch rival Adam Raga – TRS making it two wins in two stops.
Previously Bou has never been headed in the general standings en route to any of his nine successive indoor titles, but finds himself coming to his home round with ground to make up on Raga who is currently enjoying some of the best form of his long career since he made the switch to TRS late last year. Whilst this leading duo will be fiercely looking to counter each others every move, they must not lose sight of their other challengers who could desperately be responsible for causing the second upset of the 2016 season.
Albert Cabestany – Sherco claimed the last podium place at the opening round in Sheffield, Great Britain and again will have a top three finish set as his minimum objective. Cabestany has never won in Barcelona, and like Jeroni Fajardo – Vertigo who placed fourth on his Vertigo debut last month will see this year’s edition as perhaps their best chance of tasting success with Bou who has won the event for the last six years not perhaps being at his best.
Cabestany is only too aware of this situation. "Despite Adam (Raga) winning in Sheffield, Toni is still fireproof, still the favorite and still the undisputed number one. But when you've been so long at such a high level, it is increasingly difficult to maintain this same form without some kind of dip. When this happens unfortunately for Toni, we as his nearest challengers are ready to pounce like I did in Oviedo at the end of last season and like what happened at the first round with Adam this year."
Alongside the four home heroes, the event in Barcelona this Sunday will also welcome the fans favourite Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda, France’s flag flyer Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco and Eddie Karlsson – Montesa from Sweden as the remaining three fixed riders. Finally the Spanish contingent will be completed by wildcard entrant Jamie Busto – Repsol Honda who is sure to bring some youthful colour to this special occasion and famous venue.