Fresh from his dominant win at the opening round of the 2017 FIM X-Trial World Championship in Barcelona last month, defending champion Toni Bou – Repsol Honda heads to Wiener Neustadt, Austria this coming Saturday as the clear favourite once again. The Spanish star, bidding for an incredible eleventh consecutive title, recorded an emphatic sixteen-mark victory in the Palau Sant Jordi and will be keen to carry this form into round two.
Bou is unbeaten in Austria, having won there on the last two occasions the FIM X-Trial World Championship visited the country in 2015 and 2016. “Of course, the first objective is to make it through to the final to be in with a chance of victory and to be able to pick up twenty more points,” said Toni. “We are arriving highly-motivated for a win and we have prepared as well as we possibly could. It is a short championship and this means that if you want to win the title you can’t make any mistakes. In Austria we will face a Trial with some complicated sections – it is one of the events that I like best in the championship – and I think that we will be on top form there.”
His closest competition is likely to come from fellow Spaniards Adam Raga – TRS, Jeroni Fajardo – Vertigo and Albert Cabestany – Sherco. The trio all made it to the final in Barcelona where Raga took second with Fajardo snatching the final podium place after beating Cabestany in the speed section tie-break.
Of the remaining seven permanent riders, veteran Japanese star Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Honda was sixth in Barcelona ahead of British champion James Dabill – Gas Gas and Germany’s Franz Kadlec – Gas Gas who regards the Austrian event as his ‘home’ round of the championship.
The eight-man field for Wiener Neustadt is completed by French wild card rider Loris Gubian – Beta whose best overall championship performance was in 2012 when he finished sixth.
From Austria the 2017 FIM X-Trial World Championship moves to France where it signs off with the final two rounds in Marseille on 25th March and Nice on 31st March. However, for the time being all eyes are firmly focused on who will come out on top in Wiener Neustadt this Saturday evening.