The eleventh FIM Indoor / X-Trial des Nations takes place this coming Friday in Pau, France, with Spain starting as overwhelming favourites to retain their title. The two-man Spanish team of newly-crowned 2017 FIM X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou – Repsol Honda and Jaime Busto – Repsol Honda carry the expectations of their country on their shoulders.
Since the event was first held in 2002 Spain have remained unbeaten and it is a fact not lost upon nineteen-year-old Busto.
“I think there is a certain pressure on my head,” he said, “because the Spanish team has been winning for many years and when you compete you never want to break that streak. In other words, we must do well.
“But having Toni as my team-mate means I hope it will be easy to win. I look forward to doing well and I am very excited to be able to compete to win again the FIM X-Trial des Nations. The level of this competition is usually a bit lower than the World Championship sections so I hope I can also prove my level.”
A new ruling introduced in 2016 that one team member must be under twenty-five years old explains why Busto has been selected in favour of more accomplished Spanish riders for the second consecutive year.
Last season he won alongside Adam Raga when Bou, who won his eleventh consecutive FIM X-Trial World Championship in Nice last week, was injured.
The other countries competing include home nation France with Benoit Bincaz – Scorpa and Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco who have finished runners-up for the last two years; Italy represented by Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas and Luca Petrella – TRS; and the team from Great Britain with James Dabill – Gas Gas and FIM Trial 2 Cup winner Jack Price – Gas Gas.
The field is completed by Germany’s Franz Kadlec – Gas Gas and Jarmo Robrahn – Beta.
Of the ten competitors only Bou, Dabill and Kadlec competed in all four rounds of the 2017 FIM X-Trial World Championship with Busto and Ferrer both making wild card appearances, Busto in particular impressing with his fourth-placed finish at round three in Marseille.
Photo – FIM/Good-Shoot
FIM X-Trial des Nations – Key Facts
- Spain are unbeaten in the competition and if they win on Friday it will be their 11th consecutive title
- The competition was first held in 2002 and has run every year apart from breaks in 2007 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2013
- Spain’s winning team in 2002 was Adam Raga, Albert Cabestany and Marc Freixa – Raga was 2nd in the 2017 FIM X-Trial World Championship with Cabestany 4th
- In 2016 a new ruling was put into place that one team member must be under 25 years of age
- Out of the 10 riders 4 – Jack Price, Franz Kadlec, Luca Petrella and Jarmo Robrahn – will be making their FIM X-Trial des Nations debut in Pau
- At 31 years of age James Dabill is the oldest competitor in Pau – Jarmo Robrahn at 18 is the youngest