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.
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.
Photo – FIM/Good-Shoot
Wiener Neustadt – Key Facts
- This Saturday is FIM X-Trial World Championship’s third visit to Wiener Neustadt making it the newest venue on the 2017 calendar
- Bou is not the only current rider who has won in Austria – Raga won in 2003 when the event was held in Vienna
- Cabestany / Fujinami also competed in that 2003 event which was the last in Austria until 2015
- Bou has dropped a total of just 27 marks in his two visits to Wiener Neustadt – Raga is next best with 60 marks lost
- Raga has never finished higher than third in Wiener Neustadt making it his least-successful venue in the 2017 championship calendar
- No non-Spanish rider has ever qualified for the final in Wiener Neustadt with Bou, Raga, Cabestany and Fajardo making it through to the last four in 2015 / 2016