The history of the Vertigo Combat competing at the highest level may have only started four events ago in early January of this year, but already the prototype machine in the very capable hands of their factory rider James Dabill is making good progress. Round five of the 2015 FIM X-Trial World Championship saw Dabill deliver the best result of the series so far as he so narrowly missed out on a place in the final.
Reigning and five times British Champion Dabill produced an excellent performance inside the Nova Arena on the outskirts of Wiener Neustadt as the series made a return to Austria for the first time since 2003. James brought the capacity crowd to life as he became the first rider, during what turned out to be a difficult qualification process, to crest the huge step constructed from red concrete blocks in the second section. Illustrating the sheer power of the two-stroke fuel injected engine and response of the rear suspension James leapt to the top of the two and a half metre plus vertical face to give himself every chance of making it through to the main event.
Two further solid rides in the following pair of hazards confirmed that Dabill was on top of his game as he first edged carefully across a series of awkwardly spaced rocks and then made light work of the large white cast drainage tubes. The last two hazards of the seven sections that defined qualification proved to be a real sting in the tail and saw James round out his lap on a score of twenty-one marks and move into an interim lead whilst he waited for the remaining riders to complete their initial laps respectively.
Once all eight riders had finished qualification Dabill found himself in a tie-break situation with Jeroni Fajardo, with the winner of the head to head decider to be rewarded with the last remaining place in the four rider final. The hard charging duo were forced to race for a second time as their first race was declared a dead heat, and it was during the second sprint that James was to cruelly crash out as he sought to book his place in the final part of the competition. Despite the disappointment of missing out a certain top four finish, Dabill’s fifth spot on the night still gave him his best result of the season to date.
Watching the drama unfold in front of his very eyes Vertigo Sports Team Manager Dougie Lampkin said. “Tonight represents a massive step forward for both James and the Vertigo Combat. In terms of level of performance, what we as a team have been seeing in training over the last few weeks has now come to life in an actual event. Watching the bike go up that step in section two shows just how competitive the Vertigo Combat is even at this early stage and proves that James is now starting to use the full potential of the bike as he gets to feel more comfortable with it.”
“James can count himself very unlucky not to have made it through to the final, as the way he rode he certainly looked like he might have even made it on to the podium tonight if things had gone more his way. The good news is that we are making progress and are in good place ahead of next weekend when he will ride the final round of the X-Trial series and begin the defence of his British title.” Concluded Dougie.
A frustrated Dabill stated. “I am really disappointed how things played out in the end as I thought I had done enough to be in the final. The positive thing is that even after just five events we are in the mix with the World’s best despite both the bike and team being so young. I hope now that I can continue with this level of riding and performance, especially next weekend when I will ride three events in three days.”
James and the Vertigo Combat remain sixth in the 2015 FIM X-Trial World Championship with one round to go.
Photos – goodshoot