2014 X-Trial Championship Round 2

Ztc 0731Series leader and defending champion Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa will take his title fight to Marseille, France this coming Saturday 25th January as he looks to make it two wins from two starts at the second round of the 2014 FIM XTrial World Championship. Although few would bet against Bou extending his early season advantage at the top of the general standings with another victory in the French city, his plight will not be an easy one as the initial battle in Sheffield, Great Britain earlier this month confirmed.

Bou was pushed hard at round one by Albert Cabestany – Sherco, with just two marks separating the dominant Spanish pairing after a hard and fraught night of tense competition. Both of these leading competitors will be aware of the significance of the pending duel, with Marseille back in 2010 being the last time Bou was defeated on the World indoor tour. The winner on that night by a single mark was a certain Albert Cabestany.


The small and atmospheric Palais des Sports de Marseille venue has proved to be a good hunting ground for the highly experienced Cabestany over the years, with the factory Sherco rider often excelling on the long and technical sections that have become a familiar part of this particular event. Absent from the series last year, the coastal French city last played host to the FIM X-Trial World Championship back in 2012. On that occasion two years ago it was Bou who reigned supreme with a five mark-winning margin over Adam Raga – Gas Gas, as Cabestany placed third on the night.

Raga will be looking to regain some of the form that took him within touching distance of Bou last time they were in Marseille after a poor opening result in Sheffield. Adam cruelly missed out on a place in the final following a tiebreak with Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa as they ended the semi-final on five marks apiece having both failed to secure an automatic transfer to the main event. The Japanese rider booked his place in the last four thanks to a faster time in the final section of the semi-final and would eventually finish fourth on the night.

Ztc 0778Raga knows he will need to at least be on the podium this time out if he is to be part of the title fight as the season progresses. This is a point Jeroni Fajardo – Beta will also be fully aware of too, as he looks to build on the solid third position he achieved at round one. Back in 2012 Fajardo failed to make it into the final, a situation he will want to rectify as he looks to establish himself as one of Bou’s main challengers in the current edition of the series.

James Dabill – Beta and Fujinami are two further potential rostrum contenders at the French event, but both will have to be at the top of their game if they are to depose the mighty Spanish quartet of Bou, Cabestany, Fajardo or Raga for a coveted place on the box. France’s Loris Gubian – Ossa will be hoping that some noisy home support can inspire him through the qualifying process as he looks to improve on the seventh spot he occupied at the first round.

Spain’s teenage sensation Jorge Casales – Gas Gas produced an impressive debut performance in the series in England, and appears to be well suited to the indoor hazards despite his total lack of experience. With a touch more confidence Jorge could just cause an upset at some point this season.

The eight permanent riders of the 2014 FIM X-Trial World Championship will be joined by two French wild card entrants, Alexandre Ferrer.