Bou Makes It Two In Marseille

RagaToni Bou – Repsol Montesa made it two wins from two starts in the 2014 FIM X-Trial World Championship when he won in Marseille, France after a night-long battle with arch rival Adam Raga – Gas Gas. Raga kept the reigning champion honest and looked a real threat as he finished within two marks of the series leader following an intense encounter in the French city. Albert Cabestany – Sherco rounded out an all Spanish podium for a second round in a row as he narrowly defeated James Dabill – Beta by a single mark for the last remaining place on the podium. Bou has now stretched his advantage over Cabestany in the general standings to a healthy thirteen points even at this early stage of the campaign.

Jeroni Fajardo – Beta finished fifth on the night, which was a disappointing performance after his rostrum placing in Sheffield. He and Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa, who eventually ended up in sixth spot, failed to make it pass the semi-final stage in front of a packed house who witnessed over four hours of riding in the tight and atmospheric arena.

Qualification proved to be a tough affair with the three home riders suffering the most. Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco riding with Steve Coquelin – Gas Gas as the wild card duo both had difficult draws, with them finding themselves up against Fujinami and Bou respectively. Ferrer would end up in last spot on thirty-one marks and Coquelin eighth as he faired slightly better on a score of twenty-eight. France’s permanent representative Loris Gubian – Ossa was less than impressive as he slotted into ninth position between his two compatriots. Jorge Casales – Gas Gas was the best of the non-qualifiers, although somewhat of the pace of the front-runners. Bou, Raga, Dabill, Cabestany and Fujinami all booked their places in the semi-final with relative ease despite the physical nature of the seven qualifying sections. Fajardo snatched his place in the last six thanks to be the best of the losers.

CabestanyQualification results determined the pairings for the semi-final with Cabestany up against Dabill, Fujinami taking on Raga leaving Bou to fight it out with Fajardo. A series of head to head races between the respective pairings decided the riding order in each duo, with the race winner having the advantage of riding second as they tackled the mainly reversed hazards in attempt to make it through to the all important final. Cabestany beat Dabill by virtue of having won their dual lane race after they both tied on eleven marks, the British rider would later transfer to the final as the best loser. Raga was an easy victor over his Japanese rival, which left Bou to claim his place in the final as he made light work of Fajardo in their pairing.

Bou was the only rider to make it through the opening log section in the final, his loss of two marks and one time penalty was to prove decisive and would create his winning margin as Raga then matched him blow for blow through the three remaining hazards. Bou survived a tense closing section to secure his latest victory, and with Raga the clear runner up, Cabestany also had to hold his nerve to keep Dabill off the podium in what proved to be a dramatic finale to a long night in the famous French city.

The city of Barcelona will host the next round of the 2014 FIM X-Trial World Championship on Sunday 9th February, as the Spanish riders look to continue their domination of the series thus far, but this time on their home patch.


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