James Dabill rode his way into the final of the opening round of the 2013 FIM World X-Trial Championship with a sensational performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the seventeenth edition of the Sheffield Indoor Arena Trial.
Dabill who was local favourite to impress at the event, gave an remarkable ride in the six section qualifying to unsettle the dominant Spanish riders. Throughout the lap, Dabill continued to widen his gap, eventually creating a comfortable three mark cushion over Adam Raga, Matteo Grattarola, Michael Brown (Gas Gas) and fellow Beta rider, Jack Challoner who were all eliminated from the event.
The six remaining riders rode four spectacular sections, designed by former world-champion Martin Lampkin in the semi-final. In front of a noisy home crowd, Dabill continued with world-class form to ease into the final, knocking out Alexander Ferrer (Sherco) and Takahisa Fujinami (Montesta) in the process.
Things were not all plain sailing for the Yorkshire hero, with three maximum penalties in the semi-finals. Every point mattered, and Dabill soon became the master of finishing sections within the one minute time allocation, as such avoiding any additional marks.
The four hardest sections were allocated and taken into the final along with the semi-final points, leaving James with a big task to disrupt his Spanish competitors, Toni Bou (Montesa), Albert Cabestany (Sherco) and Jeroni Fajardo (Beta). Never-the-less, with the roar of the British crowd bouncing around Motorpoint Arena, Dabill's confidence shone through and his stirling performance on the iconic indoor waterfall section concluded the night in style.
The factory Beta rider finished the event in fourth, behind his team-mate Jeroni Fajardo who took the final step on the podium. Toni Bou continued his dominant streak, but only just, beating Albert Cabestany by a single mark at the end of the night.
Speaking about the event, James commented "Tonight has been an excellent start to the 2013 season. To beat Fujigas [Fujinami], Raga and really challenge Jeroni [Fajardo] has given me a massive confidence boost.
"I rode very well during qualifying, and I could hear the British fans cheering me on which was awesome. I felt that my semi-final was weak, I had a few small mistakes which without them I would have being on the podium.
"I'm obviously a little disappointed that I'm not a permanent rider in the X-Trial championships this year, as more performances like tonight would have really upset the balance at the top. I'm now going to continue training hard to take this level of riding into the Outdoor World Championships and already I am feeling confident about that season."
"I'd just like to say a massive thanks to my new minder Chris, my wife and family who have, as always, being a huge support tonight. I would also like to thank my sponsors, Beta Motor, Monster Energy, Airoh Helmets, Gaerne Boots, and of course the organisers of the Sheffield Trial who put on an excellent event with superb sections!"