History will be made this Sunday, when Malaga, Spain hosts the third round of the 2013 FIM X-Trial World Championship, with the city having never previously hosted such an event despite the discipline’s long and rich past of visiting many different Spanish cities since the initial FIM Indoor Trial World Cup was conceived back in 1993.
During the last two decades the series has hopped its way across Spain with the home fans enjoying a succession of Spanish Champions over the years. Whilst it was Finland’s Tommi Ahvala who was the first ever winner of the FIM Indoor Trial World Cup, no less than four Spanish riders have taken the title since then. Marc Colomer opened the Spanish account in 1994 and won a total of three indoor championships on the bounce, before Britain’s Dougie Lampkin took over at the top from 1997 through to 2001. Albert Cabestany- Sherco restored the Spanish flag at the top of the series in 2002, before his younger compatriot Adam Raga – Gas Gas a year later, then superceded him. Raga’s reign stretched to 2006 before he finally surrendered to the now dominant force that is Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa who captured a record breaking sixth successive FIM Indoor / X-Trial World Championship in 2012.
Cabestany, Raga and Bou remain a strong force in the current campaign, with this Spanish trio occupying three out of the top four places in the general standings to date. Bou has already set his stall out and has opened his 2013 account with back-to-back wins in Sheffield and Barcelona and heads to Malaga this Sunday as the clear favourite to make three victories in a row. Behind him the story is one of inconsistency. Raga failed to qualify in Sheffield, before bouncing back in Barcelona, whilst it was a role reversal for Cabestany who pushed Bou hard in round one before bombing out of the second encounter of the season.
The fourth Spanish rider in the leading plot, Jeroni Fajardo – Beta has produced a slightly more balanced performance over the initial events and holds third position in the series thanks to his third and fourth place finishes respectively. Fajardo was prevented from making it on to the podium in Barcelona by Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa, as the veteran campaigner rediscovered some of his old form and flamboyance, both of which still ensure that the Japanese rider remains one of the fans favourite contenders.
Italian rider Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas will be hoping for better things in Malaga, having finished dead last at both of the opening two rounds. France’s Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco showed promise with his fifth place in Sheffield, however failed to shine in Barcelona and will be looking to improve on that seventh spot this time out. Jack Challoner – Beta will not only have to fight off these two young rivals, but also his peers and two Spanish wild card riders in the form of Pere Borrellas – Gas Gas and Francesc Moret – Montesa if he is to make it through to the final after having progressed to the semi-final at round two.
Qualification will take place at 19.00hrs local time, with the six successful riders taking to the stage at 21.00hrs to contest the semi-final ahead of the four man final which will bring the third round of the FIM X-Trial World Championship to a close on what will be an historic night both for Malaga and the series itself.