The German city of Bielefeld will take centre stage this coming Saturday evening as it accommodates the fourth round of the 2013 FIM X-Trial World Championship and marks the first time the series has ever visited this city. In fact not since 2004, when Koblenz was in the calendar has Germany hosted a World status event in this discipline. Back then a certain Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa was the winner on the night, however he might have to be content with playing a supporting role this time around as his dominant teammate Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa looks to steal the show.
Bou heads to the German city that sits towards the north of the country with a commanding twenty-four point lead over his nearest rival Albert Cabestany – Sherco. Barring an absolute disaster or unless Cabestany can close the gap to less than twenty points over the course of this Saturday’s competition, Bou will be crowned FIM X-Trial World Champion for an incredible and record extending seventh year in succession. Few would bet against this becoming true, especially those who witnessed his outstanding display of sheer skill at the previous round in Malaga where he won by a staggering twenty-one marks.
The sub plot is the much closer fight for the remaining championship positions. Following his distant, yet runners-up spot at the last counting event Cabestany currently holds second place in the general standings, seven points clear of a rejuvenated Fujinami. The Japanese rider will have to be in the same kind of podium form as he produced at the previous two rounds if he is to stand a chance of leaving Germany in front of Adam Raga – Gas Gas and Jeroni Fajardo – Beta, with only two points splitting these three fiercely competitive challengers. Both Raga and Fajardo failed to perform anywhere near there real potential last time out and will hope the sections in Bielefeld better suit them. These two permanent contenders will have the added distraction of having to also fight off James Dabill – Beta who will re-enter the 2013 FIM X-Trial World Championship for a second time as an invited wild card rider. Dabill placed fourth at the opening round in Sheffield in front of his home fans, and perhaps will fancy his chances of taking a podium spot this time out as he looks to prove a point after having failed to qualify for this year’s series proper.
France’s Alexandre Ferrer – Sherco leads the charge from the rear and currently sits sixth in the interim rankings just two points better off than Dabill despite the young French hopeful having contested all three rounds to date compared to James’ one off appearance thus far. Jack Challoner – Beta and Matteo Grattarola – Gas Gas are eighth and ninth respectively in the series standings going into the penultimate round and will need to raise their game if they are to climb the order ahead of the climax in Nice next month. The action in Bielefeld will get underway at 19.25hrs local time with the semi-final scheduled to start at 21.00hrs. If all goes to the expected plan the crowning of King Bou VII should take place on German soil an hour or so later.
The main event will broadcast live by CANAL+ Spain via its Canal+ Deportes and Canal+ Desportes HD channels, and will also be repeated on its Sportmania channel. ESPORT 3, the sports channel of Televisio de Catalunya (TV3) will also delay broadcast the event from Bielefeld.