The 2014 FIM X-Trial World Championship will come to a close this coming Friday in the Spanish city of Oviedo that sits near the northern coast of the country. Although having already claimed his eighth straight title in this specialised discipline, Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa will still be looking to keep up his winning ways as the series returns to his native land for the second time this season. Undefeated in this championship since January 2010, Bou is on track to notch up his twenty-sixth consecutive victory if he is triumphant once again this time out.
Although the depth and scale of his trophy collective may suggest otherwise, Toni remains the youngest rider amongst the main challengers and has achieved so much in the twenty-seven years since he was born. Toni made his debut in the FIM Indoor Trial World Championship, as it was then titled, back in 2005. Since that famous day he has amassed an incredible and unequalled forty wins in total from his sixty starts including his current unstoppable run that dates back over three seasons.
Not for the first time in more recent history Albert Cabestany – Sherco will arrive at the concluding event of the series as Bou’s closest challenger. Whilst unable to catch the newly crowned champion in the points table. Cabestany is the last person to beat Toni back in 2010 and will have his own sights on recording a historic win in his home country to cement his runners-up position in the general standings. Albert holds a six-point cushion over his bitter rival Adam Raga – Gas Gas, as this veteran duo once again fight it out to be the best of the rest. Raga will be hoping that his compatriot slips up at the final hurdle in order that he can retain his number two ranking.
Behind the leading three there lays a fierce inter-team fight between James Dabill and Jeroni Fajardo – Beta, with the British contender having overtaken his Spanish counter in the standings thanks to his fourth place at the last round in Milan, Italy. Dabill has been the more consistent of the Beta pairing over more recent rounds with three fourth place finishes on the bounce. Jeroni will be desperate to overcome the two-point deficit in the championship table as he performs in front of his home fans on Friday evening.
Fans favourite Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa has not enjoyed the best of campaigns and not been at his best, probably much due to his long lay off on the run up to the series whilst he recovered from a serious knee injury. Fujinami currently sits sixth in the championship table with little hope of improvement in his overall ranking, although he will no doubt be eager to sign off with a strong showing with the outdoor season being just around the corner.
Jorge Casales – Gas Gas and Loris Gubian – Ossa have the unenviable task of fighting it out for seventh and eighth places in the championship as they respectively complete the order for the eight permanent riders who automatically qualified for this year’s series. Neither rider has yet made it through the qualification stage at any round to date, with them both showing a seventh place finish as their result of the season thus far. Whilst Gubian has struggled to find his real form since switching to a new machine over the winter and not really having had enough time to properly prepare himself for the series, Casales has threatened to cause an upset on occasions.
So, although Bou has already wrapped up the title, there will still be much to play for when the 2014 FIM X-Trial World Championship closes out in Oviedo, Spain this coming Friday night.