Benoit Bincaz, the top-performing newcomer in the 2018 FIM X-Trial World Championship, looks back at his success and towards an ambitious future
French youngster Benoit Bincaz opened the 2018 season with only the experience of two X-Trial of Nations participations under his belt, but closes the campaign as undoubtedly the rookie of the year. The Scorpa rider spearheaded a new generation of rising talents who made a name for themselves among the top performers in the X-Trial discipline. Finishing fourth overall and just four points from a place among the top three following podium finishes at X-Trial Toulouse and X-Trial Budapest, Bincaz finished short of the top four on just one occasion (Vendée) all season. Mission accomplished for 2018, but Bincaz continues to aspire to higher goals: “A top-level sportsman has to set objectives that look difficult, but that’s the magic of competition. I wanted to make it onto an X-Trial podium, and that’s what I have been chasing since childhood. At just eight years of age I went to see my first events in the discipline with my father and I loved them all. I have dreamed of reaching this point, so to make it on the podium 13 years later has been magical. When I saw myself on the podium in Toulouse next to such big stars as Adam Raga and Toni Bou, the feeling was so unbelievable and unforgettable. Now my objective is to make it onto the World Championship podium, that escaped me by so little this year, and I’m working hard to achieve it because I believe it is within my reach.”
The Frenchman, described by many as the X-Trial discipline’s equivalent of Johann Zarco, a comparison the youngster finds flattering: “It sounds incredible, but I have certainly heard that a lot, that my season has been similar to Zarco’s in MotoGP. I didn’t really expect to be fighting for the podium but I have been, and up to the very last X-Trial I was third. I was motivated and had plenty of self-belief. Of course that’s a key attribute for any sportsman and is certainly also one of the virtues of Johann Zarco.”
Just like his fellow countryman, Benoit Bincaz was able to seize the opportunity to move up to the elite level, and his consistency is a result of the hard work he has put in to date. As he explains: “I hoped to be able to compete in some of the X-Trials, so when I found out I would be a permanent rider in the Championship I was surprised but grateful and excited about an opportunity that I just had to take advantage of. I have trained regularly in these types of sections and since I turned sixteen I have been riding in similar events of smaller stature, so this experience although limited gave me the confidence to demonstrate my maximum level. After my selection I trained with even greater intensity and frequently in Spain with my minder Benoit Dagnicourt. In Catalunya there are a lot of artificial sections where you can ride with the elite riders of the X-Trial World Championship.”
Summarising his season, the X-Trial World Championship’s 2018 revelation reflects: “I think that the Championship’s new concept is completely right. That’s demonstrated by spectators attending in such volume at all of the events and enjoying the level of competition and show. The riders also enjoyed it because of the sections and the excitement of the competition. I hadn’t expected the format to make it so physical, but completing six sections in six minutes leaves no room for error. Having to be at peak fitness to tackle every section creates a great deal of intensity and interest in the competition throughout. Also, it means that there is constant action for spectators, with no dead time. So the crowd is constantly reacting, the atmosphere builds, and the show is enhanced. In France the Championship has been very well followed, on social media and on television and other media, so I have felt very well supported. It has been some time since a French rider was battling for a place on the X-Trial World Championship podium, and I hope that helps the discipline to continue to grow in the future.”
2018’s top X-Trial debutant has arrived on the world stage and provided the shocks, but now he wants more and continues to work every day to achieve it.