The reigning World Champion secured a hard-fought victory despite injury worries
Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) claimed his thirteenth victory at X-Trial Barcelona, the 66th of his World Championship career, in a hard-fought Grand Final under the roof of the Palau Sant Jordi. Just over a week after suffering back and rib injuries that halted preparations for his home event, Bou overcame Adam Raga despite the TRRS man hitting top form.
Raga took top spot in the first two phases of competition, on each occasion by three marks, to take the advantageous last starting position in the Final. But Bou overcame injury doubts to seize a lead in Section Four that he never surrendered, celebrating in style in front of an estimated 9,000 spectators.
Jorge Casales (Gas Gas) was best of the rest, impressing right from the start of the night with three consecutive cleans, going on to take second in Heat Two, and beating Benoit Bincaz (Beta) in a close-fought Consolation Final. Frenchman Bincaz claimed the best result of his season to date after a sudden death run-off with Casales, despite dropping a single mark that swung the tie in favour of the Spaniard.
In a second round of small margins, Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) was eliminated from Heat One by just two marks and Jaime Busto (Vertigo) missed out in Heat Two by just a single mark. Just two weeks on from securing his first career podium, Gabriel Marcelli was relegated to the bottom of the Standings in his first appearance at X-Trial Barcelona, Miquel Gelabert eliminated in the preliminary phase for the second Round in succession.
Despite Toni Bou extending his lead to 20 points, Adam Raga remains very much on the pace. And positions three to eight in the Championship are now separated by just twelve points, ensuring a competitive X-Trial in Bilbao in a fortnight’s time.
Toni Bou (1st): “It was a big victory because the Sections were tough, Adam was on form and I am not at peak fitness: I had a big fall last week, hurt my back, and haven’t been able to train since. In the first two laps I really didn’t feel comfortable, and then in the Final I had to change bikes, but I forgot about the pain and took the win. It’s always special to win here, riding in front of my home fans, but especially in 2020 after losing here last year.”
Adam Raga (2nd): “I’m happy because it was another good performance for me. I was top in the first two Rounds and only a mistake during Section Four of the Final cost me a chance to win. The atmosphere was brilliant and I know the spectators enjoyed it because the riding was at such a high level, as it has been throughout this season.”
Jorge Casales (3rd): “This season has been a big change with a new team and bike, so getting a podium today is even more special. Barcelona is like my second home, so it’s been great to make it into the top three here.”
The World Championship now moves on to its fifth venue with X-Trial Bilbao from the Bizkaia Arena on 15th February. X-Trial Barcelona is available to review in full at www.x-trial.tv