X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou heads to an event where he has not been defeated in seven years.
Nine-time and defending X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou missed out on the victory at the opening event of the 2016 FIM X-Trial World Championship in Sheffield last month, but the Repsol Honda Team superstar will seek to get back in the win column during round two at the at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, this weekend.
But it isn’t like Bou is in a perilous situation. His second-place finish at the season opener places him in an excellent position to defend his title, and with Barcelona being Bou’s home territory, he is sure to be primed for a win. Bou has nine Barcelona victories on his resume already, and he has not been defeated in X-Trials flagship event since 2009.
“This weekend in Barcelona we will have to turn things around after what happened in Sheffield, where one slight mistake was enough to cost us the victory, and I hope that doesn’t happen again in Palau Sant Jordi,” Bou said. “Finishing second in England means that the motivation is much greater for this race on home soil and where everyone, including family, friends, sponsors and fans, will be there to support me. The sections will be different this year and let’s hope that the difficulty of the obstacles which they have built live up to the high expectations”
As usual, the competition will be fierce. In addition to Sheffield winner and current series points leader Adam Raga, also from Spain, Bou’s Repsol Honda teammate, Takahisa Fujinami, has traditionally been a threat in Barcelona. The former World Champion spent most of last season on the sidelines after undergoing a knee operation, and he did not compete in Barcelona last year. Fujinami finished second in 2007 and third in 2004, 2009 and 2013.
“The Barcelona trial will be the ‘home stage’ for me,” Fujinami said. “All my family and friends will be there, but also because the Montesa-Honda factory is nearby, I’m sure there will be a lot of the brand’s fans present. It is the most important trial for all the Spanish riders, but I feel very at home there too, and I hope that the fans get behind me as well. My aim is to make it into the final, so in other words, I will have to improve on the result in Sheffield. I think that I wasn’t far away from qualifying, but just a slight mistake and you are out. On the other hand, the sections in Barcelona will be different this year and I think that they will suit my style much better.”
The 39th edition of Barcelona’s Trial Indoor Solo Moto will feature an image revamp for the 2016 event with the Palau Sant Jordi course being used solely for the trial competition on February 7. The new design is said to feature a more attractive and more selective set of hazards, merging near-impossible obstacles with a highly-visual show. Riders will have to complete six sections plus a speed section in the initial qualifying round. The four who make it through to the final will then have to tackle seven sections.