The X-Trial event in Andorra has brought the 2019 FIM X-Trial World Championship to a close. Toni Bou, the Repsol Honda Team rider, with the championship already mathematically sealed, was able to savour the thirteenth title in front of the home Andorran spectators.

The Repsol rider, making his debut in an Andorra X-Trial, arrived on the back of four 2019 championship victories with the title already bagged after winning the Marseille trial, a month and a half ago. Bou was able to ride without pressure and command the trial to claim a fifth win of the season. Bou cleaned the first two rounds and later picked up just a single point, compared to the 11 of rival Adam Raga, in the final.

This marks a career 75th podium place for Toni Bou and victory number 62 for the multi-time Spanish champion.

The X-Trial World Championship had returned to Andorra after a sixteen-year absence. Toni Bou hadn’t yet taken part in the championship back then, unlike team-mate Takahisa Fujinami. In the most recent edition of the indoor event in Andorra, disputed in the Palau de Gel de Canillo, the Japanese Repsol Honda Team rider had finished in fifth position.

The trial was the 139th participation for Takahisa Fujinami in an X-Trial World Championship event – an outright record in this competition. The Japanese rider accomplished his mission of qualifying for the second phase and went on to post an upbeat fifth overall position.

Repsol Honda Team will participate next weekend in the second round of the Campeonato de España de Trial (Spanish Trial Championship) which will take place in Sant Julià de Lòria, also in Andorra. Bou is the leader of the national contest after winning the inaugural race.

Toni Bou

RACE: 1ST   STANDINGS: 1ST

It was a difficult race for me with the pressure of competing at home, but I’m very excited to win. In my first year as a resident in Andorra I lost both outdoor races, so I had this one outstanding. The trial was pretty easy, so we had to concentrate to not make any mistakes. I performed well throughout the event, riding great confidence. I am very happy as I think we managed to find the physical point that I had been lacking. Finishing the championship with five out of six possible victories is spectacular.

Takahisa Fujinami

RACE: 5TH  STANDINGS: 8TH

After the trial in Barcelona I did not go back to indoor training so I am very happy with my riding. I feel very well physically. This trial has motivated me for the outdoor season which is just about to begin. Many people have asked me if this was my last indoor race. This I will have to decide, and today, with the fifth place I think I can still do well here, right?

 

Miquel Cirera

Team Manager

We must congratulate Toni Bou for this great victory. We already had the title won so today Toni was able to show off a bit without pressure in front of the home crowd. Finishing the championship by winning is fantastic. From here, in one month we will start the outdoor world championship, so we hope that all goes well too. Today Fujinami rode very well, he is very happy as he got through to the second round for the first time this season, so this gives him a lot of motivation for the outdoor season. Congratulations as always to the whole Repsol Honda team for the work that they have done this X-Trial season.

Rider Standings – Overall

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 115 Repsol Honda Team
2 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 89 TRRS Factory Team
3 FAJARDO Jeroni 4 SPA 58 Gas Gas Factory Team
4 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 51 Gas Gas Factory Team
5 BINCAZ Benoit 16 FRA 43 Beta Factory Racing
6 GELABERT Miquel 34 SPA 24 Sherco Factory Team
7 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 15 Vertigo Factory Team
8 FUJINAMI Takahisa 3 JPN 11 Repsol Honda Team
9 PETRELLA Luca 98 ITA 8 Beta Factory Racing
10 MARCELLI Gabriel 38 SPA 6 RG Team
11 FERRER Alexandre 29 FRA 3 Sherco Factory Team
12 DABILL James 22 GBR 3 Beta Factory Racing
13 GELABERT Aniol 18 SPA 2 Scorpa Factory
14 HAGA  Sondre 99 NOR 2 TRRS Factory Team
15 COLAIRO  Téo 13 FRA 1 Gas Gas
16 PEACE Dan 17 GBR 1 Sherco Factory Team

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Repsol Honda Team riders Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami will participate, this Saturday, in the closing event of the 2019 X-Trial season to be held in the Polisportiu d’Andorra in the Pyrenean capital.

Toni Bou will wrap up the X-Trial season on home soil this coming Saturday, April 27, as the 2019 FIM X-Trial World Championship campaign celebrates its final competition – the Andorra X-Trial. The Polisportiu d’Andorra will receive Bou as world champion, having sealed the title in the previous event in Marseille.

Alongside the Repsol Honda Team rider, who triumphed in four of the five trials disputed, will be Japanese team-mate Takahisa Fujinami, who will take part for the third time this season as a wild-card rider in one of the world championship events.

The Andorra X-Trial will kick off at 18:00 this Saturday, with the dispute of the first round. The start of the second round is expected to take place at around 19:45, followed straight after by the final, to be contested by the two top remaining riders.

 

Toni Bou

CHAMPIONSHIP: CHAMPION  POINTS: 95

I am very motivated to compete in this final race of the X-Trial World Championship, which will be held in Andorra. I hope to give a good show to the fans that come and, especially, to all my friends who will be here supporting me. The fact of having won the title in the previous race makes it easier for me to compete here without the pressure or the obligation not to mess up; I hope the spectators have a good time.

Takahisa Fujinami

CHAMPIONSHIP: 9TH  POINTS: 5

Andorra is the last event of the X-Trial World Championship and it is also my last chance to try to qualify for the second round of a trial. In the two events that I have participated this year I haven’t achieved it; in Barcelona I came close, but without managing to do it. On the other hand, the championship is already decided and there is no position to play for, so in this last event I can just ride without pressure and go out to have fun and give the spectators a good time.

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

ERNIE VIGIL RACES THE NEW SCRAMBLER 1200 XE
AT THE GRUELLING MEXICAN 1000
April 26 – May 3 2019

Triumph Motorcycles are excited to confirm their return to the off-road endurance racing world with the new Scrambler 1200 XE at the Norra Mexican 1000 race, piloted by stunt rider and off-road racer Ernie Vigil.

Ernie Vigil is one of Triumph’s factory riders, and an experienced off-road racer, and was very likely the first person to have completed the Mexican 1000 on board a Triumph Tiger 800.

Now fully recovered and fit for action following an injury during training in October 2018, Ernie has spent the last 3 weeks in Southern California with the race-ready Scrambler 1200 completing his final preparations for this gruelling challenge.

Ernie’s Scrambler 1200 XE is in near-standard condition, and has only had additional specific desert racing seat, lights, grips and extreme profile sand tyres. Topping off the race spec features, there is also a unique off-road racing scheme with Triumph’s signature Black and White paint and graphics.

The Scrambler 1200 XE is an all-new benchmark-setting motorcycle that represents a first for dual-purpose capability and modern custom style. This beautiful new 1200 scrambler delivers a category redefining level of performance, specification and finish, fused with Triumph’s iconic Scrambler DNA and all the capability of a genuine adventure motorcycle.

The Norra Mexican 1000 is an incredible off-road racing challenge that takes in more than 1,000 miles across rocky desert, tackling quicksand, unpredictable 1,000bhp racing trucks and the elements. If you want to compete in extreme endurance races on a motorcycle, the Mexican 1000 is one of the biggest. Starting in Ensenada, Mexico, the original 1,000-mile route (which is where it gets its name) kicked off in 1967. The route changes and the distance varies but it is always around 1,000 miles, and promises one thing: an incredible challenge.

The Mexican 1000 is being run on the very same arduous course and conditions as the Baja 1000, which is the same terrain that made the Triumph Scrambler name famous in the 1960s, so the Scrambler 1200XE will be put to the ultimate scrambling test.  As this is such a highly challenging competition, Ernie, who was selected for both his experience and incredible commitment as well as his passion for this project, has been in full training for many weeks.

Ernie Vigil

“After 9 months of training, the injury and over 6,000 off-road miles in the saddle I’m excited to be getting to the final stage of prep for one of the most challenging off-road races you can do. I literally can’t wait to get to that starting line and fire the Scrambler up! The bike has been performing amazingly well and I’m raring to go.”

Paul Stroud,Triumph’s Chief Commercial Officer

“Everyone at Triumph is rooting for Ernie, his commitment to returning to race fitness following his injury has been amazing and we just can’t wait to see the Scrambler 1200 in action. Baja desert racing has played such a big part in the history of scrambling and it was the spark that kicked off of our whole iconic Scrambler line-up.”

Words and Photos: Triumph

The rising stars of motocross will be out in force for the 2019 New Zealand Junior Motocross Championships near Palmerston North this weekend (April 27-28).

With national titles and trophies to entice them or international careers beckoning for the young elite of New Zealand motocross, the racing is expected to again be of the highest calibre, perhaps forecasting who might become the next New Zealand contender for world championship honours.

Several national junior champions from the past have gone on to record major international successes, individuals such as Cody Cooper, Ben Townley, Josiah Natzke, Maximus Purvis, Dylan Walsh and James Scott.

Hosted by the Manawatu Orion Motorcycle Club and jointly sponsored by Lucas Oils and Alpinestars, this weekend’s event will run over three days, with qualifying early on in the Friday programme.

Racing is at the Flipp’s Track at Himatangi, off Omanuka Road at Oroua Downs. The sandy track there was used for the senior nationals a couple of seasons ago and is a popular venue for regular Manawatu club events.

There are seven races scheduled for each of the various bike and age-group categories and the riders’ hunger for glory will be such that it’s unlikely there will be any crumbs left on the table when the racing winds up on Sunday afternoon.

The event will also incorporate the inaugural Motorcycling New Zealand Interclub Challenge (with the Bryan Davidson Memorial Trophy on offer).

Each club will nominate three riders to represent them in this parallel competition.

Several of last year’s stand-out riders in the premier category – the 14-16 years’ 250cc class – will have graduated to the senior ranks over the past months, meaning it will again be extremely difficult to pick the likely winners this time around.

However, it goes without saying that clear favourite for the premier the 14-16 years’ 250cc class is last year’s winner in this class, Dunedin’s Grason Veitch, back to defend his crown, while riders expected to challenge him this time around include Whanganui’s James Rountree, Pukekawa’s Jack Dunlop and Rangiora’s Korban Paget.

There are several others too who perhaps cry out for attention in one or other of the classes, riders such as Kawerau’s Aaron Colville, Waiuku’s Nate Adams, Tauranga’s Madoc Dixon, Ashburton’s Ben Wall, Pukekawa’s Tyler Brown, Te Puke’s Kyan Loomans, Rangiora’s Cobie Bourke, Palmerston North duo Luka Freemantle and Hunter Miller, Otautau’s Jack Treloar, Ngatea’s Cole Dalley, Rongotea’s Seth Henson, New Plymouth’s Curtis King and Auckland’s Ryan Webley, among others.

On the smaller bikes, it’s worth looking out for riders such as Hamilton brothers Dylan and Nick Westgate, Waitoki’s Cole Davies, Bombay’s Reuben Smith, Invercargill pair Jack Symon and Mitchell Weir, Rongotea’s Rhys Jillings , New Plymouth’s Logan Kerrisk, Cambridge’s Jared Hannon, Darfield’s Tyler Wiremu and Christchurch’s Kase Thoms, to name just a few.

Former motocross world champion Shayne King, from New Plymouth, has two sons lining up to race this weekend and he believes this event can be a “great stepping stone” to senior domestic or even world championship glory in later years.

“New Zealand motocross riders have a great reputation overseas and winning at junior level at home can certainly be a boost to any rider wanting to travel and race abroad,” said King.

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Rongotea’s Seth Henson (KTM No.411), hoping to turn local track knowledge into valuable points this weekend.

With three different winners in as many events, this season’s New Zealand Enduro Championships have so far been one of the most fiercely-fought affairs in years.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton won the first of seven rounds in the Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-backed series near Whangamata in March, with Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury clinching the win at round two near Porirua two weeks ago.

For the third round of the series near Tokoroa on Saturday it was multi-time former national champion Chris Birch, from Thames, who grabbed the top step of the podium for the premier AA course riders.

An infrequent competitor at the nationals these days, as overseas riding commitments keep him away, the 38-year-old Birch showed his undeniable class, winning the day by 44 seconds from Buxton, with another infrequent enduro competitor, Tauranga’s Ben Townley, finishing 27 seconds further back and claiming the third podium spot.

Yearbury and then Tokoroa’s Jake Wightman rounded out the top five riders on the AA course on Saturday.

In terms of the AA championship, Buxton leads by just four points from Yearbury, with Whanganui’s Seth Reardon – who finished sixth on Saturday – third overall for the series thus far, 18 points behind Yearbury.

Thames rider Chris Birch (KTM 300EXC), comfortable winner at Tokoroa on Saturday.

However, with Buxton and Yearbury both now heading away to events in Romania and Austria, it puts Reardon in a good position to take over the series lead if he performs well again at round four, near Martinborough on June 9.

Whangamata’s Jason Davis, who finished eighth on Saturday, is just one point behind Reardon in the series standings, so anything is still possible with a long way still to go before the engines are finally shut off after the final round near Hokitika on July 20.

Meanwhile, in the A course action, it was again a two-rider battle between Tokoroa’s Nick Wightman and Thames rider Natasha Cairns, with Wightman eventually winning the day overall by one minute and 25 seconds from Cairns.

With three wins from three starts now, Wightman leads the trophy chase for the A course riders, with Cairns and Masterton’s Philip Bly second and third overall respectively.

Bly finished the day fourth overall at Whangamata and at Porirua too, but finished the day seventh on the A course at Tokoroa.

“It was a fantastic day today. The course was perfect,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “The sport seems to be very strong too. We had good competitor numbers today.”

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Kiwi Rider magazine, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

 

2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:

Round 1 – Saturday, March 16 – Thames
Round 2 – Saturday, April 6 – Kapiti
Round 3 – Saturday, April 20 – South Waikato
Round 4 – Sunday, June 9 – Martinborough
Round 5 – Saturday, June 29 – Bideford, Masterton
Round 6 – Friday, July 19 – Hokitika, Westland
Round 7 – Saturday, July 20 – Hokitika, Westland

 

Words and Photos by Andy McGechan

Riders’ briefing gets underway at the Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships event at Tokoroa on Saturday, with organiser Sean Clarke (left) outlining potential hazards to the riders.