Following another pause in proceedings the 2016 FIM X-Trial World Championship got back underway in the Austrian town of Wiener Neustadt for the third counting round of the series. Confirming the consistent performance of both himself and his factory Vertigo Combat, Jeroni Fajardo again rode a strong event to secure yet another top four placing, this marking his third matching result of the campaign to date.
The condensed Nova arena on the outskirts of the town welcomed the championship for a second consecutive year and was again filled with an almost capacity crowd. Drawn in the third pairing of the evening Fajardo looked composed as he plotted his way through the six sections that defined qualification. Riding alongside his compatriot Cabestany, Jeroni cleaned the opening rocky hazard before losing his first marks, where everyone did, in the awkward log hazard.
The oversized ‘Lego’ like red blocks that made up the third section proved to be a tough test, but not for Fajardo or his fuel injected two stroke Combat as they remained feet up throughout only losing a single time penalty. Jeroni was equally impressive through the closing three sections adding just another three marks to his total to end qualification on a tally of seven to book his place in the all important four-rider final.
Although both brave and committed in his attempt at the six sections in the final, which this time were each ridden in the reverse direction compared to the previous lap, Fajardo was unable to fight his way into a podium position. Jeroni’s third fourth spot on the bounce puts him in the same position in the overall standings ahead of the closing event in Marseille, France this coming Friday.
Vertigo Sports Team Manager Dougie Lampkin said who was again on hand to witness events first hand. “During qualification Jeroni looked strong on the bike and really showed that he is starting to become fully comfortable with the Combat since joining the team at the beginning of the year. The difference between getting up or not getting up some sections in the final was again so small, and Jeroni can count himself unlucky in a couple of places, which basically stopped him challenging for a podium place. Overall the progress is clear for all to see, so as a team we can be happy with that.”
Fajardo said. “From a personal point of view it has been a bit disappointing as I really thought I could be on the podium this time. Qualification went to plan as I knew I had to at least beat Fujinami’s score if I was to pass to the final. Riding first in the final is never good as you immediately lose some advantage to your rivals, and I am sure if I had had the benefit of watching their efforts I could have been closer to a top three placing which will be the goal again in Marseille.”