2005 World Trial Championship Round 1

17/4/2005 Pampilhosa da Serra, Portugal

Bad result for Fuji at the season opener

2005 Outdoor World Trial Championship has kicked off as the first round took place in Pampilhosa da Serra, Portugal. The event saw Montesa's new 4-stroke making its debut in the series. It was the first time for Fuji competing the series as the world champion by wearing the number 1 bib too, so there was a sense of tension building up before the competition.

It was a special day for the Montesa team, as they have been working so hard for the bike development to be fully ready for the series. Thanks to the effort of the whole team, Lampkin, Freixa and Fuji lined up with the latest 4-stroke bike at the event. But the team weren't yet ready to provide the minders the latest bikes, where in the previous seasons, they had the same bike as the competitors in case of an emergency repair assistance with spare parts.

The first round was held as a single-day event with the European championship took place on Saturday. Sections seemed to be tough on Saturday, but after the overnight modifications, severity was reduced at some of the sections. However loose rocky surface still be a challenge for getting good traction.

Fuji picked the worst card at the ballot for such an important occasion, taking the first starting position among the top five riders. The lap 1 started out well with two cleans, but he experienced a very scary moment at the section 3 - a steep descending section. He made a small error and ended up falling from 2 meters off the ground. He managed to land on the wheels, but otherwise it could be a very nasty crash. Although he was unhurt, he had the maximum penalty points as he jump off from the bike as he landed. Two sections later, an observer called five when he saw the maker being knocked off. The marker in fact tipped over on its own when Fuji hit the rock with his rear wheel. Later the score was revised, but he had his card punched with five points at the time.

At the end of the lap 1, Fuji realized that he didn't have enough time to complete the lap in time. Just like he did in Spanish championship, there was no choice but attacking rest of the sections without careful inspection. It was a nice contrast at the section 13, where Fuji muscle through the section only to end up taking five, where Raga and Lampkin knew they needed to ease off for a moment to minimize the penalty point.

Fuji finished the lap 1 with 20 points; the worst score in the top five riders. He didn't have a chance to get his rhythm going at the lap 2 either. Things went backwards as a section tape got snapped at the section 5, where the marker tipped over on the previous lap.

It was Lampkin who showed a strong ride the day. He led the first lap with 11 points after a close battle with Cabestany, and then held off a strong challenge from Raga on the lap 2. Lampkin took the victory of the opening round of the season; accomplished a debut win for their new 4-stroke. While Lampkin, Raga and Cabestany stood up on the podium, Fuji finished 5th next to young Bou. Ironically, it was Fuji's worst finishing record since the Portugal round in 2004.

Quote from Fujigas:

I don't think I was too nervous about competing the season as the champion, but I might be a bit too eager to show the ride like the champion. I had some bad luck today, but I believe it's a part of the potential of the rider to have luck on your side. Although it was nice to see the 4-stroke making a debut win, I feel bad that it wasn't me who has done it. I will work on to be more prepared especially psychologically for the coming rounds.

World Championship 2005
Pampilhosa da Serra
  rider   L1 L2 TO Pts CL
1 Dougie Lampkin Montesa 11 10 0 21 18
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 19 5 0 24 17
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 12 13 0 25 21
4 Toni Bou Beta 16 15 0 31 17
5 Takahisa Fujinami Honda 20 12 2 34 19
6 Marc Freixa Montesa 27 9 0 36 15
7 Graham Jarvis Sherco 23 20 0 43 13
8 Kenichi Kuroyama Beta 24 25 2 51 13
9 Jordi Pascuet Gas Gas 38 22 0 60 8
10 Fumitaka Nozaki Scorpa 32 31 1 64 9
11 BLAZUSIAK Tadeusz Gas Gas 40 29 0 69 5
12 Shaun Morris Gas Gas 42 38 0 80 8
13 Sam Connor Sherco 50 34 0 84 5
14 Daniele Maurino Gas Gas 56 43 0 99 5
15 Fabio Lenzi Montesa 51 48 0 99 3
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean

Pix: Hiroshi Nishimaki Click for the Official Results PDF
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