2005 World Trial Championship Round 4

4-5/6/2005 Duluth, U.S.A.

Fujinami climbed up to the top with Overall Victory

Day 1 - Saturday, June 4th

Two weeks after round 3 in Motegi, where Fujinami took his first victory of the season and brought himself within a reach of championship leader Cabestany, he climbed up to the top of the series by making the overall victory in the US round. The battle took place at the resort area in Minnesota under extreme condition with heavy rain and wild water. There was a terrifying moment for Fuji along the way, but he managed to hold on in the competition physically and mentally so demanding to take the victory number 2.

Lampkin had a plan in Duluth, which was to wait and observe all the other riders to do their attack. He had a risk of not finishing in time, and indeed he had one-minute time penalty on the lap1, but he collected valuable lessons from rivals' mistakes to finish with the least penalty points. Fuji felt good on Saturday, but he had some regrettable errors to finish the lap 1 with 9 points behind Lampkin to finish 2nd.

As it has been Fuji's style to fight back at the later lap, he came back strong on the lap 2 to finish with 38 points - the best score of the lap. He kept putting a pressure on Lampkin on the lap, but he made a mistake at the section 14, where supposed to be relatively easy hazard for him. He lost the chance for the victory then, to finish the lap 2nd - 4 points behind the winner Lampkin.

It was another 1-2 finish for Montesa 4-stroke. Bow finished 3rd, and Raga had another 4th - 3 consecutive 4th for him. Cabestany, who had been standing on the podium every rounds in 2005 season had a difficult day to finish 6th. At the result, Lampkin climbed up to the top of the standings. Fuji was 3 points behind the teammate, sharing the 3rd place with Raga, and 1 point down from the 2nd place Cabestany. The championship battle became one of the fiercest as there were only 3 points separation for the top 4 riders.

Day 2 - Sunday, June 5th

The competition on Sunday started under the sunshine. Fuji rode well and finished 1st on the lap 1 with 3 points margin from Cabestany. Fierce battle continued and there were five riders finishing the lap in 7 points separation.

When Fuji arrived at the section 5 on the lap 2, torrential rain started to fall. At Duluth, the sections 3 to 11 were water-based hazards. The level of water in the morning was high due to overnight rain, and they were already giving hard time for the competitor. But when the rain started, water level rapidly rose, and some of the areas flooded more or less. Fuji managed to arrive at the section 9, and he watched Bow pushing the bike deep in water to take five. Fuji started next, and he reached at the middle of the section to begin crossing the river. As he put his bike into the river, instantly the wild water swept him. Not only taking five, he was in danger of losing his bike. Most of all, Fuji's life was in danger! All the people nearby the scene regardless of the color of the uniform rushed into the water and rescued Fuji and his bike.

Fuji struggled in water and being half drown, but he held onto the bike and didn't forget to stop the motor. His nimble move saved the motor from suffering serious damage by sucking water, but because the bike was totally submerged, extensive service was required before Fuji started again. Not only Fuji's mechanics, but also all the staff of Montesa got together to support this emergency service. The sections 9 to 11 were cancelled shortly after.

Watching such dedication of the team, Fuji made a full recovery from the incident. When he returned to the competition, he marked three consecutive cleans from the section 12 to 14. He had only one penalty point after his return to take the second victory of the season. Cabestany, who was leading the day at the section 8, dabbed 8 points in the last 4 sections to finish 4 points behind Fuji. Hadn't have such remarkable performance at the end of the lap, Fuji would have missed the victory of the day.

So, when the two days competition was over, Fuji climbed up to the top of the standings with 2-point gap against Lampkin and Cabestany. Raga follows in 4th with 7 points down from the leader. Fuji finally came back to the place where the world champion supposed to be at. The series will move to the European rounds, and the championship battle is expected to be boiling up.

Quote from Fujigas:

What a fight. I am completely exhausted, but I am happy that I am back in form like I was last year. I have no room to relax because the guys like Lampkin, Cabestany and Raga follow me very closely. It was funny when I saw the trophy for the overall victory that the organizer keeps, and I found out that it was my 3 consecutive overall victories here. I always felt the US round was good place for me, but I now definitely think so.

At the beginning of the season, the level of confidence wasn't up to I had last year. Mainly it was because I coundn't find good harmony with the bike. I knew the bike had the potential and very strong, but I did not have time to harmonize myself with the bike. Luckily, I had time in Japan, and after this weekend, my confidence boosted up. I think it is going to be a very tough battle with Lampkin again. Cabestany and Raga will be very strong competition this year too, so I expect fierce battle with 4 of us till the end of the season. The gap is very small each lap, so just like Cabestany dropping to 6th on Saturday, every point is decisive. I will be careful and ride bravely for the rest of the round too..

World Championship 2005
  rider   L1 L2 TO Pts CL
1 Dougie Lampkin Montesa 29 42 1 72 8
2 Takahisa Fujinami Honda 38 38 0 76 5
3 Toni Bou Beta 41 47 0 88 6
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 43 45 0 88 3
5 Graham Jarvis Sherco 41 52 0 93 1
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 41 53 3 97 4
7 Marc Freixa Montesa 47 53 3 103 1
8 Kenichi Kuroyama Beta 52 60 0 112 1
9 Blazusiak Tadeusz Gas Gas 60 57 0 117 2
10 Jordi Pascuet Gas Gas 57 65 0 122 0
11 Sam Connor Sherco 61 64 0 125 1
12 Fumitaka Nozaki Scorpa 63 69 0 132 0
13 Jose-Maria Juan Montesa 75 69 0 144 0
14 Chris Florin Gas Gas 73 73 0 146 0
15 Bruce Le Riche Sherco 75 73 1 149 0
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
  rider   L1 L2 TO Pts CL
1 Takahisa Fujinami Honda 26 18 0 44 11
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 29 20 0 49 8
3 Dougie Lampkin Montesa 33 15 5 53 11
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 32 21 0 53 6
5 Graham Jarvis Sherco 33 27 0 60 3
6 Marc Freixa Montesa 41 30 3 74 5
7 Kenichi Kuroyama Beta 39 32 3 74 5
8 Toni Bou Beta 48 27 0 75 4
9 Blazusiak Tadeusz Gas Gas 61 34 0 95 1
10 Jordi Pascuet Gas Gas 54 43 1 98 1
11 Sam Connor Sherco 54 49 0 103 2
12 Fumitaka Nozaki Scorpa 60 49 0 109 0
13 Jose-Maria Juan Montesa 63 48 0 111 0
14 Bruce Le Riche Sherco 71 54 0 125 0
15 Chris Florin Gas Gas 73 58 0 131 0
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Takahisa Fujinami 96
2 Dougie Lampkin 94
3 Albert Cabestany 94
4 Adam Raga 89
5 Marc Freixa 70
6 Antonio Bou 66
7 Graham Jarvis 54

Pix:Mario Candellone Official Results PDF- Saturday
Official Results PDF- Sunday
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