2005 World Trial Championship Round 5

19/6/2005 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra

Victory slipped away as 2 punctures bit him

Sunday, June 19th

TWC went back to the European continent, and round 5 took place in Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra. Standing at the top of the series after solid performances at his home round in Japan and U.S.A., Fujinami wanted to extend the lead at the coming rounds to make it decisive.

Andorra was held in a one-day format with the Spanish round took place on Saturday. The format was introduced as an experiment at Andorra and Spain last year, but many countries have adopted it this year. There was no top class competition on Saturday this year, so TWC riders could not use the event for a competitive practice.

At least Fuji was lucky with the ballot to pick the final starting order. It gave him a chance to observe rivals' riding without a risk of getting time penalty.

There were water hazards from the section 1 to 7. A very slippery surface of rocks gave a hard time for the competitors from the beginning of the lap. Section 1 happened to be one of the hardest hazards, and Fuji and Lampkin were the only riders to rode with a single penalty point on the first lap.

Fuji decided to mark Lampkin on the lap 1, because the Briton looked to be strong. Both Fuji and Lampkin facing small errors, but two led the field with slight margin. It was at the section 7 that Fuji managed to have a breathing room when Lampkin fived and Fuji rode with 2 points.

It was red-hot day as the temperature exceeded 30 degrees already in the morning, and it took a toll on the riders. Fuji assumed that his every day's training was paying off, because he didn't feel any tiredness in such condition. Some of the riders began to rush from the middle of the lap to finish in time. Fuji had more time-allowance than the other, and it helped him to keep his concentration too.

It was then at the section 14 when a bad luck struck Fuji. He climbed the first step, but he could not find enough drive to the second step. He turned around to find that his rear tire was completely flat. It appeared that the tire got punctured when Fuji was at the first step, but he did not realize it until he fived at the second step, which was the hazard supposed to be fairy easy for him. It was an unfortunate accident, but he re-started to score clean at the final section to finish the lap 2nd with 2 points behind Lampkin. Fuji knew 2 points weren't fatal at that point.

It meant to be the lap to recover for Fuji on the lap 2, but at the opening section of the lap, his tire punctured again! He was confident at the section as he found the line on the previous lap, and he jumped onto the big rock from a small rock, but the sharp edge of the first rock pinched his rear tire.

After a disappointing start of the lap, Fuji re-concentrated and continued his fight. He stayed away from big mistakes for the rest of the lap to finish the lap 5 points behind Raga, who was the strongest on the lap.

Temperature rose in the afternoon, and it reached 38 degrees. Fuji's rivals needed to take a short break and having their arms massaged. Again the heat didn't bother Fuji at all. Fuji knew the Andorra round had been physically very demanding, but he did not have much of troubles this year. It was definitely the sign that his physical fitness has improved.

The day was over and Raga took the victory in Andorra. Lampkin shared the same points but lost by number of cleans. Fuji had 2 more cleans than Cabestany but he missed the podium by 1 point. It was a frustrating result because he was physically very fit, rode well, and without puncture related penalty points of 9, he would have taken the victory there. He also gave away the top spot in the championship to Lampkin, and being tied in point with Raga and Cabestany with 109 points.

Now the Spanish home rounds: Portugal, Spain and Andorra, were completed from the calendar. Fuji believes that Lampkin is going to be tough again this year. However, there is good news for Fuji that Lampkin's home round at the end of July will be in a one-day format. Things are still looking good for Fuji, and he is very determined for defending his title.

Quote from Fujigas:

I was out of luck today. I felt great and my riding was good, but those two punctures killed me. The tire stayed on the rim, but the traction was very important at the sections, so I had no chance. I wish I had only 1 puncture, which of course one too many, but I would have finished much better. I feel very bad because I dropped off from the top of the standing, but the point gap isn't so big so it is going to be all right.

World Championship 2005
Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
  Rider Make L1 L2 TO Pts CL
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 24 10 0 34 16
2 Dougie Lampkin Montesa 21 13 0 34 15
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 24 13 0 37 14
4 Takahisa Fujinami Honda 23 15 0 38 16
5 Toni Bou Beta 28 13 0 41 16
6 Marc Freixa Montesa 31 17 5 53 15
7 Jeroni Fajardo Gas Gas 28 25 2 55 10
8 Jordi Pascuet Gas Gas 45 28 0 73 7
9 Graham Jarvis Sherco 40 34 0 74 3
10 Blazusiak Tadeusz Gas Gas 41 33 0 74 3
11 Kenichi Kuroyama Beta 40 41 3 84 8
12 Fumitaka Nozaki Scorpa 41 41 3 85 5
13 Jerome Bethune Gas Gas 54 44 0 98 4
14 Sam Connor Sherco 63 42 0 105 3
15 Shaun Morris Gas Gas 58 44 4 106 5
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO:Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Dougie Lampkin 111
2 Takahisa Fujinami 109
3 Adam Raga 109
4 Albert Cabestany 109
5 Marc Freixa 80
6 Antonio Bou 77

Pix:Mario Candellone Official Results PDF- Sunday
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