2005 Trial des Nations

25/9/2005 Sestriere, Italy

Fought well but finished 3rd as usual

A week after the final round of WTC, the trial riders gathered again at Sestriere Italy for 2005 Trial des Nations. It is the venue that 2005 winter Olympic games will be held later this year. The weather was fine when the event got under way, and there was a clear view to the top of the mountains, in which ski games would be held. Mixture of small and big rocks for the sections provided a tough challenge, but it didn't give so much trouble for the top teams.

Japan team was consisted of three regular WTC riders: Takahisa Fujinami, Kenichi Kuroyama Fumitaka Nozaki, and Isao Shibuya who competed WTC as a spot ride. There were Josep, Alex and Santy joined the team from Fujinami's camp. Ichiro and Jiro from Kuroyama's team also joined, so as Greg from Nozaki's and the minders who worked with Shibuya in the French round. Tomoaki Mitani also joined the team to help them gathering point information.

Starting order was decided by the ballot based on last year's results. Team UK picked the last spot, and team Japan picked the second from the last. Team Spain picked the first starting order in the top three teams. Starting later means better chance in trial competition, so the team Japan was happy as they started the day.

Shaun Morris, Toni Bou and Isao Shibuya were new to TDN this year, so team UK, Spain and Japan, each had one TDN beginner within the team. Competing WTC regularly, Bou didn't show any sign for being a new face to the event. Shibuya wasn't in a perfect condition as he caught cold prior to the event, but he showed fine performance too. Morris on the other hand seemed to be a bit nervous for being responsible for team UK, but he rode well scoring many cleans thanks to the support from Lampkin's team.

When the lap 1 was over, team UK was 1st with only 5 penalty points. Spain followed with 9 points at 2nd, and Japan was 3rd with 10 points. At the moment, things looked ok for Japanese boys, and they were confident to recover 5 points on the later lap.

However the weather changed suddenly at the end of the lap 1, and the lap 2 was competed under occasional rain. The wet surface of the rocks brought severity of the hazards very high, and some of the sections became impossible to ride even for the top riders.

At the end of the lap 2, when team Japan was at the section 13, rain started to fall again. Team UK at the time was at the section 12 and team Spain was at the section 14. As the condition changing and getting worse every minute, starting later became nothing but disadvantage.

All the teams except the top three escaped the section 13. Team Spain was the first team to try the section among the top three in a wet condition. Raga marked clean but other fives, so team Spain added 10 points in the section. Team Japan added 8 points, and the team UK added 6 points.

Raga was the last rider in the team to ride the section 14. As the condition got worse, the new Outdoor champion was the only rider among the team to five, and team Spain added 3 points in the section. Having no traction at all, Japanese riders found it was impossible to have a good drive to hop onto the rock. All four riders failed adding 15 points as the team. Team UK followed next and they too had a tough time, adding 15 points after all four riders fived.

Riders spent more time to inspect the section on the lap 2, and when team Japan arrived at the section 18, they did not have any time left. They suffered 7 additional points for time penalty, but both team UK and Spain finished the event in time.

The day of tough competition was over, team Spain won with 33 points. Team UK followed with 45 points at second, and team Japan was 3rd with 55 points.

Apart from the time penalty, team Japan had 3 points more than team UK and 2 points to Spain. Although the result was no better than the previous year, team Japan fought well, and one time they were fighting for the victory. It was unfortunate that the condition changed drastically otherwise a very close battle till the end. Let's hope that team Japan learned a lot from the competition this year to have some steps forward to stand on top of the podium next year.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was impossible to accelerate at the section 14. I watched Raga attacking the section and he fived too. I think the rain played a big part of the game this year. Even though we finished 3rd as usual, I think we fought well and I am satisfied in some ways. Still, I am sorry to disappoint our fans to finish 3rd, and I like to say thank you very much for your support.

Trial des Nations 2005
1 Spain Toni Bou - Albert Cabestany - Marc Freixa - Adam Raga 9+24+0 33 115
2 United Kingdom Sam Connor - Graham Jarvis - Dougie Lampkin - Shaun Morris 5+40+0 45 103
3 Japan Takahisa Fujinami - Kenichi Kuroyama - Fumitaka Nozaki - Isao Shibuya 10+38+7 55 99
4 Italy Diego Bosis - Fabio Lenzi - Daniele Maurino - Michele Orizio 36+83+0 119 70

Pix : Hiroshi Nishimaki Official Results PDF
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