2006 Indoor World Trial Championship Round 1

Hallam FM Sheffield Arena, United Kingdom - 7/1/2006 - Attendance: 8,500

No final appearance at season opener for Fujinami

The firstroundof 2006 IWTC took place at Sheffield in UK. There were five fixed riders - one less than previous years - and three wild card riders participated the event. Things were a lot better as going into the season compared to 2005 for Fujinami. Last year, he had to fight the championship while working on the new bike development. Bike set-up was different at each round, and he often had to switch from the 'works' bike to the standard bike. There was no spare 'works' bike ready at the team for the whole 2005 indoor season either.

For this year, both Lampkin and Fuji had well prepared own 'works' bikes at Sheffield. Lampkin, who bases in UK, brought his second 'works' bike as a spare bike too. Fuji couldn't bring spare bike to UK, as his team's work was in progress at the Barcelona camp. So, there was a spare bike with compromised settings for both riders; the handle bar set to suit Dougie's taste and the foot pegs set to suit Fuji's taste.

Based on 2005 championship, Fuji was the first fixed riders to start the qualification lap. The wild card riders rode before Fuji, and he was glad to have Bou among them. The Spaniard showed strong performances last year, especially he finished runner-up in Spanish indoor championship next to Raga. Fuji thought he could learn some riding hits from Bou's ride.

When Bou finished the lap with four points with an additional time-penalty point, Fuji thought it would be the benchmark points for the observed sections. He never knew then that the target he set in him mind was in fact the best record set by the eventual winner of the day.

Fuji started his lap with a single point at the first section, and he marked clean at the section two. Then at the section three, he made a mistake to have first five. "I forgot to down-shift." Fuji said after the event. The double step section wasn't supposed to be a big challenge for Fuji. Since he had a good drive out of the first step, he kept the 2nd gear for the second part of the section but he failed to climb to add five points. Already Fuji was a point worse than the target points. Fuji believed that the rest of the fixed riders would ride better than Bou, so he felt he was in a danger of finishing down at the sixth place.

Such concern might have affected Fuji's concentration and his riding, and he fived again at the following section. There was also a bad luck struck him at the section six, where he suffered a puncture. He strived to get away from being five to add three points there. Interestingly, Fuji's team-mate Lampkin also suffered a puncture at the section later, but he had to face five points. Fuji switched to the spare bike, and he marked clean at the section seven. Adding another point at the final section, he completed the observed sections with fifteen points.

Fuji didn't think he did awful although the result was a lot worse than he originally planned. Soon he found out when all the riders completed the observed sections that no one rode better than Bou. Fuji lost a double-lane to Lampkin adding another point to finish the lap with sixteen points. As the qualification lap was over, Fuji was four points down from Fajardo, who finished the lap at third with twelve points to proceed to the final lap.

So Fuji's day was over. It wasn't the ideal way to start the season, but he wasn't too discouraged. It was unfortunate for Fuji to miscalculate the game plan based on the wild card's performance, which surprisingly well. However, there were some mistakes he could avoid, otherwise he could still proceed to the final lap. Lesson leaned, and it is interesting to see how he will fight back.

Quote from Fujigas:

Last year I started off the season with a podium finish. It was a disappointing result, but I think I rode well today. I had some mistakes because I am not fully up to the indoor competition. I will train hard focusing on such aspects to ride better next time.

Indoor Trial World Championship 2006
Final Lap
1. Toni Bou Beta 10
2. Adam Raga Gas Gas 11
3. Jeroni Fajardo Gas Gas 16
Qualificarion Lap
1. Toni Bou Beta 6
2. Adam Raga Gas Gas 7
3. Jeroni Fajardo Gas Gas 12
4. Albert Cabestany Sherco 12
5. Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 16
6. Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 17
7. James Dabill Beta 36
8. Shaun Morris Gas Gas 40
Point Standings
1. Toni Bou 10
2. Adam Raga 8
3. Jeroni Fajardo 6
4. Albert Cabestany 5
5. Takahisa Fujinami 4
6. Dougie Lampkin 3
7. James Dabill 2
8. Shaun Morris 1
pix: indoortrial.com Click for the Official Results PDF
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