2006 Indoor World Trial Championship Round 9

Pavilhao Atlantico - Lisbon, Portugal - 25-2-2006 - Attendance: 5,000

Back on the Podium - Disappointed in a way

Round nine of ITWC took place at Lisbon, Portugal. The venue has been hosting the event for some years and became the regular in the championship calendar.

At this time of the year as in the past seasons, Fuji and the team are working on Outdoor bike development while competing in the Indoor championship. Honda's technical staff flew from Japan to the Montesa base for the project, and although 2005 bikes were used in Indoor championship, they traveled to Lisbon to support the team.

Materials for the sections at Lisbon were brought from Spain, and they were arranged in a complex way. They were technically demanding and many were either zero or five sections.

Morris and Bou were wild-card riders in Lisbon, and Morris picked the first starting order. Bou was next, and Fajardo followed him as the first permanent rider before Cabestany, Raga, Fuji, and Lampkin.

The section one wasn't a big problem for everybody. The first and the real challenge of the qualification lap was the second section, where riders needed to enter the section at an angle after an approach run before the complex obstacles. Fajardo marked clean, but Bou and Lampkin fived. Raga and Cabestany both lost their balance at the top of the section to add one point. Fuji was prepared to ride with one point as he entered the section, but surprisingly, it went so smooth and he climbed up without any problem to mark clean. It was a pleasant achievement for Fuji and helped him clearing out the bad mood. What also good for Fuji at the round was that Honda's technicians gave the team an assistance such as adjusting injection mapping at the stadium. Getting an ideal mapping at each section helped a lot, and Fuji improved his performance even more.

Being the second from the last to start, Fuji had time to make his plan by watching rivals' riding. When he found that there was a small chance for marking clean, he wouldn't spend too much time for trying. There were two sections - section three and seven - in Lisbon, where everybody rode before Fuji fived, so he rode accordingly to five early.

Fuji added three more points at the lap - other than two fives like everybody else - to finish the observed sections with thirteen points. Cabestany finished with twelve points with one point for time penalty, thus two were in a tie at the point. Raga was leading the lap with twelve points, and Bou was fourth with seventeen points.

Following Double-Lanes, Fuji rode against Raga; Cabestany rode against Bou. Cabestany and Bou started first for DL, and Cabestany took the victory. Fuji knew unless making a huge mistake at DL, he would finish third despite losing the battle to Raga. He tried to beat Raga of course, but he didn't push too hard and he finished after Raga. He added another point, but it was enough for him to get a ticket for the final lap.

It was the second time in the season for Fuji to proceed to the final lap after five rounds of absence. The lap started out with all three riders marked clean at the first two sections. Fuji and Cabestany fived at the section three, while Raga marked clean with one time penalty point. At the section four, all three riders marked clean again. At the DL, Cabestany lost both times adding two points, and Fuji lost one to add one point. Fuji was lying at the second place ahead of Cabestany at the time.

Then a bad luck struck Fuji. The rear tire bead broke loose from the wheel when he was at the section six. He continued to ride hoping the tire wouldn't come off, and managed to ride the section with two points with one over time penalty. Fuji rushed back to the pit to have quick wheel change before going to the next section. Although he tried to warm up the tire before going into the section, he had a different feel from the new tire; He fived at the beginning of the section seven. It wasn't an easy section though, as Cabestany fived, and Raga had two points with two time penalty points as well.

At the Indoor competition, usually, it takes approximately one minute for a rider to ride a section. So, Fuji's crews changed the rear wheel within two minutes while two rivals were riding at the section six, then fixed the bead back on the wheel while Fuji was riding at the next section. When he came back to the pit after the section seven, crews changed the wheel again in two minutes, so Fuji could ride the remaining two sections with the tire he had a feel with. Thanks to the team play, Fuji rode with one point penalty point at the section eight. As eight of nine sections were over, Fuji had fifteen points being in a tie with Raga, and Cabestany leading the lap with thirteen points. Fuji had a good chance to finish second.

At the final section of the lap, the waterfall section, Fuji made a small error at the beginning. He wasn't sure if the observer called for a penalty, but he kept going. Then he heard the stadium announcer saying that Fuji had one point penalty. It shook him up a bit because he realized that he ruined the chance for the second place. He also spent too much time for turning the course at the middle of the section. When he had a fifteen seconds call from the minder, he wasn't fully ready, but he rushed to climb the wall. He footed a couple of times adding four points with one time penalty to finish the lap with twenty points. Both Cabestany and Raga marked clean at the final section, so Fuji's third place was fixed.

Result wasn't bad for Fuji, especially having three consecutive sixth places prior to the round. However he knew that his weakness showed up again at the end of the lap. Fuji needs to have more experiences in Indoor competition, and in order to do so, he knows he has to proceed to the final lap every round.

Fuji and the team will have 2006 bike development work before traveling to the south American rounds in Brazil and Argentina.

Quote from Fujigas:

I think I am getting a good rhythm again. Although I am glad about the result and podium finish today, I am disappointed because I lost the chance for the second place at the final section. I will try again next time so I stand on the podium and feeling happy at the same time.

Indoor Trial World Championship 2006
Final Lap
1. Albert Cabestany Sherco 13
2. Adam Raga Gas Gas 15
3. Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 20
Qualificarion Lap
1. Adam Raga Gas Gas 12
2. Albert Cabestany Sherco 13
3. Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 14
4. Toni Bou Beta 18
5. Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 21
6. Jeroni Fajardo Gas Gas 27
7. Shaun Morris Gas Gas 38
Point Standings
1. Adam Raga 80
2. Albert Cabestany 65
3. Toni Bou 55
4. Jeroni Fajardo 47
5. Dougie Lampkin 39
6. Takahisa Fujinami 38
7. James Dabill 6
8. Shaun Morris 4
9. Daniele Maurino 4
10. Tadeusz Blazusiak 3
11. Jerome Bethune 2

Pix: IndoorTrial.com Click for the Official Results PDF
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