2006 Trial World Championship Round 1
Nigran, Spain - 2-4-2006 - Attendance: 15,000
Fought Against the Pain to Finish Sixth
Fujinami arrived in Nigran Spain for the opening round of 2006 Outdoor
World Championship believing in his healing capacity with his injured
finger. A broken bone was found after the final round of the Indoor
Championship, and there was no effective treatment other than letting
it heal up on its own. Fuji had an operation a week before the season
opener when the wound suppurated, and had to going into the season
without any practice.
Fuji wasn't sure how long and how strong he could compete in Nigran.
On Friday, he had a brief riding to see how he was capable of, and
to see how the index finger would hold up. The answer was almost hopeless.
When he tried to trace the riding line that Tsuyoshi Ogawa - making
first appearance at the world championship event in Europe, Fuji couldn't
match up the performance. Fuji knew it was going to be a very tough
with a small chance for taking championship points.
Nigran was also a very important round for the team Montesa, as it
was the event in which their 2006 works bike would make its debut run.
Although the new bike looks very similar to the previous version, extensive
modifications took place for weight reduction, and the new computer
and the electrical system were also introduced. Fuji worked hard during
the Indoor season for developing the bike, and he was looking forward
to making its debut, but the injury changed the whole picture.
Pim Terricabras, a friend of Mr.Cirera traveled with the team to support
Fuji as a personal doctor in Nigran. Pim himself is a rider, who participates
in SSDT and some trial events, and he understands the importance of
the index finger for the trial riders. According to Pim, although it
was going to be a lot of pains, it wouldn't make too much difference
in the rate of recovery whether Fuji would ride or take a week off.
Fuji decided to go for it, knowing he could withdraw anytime when it
became impossible to ride. Using the glove specially prepared for Fuji
to let him use the finger in a cast, he got himself ready for the fight
supposed to be very painful.
All the top riders spent a long time to inspect the opening section,
which happened to be one of the most difficult challenges of the lap.
Fajardo broke the silence by starting first, and Fuji followed him.
Both riders fived, but the rest of the riders also struggled, and Lampkin
was the only rider who stayed away from five points. Fuji rode in a
style at the following section, but he ended up fiving when he had
a trouble using the clutch finger at the end.
Fuji showed fine rides by scoring three consecutive cleans from the
section three, where Bou, the eventual winner of the round, and Fajardo
were only two who matched the performance. As the first six sections
were over, Fuji was surprised to find himself lying at the second place.
He couldn't believe it, and wondered what was wrong with the rest of
the competitors. Still, he knew he would have more problems later,
and he was sure rivals would fight back too.
When Fuji arrived at the section nine; the start of the water sections,
he began to have a real problem with the clutch finger. Prior to the
event, Fuji had a team meeting, and they came up with the decision
to cancel the second lap if Fuji finished worse than tenth - outside
of the championship point position - on the first lap. However, he
impressively kept the second position from the section six to ten before
dropping to fourth at the section eleven. As the first lap was completed,
Fuji was fourth with 44 points holding off Cabestany by one point.
Fuji went on to the second lap, but it became very difficult controlling
the bike as the competition progressed. He used the middle finger to
support the index finger, but there were times that he needed a precise
clutch control using the index finger. He also had a trouble landing
from the high point. The shock of landing gave a tremendous stress
to the fingers on the clutch lever. He tried to stand up against the
pain by shouting hard as he jumping down.
He continued to ride while escaping some of the sections, where he
thought he would likely to five or seemed to give a lot of stresses
to the finger. He marked clean at the section twelve, escaping next
two sections to return to the final indoor section. Fuji knew he was
sixth, but didn't know the gap to Freixa who followed next. Fuji pushed
one last time trying to fix his position, and he did well to ride with
a single penalty point. Fuji finished the lap with 36 points - 80 points
total, to finished sixth; 13 points ahead of Freixa. When he landed
on the concrete arena floor, he was fighting furiously against the
overwhelming pain, and was relieved that battle was finally over.
Quote from Fujigas:
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