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:

I have competed being injured many times in the past, but usually I could forget the pain once I started riding. This time it hurt a lot right at the beginning to the finish, and it was impossible to forget the pain. Honestly, I don't want to ride the bike at all right now. Although finishing sixth isn't the way I wished to start the season, it was a great result considering the condition. We planned to have test sessions before Portugal, and HRC staff came over too, but I have to fly back to Barcelona to have my finger checked up. The wound is opened up again, but other than that, it is a lot better than before. I hope it will heal up much better next week.

Trial World Championship 2006
1 Toni Bou Beta 52
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 60
3 Dougie Lampkin Montesa 60
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 65
5 Jeroni Fajardo Gas Gas 67
6 Takahisa Fujinami Montesa 80
7 Marc Freixa Scorpa 93
8 Tadeusz Blazusiak Scorpa 107

Pix: Hiroshi Nishimaki Click for the Official Results PDF
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