2006 Trial des Nation World Championship

Breal Sous Monfort, France 01/10/2006

Three Japanese fought hard to take Third

The annual Trial des Nation World Championship took place in France a week after the Outdoor season.

Team Japan had a difficulty finding four participants for the event, as Kenichiro Kuroyama having a shoulder injury, and both Tomoyuki Ogawa and Taichi Tanaka weren't available. There were two riders, Tsuyoshi Ogawa - who participated the world championship from the Italian team this season, and Fumitaka Nozaki - who participated world events until last year, joined Fujinami to form a three-men team.

In TdN, three best scores at each section competed by four riders from each team will be counted. The team Japan, competing with a minimum number of riders, did no have a chance to enjoy the beauty of the compensation rule; every mistake would directly affect their score.

As widely expected, the team Spain performed well, taking a convincing victory by dropping four points on the Lap1 and eighteen points for a total. Actually, even the Spanish team made a lot of mistakes, having eighteen one-point errors, one two-points error, and five five-points errors. It was a good example and interesting point of how the three best score rule worked.

It was Tsuyoshi Ogawa's first appearance at TdN this year. He was already nervous from the beginning of the Lap1 to make some small mistakes. It was a tough situation for the first timer, because he had a big burden on his shoulder. Knowing he was hurting the team's score, his riding became stiffer as the event progressed. Under the normal circumstance - with four riders - he would have enjoyed his ride more, because he could forget about some of his mistakes.

Normally at Tdn, the strongest rider would start last to recover the previous mistakes by the other member. However before the event, Fuji thought the order wasn't important for three men team. He then planned to ride before the fellow Japanese riders to show his riding, which he had learned through years of fierce world championship battles, to somehow educate them. He thought it would help their riding at the event and for their career too.

However when Fuji realized that Tsuyoshi's tension, he decided to alter his plan. He went ahead to the sections on foot to give advise to his team mates, showing the riding lines and cheering them up. Fuji ran back to his bike to do his own riding when two finished their ride.

The team Italy and France were very excited to know that there were only three riders in the Japanese team. Both teams felt a better chance to beat Japan this year. Indeed, when team Japan made an early set back when the severity of the sections was easy, the French team stood third ahead of Japan by the middle of the Lap1. Fuji had known before the event that it was hard to fight for the second place or better against Spanish and UK teams. But he had to face that Japan's usual third was in danger. Severity of the sections became higher as the event progressed, and team Japan gradually caught up the other teams. As the Lap1 was over, team Japan went back to the third place. It was a matter of if they could protect the position against two eager European teams for the second lap.

Fuji continued to play a role as a playing-manager on the Lap2 too, but it was physically very hard for him. Also, he began to empathize with teammates' mistakes and lost his rhythm. The section fifteen at the Lap2 turned out the worst case for Fuji. He saw Tsuyoshi and Nozaki dropping five points just in front of him. Fuji rushed back to his bike, and he also made a five points error. He couldn't even reach the second stone at the section, where he marked nice clean at the previous lap. At that section alone, team Japan dropped massive fifteen points, allowing Italian team to catch up twelve points; Italians moved ahead to the third place.

For the final three sections, for the first time that day, Fuji tried to concentrate his own riding. After all, results won't be any good if Fuji was going off the rhythm.

There was happy team Italy at the finishing area as team Japan completed the Lap2. Italians were sure for the second place and were celebrating. Three Japanese reported their scores each other, and it didn't look very good. They found they dropped more points on Lap2 than the previous lap. Few minutes later the digital display showed the final standings, and it was team Japan that took the second place with eight points advantage over the Italian team.

Quote from Fujigas:

What a tough battle. It was tactically difficult, and also physically hard because I kept going back and forth from the bike to the sections. We had the close third, but considering we were trio, and having a new member Tsuyoshi within the team, this third finish means a lot for us and for the team Japan. First I thought I would teach my trial to my teammates, but Nozaki rode great showing the world-class performance, so he didn't need my lesson I suppose. Tsuyoshi on the other hand showed the reason why he finished fourteenth in the championship. It was a shame that he couldn't perform the way he rode when practicing. He was doing well then. Honestly, I thought the third place today was going to be an easy task, but it was a hard job. The thing I leaned today was that we need to have the best men team in order to fight for the victory or second. The third podium spot almost got out of our hands today too.

2006 Trial des Nation World Championship
1 Spain - Adam Raga, Antonio Bou, Albert Cabestany, Jeroni Fajardo 4+14+0 18 120
2 Great Britain - James Dabill, Graham Jarvis, Dougie Lampkin, Shaun Morris 20+42+0 62 102
3 Japan - Takahisa Fujinami, Fumitaka Nozaki, Tsuyoshi Ogawa 64+57+0 121 63
4 Italy - Diego Bosis, Fabio Lenzi, Daniele Maurino, Michele Orizio 69+60+0 129 67
5 France - Jerome Bethune, Christophe Bruand, Bruno Camozzi, Christophe Camozzi 78+59+0 137 68
6 Sweden - Fredrik Johansson, Andres Nilsson, Jonas Riedel, Adam Thiger 137+120+0 257 34
7 Czech. Rep - Pavel Balas, Martin Kroustek, Petr Masek, Jiri Svoboda 125+140+0 265 30
8 Germany - Christian Kregeloh, Timon Oster, Carsten Stranghoner, Jochen Schafer 145+128+0 273 26
9 USA - Geoff Aaron, Chris Florin, Cody Webb, Keith Wineland 145+135+0 280 23

Pix : Hiroshi Nishimaki Official Results PDF
In order to use a PDF file, Adobe Reader (no charge) is required.
Please click the banner.
Get Acrobat Reader