2007 Trial World Championship Round 1

Mancha-Real, Spain 1/4/2007

Bad Cold, Missed the Podium with Two Cleans

photoTwo weeks after the Indoor championship wrapping up, which the series saw Bou's first world title, the team Montesa went out to start the next and the very important championship, the Trial World Championship. Atmosphere within the team has been great with the teamwork is better than ever, but once the new series got going, there would be rivalries among the three champions in the team. Fujinami was thrilled with Bou's Indoor title, but as yesterday's friend became the enemy, he prepared for the big fights against the new champion as well as Lampkin in the series.

They traveled about 1000 km from the Montesa camp in Barcelona to Mancha-Real, south of Madrid for the opening round. There were 13 sections set out deep in the forest and a stadium section for the starting area. Due to the rain falls the day before the event, the condition was very slippery and difficult. The biggest enemy though in Mancha-Real for Fuji was own physical condition. He caught a cold days before the event. Since last year, he has been haunted by physical problems, such as broken finger bone, weakness due to the thyroid condition, and the cracks of foot bones. He has waited the championship for a long time but could not start it in the ideal way.

photoBou and Raga showed strong ride in the Lap1, and Fuji, Lampkin and Cabestany chased the top two. Fuji missed the section inspection on Saturday due to the illness, so there were so many sections that he has never seen before. Fuji started the event second from the last ahead of Raga - according to the last year's ranking - not a bad position to start. But he spent more time than he normally would to inspect and figure out the way to ride at each time he arrived at the sections.

Things went hectic as the competition progressed as Fuji's time allowance became slim. There was an unfortunate accident for the minder too. At the section three, Josep hurt his hand as he tried to hold the bike when the rider made a five point error. He could not use his hand to work as 'the bike holder' anymore, at least for the day, so Carles took over the role as the main minder. Fuji pushed to ride to complete the lap in time, but in turn, he fived many times at the end of the Lap1. As the lap was over, he was fifth, being the last rider among the top-five in the previous Indoor series.

photoBefore the second lap Fuji talked with the staff, and decided to speed things up. Condition was still off, but the second lap was much easier than the first with the experiences, so Fuji rode a lot better, faster than the previous lap. Still, time ticked away fast as there were many tough sections. Fuji dropped 32 points in the Lap2, which itself was the third best score following Bou and Raga. Two laps combine, Fuji was in a tie with Lampkin with 77 points, but he had the two less cleans than the UK rider, thus finished fourth for the day. Lampkin completed the two laps with 5h30m17sec; only 43 seconds away from getting an over-time penalty, showing it wasn't easy ride for Lampkin either.

So, as the opening round of the season finished, Fuji is seven points behind Bou and five points to Raga in the championship. That is though better than the first round in the previous seasons, in which he finished fifth in 2005 and sixth in 2006.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was a tough challenge. I knew I wasn't up to fight for the victory today, because of my condition, but I went out to stand on the podium. I missed the spot by finishing in a tie with Dougie. I know I had many opportunities to cut my points down to finish ahead of him, so it is very frustrating result. It was solely my fault and un-professional thing to do to fall in sick and could not show up in a good condition. My team welcomed my fourth place because they knew it could have been a lot worse. Thank you my team, but I try not to accept their kind offer and take it as a bad result. I need to be strict with myself to push it forward and better.

2007 Trial World Championship Round 1
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 34+24+2 60 6
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 35+30+0 65 6
3 Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 38+39+0 77 8
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 45+32+0 77 6
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 40+44+0 89 3
6 James Dabill Montesa 58+50+0 108 3
7 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 56+52+3 111 3
8 Marc Freixa Scorpa 51+61+0 112 3
L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 20
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 17
3 Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 15
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 13
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
6 James Dabill Montesa 10