2007 Trial World Championship Round 2 & 3

La Antigua, Guatemala 21-22/4/2007 - Attendance: Saturday 4,500 / Sunday 12,000

Podium Finish with 2nd and 3rd

photoDay1 - Saturday

Round two of 2007 Trial World Championship took place in Guatemala, for the first time in the central America. The event was held in ambient atmosphere although it was the nervous first world class event for some of the people. There was a local trial rider also participated in the junior class as a guest rider.

After inspecting the sections, the competitors found the severity was much higher than informed earlier, especially they found no particular riding line at the sections setting out in the sandy surface. Fujinami saw them his favorite, as there were all classic outdoor style sections. Also, having no riding line meant they had to attack the sections aggressively by giving full throttle, which in fact was what made Fuji popular; 'Fujigas' was named after full throttle. Lately, we haven't seen him showing such 'Fujigas' style often, but with the sections in Guatemala, he might have taken full advantage of his speciality.

The procedure to decide the starting order for the championship has been altered, again, this year. It would be decided based on the finishing order in the previous round, changed from the rotational order for last year. Two years ago, procedure was similar to the new rule, but it was much complicated as the competitors were divided into groups according to the results in the previous round, and the order was decided by the ballot within each groups. Finishing fourth in Spanish round, Fuji was fourth from the last to start his ride in Guatemala.

Severity of the sections for the 125cc class was also high, and the riders took time to inspect the sections before riding. When the world championship riders arrived at the sections, they often needed to wait for the 125cc riders. So, from the beginning of the lap, big boys knew it was going to be more difficult than they thought if they could finish in time.

Having a disappointing ride in the opening round of the season, Fuji decided to ride convincingly to himself and to the other without worrying too much about the time. Fuji followed the group rider of Lampkin, Raga, Bou and Dabill at the beginning of the Lap1. At the end of the lap, Fuji passed Lampkin to speed things up, but he could not do so the way he wished because of the riders in front of him, and he finish the lap with five minutes over-time. He had the best score with seven points, but finished second with 12 points with over-time penalty. Bou meanwhile dropped eight points with two points over-time penalty to finish at the top.

Fuji was confident to do the catch up on the Lap2 with only two points disadvantage over Bou, however, he made five point errors at the section six and 10, unlike the previous lap, where he was one of only two riders to walk away from the maximum penalty. Fuji fought well marking 21 cleans for the day, the only rider surpassed 20 cleans, but those two five point mistakes turned out decisive, and Fuji finished six points behind Bou in two laps combine to finish second for the day.

photoDay2 - Sunday

It rained at night on Saturday, and Sunday was expected to be rain too. Although, at first, overnight modifications were scheduled to take place to bring the severity higher, only few modifications were made because the rain was expected to bring the condition more difficult anyway. Ironically, by the time the competition got underway, there was no sign of rain.

It was hot on Sunday with the temperature reaching 33 degree without any wind. Still, there was a massive 12,000 people showed up to see the event on Sunday; alsmost three times more than on Saturday. Guatemalan fans must have interested in seeing the Japanese rider speaking the same language as local people, and they gave a warm support to the Japanese Spanish speaker.

At the Lap1, Fuji made an early mistake at the section six, a five point error, and he never had a chance to recover from it. As they finished the lap, Bou had four, Raga had six, Lampkin was third with eight points, and Fuji was fourth with 11 points.

At the Lap2, there was more time margin than the previous day, so they could take time to attack the sections. Fuji made small mistakes only dropping two points as he completed the first 10 sections. Then he heard that he was in a battle for the third place against Lampkin. Before starting the section 11, Fuji found he was one point better than the UK rider, who had just finished the section with three point error. Fuji also knew that he was one clean better than the team-mate.

From the section 12 to the end wasn't a big problem, and both Fuji and Lampkin didn't drop any point at the Lap1. Fuji knew if he could ride the section 11 with a single point, he would have a big chance for taking the third place. He rode very carefully footing at the top of the triangular rock to change the direction of the bike instead of risking to drop too many points, and he finished the section with one penalty point. Fuji said after the event that he was exceptionally happy about the ride, because three times he rode the section he had either five or three points. When it did matter he rode the best way and exactly as he planned. As expected, both Fuji and Lampkin rode without any mistake after the section 12. When they completed the lap, Fuji was in a tie in the point with Lampkin, but Fuji took the third spot by the number of the cleans. It was Lampkin who won the third place by the number of cleans against Fuji in the opening round. So Fuji
thought they were even.

photoBarely standing on the podium in Guatemala, next to Toni, Fuji felt his team-mate's confident boosting up with two consecutive victories and building up 11 points lead against Raga and 15 points to Fuji. At the post event press conference, Fuji showed his determination to stop Toni's winning streak at the next round. Hope to see Fuji at his full charge in the French round.

Quote from Fujigas:

As far as the competition on Sunday, I am glad to finish third because top two got away. But I am frustrated about the result on Saturday to finish second after a hard fight. So, I am disappointed in a way that I could not motivate myself for the battle for the next day. I spoke with Dougie after the event, and both of us agreed that the level of the competition got higher this year. We believe we could win with the results we had today if it were last year . It is much tougher this year, so we have to work harder. I need to stop Toni's rhythm with a clear victory in France. I need a good result there to carry my momentum for my home round in Motegi too.

2007 Trial World Championship Round 2 & 3
La Antigua
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 8+11+2 21 18
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 7+15+5 27 21
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 20+12+2 34 14
4 Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 24+18+0 42 14
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 23+23+0 46 12
6 Marc Freixa Scorpa 26+21+4 51 11
7 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 36+20+1 57 13
8 James Dabill Montesa 33+44+0 85 4
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 4+1+0 5 27
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 6+2+0 8 25
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 11+3+0 14 23
4 Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 8+6+0 14 22
5 Marc Freixa Scorpa 17+18+0 35 17
6 James Dabill Montesa 26+11+0 37 15
7 Albert Cabestany Sherco 17+21+0 38 19
8 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 29+23+0 52 14
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 60
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 49
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 45
4 Dougie Lampkin Repsol Montesa HRC 41
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 31
6 James Dabill Montesa 28