2008 Indoor World Trial Championship Round 1

Palais des Sports, Marseille France - 19/1/2008 - Attendance: 6,000

Lost at the Double-Lane to Finish Fourth

photo2008 Indoor Championship kicked off in Marseilles on Jan-19, a bit later than the previous championship calendars. There are only six rounds this year, so each round become more important for the outcome of the championship than the previous ones. Fujinami had a close fight against the team-mate and the reigning champion Toni Bou at the Qualification Lap, competing along side at the Double-Lane. He finished in a tie in point but missed the Final Lap by the competing time to finish at the fourth place.

Fujinami's condition going into 2008 season was good, even though he had the two weeks of treatment for his foot injury he had during a demonstration ride at the end of 2007. It delayed his return to his home in Spain and kept him away from the motorcycle a bit, but it also gave him some extra relaxation time before the hard fights.

The European Indoor Championship started ahead of the world series on Dec-29 in 2007 in Sheffield. Fujinami was there to finish third behind Bou and Lampkin. It was the final event for three Montesa team-mates competing together, because about a half of the month later, Lampkin would arrive in France as a Beta pilot.

The starting order at the opening round was based on the final standing in 2007. Thus Fujinami was fourth from the last, following Lampkin and ahead of Cabestany in Marseilles. Fujinami showed some excellent rides from the beginning of the Qualification Lap by marking clean at the section one, the only in the first six riders to be able to do so. Dropping two points at the section two, Fujinami had a healthy cushion among himself and the four riders starting before him at the section four. Waching the previous riders all failed at the section five, Fujinami decided to escape to save time.

Fujinami finished the lap with ten points after dropping a single mark at the final section with two time penalty points. Still, he was eight points better than Fajardo, who was second at the time. Then it was a time for top three to perform.

Cabestany brought his four-stroke bike first time for the competition, and he was strong by dropping a point only at the section four. At the section five, the big challenge for the first five riders, the Spaniard marked a beautiful clean. He rode faultlessly then on to finish with four points - three more points for time-penalty - making a strong debut for his new bike.

Speaking of Raga, he wasn't in an ideal condition after hurting his finger at Sheffield, but he had his spirit strong to mark four cleans then dropping a single mark at the section five. He dropped two single marks at the section six and seven, and time-penalty combine, he finished the lap with five points.

In order for Fujinami to proceed to the Final, Bou needed not to finish less than ten points. Fujinami had a mixed feeling that he had to hope his team-mate making some mistakes to keep his hope for the Final alive. The defending champion made a big mistake to drop five points at the beginning of the lap as the rear tire landed at the wrong place when swinging his bike. Fujinami thought he had a slim chance when he saw Bou dropping another points by footing at the section two. He was sure the he would have to compete against Bou at the Double-Lane, so he went out to warm up for the speed battle. Then he heard the news that the Spaniard made another five point error at the section four to build a point more than he.

Bou finished the lap with 11 points, but he was the only rider in France, who stayed away from the time-penalty. Fujinami then had to beat the team-mate at the Double-Lane, because if he lose, he would finish in a tie but missing the Final Lap by the competing time.

Fujinami giggled as he recalled. "Albert came and asked me if there was any team-order for the Double-Lane." At the final round, where the championship is at stake, they may have one. But there was no such thing to worry about as it was the first round of the season.

There was a long lane, from the edge to the edge of the stadium, at Marseilles, and it was difficult too. Bou and Fujinami were even before the half way point, but Fujinami made a slight advantage at the turning point. Fujinami slowed down a bit on the coming back leg and Bou caught up. It was a thrilling battle between the team-mates. At he end Bou finished first with a very small gap to capture the ticket to the Final Lap. Fujinami's day was over.

Fujinami thought he rode well although he finished fourth. He felt good to be able to ride without a big gap against Spanish riders in Marseilles. The championship will visit Barcelona in Spain for the second round, one of the most important battles in the series. Fujinami finished second last year, and he is very much looking forward to a good battle.

Quote from Fujigas:

The result is the same as last year to finish fourth, but I feel good in the way I fought against Spanish riders. I think I need to speed things up more on the First Lap. It seems that Spaniards are quick from the section to the next. I think they have learned that through experiences at many indoor championships, so I need to adapt that kind of riding too. My foot still hurts a bit, but it doesn't affect my riding at all.

2008 Indoor World Trial Championship
Round 1 Palais des Sports, Marseille France
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 8
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 10
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 11
Qualificarion Lap
1 Albert Cabestany Sherco 4
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 5
3 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 11
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 11
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 19
6 James Dabill Montesa 20
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 26
8 Jerome Bethune Beta 26
1 Toni Bou 10
2 Albert Cabestany 8
3 Adam Raga 6
4 Takahisa Fujinami 5
5 Jeroni Fajardo 4
6 James Dabill 3
7 Dougie Lampkin 2
8 Jerome Bethune 1 1