2008 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship Round 1

Luxembourg GP - 30/3/2008

Starts the Season Third on the Podium

photo2008 World Outdoor series kicked off in Luxembourg. The team for this year will be two men; Toni bou and Takahisa Fujinami, after departure of Dougie Lampkin. Fujinami needs to ride to convince himself, since the way he fought was a concern as well as the results last year.

The venue in Luxembourg was at the farm field with lots of rocks brought in to set up sections, which in a way similar to what we see in Motegi round. The soil became very slippery when wet, which brought difficulty of the sections very high otherwise fairy easy to conquer.

The order for start was based on the world championship standings, so Fujinami was third from the last followed by Raga and Bou. Although the order gave Fujinami a chance to see the other riders' attempts and ride on the surface with better traction, he often took the lead among the riders at sections. At least, he did not wait to take a look at Bou and Raga's riding.

photoFujinami said later that he could see his lines clearly, so he did not need to observe the other's for any clue. Last year he worried a bit too much about Bou's riding, and it made him mess up his own riding. At Luxembourg, he accepted his score, being happy to even drop five points as he rode the way he believed was right. He completed the Lap1 just like that, and he was a point behind the leader Bou, sharing the second position with ex-teammate Lampkin. Things look nicely for the coming lap. The surface started to dry quickly at the Lap2. Again, Fujinami could wait till the surface become dryer, but having a good rhythm going already, he did not waste his time and entered the sections positively.

Fujinami moved up to the top spot when he finished the section three with three points as later Bou dropped five points. The point gap then was two as the Spaniard dropped one overtime penalty. Meanwhile Raga was a point behind Bou as they finished the section.

photoThree sections later, Fujinami made a full mark error as he slid the bike by opening the throttle too much; a simple riding error. Bou and Raga marked cleans at the section to move up ahead of the Japanese. Two sections later, a bad luck struck Fujinami, as drive chains came off right after he entered the section. He tried to put the chains back on while on the bike, and it took time. When the chains finally came back on, he had only 20 seconds remaining at the section. It was such a pitiful trouble as Fujinami was the only rider to mark clean there at the previous lap. Bou and Raga dropped one and two, respectively, for Lap2. It was the worst timing to have such a trouble, and it has been a while since Fujinami faced the chains coming off at any races nor practice sessions!

Bou too dropped five points at the section ten, so Fujinami still had a chance to take over the top spot for the end of the lap. Fujinami ride with a single point at the section ten and 11 to move on to the final sections. He was also informed by the team that Raga was performing well.

Dropping three points at the section 12, he proceeded to the next section only to five when another trouble struck him. He suffered a severe arm pump and unable to control the bike. It was a fortunate for Fujinami that Raga also fived there, because he held his hope then.

photoHe had his arms massaged before going to the final two sections, but the problem showed up again at the section 14; another five for Fujinami. Majority of the riders, not to mention Bou and Raga included, marked cleans, so dropping a full mark there cost him a chance to move up to the top again completely.

The final section was a man-made with water fall and a pond located at the school yard. Still suffering an arm pump, Fujinami changed his line to avoid clutch operations as less as possible. The plan worked out and Fujinami managed to mark clean. It was a smart move by the Japanese because he would have to finish fourth behind Lampkin if he fived.

As two laps of competition was over, Fujinami was ten points behind the winner Bou and nine behind Raga. Suppose the chains did not come off nor suffering an arm pump? Thinking about 'what if' doesn't change anything, but Fujinami should be happy with his performance in Luxembourg. It was not the best way to start the season, but positive and strong one for the Japanese rider for 2008.

Quote from Fujigas:

I see third on the podium is the minimum result, and I am glad that I could achieve it this time. It was encouraging to lead until the middle of the Lap2 too. I finished third after all, but it was a close third compare to a distance third last year. It let me know the result will come if I ride the way I believe is right. The result also shows like at the end of Lap2 when you are off. Today I rode my own without worrying about the other; that was a big change from the last season. I think now I have a good picture of how to fight for this season.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 24+18+1 43 16
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 30+14+0 44 11
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 25+28+0 53 13
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 25+32+0 57 10
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 36+22+1 59 8
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 45+31+2 78 7
7 Marc Freixa GasGas 44+38+0 82 10
8 James Dabill Montesa 46+55+0 101 4
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 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 15
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 13
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 10