2008 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship Round 2

Ireland GP - 6/4/2008 - Attendance: 10,000

Four Fives away from the Victory

photoIt was very cold with occasional snow in Ireland for the second round of Trial World Championship. Wind was also strong at the port town of Bangor, where some of the sections were located directly by the ocean.

The venue has held the event back in 2003 and 2004, in the two days format, and for the both occasions Fujinami took the victory on Saturday. In 2004 of course Fujinami was on route for taking the world championship.

Suffering a physical problem; arm pumping, at the end of the competition in Luxembourg, Fujinami reviewed his diet and trained with an advise from his trainer for the coming round. The trainer, Dani visited Ireland to support Fujinami as he did in Luxembourg.

The competition got underway under the unforgiving condition. Finishing third at the opening round, Fujinami was third to start after Lampkin. Fujinami's lap started in a good form with three consecutive cleans so as Cabestany. Raga meanwhile dropped a single mark at the section two, and Bou dropped a full mark at the section three.

Fujinami made a first error for the day at the section four, a full mark error. Severity was high so everybody fived except Bou, who rode off with a single point, so the error was not a big problem for Fujinami at that point.

Fujinami rode off with one point at the section five, and he moved up to the top sharing the position with Bou. The Spaniard recovered from the early mistake by marking clean at the fifth section. Raga and Cabestany dropped one and two point, respectively, and followed the top two riders by one point.

The biggest mistake for Fujinami came at the section seven. It was a water section with a rock climb at the final phase, which he thought was a cleanable section. Many of his rivals marked clean, but Fujinami's rear tire sank in the sandy river bed when he tried to accelerate to the rock. He had nothing to do to drop a full mark.

Dropping five points hurt a lot, but the mistake shook Fujinami's mind at some degrees. He went on to the section eight, still distracted from the previous mistake, and he could not ride off within a minute and a half time allowance to five again. Bou also fived there, so Cabestany went up to the top spot with Raga. Bou moved down to third with 11 points followed by Fujinami with 16 points.

Fujinami dabbed another points at the section nine and arrived at the final section of the lap located in front of the event headquarter. There was a big tree lying at the end requiring a overhang riding. Fujinami failed to conquer the challenge as many of the competitors. He said it was a disappointing at the end after marking five consecutive cleans prior to it.

So as the Lap1 was over, Fujinami was fourth sharing the position with Cabestany with 23 points being one point ahead of Fajardo. First was Raga with ten points followed by Bou with 12 points. In fact, Fujinami was not aware of point situation at the time, building up his concentration toward the next lap. He said later, he knew his result was bad, so all he could do was to ride sensibly and carefully for the remaining sections.

A mistake came early at La2 for Fujinami, as he made a three points error at the section three. But, he avenged at a section later with a single mark, a tough section refused all the riders except Bou at Lap1. Bou in turn dropped five points for his second try.

photoFujinami marked clean and a single point at the section seven and eight, respectively, the sections he fived at Lap1. Raga dropped five points at the section four but he kept his position, because Bou also dropped five points at the section plus a single mark at a section before. Fujinami was more than ten points behind at the stage. He did not need to know about it, and was not informed either.

Fujinami dropped two points at the section 11 and 13, but he was riding a record lap by then. Team finally told Fujinami the point situation to suggest him to be careful for the remaining sections because he was fighting for the podium against Cabestany.

Marking clean at the section 14, still keeping the record lap, Fujinami arrived at the final section. Before his try, he changed the engine mapping hoping to have an extra strength against the overhang section. His effort did not pay off, and he completed the lap with 14 points. Two laps combined, Fujinami had 39 points, three points better than the Cabestany to secured the podium finish. Fujinami was 21 points behind the winner Raga, and 13 points behind the second placed Bou.

For the victory in Ireland, Fujinami needed to conquer the overhang challenges at the end of both laps. Loosing the chance for the second spot would be the regrettable consecutive fives at the middle of the Lap1. Fujinami said finishing third was the must for this season, so he did at two rounds. Fortunately for Fujinami in the championship, the point gap did not expand so much, because Raga and Bou switched their positions at the second round. They share the top spot with 37 points, and Fujinami follows with seven points at third.

In 2004, Fujinami built up the momentum with the results in US round and home GP in Japan. In 2006 in turn, Fujinami could not perform well at those rounds and lost the grip for the championship. For 2008, the coming four rounds outside the European continent will play a very important role for Fujinami's championship chase, as they always have been in the past. He will depart to the expeditions hoping and believing to have the four lucky rounds.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was shame that I fived at the cleanable section seven. But the bigger problem was the next five that I messed up because of the mistake a section ago. I learned at the last round that the result won't come if I didn't ride the way convincing myself, but unfortunately, I repeated it again this week. For the last section, I had to find the way to conquer it because Toni and Adam succeeded both times. Two fives at the section seven and eight hurt a lot today too. My condition was great today so I expected a much better result. I am going to ride in the States to have a good rhythm for my home coming round in Japan.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 10+11+0 21 21
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 14+9+0 23 20
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 22+14+0 36 18
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 18+20+1 39 20
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 23+18+0 41 18
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 28+19+0 47 13
7 Marc Freixa GasGas 34+13+0 47 11
8 James Dabill Montesa 38+24+0 62 10
L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 37
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 37
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 30
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 24
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 23
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 21