2008 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round3,4

U.S. GP - 25-26/4/2008 Attendance: 3,000

Back on Top of the Rostrum

photoDay1 - Saturday

After three weeks interval from the Irish round, Trial World Championship traveled to Sequatchie in Tennessee for the Grand Prix of U.S.A. Event took place in a true outdoor taste with many natural sections of water, rocks, mud etc, which obviously the style that Fujinami loves and usually performs well at too.

Fujinami arrived the venue on Friday, and observed the sections with his teammate Bou. They agreed that 20 points would be the border line for the victory. Both were confident to better the target points, but they also knew anything could happen when the competition got underway.

The lap started with a slope section followed by 12 sections along the river. Fujinami thought the severity would go up when they had rain at Friday night. Fortunately, rain stopped, and the event was held in a dry condition on Saturday.

Five riders marked all cleans at the beginning of the lap; Bou, Raga, Freixa, Dabill and Fujinami. The first challenge for everybody came at the section four. The joint championship leader Raga was one of many victims of the section. Both Bou and Fujinami rode off with a single point, building an early advantage over the rival on GasGas. Raga speeded up his pace after his five point error, but Fujinami and Bou kept their pace to compete at the end of the group.

The mistakes by Bou came at the section ten and 11, dropping one and two points respectively. Both time Fujinami rode after the Spaniard, and he marked clean both times. Fujinami kept his composure till the end and he completed the lap with one point. "I never thought I could finish the lap with a single mark." Fujinami recalled, and he was surprised by own performance. A day earlier, he set his target as 20 points, but fortunately he had to change his plan. Fujinami started Lap2 with three points advantage over Bou, and 13 points over Cabestany who followed at third.

photoFujinami continued to show a strong performance at Lap2. He dropped two points at the section four, where he gained the advantage over the teammate at the previous lap. But Bou in turn dropped full marks at his second try, so the gap became greater. Fujinami said he fought hard to keep his concentration as the competition progressed.

Fujinami made one five point error on Saturday, which came at the section 11. It was a difficult section, but previously he marked clean. On the second try, he reached the final phase with one point, but the time ran out after spending time at the double staircase.

Fujinami finished Lap2 with eight points, seven points more than the previous lap. Bou finished with 12 points including two full mark errors. Fujinami was the only rider to finish the day with a single digit result to take his first victory of the season. It was a long time awaited victory since the UK round on August 2007. With the result, Fujinami climbed up to second, being in a tie with Raga in the championship.

Day2 - Sunday

Severity for Sunday was higher because of two reasons. The organizer modified some of the sections after Fujinami's almost perfect ride at Lap1 on Saturday, and the competition took place in the rain. The results show the difference between the competition on Saturday and on Sunday.

The section one was clean-able again for everybody, but the section two stood hard on Sunday. It required the hop on to the rock from the river. Many riders escaped, even Raga chose not to ride. Bou and Fujinami were the only two who faced the challenge. Bou was first to try to mark clean. Fujinami could not follow the teammate, and he dropped one point. But it was not a big problem as rest of the riders all fived.

It was Bou's turn to drop five points at the section three. Fujinami rode out with a single point to take over the lead. The section four was a tough challenge again on Sunday. Fujinami rode out with three points to build a healthy gap as everybody including Bou fived there. Majority of the riders escaped again at the tough challenge of the section nine, and Bou and Fujinami were only two to try. Both riders failed that time to drop five points though.

Falter for Fujinami came at the section 13, as he made a mistake at the entrance to suffer five points. It ruined Fujinami's rhythm somehow, but he still had a solid advantage; six points to Bou and 15 to Raga. He was confident to pull through by that time.

However Fujinami fived again at the section 14. At the hill climb section, he hopped too much at the first bump and could not reach the second one. Grip wasn't ideal because of rain, but it was just a mistake by the Japanese rider. Bou by the way marked clean, and a lap later Fujinami would mark clean too. Two consecutive fives for Fujinami, and the point gap suddenly shrunk to one point against Bou. The problem was, it helped boosting up Bou's spirit. Lap2 then became a severe psychological battle between the two.

photoAt Lap2, Fujinami's riding was not as sharp as he was at the first lap. He was slightly shocked to see Bou rode out with two points at the section four, because Fujinami thought Bou would repeat the mistake. Fujinami rode with a single point. Three sections later, Fujinami suffered another five by a time-over penalty.

Fujinami finished Lap2 with 16 points, six points better than the previous lap, and five points better than Raga. Bou however made the best score of the day with ten points to finish the day with five points better than Fujinami to take the victory.

Fujinami had a great time in the USGP by finishing 1st and 2nd. With the results, he surpasses Raga to stand second in the championship. Fujinami is now a step closer to the championship leader, and ready to be up there with the teammate every rounds. Let's hope that the first victory of the season become the start of the fight back for Fujinami.

Quote from Fujigas:

I had an almost perfect day on Saturday, and I am glad I could fight 'convincingly'. Still, I am not fully satisfied with the results at USGP, because I believe I had a strong chance to win on Sunday too. I lost ten points lead by dropping two fives at the end of Lap1 on Sunday. That was decisive. Again it is important to ride the way to convince myself. I did so on Saturday and I won, but I couldn't do it on Sunday, and I lost. I feel like giving away the victory to Bou on Sunday by my mistakes, so I should go back home being confident. Although I couldn't get the double victories, it was a confident boost GP for me, which was very good before the Motegi rounds.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 1+8+0 9 26
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 4+12+0 16 23
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 14+14+0 28 18
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 22+8+0 30 22
5 Marc Freixa GasGas 23+13+1 37 16
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 26+12+0 38 17
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 26+19+0 45 14
8 James Dabill Montesa 39+32+2 73 13
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 23+10+0 33 19
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 22+16+0 38 16
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 33+21+0 54 17
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 39+35+0 74 10
5 Marc Freixa GasGas 41+33+0 74 6
6 James Dabill Montesa 36+37+3 76 7
7 . Albert Cabestany Sherco 41+38+0 79 8
8 Dougie Lampkin Beta 48+36+0 84 8
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 74
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 67
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 65
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 48
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 44
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 40