2008 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship Round 7

France GP - 22/6/2008

Off the Rhythm to Finish 3rd in France

photoThree weeks after the Japan GP, the round seven took place at the small village 50km from Paris in France. It was the first of the three consecutive European rounds of France, Italy and Czech Republic. The rain started to fall in the evening on Saturday but stopped by the morning on Sunday. The surface was pretty much dried out by the time the top riders began their warm up. It was hot with the temperature reaching 30 degree Celsius, symbolizing the start of the very hot summer in Europe.

Normally, Fujinami doesn't ride sharply at the first section of the event. It was so even when he took the title in 2004, so the tense at the beginning maybe Fujinami's characteristics. But in France, he seemed tense until the section three. He footed easily at the sections to have the three consecutive single marks at Lap1. It was a bad sign in France, because the severity of the sections weren't so high, which Fujinami found at the inspection.

When Fujinami finished the section four with five points - so as everybody else fived there - very heavy rain struck the area. The surface quickly became wet again, and the severity went up. It was the blessed rain for Fujinami though, as the difficulty went up, small mistakes would not be a big factor anymore. Change of condition made Fujinami more relaxed about his riding, and he was able to give his best effort against the sections.

Fujinami try not to know the progress of the other rider in France, as he has been trying to do this year. He wants to ride his own race without caring about the other riders. He believes that when he feels good about his riding, the result will come. That was the way he took the victory in U.S.A., too. He thinks the reason he missed the victories at some of the other occasions was because he could not perform his own way. At his home rounds in Motegi, unfortunately, because the announcing system was well organized, he had to hear the information he did not wish to hear.

When Lap1 was over, the team boss asked Fujinami if he wanted to know the point situation. Fujinami told the boss that he only wanted to know if he was doing alright.

"You have a chance for the victory, so stick it out."

The words surprised Fujinami, because he knew he wasn't riding well, at least not up to fight for the victory. In fact, he was second to Raga by two points at the time. He didn't ask so didn't know it, and returned for the competition.

The rain stopped as the top riders going into Lap2, and the surface starting to dry out again. Then at the section five, where Bou was the only rider to mark clean, Fujinami's engine suddenly stopped when he was in the middle of the section. It is rare that the bike like Fujinami rides sees the engine stall, so it was a sign of a trouble.

The starting order in France was based on the results at Motegi, and Fujinami was the third from the last followed by Raga and Bou. They kept the order all the way till the end of Lap2. Even when Fujinami stopped for the bike check up by the mechanic, Raga didn't pass the Japanese rider. He waited till Fujinami's ride. It might be because he did not want to show his riding to the rival.

photoApart from the full mark error at the section five, Fujinami made some avoidable mistakes on Lap2 too. The condition was a lot better at Lap2 thanks to the dried surface, so Fujinami was expecting to finish about ten points better than the first lap.
But the result shows that Fujinami completed Lap2 with 27 points, better than Lap1 by five points only. Still, Fujinami said he was more satisfied with Lap2, because he could ride the way he wanted.

For the battle for the victory, it was all down to the wire at the final section. Raga secured the victory when he rode out the section with a single mark, while Fujinami dropped two and Bou fived. Fujinami heard the point situation first time after the competition was over, and he found out that he was third by five points behind Bou.

It was an unexpected result at Lap1 to be second for Fujinami. And Lap2 showed that he still had some works to do, where he needed to fight back more strongly. Fujinami is to adapt the new training menu to make him strong physically and mentally for the coming European rounds.

Quote from Fujigas:

Until the middle of Lap1, my body wasn't flexible, and I could not ride the way I wanted. Still, I take the result positively because I was able to finished third today, and being second at Lap1. Talking about the championship, now I have to win all the rest of the rounds. I know it will be tough, as two Spaniards are very strong. I will work with my trainer to find out the problem in France, and to be strong and ready for the coming European rounds.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 31+21+0 52 12
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 34+21+0 55 15
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 33+27+0 60 9
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 48+41+0 89 4
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 40+43+7 90 6
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 47+51+0 98 7
7 James Dabill Montesa 52+44+4 110 3
8 Marc Freixa GasGas 60+54+0 114 1
L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 131
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 119
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 112
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 79
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 77
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 76