2008 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship Round 10

Sweden GP - 31/6/2008 Attendance: 3,000

Felt Strong, but 3rd in the End

photoAfter some years of absence, the Trial World Championship took a long expedition to the North Europe, Sweden. It was a heavy burden for some of the riders in the championship. But the location isn't a problem for the top riders, and they are to compete and to achieve the best result as possible.

Looking at the result sheet, it seems that the severity was low with a chance for 'all-clean'. But there is no such thing as an easy fight in the world championship. The condition was half wet. There was no rain but cloudy, so the dirt stayed the way all day. From the section one to six, there were mainly rock hazards, and half wet dirt on the surface of the rocks made the condition slippery. It became even more slippery from the section seven and on, because of the black dirt. The level of slipperiness became higher as the event progressed with more and more riders going through them. The section nine and ten were two of the big challenges for all the competitors.

From the beginning of Lap1, it was clear that the top three riders had a huge advantage over the rest. Cabestany soon found himself fighting for fifth after his No.1 bike broke minutes before the competition got underway, and he had to ride the No.2 bike. Fajardo was there with the leaders by marking 'all-cleans' until the section five, but he lost the touch as he dropped a single mark at the following section. From that point, there was the usual scene with three riders fighting for the podium spots.

At the section seven, Raga dropped a single mark so as Bou dropped two points. The championship leader made another error to drop a point at the following section too. Fujinami continued his 'all-clean' riding to grab the top spot.

Fujinami made the first mistake to drop three points at the section nine, and one point at the following section. But his lead was intact with two points, as the two Spaniards also made mistakes at the sections.

At the section 11 with the triple steps at the beginning, Fujinami's slid his wheel to drop five points. As the starting order in Sweden was based on the results at Czech round, and the three kept the order, so, Fujinami was the first with Bou followed, and then Raga was the final rider. Bou entered the section after watching the team-mate's full mark error, but he too struggled. He minimized the damage as the front wheel barely went over the top step. Bou tried best to bring the bike up to drop three points. Raga took the full advantage of the lessons from the two rivals to conquer the section. It was then Raga who stood at the top with six points with Bou and Fujinami both had nine points.

At the end of the lap, the time was running out as they spent a lot of time inspecting the slippery sections. Fujinami and Bou could not finish in time, dropping one time-penalty, respectively. Fujinami was 30 seconds late, and Bou was two seconds late for the three and a half hour time allowance. All three dropped a single mark at the section 13, and Raga and Fujinami finished the lap with two more cleans. Bou meanwhile dropped two points at the final section too.

So, it was Raga, who finished the lap at the top with seven points without dropping any time-penalty. Fujinami was second with 10 points plus one time-penalty, then Bou was third with 12 points plus one time-penalty.

Bou was a bit out of the shape at the end of Lap1, but he showed a strong fight back at Lap2 by marking nine consecutive cleans. Fujinami dropped single marks at the section eight and nine, and Raga dubbed a point at the section four. Fujinami regained the second place with a single mark at the section 10, when Bou made his first error of the lap to drop two points. Still, Raga was six points better than the Japanese, so the gap was too big to catch up.

Then the decisive error for Fujinami came at the section 13. Previously he rode out with a single mark, but he dropped two points at his second try. Two points don't sound too much, but it was enough to put himself back to the third place. Raga was on route to take the victory, and Bou was strong to protect the second spot. All Fujinami could do for the rest of the sections was to be patient and to mark cleans.

photoFujinami finished Lap2 with five points and the total of 16 points. Bou finished with two points to finish the day with 15 points. Fujinami lost the second position by one point behind the team-mate.

Raga dropped one more point at the final section of Lap2, but it was enough for him to take the two consecutive victories. Raga's victory was already decided when he marked clean at the section 14.

There are two rounds remaining in 2008 Outdoor season. A slight warning signal for Bou for defending the title with Raga's late charge with consecutive victories. Still, Bou leads Raga by nine points, so it is not so realistic for Raga to catch up Bou even with two more victories at the rest of the season. Talking about Fujinami, he is also nine points behind Raga at third, so the theory is the same as above.

Fujinami says he's never seen any team order being applied in the Montesa team in the past, and it is not likely to be one for this year either. He will be then 100% focused to have a good battle against TWO rivals till the end of season.

Quote from Fujigas:

I think my riding was good today. I felt good, but in the end I finished third again. It is disappointing that I missed the second position by only one point. Still, I think I put some pressures to Toni and Adam who rode behind me, so it wasn't all bad today. Having Adam taking the victory again, I don't know if there would be the time that I have to give away the position to Bou. But I tell you, at this moment, there is no such order. I am not here in the championship to be a helper for my team-mate, and I believe Toni doesn't want that either. I just want to win so badly, simply.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 7+3+0 10 23
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 12+2+1 15 22
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 10+5+1 16 22
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 17+8+0 25 18
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 21+9+0 30 15
6 Marc Freixa GasGas 35+16+0 51 13
7 Albert Cabestany Sherco 37+29+0 66 10
8 Michael Brown Beta 38+30+0 68 7
L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 185
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 176
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 157
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 111
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 110
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 110