2008 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship Round 11

Portugal GP - 14/9/2008 Attendance: 4,000

Stand on the 2nd Step on the Podium to Finish Fourth!

photoA week after the Swedish Grand Prix, Fujinami took part in the Spanish championship. He thought it would be a good chance to use the round as a practice for the coming world round. The Spanish venue was very close to the Portuguese venue, so he stayed in west Spain to train and get ready for the round 11.

Although the purpose was above mentioned, Fujinami's sudden appearance at the Spanish round gave a wrong impression for some people, thinking Fujinami came to help his teammate, who is struggling in the championship. Still, starting before the regular competitors, Fujinami waited before handing out the card to finish until finding out teammate's point situation. Fujinami rode well in the event, so he would drop additional over-time penalties if he was in the better position than Bou. In the end, Fujinami found he was three points behind Bou, so he didn't need to do such a treat. He finished third in front of Fajardo, who obviously weren't too happy to see another Montesa rider standing on the podium. That was a week before the Portugal round.

Fujinami spent a productive time in training wise and the machine set-up wise before the Portugal round, but when he arrived the venue the machine problem arose. Fujinami and the team couldn't find the clue in time, so he had to ride the bike the way it was. Fujinami couldn't find a delicate control when he needed. That was a part of the reasons for his small mistakes. As the Lap1 was over, he had ten points; one five, one three and two one to be third. First was Bou with five points; the only mistake was a full mark error at the section 13, where all the riders fived on that lap. Fajardo followed at second with nine points. Going into Lap2, Fujinami set his goal to grab the second place and even taking the victory by catching up Bou.

A big change for Lap2 was a modification at the section two. It was a huge rock climb but turned to be easy thanks to a big stepstone at Lap1. When the riders arrived at the section for the second time, the stone was gone. There was another line to challenge the section, but it required a scary jump between the big rocks about three meters apart. Fajardo tried till the middle of the section, but escaped before the risky challenge. There were three riders remaining, and it was Fujinami's turn to start. Without hesitation, Fujinami made the jump and reached the rock at the other side. He even jumped too far so to speak. It gave an idea for Raga and Bou that the section wasn't invulnerable. Raga followed next, and also made it but dropped one point. Bou approached Fujinami before his ride at the section for a quick lecture. Fujinami told the teammate how he did it; gearing, the line and the speed and etc. Bou challenged, and he marked clean.

At the section eight, Fujinami dropped five points when the front tire went over the section tape. At the close battle in Portugal, Fujinami's hope for the victory was virtually gone then. Still, he knew he had a chance to finish second.

Fujinami dropped another point at the section 10, but marked five consecutive cleans at the end of the lap to finish with 17 points. Fajardo finished earlier with 19 points. Raga also finished with 19 points but he lost the position by a number of cleans. Bou finished last with 15 points, and he took the victory in Portugal. Having one more victory, he will take the world title at the final round if he finish at the sixth place or better. That doesn't sound too difficult for him.


Fujinami smiles on the podium, however...

So, Bou first then Fujinami second and Fajardo third, which the results at least for the moment, and the podium celebration took place. Then something incomprehensible thing happened. Based on the appeal made by Raga and Fajardo, Fujinami's score at the section two was altered so as the finishing order. At the results sheet, there are two points at the section three for Fujinami, but that is the mistake by the organizer. Anyway, Fujinami said he remembered a footing when he jumped too far, but not two times. He did not have a chance to talk with the observer, who said Fujinami footed both feet when landed.

Fujinami heard there was a talk about the scoring during the podium celebration, but he did not know it was his that was an issue. Nobody said anything to Fujinami, and without knowing the score was altered. So, Fujinami's position was dropped from second to fourth in Portugal. It would be his first time to miss the podium for this year if the result would be final. He stood on the second step of the podium, and he believed he finished second, but the Portugal round ended under suspicious circumstances.

Quote from Fujigas:

I don't believe it. I felt strong and I had a chance to win this time, and I was sure I could grab the second place. Well, the fact was, I finished second, so I am not satisfied with the results at all. I heard later, that Raga saw me footing and appealed after the competition. I can't believe FIM that they altered my score without let me know anything, to tell you the truth. At this stage, we cannot make a formal protest as the team yet. So the event ended with a very bad aftertaste for me. I think, if the observer said two points, I may accept it although it is not true. But I did not know the battle was still raging after the competition and even after the podium ceremony taken place. People tried to ease my feeling saying finishing fourth here won't make any difference in my championship situation. I know that is true, but that's a different story. For the final round, with or without regaining my second position, I will fight like a fireball.
Tony definitely doesn't need my help anymore. That is good to know for sure.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 5+10+0 15 27
2 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 9+10+0 19 25
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 13+6+0 19 24
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 10+9+0 19 22
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11+9+0 20 24
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 12+12+0 24 23
7 James Dabill Montesa 27+18+0 45 15
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 27+30+0 57 14
L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 205
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 191
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 170
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 127
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 122
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 120