2008 Trial Des Nation World Championship


Japan Team Finished 2nd

photoThe final world trial event of the year, Trial Des Nation took place in Andorra at the end of September. Kenichi Kuroyama, Tomoyuki Ogawa, and Norifumi Nozaki, who all participated in the last year's event joined Fujinami again for 2008.

Fujinami arrived at the venue by driving his big motor-home. Usually during the championship, the team staff drives the vehicle and the riders take the less onerous way. Since Andorra is not so far from home, and the special atmosphere that TDN has made him take the steering wheel. There is always different feeling with the team match than the usual individual match. It didn't mean that Fujinami took the competition lightly, as the event is a battle among the many countries for their pride at stake.

Fijinami was first to arrive at the venue in the member of team Japan, and he waited for their arrival. Like last year, Ogawa was to ride one of Fujinami's bikes. Although Ogawa and Fujinami are good friends, their settings of the bike are totally different. But, Ogawa needed to adjust his riding with Fujinami's style once again.

Severity of the sections for TDN was high, especially the section five of Lap1. Just a section earlier, Nozaki found the good line to salvage the points to bring the team in tie with the team Spain. At the section five, the team Japan dropped 10 points and moved back two points behind the Spanish team. The early leader the team GB dropped 15 points at the section, and they moved down from first to third too.

photoFujinami also dropped five at the section, though he did not know the reason. He shook up the riding line at the end and almost missed the cards, but he clearly went through in between two cards. Fujinami slightly tangled with Josep when he landed, but the minder himself didn't give any help. The observer then told Fujinami it was a over-time penalty, which sounded very questionable. Likewise, there were some unclear calls from observers in Andorra, but Fujinami expected to see some of those from the start.

The level of ability of the team Spain was very high. The team was consisted of four world championship riders, and all are top five in 2008. Team Japan fought closely with them until the section five, but the gap extended a little by little as the competition progressed.

As expected the biggest rival at TDN was the team GB for Japanese riders. The team Japan fought well last year, being in the complete away game, finishing second in front of the local team. The riders for team GB were also all strong, starting with the king of trial Dougie Lampkin, James Dabil, Michael Brown, and the veteran Graham Jarvis. The starting order for the team GB was after Spain and Japan, two of the direct rivals, which gave GB team additional tactical advantages too. It was a rare opportunity for Dabil and Brown to watch those top riders before their ride, which was not possible to do during the world championship.

At the beginning of the competition, Fujinami rode last to salvage the point. Then he switched to ride first to make the team riders more relaxed with their riding. When he finished his riding, he returned to the start point to support the riders with advise and to encourage them. The other important role for Fujinami at TDN was to collect information of other teams, because unlike other teams, the team Japan didn't have a staff to calculate the score. Fujinami talked with Mr. Cirera, his team boss at Montesa - who was there to act in a neutral position because there was no activity for him as the Montesa team, and some of his Spanish friends to calculate the score and formulated the strategies too.

There was an interesting contrast among three top teams. The team Spain pretty much competed as four individuals, didn't show so much team play - still very strong though. At the team GB, Lampkin actively gave the team riders instructions and giving encouragements. At the team Japan, Fujinami worked as a pivotal role , giving information and instructions to the other members too.

photoTeam Japan rode Lap2 beautifully. Though they dropped 10 points at the section five when three riders fived, they dropped two points only - single point mistake at the section 10 and 18 - for the rest of the sections. When Two laps of 18 sections - two sections more than the usual trial rounds - completed, Fujinami figured his team finished one or two points better than the team GB.

The final results were released, and the team Japan was eight points better than team GB to finish second for two consecutive years. The winner was the team Spain with 19 points, 21 points advantage over Japan team.

There is an uniqueness of TDN scoring, which is to erase the worst score at each section. So, working as the team to back up the mistake will play a big part for deciding the results. Team Spain was strong without a doubt, but Fujinami thought they were not beyond the reach. Finishing second was another great achievement for the team Japan, but it also gave some positive idea for the future TDN game for the team Japan.

Quote from Fujigas:

We were in a position to fight against the team Spain at the beginning, but after the middle of the game we lost the touch. Still we could work well as a team, one of the riders took care of a mistake made by another member. Team Spain extended their lead when we made some mistakes like at the section five, where three riders fived. If we could work better as a team, things would be different, and we could put some pressure to the leader. And the results could be different too. Tell you the truth, I went to Andorra feeling like winning was out of the question, and hoping to finish second. But if we can perform the game like we did on Lap2 this time, I think winning is not impossible anymore. I think it is the time to set our goal one step higher. Talking about myself, I rode all clean at Lap2, and six points for total. Bou and Raga both made five point error, and I heard they dropped seven or eight for total. Which meant I had the best score individually! Anyway, finishing second as a team was simply a great pleasure this year again. Finally, I like to say thank you very much for all the support.

Trial Des Nations World Championship 2008
Pos. Nat. T 1L T 2L T Tot. Cl.
1. Spain 0 15 0 4 0 19 123
Toni Bou (Montesa), Albert Cabestany (Sherco), Jeroni Fajardo (Beta), Adam Raga (Gas Gas)
2. Japan 0 28 0 12 0 40 94
Takahisa Fujinami (Montesa), Kenichi Kuroyama (Yamaha), Fumitaka Nozaki (Yamaha), Tomoyuki Ogawa (Montesa)
3. Great Britain 0 30 0 18 0 48 93
Michael Brown (Beta), James Dabill (Montesa), Graham Jarvis (Sherco), Dougie Lampkin (Beta)
4. Italy 0 86 0 48 0 134 49
Matteo Grattarola (Sherco), Fabio Lenzi (Montesa), Daniele Maurino (Gas Gas), Michele Orizio (Scorpa)
5. France 0 79 0 65 0 144 54
Christophe Bruand (Scorpa), Bruno Camozzi (Gas Gas), Nicolas Gontard (Gas Gas), Loris Gubian (Sherco)
6. Sweden 0 170 0 143 0 313 15
7. U.S.A. 0 171 0 156 0 328 13
8. Germany 0 210 0 199 0 409 5