2009 Indoor World Trial Championship Round1

Hallam FM Sheffield Arena, the United Kingdom - 3/1/2009 - Attendance: 8,000

Good Start with 2nd on the Podium

photo2009 Trial season kicked off with the Indoor championship as the first round took place in Sheffield, the popular venue in UK, after three years of absence. There is a happy news for the trial fans in Europe this year that EUROSPORT starts to broadcast the whole Indoor series. And because of that, there are some changes in the rules too. Six players now proceed to the Final Lap unlike three in the previous years. The role of the Qualification Lap is now selecting the top six riders and deciding the starting order in the Final Lap. Also, in the Sheffield round, riders were designated the starting section and all start the lap simultaneously. However, the way to hold the Qualification Lap is at the discretion of each organizer, so at this point we are not sure if the same system will take place at the following rounds too.

Fujinami footed once and dropped the time penalty but without making big mistake to show a solid ride until the middle of the Qualification Lap. Then a bad luck struck him; he fell down from one of the sections. Being unable to use his arms to protect nor taking defensive move because of the way he fell, he landed on the floor on the back of the head first. Luckily he rejoined the competition after an immediate treatment by the Spanish physical trainer, but he hurt his neck pretty bad. He told us later that his neck became so sore that he could not turn the head at all on the day after the event.

Interestingly such a bad luck led to an advantage for the Japanese rider. Fujinami along with all the other riders in Sheffield felt tightness in the opening round and riding stiffly. After the accident, he was too busy fighting off the injury and the pain, he did not feel such tension anymore. He was third before the Double-Lane, where he was to compete against ex-team-mate and the local hero, Lampkin. Usually Fujinami is strong at the speed race, but he lost the battle that time. There was another rule change, and Fujinami dropped two points unlike a single point in the previous years, and he went down to fifth from third as he finish the lap. It could have been the end of the day for the Japanese rider if it were last year.

There was a rule change for the Final Lap too, to shuffle the starting order after the three sections. Fujinami started second at the first part of the Final Lap - based on the result at the Qualification Lap - and third starter at the last part of the lap.

Spaniards continued their Indoor activities during holidays, and they just competed the Spanish Indoor championship round on Dec.27th. Fujinami by contrast had some training before the event only. It could have been a huge advantage for the Spanish riders, however, in Sheffield, Martin Lampkin was traditionally in charge of section set up, and the sections were not so much of what we usually see in the Spanish Indoor competitions. There weren't so many huge stair cases and there were wood logs instead. The competition was more of the level playing field.

Fujinami still fighting hard with a huge pain on his neck but holding third at the last part of the Final Lap. He had a good chance to stand on the podium. Bou was first with seven points, Raga was second with eight and Fujinami followed with nine points as the top three approached the final section of the day. Lampkin meanwhile was fourth but he had a bit too much point gap to Fujinami by the time.

At the final water section, Fujinami marked clean and dropped one point for time penalty to finish the lap with ten points. Raga was next to ride, and him dropped three points to finish with 11 points. The final rider Bou rode very carefully dropping no mark to finish with seven points. Thus at the very end of the lap, Fujinami moved up to second with Raga going down to third, and the victory went to Bou.

photoFujinami did not enjoy the pain on his neck but he was happy to finish on the podium at the opening round. The rule change gives more chance for the riders to challenge at the Final Lap, so we should be able to see some interesting battles in the Indoor season this year.

This year we have less rounds in the Indoor calendar comparing to the previous seasons. Trying to change the previous weakness to an advantage this year, Fujinami decided to change the direction of the bike set up. It means that rider needs a change in the riding style too. It is going to be very important time in the Indoor series for Fujinami.

Quote from Fujigas:

I could not beat Toni but finishing second at the opening round is a very good sign. We have the Marseilles round next, and I feel like it would the real battle. I aim to stand on the podium every round in this series, and I am going to keep my concentration high for the better result at the next rounds. It is the year to make a difference this year.

2009 Indoor World Trial Championship
Round1 - Hallam FM Sheffield Arena, the United Kingdom
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 7
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 10
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 11
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 16
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 20
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 25
Qualificarion Lap
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 6
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 9
3 Dougie Lampkin Beta 11
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 11
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 12
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 17
7 Michael Brown Sherco
1 Toni Bou 8
2 Takahisa Fujinami 6
3 Adam Raga 5
4 Dougie Lampkin 4
5 Albert Cabestany 3
6 Jeroni Fajardo 2