2009 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round1,2 - Ireland GP

Newcastle, Northern Ireland - 4-5/4/2009

Wasn't up to His Best for the Opener

photoDay1 - Saturday

2009 Trial World Championship kicked off in Ireland, not at usual Bangor but at Newcastle, a tourist town with the famous golf course. Surrounded by the vast forest park, the sections therefore set up in the forest. The event was in a two days format, which nowadays becoming rare in the championship. The competition expected to be tough as lots of variations in the sections and the course was very long too.

Fujinami and Bou brought 2009 'works' bike with a drastical change in the engine characteristics to improve the competitiveness. Its potential was already proved as Fujinami and Bou took 1-2 finish at the opening round in the Spanish championship took place a week ago in Ibiza. Fujinami had enough reasons to feel strong coming into Ireland, but the event turn out far from his expectations.

The difference of the surface of the sections in Ireland comparing to what they had in the Spanish round, unbelievably slippery, made the situation totally different. Together with his riding style and the improved power delivery of the new bike, Fujinami had a hard time getting a good traction, having so much wheel spin when opened the throttle. And it happened when he required a delicate and severe riding. He opened the throttle to bring the front-end up only to crash into the rock as the rear wheel just spun out. Likewise he struggled a lot to drop many fives. At the section three particularly, while all his rivals managed to ride with some footings, Fujinami crashed into the hardest part of the section to five. Many watching his awkward ride surprised; the rider felt the same way.

It wasn't only Fujinami, but Bou also experienced some difficulties, though there was a difference in degree. They rode the bike quite a lot through its development stage and trained on it, but there must be always some stones unturned until riding at the actual competition.

photoFujinami began to get used to riding the bike at Lap2, after finishing fifth at Lap1 following Raga, Bou, Fajardo, and Cabestany. He dropped 45 points including five fives, being 20 points down from Raga, and seven points down from fourth placed Cabesany. Fujinami rode carefully at Lap2 trying to correct his riding from what he learned with the previous mistakes. As a result, thanks to his effort, Fujinami moved up his position to finish third on the podium on Saturday. Still adjusting his riding, he finished with 23 points at Lap2, which was the score close to what the top two riders earned.

So on Saturday, Fujinami used Lap1 to get used to the bike, then he adjusted his riding to the bike at the later lap. It was going to get only better, and a strong ride from Lap1 on Sunday was expected. He also changed the setting of the bike a little to exert the maximum potential of the new bike for the battle.

It was the worst game ever...

Day2 - Sunday

Modifications took place at some of the sections to lower the severity for the Sunday's competition, as there were many sections impossible to ride in a minute and half. Although the competition became a little comfortable with more time allowance, Fujinami showed a similar riding as on Saturday making some errors again. He got used to the new bike, but he still was not up to master it.

What made it worse on Sunday than Saturday was that the number of penalty points the riders dropping was lower, so dropping full mark errors became decisive. At the section five for instance, Fujinami could not get enough acceleration to climb up the rock to drop five points, where majority of the top riders marked clean.

Fujinami finished Lap1 fourth with 25 points to be 15 points gap to the top finisher Raga, and 11 points gap to the third finisher Fajardo. It was interesting to see if Fujinami could show a strong recovery.

Fujinami's riding got better again at the second lap as it did on Saturday. He droped a single five but finished with 12 points total to be the second best for the lap following Bou's three points. Still, he could not get away from huge penalty points at Lap1, Fujinami surpassed Lampkin only to finish fifth. It was on of the worst results for the Japanese apart from when he was in a slump with injuries and illnesses.

Although it seemed that Fujinami regained his pace at Lap2 with 12 points ride, Fujinami said he wasn't satisfied at all. He fought back at the later lap on Saturday after getting used to the bike and knew how to adjust his riding, but on Sunday, he could not carried it on. He made some five point errors at Lap1 when he didn't know the reason for his mistakes, and at Lap2, he still wasn't convinced with his riding but he result only got better with some cleans and some single points.

photoIt wasn't first time for Fujinami to finish fifth. He has finished even worse in the past, but he said he never felt so bad having a strong 'unconvincing feeling'. He knew he had a potential to ride the way his teammate did, but he was sure he would not be able to do 15 sections again to come back with three points even he had a chance to ride again.

The main concern for Fujinami as he finished the round one was to assimilate his feeling with the new bike as soon as possible. If he could do that, with its higher potential, the new bike would help Fujinami to be much stronger for the coming rounds.

Quote from Fujigas:

I became so emotional with a disgust feeling after the event on Sunday. Right after the finish of my ride I looked for some place to be alone to burst into tears, telling you honestly. I ended up staying at the meeting room for a while, and no one came in. It was a very bad trial today. I did not have any harmony between my feeling and the bike, and I became more nervous. My riding went back to the way before even when I needed to adjust my style to the bike. when I rode the old bike and then switched to the new one for comparison, I felt much easier on the new bike. It puzzles me why I struggled so much this time. I just have to get used to the new bike and build up the new style of Fujigas I think. I am not going to be happy even the official came and told me I won the event because the first three riders disqualified or something. I will try to have more riding time on the new bike so my riding will be instinctive, and setting up the new Fujigas style
when I appear in Motegi. The result was disastrous this time, but I hope that people expect me because I have very positive mind now.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 48
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 50
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 70
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 70
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 81
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 91
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 100
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 103
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 15
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 23
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 31
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 33
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 37
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 54
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 61
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 70
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 37
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 37
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 28
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 26
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 24
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 20
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 18
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 16