2009 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round3 - Portugal GP

Chaves, Portugal - 26/4/2009

Still in the Tunnel

photoThere was a two weeks break between the season opener and the second round. After having a real tough time in Ireland, where Fujinami struggled to find the good matching between his riding and the characteristics of 2009 bike, he used the break for his intensive training. Rain continued to fall around the Iberia Peninsula during the time, fortunately, providing an ideal condition for training on the slippery surface, which was the area found to be his weak point in Ireland.

Fujinami was expected to be well prepared going to Portugal, but the event did not turn out positively for him. He stayed closely with the top guys at the beginning, but soon he was left behind as he built up the penalty points starting with a full mark error at the section six. He then not only lost the chance for fighting amongst the top group but also the chance to fight for the podium position. Fujinami said he knew it was going to be difficult even after he marked two cleans at the section one and two because he noticed the body was stiffed up. Team staff also noticed early that there was no chance for their rider in Portugal. Normally they give Fujinami some encouragements during the competition to get him going, but in Portugal they advised him not to think about the competition and take it as a practice ride to relax him.

Fujinami finished the day without showing a decent fight to the sixth place. After the event he went out for the reviewing ride, and interestingly, he marked cleans four times out of five and one footing at the section six, one of the toughest sections of the day. That showed he had the ability to ride, but he was somehow unable to convey it to perform during the competition. He too thought his riding was not too far away from the top finishers, and he believed riding the lap around ten points should have been possible.

Originally Fujinami doesn't think deeply while riding. After getting used to the bike and having full control of it, he rides with his instinct to manipulate the bike as if using his arms and legs. Fujinami's glorious records were made based on such riding style. At the moment, Fujinami is having trouble to exert his style on the new bike. He can ride the bike better in practice when thinking over his riding, but during the competition and when the tension gets too high, he becomes too busy to think about the riding. That is when his instinctive riding kicks in and worked well before, but it doesn't work the same way now and going backwards.

"What am I doing after having competing in the world championship for 14 years, and I am 29 years old?"

It was obvious for the people watching that Fujinami was in trouble, and many were amazed by his riding. Dropping full mark errors at the sections weren't seemed too difficult for the top riders, failing to climb the rocks that weren't so tall, or at some occasions he could not even bring the front wheel up. Still, he might have had a chance to recover from his mistakes when the severity was high, but in Portugal where the top guys almost showing all-clean riding, every mistake was decisive.

Fujinami understands that riding with five points at the day's trial as his teammate was difficult, but at the same time, dropping massive 42 points was simply impossible. He needs to bring himself back to where he can perform the way he should. In order to do so, he will check on the engine characteristics, the brake, and the clutch of the new bike like making it from the scratch to understand it more and deeply to regain full control of it. That should give him a chance to ride naturally and instinctively. But he does not have much time as the next round in UK is coming shortly in the calendar.

Quote from Fujigas:

Things stayed the same as the Irish round. Nothing was improved. I have been competing in the world championship for 14 years, but this is definitely the worst situations to experience. I maybe influenced by a huge pressure though I don't feel any consciously. I want to ride the bike instinctively like before starting from the next round, and returning to Motegi with the good result as a souvenir.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 5
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 13
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 29
5 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 38
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 42
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 44
8 Dougie Lampkin Beta 48
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 57
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 54
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 43
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 37
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 36
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 28
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 27
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 27