2009 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round4,5 - Great Britain GP

Carlisle, Great Britain - 16-17/5/2009

Painful Retire, Comeback Strong

photoThree weeks after the Portuguese round, the Grand Prix of the Great Britain took place in North West England, Carlisle. Before going to UK, Fujinami worked hard trying to adapt to the new bike together with making adjustments on the controlling devises for him to ride naturally. His riding itself seems not a problem, but not being able to manipulate the bike like the part of his body struggles him at the moment.

It was raining on Friday and carried over on Saturday with intermittent rain. Fujinami felt positive during practice, feeling much better than the previous three rounds. Fujinami's starting order was fitth, so he had Lampkin as a sole reference rider. Lampkin was strong at his home Grand Prix, as if knowing every inch of the sections even during preliminary examination. Fujinami surprised to see Lampkin checking the lines that the majority would not even think about.

Fujinami knew the ex-teammate was riding well so he kept the pace to stick with him. Thanks to the great reference, Fujinami rode with about the same penalty points as Lapmkin. Though the UK rider had an advantage over Fujinami, it was not too big to catch up at Lap2.

As the first 12 sections were completed, it was Bou who led the field with five points followed by Raga with six points. Lampkin was third with ten points and Fujinami was fourth with 13 points. Although the gap from the top two was big, Fujinami felt comfortable and enjoying the taste of unity with the bike for the first time in this season. That was the feeling Fujinami expected to have from the beginning of the season, and his serious campaign finally kicking off, at least it seemed at the time.

photoThen Fujinami arrived at the section 13. There were three slopes, going up, down and up again. The final climb was the hardest part of the section with a stepping stone at the bottom and a huge rock about 50cm sitting at the top of the cliff. The vertical drop was around five to six meters. Fujinami tried to hook the underguard to the edge of the rock at the top and to go over, but he lost the balance a bit and did not have enough momentum to go forward. He knew he had no chance, so he let the bike go. The minder grabbed the bike firmly, and it was supposed to be one of those five point error. However, Fujinami had nothing to grab nor step onto, and he fell down straightway from almost the top of the section to the bottom. He hit the body once on the left side of the wall and the body swung around to land with his chest against the rock at the bottom.

photoFujinami felt unusual discomfort on his chest at the time of the impact, then he started to have a trouble breathing and became dazed. People around the site rushed toward the Japanese; the next rider, his minder, team staff of Montesa, Jake the FIM media officer and so on. Jake acted rapidly to put his fingers to Fujinami's mouth to secure the airway. Fujinami stayed there for about five minutes to bear off the enormous pain before brought out from the section. He could not breath well when standing up straight, but bending down made him easier to breath.

The time was running out but he had only two sections remaining for the lap with the section 14 was close by. It was difficult for him to continue riding in the sections, but he rode the bike to the final two sections to get his card punched out five points and received the card for Lap2 to return to the pit. The doctor came right up, and his initial examination suspecting at least one broken rib bone, and an immediate treatment would required if the broken tip damaging the internal organ.

There were 11 riders participating in the event, thus Fujinami could collect five points if he would finish the event with all the sections punched out five. He proposed the idea to Mr. Cirera only to get scorched. The team boss admonished Fujinami to think about the consequences to force to ride another lap with the injury, which might lead to the end of riding career. Poor Fujinami reluctantly got on the ambulance. Actually, Fujinami asked the driver to stop the vehicle to make a phone call to Mr. Cirera, asking one more time if he could ride a lap to collect five points. The answer was no, so he told the driver to get going.

photoNo broken bone was found at the hospital after the close examination, still he suffered severe bruises and some muscles might have been damaged. Fujinami though could not understand almost anything what the doctor said due to strong Scottish accent. Josep and Carles, the minders were also there, but they didn't help much for comprehension either. They were at least sure the doctor said "No broken bone.", so they rushed to get back to the venue, but the event was over when they returned. It was the first retirement from the event for Fujinami.

The doctor told Fujinami it was alright for him to ride the bike if he could. Fujinami grabbed the bike to see if he could ride, but it was too painful. Riding 'figure-eight' was the best he could do at the evening. Fujinami took the maximum pain killer, but he was troubled sleeping well at the night. He woke up in the pain when he rolled over. The sleep was shallow and intermittent, and when the morning came Fujinami had pains and aches all over his body.

He spent about 40 minutes to warm up before the start of Lap1 of the Day2. Jumping down caused a lot of pain so as swinging the bike, because it required a continuous motion of the body. Not sure how far he could do, Fujinami decided to ride till he couldn't compete anymore. If the pain became overwhelming he would get five points punching out to finish, and he started the competition being ready to accept 8th or 9th. He hopes not many photographs were taken of his expression while riding, because he knows he had a grimacing expression all the time when riding that day.

photoThe pain eased off as Fujinami continued to ride and the body warmed up. He dropped single marks here and there but it was due to footing after landing hard. He was unable to sustain the pain. Fujinami took it easy at the section 13 at Lap1 taking a different approach to ride with three points. The following lap, knowing other riders riding without stopping, he decided to go up directly. "It was a fearful challenge." Having the memory of the incident very fresh, he managed to climb up with footing once at the top of the section to rode out the section with a single point.

Fujinami dropped five points at the section three at Lap1, when he missed the gate marker. It was the section an overnight modification took place. He had a work cut out trying to ride the bike so didn't have a composure to examine the sections closely. Fujinami's starting order didn't help him either as he was the first rider on Sunday, and all he saw were junior riders in front of him. It was the first time to be in a position for the Japanese rider too.

As the two laps were over, Fujinami finished fourth, one point behind Cabestany. It was the far better result than he originally expected. At first he was happy with the result, which he had every reason to be so. But then finding out he was so close to the podium - two less points would brought him on to the podium - he became eager and got frustrated with the result. It was good to see that although the pain was still there his motivation didn't slack off at all.

Quote from Fujigas:

What a weekend. My body hurts a lot and it is going to so for a while. I am glad that I have no broken bone, otherwise I couldn't ride on Sunday, and I am not sure if I would recover and ready for Motegi. I was disappointed with the retirement on Saturday and missing the podium on Sunday. It was somehow a good experience because I could concentrate on riding. Fighting hard against a lot of pain I did not have time to think about other things. The championship points that I missed on Saturday may play heavily at the end of the season, but I try to forget what I missed and telling myself how fortunate I am that I don't have any broken bone.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship 2009
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 13
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 22
3 Dougie Lampkin Beta 40
4 James Dabill Gas Gas 47
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 48
6 Michael Brown Sherco 52
7 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 54
Ret. Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC  
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 13
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 16
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 26
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 27
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 37
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 38
7 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 40
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 46
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 97
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 88
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 69
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 55
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 54
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 50
7 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 49
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 42