2009 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round6,7 - Japan GP

Twin Ring Motegi, Japan - 6-7/6/2009

Strong 2nds at Home GP

photoFujinami struggled in 2009 championship campaign, probably the toughest season for him in his 14 years of wold championship career. Struggling to find the good combination with the new bike from the beginning of the season, and just when the things starting to look good, he had a huge crash and suffered the first retirement of the career. Japanese Grand Prix has been the special event for him for the past ten years, but this year he saw the home Grand Prix a bit differently. He wanted to - or he had to - use the two days of competition for his revival by showing what Fujinami is all about in front of his home fans.


The weather forecast reported rain on Saturday. There were overcast clouds but it did not look like it would rain. Still, the surface was very wet and slippery due to a lot of rain on Friday evening, and a severity of the section became higher.

Fujinami arrived at Motegi in a good condition, although the after effect of severe bruises from UK crash causing some pain. The elbow problem he has suffering a long time was still there too. Good thing at least was that he could forget about the pain when riding. He was happy to show his healthy riding in front of fans in Japan.

This year the first section was set up at the main entrance of the grand stand, where man made opening section sat at the racing course in the previous seasons. The atmosphere was different this year, but still there were many familiar 'Motegi-Style' sections.

photoFujinami's competition started with two cleans at the section one and two. The section three did not seem to be a big challenge, but Fujinami made an error at the climb at the end of the section to drop five points. Dabill, Fajardo and Cabestany followed him and all marked cleans. There was still a long way to go, but it wasn't encouraging to have disadvantage against the rivals at the early stage at all. Meanwhile Raga and Lampkin also dropped five points there. Fujinami bounced back to mark three cleans until the section six, but as his rivals also rode without penalty, the point gap stayed the same.

Fujinami arrived at the Hello-Wood and dropped a single mark followed by another one point mistake. He didn't have a good chance to cancel his early mistake, being fifth with Lampkin following Cabestany with four points, Raga with five, and Dabill with six points. The leader was Bou, who at that time showing error free ride, and Fujinami was seven points behind the team-mate.

The biggest challenge of the day came at the section nine with very muddy surface with slippery rocks at the garden of the Hello-Woods. Three points riding was inevitable, but it was very easy to end up with five point failure if anything went wrong. Fujinami cut the point gap at the section with three points so as Fajardo and Lampkin. Both Cabestany and Raga fived, Fujinami climbed up to third with ten penalty points sharing the position with Raga and Lampkin to chase Cabestany who was one point ahead of three. Bou was continuing his solid riding, and he rode the section with two points too. Bou was some steps ahead of the rest, and he seemed to be on course to the victory with a dominating style.

photoFujinami dabbed a single point at the section 14 and 15. The section 14 was anther difficult section, where most of the riders dropped a full mark. There were only three riders in the top guys to stay away from five points; Bou with a clean, Fujinami with a single point, and Lampkin with two points. Thanks to the ride, Fujinami moved up to the second place.

Fujinami rode with three points at the section three at Lap2, where in the previous lap he made a five point mistake. Bou also dropped a single mark, but it looked like the Spaniard's victory was unshaken unless suffering some disastrous mistakes. Fujinami was in a close fight with Raga, as the Japanese rider dropped a single mark at the section four allowed Raga to be a point behind.

Fujinami marked cleans at both laps at the water fall section at Hello-Woods, one of the toughest sections in the last year's event. In turn he missed the chance to mark clean at the section seven with a lowered severity than last year's dropping one point at both laps. At the section nine, the toughest section, Fujinami managed to ride with three points, so as Raga.

Bou rode with two points at the section nine and his dominance became definitive. That left a battle for the second place between Raga and Fujinami, which was the situation the first time in this season for the Japanese rider. Fujinami started his ride earlier than Raga, so when the Japanese rider was at the section 14, the Spaniard was still attacking the section 11. Fujinami dropped two points at the section 14, where he rode with a single mark, and dropped another point at the final section to complete the lap. Fujinami did all he could do, and waited for Raga to finish his lap. Raga marked clean at the final section, but he had six points more than Fujinami in a total; Fujinami's secured the second place.

Quote from Fujigas:

My condition was good in UK, better than it was in Ireland or in Portugal. I was so disappointed in UK to miss the opportunity to show how good I could ride because of the crash. In Japan, the setting of the bike was basically the same as I had in UK, so I am glad that the result proved my thought was right. Today, Toni rode great, and there was nothing we could do to catch him. Riding with two points at the section nine was extraordinary. My chest started to hurt a lot at Lap2. I had some pain killers and got some sprays on and the pain eased off in the middle of the lap. My body is getting better recovering from the injury, but when I get tired the pain kicks in I think.


The weather turned great on Sunday, a little bit too good, and it was hot even from the morning.

On the Press Release of Montesa, Fujinami left a modest comment, saying he would try if he saw a chance. But we all knew he is not modest when it comes to the competition. He appraises and respects the technic of Bou, but he doesn't think the Spaniard was invincible. As the second time around, all the riders rode better on Sunday reducing their penalty points. It looked like Bou wasn't the only rider Fujinami needed to beat.

photoThere was an incident at the section six, where Bou was penalized five points by moving the card at the exit. Fujinami saw what happened when he was in his examination at the section seven. He thought it was merciless call, but there was nothing wrong with the judgment. And this five points change the evolution of the competition.

At the section six, Raga was top in the regular riders with three penalty points. He settled for third on Saturday, and was keen to make a full fight back. Kuroyama also rode well on the lap upto the section six, and he shared the top spot with Raga. Fajardo was third with four points. Bou and Fujinami were tied in point with five penalty points, thought the number of cleans was different.

At the section nine, the hardest challenge on Saturday, Fujinami received a huge applause for his riding with two points, where previous riders showed fives and three point riding. Raga kept his pace going and followed Fujinami to mark clean at the section, and Bou rode with a single mark. Top three rider then stood ahead of other, and it became three men battle for the victory.

There was a modification at the section 11, another tough challenge, by adding a card to block the straight line for climbing. Kuroyama made a blistering ride to climb the section with three points. Lampkin and Fajardo watched the Japanese's riding and followed with clean so Fujinami did. It was interesting that both Raga and Bou made a full mark error there, where it did not look particularly hard for the top riders. It was a nice surprise for Fujinami as he moved up to the top spot with the mistake by the rivals.

Fujinami then showed a full of fighting spirit and marked all cleans from the section ten to the end. Dropping only a single digit - seven points - was the record score of the lap, even Bou dropped almost a double score from the Japanese. Raga, who was first until the middle of the lap dropped five points at the section 11 followed by two more fives at the section 14 and 15, moving down rapidly to be fifth when Lap1 was over.

photoFujinami continued his steady riding on Lap2. Until the middle of the lap, he was the only rider competing without any full mark error. At the section nine, Raga marked clean and Bou rode with a single point. It was a difficult section, and Fujinami didn't have to push hard, thinking that two points like he did at the Lap1 was enough. However, the brake pedal stuck with a rock at the entrance of the section, and Fujinami fived. He looked up the sky and shouted shortly being disgusted. That five point mistake allowed Bou to catch Fujinami up in a total point although at that time the Spaniard hasn't ridden the section yet. Raga fived at the section, and Bou followed to mark clean, and he literally caught up the Japanese.

Lampkin rode with two points at the section 11, Fujinami had an idea to ride with clean. The condition was worse and the section was more difficult than it was at Lap1, Fujinami's plan didn't work out and he dropped five points. Didn't want to disturb his spirit, Fujinami left the section quickly to be ready for the next section. Raga and Bou took time to examine the section, and they found the new line using the face of the rock to change the direction of the bike. Bou had a big chance to build a healthy cushion against Fujinami if he could succeed. Raga tried first and he fived. Bou followed and also failed. Although there was no effect on their scores, it was an interesting battle at the section, which could have played a huge role for Sunday's competition.

At the end of the lap Fujinami tried the maximum for cleans and hoped his team mate would make some mistake, and he finish the lap with four consecutive cleans. Fujinami showed his satisfaction by punching the air slightly but strongly at the finish line. He then talked to the team staff for the point situation and heard Bou was riding error fee from the section 12 like Fujinami, and would be completing the lap soon.

Calmly Fujinami watched Bou completing the lap with a clean. Bou showed a hot demonstration type of riding at the final section at Lap2 on Saturday, but he rode steadily and carefully on Sunday. It seemed that Bou did not have any spare to entertain the audience at the end of the day.

Seven points for Fujinami and 13 points for Bou at Lap1, and seven points for Bou and Fujinami for 13 points at Lap2. The victory on Sunday was then decided by the number of cleans, and Bou took it. Fujinami had one clean less than Bou, who had 23 cleans on Sunday.

So, two days of Japanese Grand Prix was over. The results were not fully satisfying for Fujinami finishing second on both days. However the performance in Japan proved that Fujinami still had a quality to ride to mix up in the top class competition. Fujinami could not start the 2009 season strongly, and he suffered a huge disadvantage due to the crash in UK. But it looks like finally his season kicked off in the way Fujinami expected at his home GPs in Japan.

Quote from Fujigas:

Frustrating results. I had a very good chance today, but I ruined it. At the section nice of Lap2, I was off the line a little bit and the brake pedal hit a rock and I fell off. I could ride with three points by footing, then the victory was mine. Well, that one of those 'What-If' story I know. I fought hard and put my full effort for it, so I take the result but just frustrating that I missed the victory. Those two days at Japanese Grand Prix gave me back the confidence to know that I am still capable of fighting at the top. I think it is a huge boost to my challenge for the coming rounds. I sincerely like to say thank you very much for a warm support to all my fans in Japan. I could not have finished second for two days without your support. I am sorry it wasn't the top step that I stood on the podium. Please look forward to the better result at the next round.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship 2009
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 6
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 21
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 27
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 31
5 James Dabill Gas Gas 31
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 33
7 Albert Cabestany Sherco 34
Ret. Marc Freixa Gas Gas 46
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 20
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 20
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 31
4 Dougie Lampkin Beta 31
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 35
6 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 44
7 Kenichi Kuroyama Yamaha 49
8 Albert Cabestany Sherco 57
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 137
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 118
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 86
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 83
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 80
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 76
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 67
8 Marc Freixa Gas Gas 60