2010 Indoor World Trial Championship Round1

Hallam FM Sheffield Arena, UK - 9/1/2010

Your Are Out! Seventh Place

photo2010 Indoor Trial season kicked off in Sheffield, UK. The traditional venue was not listed in this year's season calendar originally, but it hosted the season opener again after a series of changes in the championship.

It was not only the calendar that has changed but also the competition rules this year. There will be eight fixed riders-Bou, Cabestany, Raga, Fujinami, Fajardo, Brown, Dabill and Gubian; four Spaniards, two British, one Japanese and a French-who will participate every event. At each round, the local organizer will be allowed to choose two additional riders as wild card entrants. In Sheffield, Lampkin and Wigg joined the field, and a total of ten riders started the competition.

The competition proceeding has chanced drastically too. The plan was first suggested in Andorra during last season and instantly received strong disapprovals from the riders. However, FIM stuck with it to start 2010 season without notable modification from its original plan.

There are now three elimination stages, QX, TX1 and TX2. QX, the qualification takes place before Eurosport TV coverage gets started, so two riders to be eliminated won't even be seen on TV. In Sheffield, Wigg and Gubian finished the day very early. Further two riders each will be eliminated at TX1and TX2, and the final stage-TX3-will be competed with four riders. Four more riders who were eliminated in Sheffield were: Fujinami and Brown at TX1, and Fajardo and Lampkin at TX2.


Fujinami thought he started his day in a good shape as he rode strong at Qualification. There were five sections at QX, and each rider had the order of the sections to ride, and five riders started their ride simultaneously. It was the manner taken place in Sheffield last year, and it looks like it will be so for the rest of the rounds this year.

While Bou showed an impressive ride with all cleans, Fujinami enjoyed his ride to finish third with three points behind Fajardo with two points. Raga was fourth with six points, followed by Lampkin and Dabill. Cabestany, who has switched to two-stroke bike this year struggled and made many mistakes to finish seventh with 13 points.

Fujinami felt it was going to be a good day, at least at the point, having a similar performance as the opening round last year, in which he was second in Qualification and finished second at Final Lap. If it were in 2009, third in Qualification was a good sign with the later starting order at Final Lap, but things did not go in favor of the Japanese rider under the rule of 2010.

The TV coverage got started, and TX1 took place with Double-Lane. It was four head to head battle to decide four winners and four losers. Winners would proceed to TX2, and the losers would go through the Last Chance Section, where two riders to be eliminated. Combinations for DL were; top finisher in QX vs. fifth rider, second rider vs. sixth rider, and likewise. Third finisher Fujinami then lined up for the battle against Cabestany.

Severity of the DL wasn't so high with some hume pipes being laid down along the lane seemed like the wash-board in motocross. The best way is to jump on top of the pipes, make an U-turn at the end, then come back to finish with a jumping section. DL is the speed race, so first come will win, and the loser would drop two points. That means, a rider can win the speed race even dropping a single point. Dropping more than three points, faster rider still can lose.

At the far end of the lane, Cabestany footed when making an U-turn. It was probably an intensional footing, as he seemed to know it was a faster way. Cabestany led, but Fujinami caught up on the way back, and the two riders crossed the line almost at the same time. Both of them put their fist in the air believing the victory, but the sensor said Cabestany finished earlier. The Spaniard took the victory with a single point penalty to secure the seat for TX2. Fujinami on the other hand, dropped two points, and had to go through the Last Chance Section. Eventual winner of the day Bou also lost the DL. He is known to be very fast at speed races, but the local hero Lampkin had an edge on that day.

It was interesting to see the top three riders in Qualification-Bou, Fujinami, and Fajardo, after getting beaten by Dabill-all lost the first stage and went on to the Last Chance Section. Brown also joined the stage, a very intense battle with only one section to ride, where at least one of the strong riders was in danger to be out of the competition. The starting order was Brown, Fujinami, Fajardo then Bou, based on the results of QX.

photoAll four riders marked clean, so the results were decide again by the riding time. Brown was slowest and unfortunately Fujinami followed next. Fajardo did not waste his opportunity to watch his rival's riding before his try, and he finished faster than the Japanese. Bou was last to ride, and he was fastest of all. Consequently, Fujinami's day was over with his rides at Qualification off the camera, one DL and a single section at the Last Chance.

At the final elimination stage-TX2-with three sections to ride, all the riders except Lampkin marked all cleans. Lampkin made a five point error at the section one, so he was eliminated. Fajardo was another rider to be eliminated at the stage, once again, due to the riding time.

At the end of TX2, another DL took place among the four remaining riders-Bou vs. Dabill and Cabestany vs. Raga. Finishing order was then conveyed to the starting order of TX3. It was then decided as Bou, Cabestany, Dabill then Raga. After four sections of trial riding at TX3, Bou finished first and Cabestany followed at second. Dabill and Raga finished in tie, then their riding time at the third section was taken account to decide the standings because both of them fived at the final section. Dabill was faster, therefore, he took third place and Raga had to settle for fourth place.

The level of severity might be too low, which could be the issue in Sheffield, but how fast you can ride was crucial factor in the new format. In trial competition, you don't start the race simultaneously like other racing, and the starting order plays a big part too. It is so hard to race against a ghost, and you have to take a big risk and ride frantically for the record time when you ride early, because you don't know how fast the rest of the riders would ride. But for the riders starting later, it is quite easy to control their time.

The new rule is complicated and difficult to understand for the spectators, and many were puzzled to see the top three qualifiers at the Last Chance Section. It was same for the riders themselves, and they were more puzzled and frustrated with the proceeding.

FIM introduced the new rule apparently trying to change the fact that certain group of riders became frequent top finishers, mixing it up with some new faces. Their effort seems to pay off as Dabill finished on the podium at nearly his first appearance. It is true that Fujinami at TX1 or Fajardo at TX2, for instance, that they lost the chance because they were slow, and they can not blame anyone. But it seemed strange to shake off some of the favorite riders with speed races in more of stadium enduro style than trial competition. It is important to give a chance for many people, but the strong competitors have the reasons to be strong. They don't come up to the top by accident.

Many riders did not realize how huge the new rule would give impact to the nature of the sport until they came to Sheffield and found out in detail. There are a lot of talks among the riders what they can do for the future of their sport after such an unusual experience at the first round.

Speaking of Fujinami alone, although he was disappointed with the way things went in the round, he had a positive feedback from his riding at the Qualification. For this season, he rides the bike very similar to last year's, which means he got used to the bike very much, and he can ride it naturally and very strongly.

Quote from Fujigas:

All I can say is, it was a disappointing event. The proceeding was difficult to understand, and it was hard to accept that eliminations were based on the speed races-it was the style dissimilar to trial riding. I am so unsatisfied that my day was over with just a couple of runs only. It was over before I knew. I hope there going to be some kind of changes until the Marseille round.

2010 Indoor World Trial Championship
Round1 - Sheffield, UK
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 5
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
3 James Dabill Gas Gas 15
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 15
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 0
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 5
7 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 2
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 0
2 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 2
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 2
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 6
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 6
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 9
7 Albert Cabestany Sherco 13
8 Micheal Brown Sherco 17
1 Toni Bou 20
2 Albert Cabestany 15
3 James Dabill 12
4 Adam Raga 10
5 Dougie Lampkin 8
6 Jeroni Fajardo 6
7 Takahisa Fujinami 4