2010 Indoor World Trial Championship Round2

The Palais des Sports, Marseille, France - 23/1/2010

Four Seconds too much

photoRound 2 of the Indoor World Trial Championship took place in Marseille, two weeks after the controversial season opener with the new competition format. FIM reacted swiftly during the short break to resolve the confusion and came up with the new rules - not a radical change to fulfill riders' demand but there are some improvements and much easier for the viewer to understand, too. Now the competition takes place with Qualification, Last Chance, Semi Final, and Final, so TX1, TX2 and TX3 are no longer used. The top four finishers in Qualification will proceed directly to the Semi Final, and the bottom four riders will then go to the Last Chance, where two best riders will proceed to the Semi Final. Under the previous format, Qualification worked solely as a reduction of the number of riders under the previous format.

Cabestany rode strongly from the beginning to finish first in the Qualification with two points; marking six cleans with one minute over time penalty. Raga and Bou dropped six points including a full mark error, respectively. Fajardo and Fujinami were tied in fourth, so they rode an extra section as a tie break - also a new feature from the second round. Yet they both rode with one point penalty to be tied again, so the last ticket for the Semi Final went to Fajardo's hand based on the riding time being four seconds quicker than Fujinami. The Montesa rider then had to go through the Last Chance once again.

The Last Chance consisted of one Double Lane and two secions of trial riding. There was a change in the point system, that the loser in DL would drop one point only unlike two in the previous way. Fujinami rode DL against Gubian, and Wigg fought with Dabill. Fujinami and Wigg were the winners. Gubian and Dabill thus dropped one point, respectively. The starting order for the trial riding was Wigg, Gubian, Dabill then Fujinami, the reverse order of the classification of the qualification. Gubian made a decisive full mark error at the section1, where Dabill and Wigg both dropped a single point with another point for over time. Fujinami marked clean with one point for over time.

photoAt the section2, Wigg started first and marked clean with one time penalty point. Gubian followed and again fived, so his elimination was fixed. Dabill rode next to mark clean without time penalty. At the point, Wigg and Dabill both had three point penalties. Fujinami found two areas a bit anxious about, but he knew he had a margin to foot one or twice and no need to take a risk. He rode exactly as he planned footing twice to finish with two points. Job well-done. He thought he got a ticket for the Semi Final. However, he had a shocking call for one point penalty for four seconds over time. As the result, the Montesa rider became a point behind to be third, and he lost the chance to go on to the next stage. The day was over early again.

It was a mistake made by Fujinami which prevented him to go on to the Semi Final. There are still some doubts toward the new format among some of the riders, but Fujinami found it frustrating to be tossed up by the new rules and unable to perform his own riding. Missing the chance to finish fourth in the Qualification againt Fajardo was another disappointment, but it seemed easier to accept for the Japanese rider knowing he fought against the hard-bitten rival. Yet, losing the position to Dabill, who was two points behind, and Wigg, who was 16 points behind Fujinami in the Qualification was not a result to be proud of. In other words, it is the beauty and the unique feature of the new rules that can quickly turn around the finishing order. Fujinami has to learn and responds to be up within the top group.

At the Final stage, Fujinami's team-mate Bou showed a fierce battle against Cabestany until the end. But Bou made a slight error, slipping his rear tire at the final section to drop one point, giving away the victory to the Sherco rider. Raga finished third, and Fajardo finished fourth.

Quote from Fujigas:

I have some questions about the rules and accuracy in time keeping, but what I know for sure is that I have a problem not being able to perform my own riding. I believe I was strong enough to fight against Raga and Fajardo in Marseille, though it might be difficult to catch Cabestany and Bou. At least fifth without any ride at the Final Lap isn't the way I am supposed to perform. It is now unrealistic for me to talk about my chance for the Indoor title this year. I just need to work hard for the rest of the rounds to try to exert my best.

2010 Indoor World Trial Championship
Round2 - Marseille, France
Final Lap
1 Albert Cabestany Sherco 5
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 6
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 14
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 17
Semi Final
1 Albert Cabestany Sherco 5
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 5
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 9
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 9
5 James Dabill Gas Gas 13
6 Alexz Wigg Beta 20
5 James Dabill Gas Gas 3
6 Alexz Wigg Beta 3
7 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 4
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 0
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 2
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 3
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 6
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 6
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 9
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 13
8 Alexz Wigg Beta 17
1 Albert Cabestany 35
2 Toni Bou 35
3 Adam Raga 21
4 James Dabill 18
5 Jeroni Fajardo 15
6 Takahisa Fujinami 8