2010 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round1

Baiona, Spain - 18/4/2010

2nd to 4th at the Last Minute

photo2010 Outdoor season kicked off in Baiona, a resort venue by the Atlantic ocean at the west end of Spain. Severe chaos in air-travel in Europe due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland did not cause a big problem for most of the competitors arriving at the venue by transporting by land. Fujinami along with other top riders normally travels by air, but he too had any problem flying domestically in Spain. Lampkin however could not fly from UK, and he had to travel by land through the Eurotunnel to France and to Spain.

Trying to carve up the future of trial series with aggressive rule change, FIM introduced some new rules for 2010 Outdoor championship like they did previously in the Indoor series. Allotted time for a rider at each section is now shortened 30 seconds to one minute. Starting order will be decided by the classification at the previous round, and the order is reverse from the previous seasons; winner goes first. Finally and the biggest concern of the riders, that they are not allowed to enter the sections before the competition on the race day. They cannot inspect the surface of the sections or finding lines before riding anymore. Of course doing some tricks like kicking the stones away won't be possible anymore.

In the Indoor championship, Fujinami had a hard time under the new regulations. It was interesting to see how he will do in the new Outdoor championshi. Hope he will reboot his mind for the battle after a disappointing time in Indoor series.

If you remember, Fujinami suffered an injury at the last round of the Indoor championship. That was a crack bone on his finger. He took a good care of it during the short break, so the injury no-longer bothered him. He said he could forget about it while riding.

Sections were situated at the rocky stretch along the ocean providing an easy spectating, but they weren't easy to ride. Also, they seemed to be designed and set up without having the shorter allotted time taken into accout. Fujinami has been training a lot under one minute rule, so he noticed that all the sections were too long and riding within the time limit was not possible. Riders discussed the issue, and they made an appeal to make them shorter.

The organizer wasn't too happy that they had to modify the sections they worked hard to prepare for the event. It was the rule that was changed at the last minute, and they felt it wasn't fair to be blamed. But they responded to the riders' request and shortened the length of many of the sections. It was partly thanks to Diego Bosis, who newly became the FIM section coordinator from this season. Diego was one of the top rankers in Trial World Championship, and he understands the competitors' need.

2009 world champion Bou was first to start the lap, and Raga were second to follow. Fujinami was the third starter, and it gave him a good chance to learn from the strong riders. Since you can't inspect the sections closely this year, every little information helps. Bou needed to act as a vanguard to ride the sections with a lot of riding lines made by junior riders. He had to make things easier for his rivals at all time. It was a tough job for Bou, but he rode strongly to finish first six section with only three single point mistakes. Raga though struggled, and he dropped 18 points by the section6. Fujinami watched two valuable examples carefully and he pulled off to ride with five points by the section6. Fajardo meanwhile dropped ten points, and Cabestany dropped 19 points by the section6, respectively.

Bou started to speed up the procedure from the section7 to escape from the followers. He probably did not want to be an example for his rivals. Fujinami noticed Bou's move and decided to follow him. He thought competing closely with the team-mate would give him a good reference rather than taking time to carefully figuring out the way to ride at each section. Raga seemed to think the same way so as Fajardo and Cabestany. So all the top guys picked up the pace. Fujinami got past Raga to follow very next to Bou.

Fujinami finished Lap1 with a double score than Bou, but he felt the fast pace worked well for him. He was one point ahead of Fajardo and nine points ahead of Raga to be 2nd at the time.

It was raining in the morning, but it stopped by the time of the top riders started their ride. Everybody thought the severity would go down as the surface was quickly drying out. At the section1 of Lap2, Bou marked clean in front of Fujinami. It was an easy section, and with the surface being dried, Fujinami thought he had no problem either. But he dropped a full mark error there as the dried soil on the surface of rocks was actually very slippery, much trickier than Bou's example. Making mistake at the section supposed to be easy, Fujinami said he was discouragaed by his riding. The moment later, though, he was relaxed a little to know it wasn't only him but Raga too having trouble at the section. The Spaniard made a huge mistake at the section - the section1 was visible from the next section - his bike flew up in the air and crashed hard with making a lot of noises.

Fujinami made more mistake at Lap2 than Lap1. At the section4, where he was able to mark clean at Lap1, he dropped three points. And then at the section5, he faced a painful mistake. Trying to go up the big stair-cases, he made an action and pulled the handle-bars but the bike did not respond as he wanted. He hit the legs and waist hard against the bars. Traction of the tire was greater than he expected due to a chance of the surface. It wasn't a rare mistake in trial competiton, but it hurt so bad. Fujinami could not move. While he was trying to recover, about three riders including Raga and Lampkin passed by. Fujinami had a fast pace at Lap1, so he had enough time to take a good rest. It was physically painful but letting Bou go away was more painful, Fujinami said after the event.

Fujinami restarted after about five minutes, but faced five points at the section6 by taking down the marker. He dropped two points at the section7 and three more points at the section8. Being away from marking clean, but he started to pick up his rhythm to go past Lampkin and getting close to Raga.

But then Raga suddenly picked up the pace. The weather was unstable and it could rain again before the end of the lap. Raga must have wanted to finish before rain started to fall, keeping a very fast pace and got past Bou too. Fujinami tried to follow Raga, but it turned out to be a bad idea. Fujinami recalls the full mark error at the section10 was a mistake because he felt being rushed. It was a mistake at the area, where even some junior riders could clear. After the section11, a very hard section, where nobody stayed clean at Lap1, Fujinami fived again along with all the other riders. That time he went past Bou to stay with Raga. At the section12, another hard section, Fujinami five again.

Hard rain started to fall when Fujinami was riding at the section13, but he managed to rode out with three points by footing a couple of times. Bou rode next and he dropped five points there.

Fujinami and Bou halted before going into the section14 as the team gave them the order to stop and wait. The rain was expected to clear off soon and the surface would be dry again. Fujinami, as usual, did not try to hear the competition report, though he received the words from the team that he was in a close battle for the second place. About 15 minutes later rain stopped. Fujinami and Bou resumed and then marked clean at the section14.

Looking at the result sheet, Fujinami could have finished in even score with Raga to be second by the number of cleans if he marked clean at the final section. Fujinami though felt a shade of anxiety for the final section. It was the stairway type of section consisted of four box shaped obstacles each in the size of one meter tall piled up. He made a five point error there at the previous lap too. Bou rode first. He rode out with a single point at Lap1 but failed to drop five points at his second try. Fujinami followed, and again he dropped five point. Thus the Japanese missed the chance to finish ahead of Raga.

Five minutes later, Fajardo arrived at the final section. He marked cleans at the section13 and 14 after rain stopped. Fajardo dropped five points at the final section at the previous lap, but he pulled out to ride with a single point at the later lap. Fajardo finished with 74 points total, three points more than Raga, but two points less than Fujinami to take away the third place from the Japanese.

The first round of trial world championship was completed about one hour quicker than five hour of total allotted time. It was pitiful for Fujinami to miss the podium at the last minute, but he rode strong being the key figure in the battle for 2nd place. The winner Bou finished with 23 points advantage over Raga. Bou is in a class of his own at the moment and expected to be so for the rest of the season too. It looks to be then the five riders; Fujinami, Raga, Fajardo, and Cabestany, will have some fierce fight for the second place.

Fujinami stays in Baiona after the event to get ready for the Portuguese round, the venue not too far from the Spanish round.

Quote from Fujigas:

I did not expect Raga came up after Lap1. I need to be strong and to be able to know what is going on around you. I take the result positively that fourth here means I will be the fourth starter in Portugal to be in a good position to know how other rider will do. Although missing the podium, I have a positive feed back to know I was able to fight for the second place. Speaking of Bou, he is becoming in a class of his own. He is out of reach sometimes. He is my rival so it is hard to accept that. But it is not important if I accept it or not. I know he is strong, and I am going to have to fight the best way possible. That is important for me.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round1 - Baiona, Spain
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 48
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 71
3 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 74
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 76
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 89
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 112
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 116
8 Daniel Oliveras Sherco 129
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 20
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 17
3 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 15
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 13
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 10
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 9
8 Daniel Oliveras Sherco 8