2010 Trial World Championship Round6-7

Fort William, Scotland - 26-27/6/2010

Second Victory with the Perfect Riding

Round 6 and 7 took place at the home of UK trial, Fort William in Scotland, where the traditional SSDT took place a while ago. World championship shared some of the areas used in SSDT. Those areas were already difficult and tricky going through the mountain streams with very slippery stones here and there. After the world class sections set up accordingly, the severity was brought up very high, though there were so many huge and tall obstacles like usually seen in the championship rounds.

Round 6 - Saturday

photoFujinami was the fourth starter following Raga, Bou and Fajardo based on the result in Motegi . It was difficult to find the line at Fort William with condition furiously slippery on the surface of the stones. Raga must have had a very tough time for acting as a vanguard. Fujinami though had a hard time too, suffering from the mechanical problem - the handlebar came loose - at the section3, but he managed to ride with a clean there. The bar came loose again at the following section, even after the maintenance work, and he dropped three points at the time. Continuous problems shook him up. It was hard to accept more than the penalty points itself.

He re-concentrated and got going, but then the brake problem struck him. It was probably because of hitting the rear end at the section5, but he was unaware of the damage at the time. A couple of sections later the rear brake overheated and seized. He had a temporary repair work and moved on, but the rear brake refused to work at all soon after.

photoThere were many long sections and some of them were very challenging with slippery surface, and the traffic was built up too. Fujinami saw many junior riders waiting in front of him. Not knowing the real problem of the brake nor being able to fix it, he had to ride without rear brake until the section11. The team did maintenance work before the section12 and found the brake disc was distorted. They exchanged the whole rear wheel, but did not have time to exchange the brake system. It was heated up and not working the way it was supposed to, but Fujinami had to ride with it till the end of the lap.

Before Lap2, the team exchanged the rear wheel - again just to make double sure - and the rear brake caliper at the paddock. Fujinami was finally set free from the problem.

Fujinami dropped two over-time penalty at Lap1 as he had to stop for a repair, also due to the traffic. Already spending about 15 minutes for the maintenance halt before even riding the first section, it looked to be a tough and hectic riding for Lap2. He tried to speeded up but found himself proceeding closely with Lapmkin, who started late from his absent in Motegi.

photoFujinami at the time did not expect any decent result after riding so many sections undesirably with problems. Could be sixth or seventh, or even Brown might have surpassed him. He was ready to take a bad finish. He though rode strongly at 14 sections of Lap2 - the big stone started to move at the section3 and it was canceled, thus one section minus. He made some small mistakes but finished with the second best score following Raga.

At the end of the lap, Fujinami asked the team for the competition report, and the team said he was second. One time he thought he was down in the order. He knew he had a good run at Lap2, but what happened to his rivals? He was puzzled more than being happy to hear the news. As the two laps were over, though, the official result was different with the team's understanding; Fujinami was third following Lampkin. He was not disappointed about his position moved down, but very glad to finish the day unexpectedly well.

It was a good result for the winner Bou, having Lampkin, who were out of the championship battle, finished directly behind him with Fujinami third, he built a healthy cushion in the championship. Fujinami also chipped two points away in his own battle with his third finish when the direct rival Raga finished fourth.

Round 7 - Sunday

photoFujinami started the day with his bike perfectly prepared and his starting position was good too. However Fujinami told us after the event that he did not expect to fight for the victory because Bou exerted overwhelming performance on the previous day. He thought the team-mate would repeat the performance. His goal for the day was to take the second position, which slipped away from his hands on Saturday.

The sections starting from 8 had an unique characteristic of SSDT, which made the Scottish rounds special this year. Very long sections. They did not have so many all-or-nothing type of sections with huge stones, but you would be in a trouble with very slippery surface once you stepped out an inch from the right line. If you stop or lose the momentum in the middle of the section, it would be hard to get going again too. When the minder tells you the time is running out, all you can do is to paddle your feet trying to ride the whole section. It was a different from the usual rounds in the championship, but Fujinami was having fun with it. He was relaxed on Sunday morning, joking with Josep and Carles during section inspection. When the competition got going he showed high level of concentration too.

He dropped one and the only full mark of the day at the section6 of Lap1, but it was in a very discouraging way. When he heard the minder called two seconds remaining, there was a whistle by the observer. He rode out with a single point error, but ended with five points by over-time. Both he and the minder were puzzled with the call, but they had no choice other than accepting it.

Then at the section13, another problem struck Fujinami. That time a puncture on the rear tire. It seemed he had a puncture at the firsts of three rocks layers, and when he jumped onto the third stone, one side of the tire beat came off from the rim. Another side stayed on, so he kept the momentum to go up to finish the section with a luckily clean. They had a quick exchange of the wheel after the section, and changed it again after the lap to be sure. By doing so, Fujinami was left behind many of the first group riders, and again started to compete at the position like on Saturday.

Fujinami though rode exceptionally good at Lap2. He rode with five points total in the challenging part of the lap - first seven section based on his opinion - with three points at the section2 and three points at the section7. He knew he was in a good rhythm, but was not sure if he was able to fight for the victory at the time. Needless to say, he tried not to think about such thing. The team knew that the Japanese rider did not want to know the point situation during the competition and they tried not to bother him either. On one occasion, Bou came up to ask about the points, and the team asked Fujinami, who was around the scene, to step aside. The team knew it would help the Japanese rider getting the better result.

photoFujinami did not know where he was at but he was satisfied with his riding. He rode the way just as he planned. At one point, he thought he would be happy not to take the victory after all those riding, because it was the maximum he could do and very satisfied with it. He remembered that he was happy with own riding in Portugal and the result came with it too. It was a similar feeling he had in UK.

Then suddenly, when Fujinami was around the section12, hard rain started to fall. The water did not affect so much for the sections up to the section13 as they were SSDT type of the hazards in the mountain stream, but it did for the section14 and 15 at the end of the lap. When Fujinami arrived at the section14, everybody was waiting and hoping the hard rain would wash away all the dirt and dust from the surface. The Japanese joined the group and waited.

photoBou was first to restart. He probably knew the score of his team-mate at the time, and came up to Fujinami and said "It is not my day today, but you hang in there." He even came back after his riding and gave an advise about the surface too. The team also told Fujinami to mark two cleans at his best. Fujinami answered for the expectations and rode with two clean to finish the lap with five points total.

Before the Montesa riders starting Lap2, Bou and Fujinami chatted, and the Spaniard anticipated five points if things went perfectly but ten points to be practical. He rode with 12 points at Lap1 and 15 points at the later lap, more than his calculations, and lost the chance. That's why Bou was surprised to see the team-mate finished with only five points at Lap2.

The reason the team came to push Fujinami at the end of the lap was because they were worrying that their rider and Cabestany were in a close battle for the victory. The Spaniard finished three points less than the Japanese at Lap1, but dropped five points more than Fujinami at the later lap. Cabestany finished off with two and a single points at the end, and he had to settle for second.

photoIt is true that Fujinami had a strong point as his four-stroke bike suiting at the Scottish sections requiring flowing ride. However, perhaps most importantly, his is now mentally stronger than ever as he became 30 years old. In any case, Fujinami said he enjoyed the trial on Sunday. He realized again that if he could enjoy his trial and being satisfied with it the result will come. This is Fujinami's trial philosophy for some years now.

Fujinami took the victory with Cabestany and Bou followed to be second and third, respectively. Having Raga finishing fourth, Fujinami is now one point behind the Spaniard for second in the championship. Yet Fujinami does not think about the standing at the moment. Fighting hard and aiming high at each round and at the section; that is the attitude in 2010 series for Fujinami.

Next round will be at St.Michel de Maurienne in France on July 11th, the venue close to the Italy and France border.

Quote from Fujigas:

I missed the podium for both days and let down all my fans in Japan. I felt bad and I was so disappointed too. I went to UK but did not think I could win, if I tell you the truth. I had some problems on Saturday and I expected Bou to be strong on Sunday too. I enjoyed my own riding and satisfied with my trial on Sunday, so I would have been happy and accepted the position if I had to finish second or even third. Again I realized that when I can ride the way I did on Sunday the result will come. In France, I will be the top starter again. I learned a lot about the pressure and difficulties for being the first rider in Japan. It will be my second time, so I will try to ride more naturally based on my experiences. Finally, I am sorry for not winning in Japan, but I did it on the UK soil.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round6-7 - Fort William, Scotland
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 25
2 Dougie Lampkin Beta 38
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 39
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 41
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 46
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 52
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 71
8 Michael Brown Sherco 73
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 21
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 23
3 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 27
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 30
5 James Dabill Gas Gas 47
6 Dougie Lampkin Beta 52
7 Michael Brown Sherco 56
8 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 62
L1: Lap1 L2: Lap2 TO: Time Over Pts: Penalty Point CL:Clean
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 125
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 108
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 107
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 92
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 85
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 70
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 57
8 Michael Brown Sherco 44