2010 Trial World Championship Round8

St.Michel de Maurienne, Frane - 11/7/2010

Second Place Despite Staring First

photoThere will be three rounds in three consecutive weekends for Trial World Championship, and the first of three took place in France. San Marino and then Italian round will follow. The venue for the French round, which held the championship back in 1995, situates nearby France-Italy border. You drive your car going into the tunnel in France and coming out in Italy, so to speak.

Severity was very high with many sections locating at the rock slope. Section inspection for the riders competing on Sunday took place after Women's World Championship on Saturday. Under 2010 rules, it was supposed to be the only time for the competitors to go into the sections to check them. However, torrential rain started to fall on Saturday during inspection. The rain was so hard and it started to wash away some of the terrain. Fujinami was at the section6 and thought - so as many competitors - it was impossible to hold the event with the section setting up at the time. Diego Bosis, the former Italian top rider now works for FIM as a section coordinator was at the scene, and he said modification would take place from the section1 to 13. Thus their inspection on Saturday became useless.

Overnight modification took place at almost all the sections, so a special inspection session was given to the competitors before Lap1. It was fortunate, especially for the first rider, that FIM gave a special consideration, otherwise riders had to ride without any information of the obstacles. Still a disadvantage for starting first was there for Fujinami. He told us he leaned the lesson and had a different approach in France than in Motegi. He had a big pressure and unable to relax at all at his home rounds. His plan paid off, and he did not become nervous and enjoyed his trial in France as he did in UK round.

Although after having modified, severity was still very high. Some of the sections seemed to be either very difficult or impossible to ride within 60 seconds. Some of the sections were very long and risky with continuous uphills and then downhills to finish. It seems there are still some areas need to be improved as far as the section set up too.

Fujinami found that first seven sections were simple; dirt slope for the section1 and 2, rocky sections from 3 to 5, dirt slope again for the section6, and switching back to the rocky slope for the section7. Fujinami marked clean at the first four sections and dropped three at the section5. He dropped two fives at the section6 and 7, but it was pretty much acceptable score at the first half of the lap.

Fujinami's pace was fast in France. He did not take his time wondering in the section once he saw the line, and he tried to ride out quickly. It was his pace for the day, but by doing so he could avoid showing his riding to the followers too.

photoSeverity was high for the junior riders too, so fast going Fujinami soon found himself in a traffic jam of the junior riders. He found his team mate, Laia Sanz, who was riding in the back of the group after her absence in UK round. Fujinami was surprised to find out that it was his first time riding closely with her although they have been the team mates for seven years.

Thanks to his fast pace, Fujinami had a distance from the following riders until the section7. His rivals approached now and then, but the wall of junior riders stood in the way making the top riders difficult to go closely with the Japanese rider.

Section7 was difficult, not because of severity itself but with time-allowance. The result shows Fajardo was the only rider who succeeded at Lap1, but it was due to a fortunate error by the time keeper. It failed to time the Spaniard's riding time, thus it was passed over. Fajardo dropped three riding penalty points thus three points for him. So, it was a tough section for everybody, and practically speaking, everybody could have fived at the section at Lap1.

There were brutal rock hazards from the section8 to 13. Vertical drop was about 30 meters. Fujinami had to slow down and think carefully for his riding line. That allowed the rivals to catch up, and the scene went back to a similar world championship competition with Bou and Raga joying the Japanese rider.

Like always, Fujinami did not know where he stood at the time, and the team did not bother him telling a report. Although he dropped three consecutive fives from the section6 to 8, he had a positive feeling and believed he was among the top riders.

Fujinami pointed out his biggest mistake came at the section13. At one point, he shifted up the gear while he was busy going up and down and also being distracted by the remaining time. There was a big hopping-over, and when he started to accelerate the motor hesitated. He thought it was in 3rd gear but it was 4th. He shifted down to build momentum, but he already used half way on the run up area. He could not build enough speed, as a result, he failed and fived. Many of the top riders rode with two points at the section. Fujinami too could have ride with two or even a single point. As Lap1 was over he was five points behind Bou, but the gap could be almost none if he made no mistake at the section.

It was a discouraging mistake, but Fujinami re-concentrated to proceed to the next lap. As he was going into the second lap, he saw the score board to find out he was doing ok. He also found Bou was dropping some fives too. However it was all he needed to know at the time, and did not try to collect further information.

Fujinami rode even stronger at Lap2. Small modifications took place at the section 6 and 7, the two hard sections at the previous lap. Because of changes, observers would tell you the modification area at their arrival. Fujinami fived at the both sections at Lap1 but rode with 1-1 at Lap2. Severity went down, but still they were difficult. Bou's score - three and two points - proved it.

Like at the previous lap, Fujinami rode fast breaking away from the rest for the first half of the lap. Then at the section8, Bou, Fajardo and Raga caught up the Japanese.

Fujinami had a puncture at the section10, while he was still attacking the section. He muscled way up with a punctured tire, but it was hard to go up on the slope at the end of the section. He paddled his way up to manage to ride out with two points. He had a quick repair before the section11, but when he rejoined, since he lost some time because of the repair job, and he escaped the section at Lap1 too, he decided to escape the section for the second time. It was a hard section with a huge rock at the beginning. Even you succeed to climb at the beginning, double steps at the end seemed to be very tough too. He figured it was wise to skip it, where he had a big chance to five anyway. Among the top riders, Bou was the only rider to ride the section without five marks. The Spaniard found the detour line for the final part. It was Fujinami's fault not to find it. However, although knowing the easier line, everybody except Bou fived after failing at the big climb at the
beginning. Majority did not even get to the detour line.

Fujinami rode with three points at the section12. Section12 and 13 were close, and he could see his rivals from the section13 and they were riding better than the Japanese with a single or two points. He then wanted a clean at the section13. Going up the climb, but he almost backflipped at the top of the rock. He put a foot down to save it, but then the surface where he put his foot started to collapse. He tried to hang on, but then the surface where the tires were sitting started to collapse too! He had nothing to do but sliding down the face of the slope. It was a bad luck, but the real problem happened when he made a reflex movement to quickly put his foot down on the surface. He had similar accidents in the past, where at those occasions he suffered injury. He felt a sharp pain and knew where he hurt.

After the incident he took the boot off and have a doctor check it, though the event doctor only gave him a temporary treatment with a cooling spray. Fujinami tightened up the boot so that it would work as instant taping treatment. He had three more sections to go. There was a big jump down at the section13, so he was not sure he would stand the impact with his injured foot, but he also knew the two sections to follow were cleanable.

The pain of the foot was getting greater and his foot was swelling up, but Fujinami managed to pull it through. He footed once at the section13, probably being cautious. He then marked two clean to finish the competition.

Fujinami was looking at the scoreboard near the podium to find out he was third at Lap1 when Bou came back to finish his riding. Fujinami knew from his team-mate's expression that he won the event. He asked the team-mate if he knew the scoring situation. Bou told Fujinami that he was second by the section11, but it was hard to tell after a full mark error at the section12.

photoNot sure about his position, Fujinami went back to the paddock, most important for him at the time, to receive treatment for his foot. Then Mr. Cirera came in when Fujinami was icing his foot. The team boss collected all the information needed, and gave the Japanese rider a good news; Fujinami second, 1-2 for team Montesa.

Reviewing the event, Fujinami could have done better staying away from mistakes, and could be a big threat to his team-mate. The second place was a very encouraging result considering he was the first starter, where it was hard to know how fast he needed to ride, or finding out how slippery the surface would be.

Remember three consecutive rounds in three weekends starting from France with the San Marino round to be held on July 18th. Fujinami does not have a lot time, and he needs to concentrate on the treatment on his foot to be fully ready the next round.

Quote from Fujigas:

I have a pain on my foot and it swelled up after the event. I hope it gets better next week as if nothing happened. I made some mistakes but I tried not to become nervous. I also tried to be relaxed so I could enjoy my trial. I did not win, but second place was acceptable considering my starting order. I heard I am now second in the championship, but I am not worrying about the ranking. I was ten points behind Raga before UK rounds, but I went back up in a short time. All I can do and need to do is trying to ride steadily for the rest of the rounds.

FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round8 - St.Michel de Maurienne, Frane
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 42
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 52
3 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 56
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 61
5 Dougie Lampkin Beta 67
6 Adam Raga Gas Gas 73
7 James Dabill Gas Gas 94
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 97
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa HRC 146
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa HRC 124
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 118
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 105
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 100
6 James Dabill Gas Gas 79
7 Dougie Lampkin Beta 68
8 Michael Brown Sherco 48