2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship Round2

The Sports Palace of Marseille, Marseille, France - 22/1/2011

To the Final Lap but Ended with a Huge Crash

photophotoThe first event of X-Trial World Trial Championship in 2011, the second round in the series took place on Saturday Jan. 22th in Marseille, France. Fujinami steadily proceeded to the Final Lap but suffered a huge crash at the speed race. He hurt the neck and immediately carried to the local hospital, where no serious injury was found.

Sections in Marseille weren't so tall as we see in Spanish rounds, but the severity was high partly because of some slippery surfaces, and most of all, allotted time was too short for all the riders. They requested the organizer to extend it, but no change took place due to the time table of the TV coverage.

Nine riders participated in the event as the wild card French rider Loris Gubian joined the eight nominated riders. Having Gubian to be the first starter, the riders, who finished fifth to eighth at the previous round took the drawing to decide their starting order. It was then decided as Dabil, Brown, Fujinami and Challoner.

At the Qualification, where selecting the six riders for the Semi-Final with four observed sections, Dabil struggled as well as Gubian without figuring out the pace. They spent almost 1/3 of the time at the first section, and both dropped five time over penalty points. Gubian finished with 20 points and Dabil finished with 21 points.

Fujinami finished with ten points, after an intensional five at the final section, when he thought it was likely to five at the section anyway. He had the best score among the first four riders - Gubian with 20 points, Dabil with 21 points and Brown with 17 points - to secure his position for the Semi-Final. However the Qualification did not end as there were tie breakers to decide the finish positions between Challoner and Brown, who both finished with 17 points, and Fujinami and Fajardo, who rode later with ten points to be in tie with the Japanese. Already securing the position for the Semi-Final, Fujinami did not need to win the battle, and he briefly thought about an option to lose it so he would be riding against Brown instead of Cabestany at the speed race at the Semi-Final. However he had a reason he did not want to lose against Fajardo. The Spaniard has switched to Ossa, and it was his first appearance with the bike in Marseille. The bike looked to be in tuned when
spotted at the practice area, and the rider was pumped up for the first battle. Fujinami as a racer could not lose such the battle, also because he was afraid that an intensional defeat would become decisive for the final result later. Fujinami finished first, taking fourth at the Qualification.

photoThe Semi-Final took place with Fujinami, the Spanish quartet and Brown. The first pair for the Double-Lane was Fajardo and Brown, and the Spaniard comfortably defeated Brown while the UK rider footed to dropped additional points. Fujinami was next, and he lost the battle against Cabestany. The last was between Bou and Raga, and the defending champion won. The four observed sections to follow to decide the top four for the Final Lap. At the section1, only Raga and Bou stayed away from the full mark. At the following section, Fujinami rode with a single point but another for time-over penalty. Fajardo dropped five points again. While all the riders fived at the section3, everybody except Bou fived at the final section. As a result, Fujinami finished one point better than Fajardo to be selected for the Final Lap.

Double_Lane became a major part of Indoor trial, as there were more speed races at the Final Lap with round-robin competition with four riders. Fujinami lost his first race agasint Cabestany but won the second one against Raga. It was a close battle among the four as each rider lost at least one race.

Then the race 5 took place, the battle between the team-mates of Bou and Fujinami. Bou was strong and made an initial lead, and it looked to be a course of nature at the time that Bou would take a victory while Fujinami would finish second to drop one point. But things turned out hard way for the Japanese rider. There were U shaped gutters, so the riders needed to jump on top of them. Fujinami was on the white lane, and he could not reach one of the gutters, possibly slipping his rear tire to lose momentum, dropping the front wheel by the wall of the gutter. A forward motion instantly changed to a rolling motion, and he was sharply tossed over the handle bar. Fujinami remembers the white gutter approaching to his face. "I tucked in because I did not want to hit my face. Then I had a tremendous impact." He was conscious, and was able to move his arms and legs. He surprised the people by standing up right away and started to walk toward the next section. He had a big pain,
and he noticed as he walked that he could not move his neck at all. He was then carried to the green room, where he was strapped to the stretcher and had his neck immobilized and sent to the local hospital.

The doctor asked Fujinami many questions to check his conscious level; name of his own, name of his wife, name of his daughter, and name of the team boss. Fujinami was in a big pain, but he had a clear mind and any problem to move his arms and legs. The team boss was there being very anxious about the condition of the rider. Fujinami responded to the doctor, saying "I can remember all the names except my boss's." Mr. Cirera smiled as he was relieved by the joke, but the doctor did not like it as it was too early to relax. Fujinami had a back tooth broken, but the X-ray pictures did not show any broken bone and no damage of nerve system was found. He needs to take more intensive examinations but it seemed that he was in a lot better condition than first thought he would be. Fujinami was sent to a hotel room to take a rest, and the team staff told him to bring some food later. Fujinami tried to rest, but it was so painful that he could not lie down easily. Finally he lay down
and he could not move at all. So, he could do nothing but staring the ceiling to wait for the food.

Meanwhile, the competition was about to be over when Fujinami was carried to the hospital. There were three difficult observed sections after the speed races. Since having no-show, Fujinami dropped three fives to finish the event with 40 points. The winner Bou dropped five points only at the three sections to finish with 16 point total, while Raga dropped 13 points at the sections, and Cabestany dropped 14 points. Fujinami finished fourth with nine point down from Cabestany.

Fujinami felt a lot better next morning, and had many phone calls from the people watched his crash on TV. He was told it was the horrible crash.

Fujinami took a car to Marseille with his minders, Josep, who injured his wrist at the Trial event in Sheffield earlier this month and the second minder Carles. Josep has a plaster on his wrist, but was able to give some advices to the rider. The trio drove back home together too, so Carles had passengers of Josep, who had a plaster on his wrist and Fujinami with his neck immobilized. Carles too just came out from a bad cold, and was in a fear and said, "So, is it going to be my turn to get injured?."

Fujinami's injury appeared to be a severe whiplash symptom, and he will have some pain for a while. At this time, his appearance to the Indoor event in Toulouse next week is unlikely. He thinks his participation to the X-Trial in Barcelona next round maybe possible.

Quote from Fujigas:

That was tough. I could not move at all and had a huge pain. Shortly before the crash, I was happy to proceed to the Final Lap, but my challenge ended with three Double-Lanes only, but at least I am glad to accomplish my goal to finish ahead of Fajardo. I can laugh about the incident now, but I heard it could have been a lot worse. I had many phone calls worrying about my condition. I like to say thank you all very much. I am alright now.

2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Round2 Marseille, France
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 16
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 29
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 31
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 40
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 20
6 Micheal Brown Gas Gas 23
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 2
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 6
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 9
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 10
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 10
6 Micheal Brown Gas Gas 17
7 Jack Challoner Beta 17
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 20
9 James Dabill Beta 21
1 Toni Bou 40
2 Adam Raga 27
3 Albert Cabestany 27
4 Takahisa Fujinami 15
5 Jeroni Fajardo 15
6 Michael Brown 8