2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship Round3

Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona, Spain - 6/2/2011

Another Crash at DL

photoTwo weeks after the Marseille round, where Fujinami crashed and suffered the neck injury, the Barcelona round took place. Originally, Fujinami was scheduled to participate in the trial event in Toulouse a week earlier, but he had to miss it due to his condition. He felt a lot better with his neck the day after the incident, but the pace of the recovery became slow since then. It was Thursday just before the Spanish round that he could start riding again, but it was for about a hour and a half only. Fujinami arrived at the venue vigorously although the shoulders and the neck were tense and he did not have the strength on the arms. The event stands as one of the most important rounds for the manufacturers and the teams base in the city, and they all want to do well in front of all the local fans as well as the sponsors.

Fujinami left early after the crash at the previous round, but he was able to finish fourth. The result put him fourth in the championship, and also let him join the drawing among the top four riders in Barcelona. The starting order was then decided as Brown, Dabill, Challoner, Fajardo, Fujinami, Bou, Cabestany, then Raga.

photoThe sections in Barcelona were very difficult in general, mainly because they were physically very tall. Precise riding lines were required and results often ended with zero or five points, win or lose situation. Watching the previous riders all ended with a full mark at the section1, Fujinami took a different approach by making an intensional footing when turning the direction with 'Daniel'. His plan though did not work, as he misjudged and there was nothing where he planned to land his front tire. He crashed, luckily he was ok, but the stabilizer between the front forks broke apart when the bike fell down from the front end. There is no time during the Qualification to fix the bike, thus all the teams prepare for such situation to have a spare bike ready for each rider. The spare bike for Fujinami was the one he rode during the main event last year, but he opted not to change the bike, as he was afraid of some differences in the engine setting and characteristics between the two bikes. Fujinami went on with the bike with somewhat unstable front end, and he rode with a single point at the section2 and a clean at the section3. He fived at the section4 and 5, very difficult sections, and most of the riders fived too. Fujinami finished his ride, and when he saw Challoner and Dabill riding their tie-breaker, he knew his spot for the Semi-Final was secured. It was when the neck started to give Fujinami some problems. He said riding normally wasn't a problem, but when falling down from the section by holding the bike up might have stressed his neck.

photoFor the first battle in the Semi-Final, Fujinami lined up with Challoner at the speed race. The Montesa rider did not expect it to be a tough battle riding against the new comer in Indoor trial. There were some obstacles where riders needed to jump on top with 'Daniel' technic. Still having a fresh memory of crashing from Marseille, Fujinami did not want to take too much risk. When the race got started, he made an initial advantage over the UK rider, and he halted for a moment to prepare for the coming obstacles. He remembers his minder shouting that Challoner was approaching quickly. The UK rider had a strong will to challenge Fujinami and went passed the Japanese. The gap was small, and Fujinami tried to fight back. Though, the he must have lost his composure, as he made an error at the point, where normally it was impossible for him to make an error. He could not climb the slope and slid down. Losing the DL should have been a single point, but Fujinami made a decisive
full mark error at the beginning of the Semi-Final.

Fujinami rode with two points at the first section followed with a full mark at the second section - like everybody else except Bou. Fujinami fived at the third section along with Challoner and Raga, and another five at the final section so as Fajardo and Challoner. At the end of the Semi-Final, three riders - Fajardo, Challoner and Fujinami - were fighting for the last ticket for the Final Lap, but Fujinami finished seven points down from Fajardo, and three points down from Challoner to finish sixth. Taking out his full mark at the DL, Fujinami would have finished with 17 points, still behind Fajardo, so he would have missed the Final Lap anyway.

Fujinami's five penalty points at the final section came with three points and two time penalty points. Before his ride at the section, he knew his chance for the Final was gone as he watched his rivals' riding and well aware of their scores. He then wanted to make his final ride of the day by clearing the section. He tried not to end his ride with a five point error and did not worry about the time. It was the last and a little entertainment from Fujinami for his loyal fans in Barcelona for the day.

Quote from Fujigas:

The full mark error at the Double Lane was decisive. It was though a mistake not relating to my neck injury. It is taking more time than I first expected to have my neck getting better, and it hurts when jumping off from a height. I can stand the pain but losing the strength on my arms is a big problem. Still, it was not the reason why I finished sixth today. Like always, the staircases in Barcelona are too tall. It seems like only Toni can deal with. I am not sure if I could climb them if I were 100%, so considering my condition, it was just impossible. I wish them to be more like non 'win or lose' style, so the battle should become more interesting. We are going to Geneva next time. It is the home of FIM, and I look forward to giving a big one there.

2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 4
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 22
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 25
4 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 35
5 Jack Challoner Beta 19
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 22
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 2
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 13
4 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 14
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 16
6 Jack Challoner Beta 20
7 James Dabill Beta 20
8 Micheal Brown Gas Gas 25

Tie-break for 6th and 7th

1 Toni Bou 60
2 Albert Cabestany 42
3 Adam Raga 39
4 Jeroni Fajardo 24
5 Takahisa Fujinami 20
6 Jack Challoner 11