2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship Round4

Geneva Arena, Geneva, Switzerland - 12/2/2011

5th yet Solid Riding

photoThe fourth round of the X-Trial took place in Geneva, Switzerland, after 11 years of absence from hosting a trial championship round. It is the home city of FIM, and the arena locates just about 15 minutes from the headquarter of the organization, and the chairperson of FIM had a chance to visit and enjoy the leading edge of the trial competition.

Fujinami still has not fully recovered from the neck injury he sustained three weeks ago in Marseille. His trainer told Fujinami the best he could do to cure it is to keep in rest for a while. Being in the middle of the busiest time of the series, when the competitions take place almost every week, he could not take the advice. Thankfully, the obstacles in Geneva were more of technically demanding, comparing to the huge obstacles in Barcelona. The condition seemed to be a lot easier for Fujinami with the neck problem in Geneva.

There were a total of ten riders to participate in the event, eight nominated riders with two wild cards; Gubian and Grattarola. The battle became psychologically intense with only five sections and there was no room for mistakes. The section3 and 5 were particularly difficult as majority of the riders dropping full marks at the both sections. Bou was the only rider, who marked clean at the section3, and Fajardo in turn was the only rider to ride with two points at the section5. Fujinami dropped two fives with a single point at the section4 to finish his elimination stage with 11 points, being tied with Raga. Cabestany finished with ten points after marking clean at the section4. Fajardo completed his ride with two points at the section5 to finish with nine points - eight points with a single time penalty point. Bou meanwhile finished with a solitary result of five points only.

photoIn fact, there was a question arose with Fajardo's score at the section3. The Spaniard stalled in the middle of the section with the engine's under-guard sitting on the obstacle. Everybody including himself thought it was a five, but the observer did not call it. Fajardo was puzzled but he had no way but continuing his riding. He completed his five observed sections and was welcomed by a very shocking news to hear that he was fived at the section3. It could have been no big deal if it were a regular trial competition, but because of the time allowance of X-Trial, a sudden change of result was not acceptable for the Spaniard. If he knew he had fived at the section3, he did not bother riding the rest of the section3 to hurry his way to the next section, thus he could save time, and possibly he did not have to drop another time penalty point. After some talks Fajardo's score at the section3 was decided as five, but taking out one time penalty point for compensation, thus his
final score became nine.

At the end of the qualification, there were tie breakers between Fujinami vs Raga and Challoner vs Gubian. Like in Marseille, Fujinami had an option not to win it to ride the first Double-Lane in the Semi-Final with Challoner - the UK rider also lost his tie breaker - instead of Cabestany. So, Fujinami did not win it and lined up for the first speed race in the Semi-Final with Challoner. It was true that Fujinami felt less pressure to race against Challoner than Cabestany, but the Motesa rider also remembered that he lost the race against the UK rider then ended up dropping full marks in the previous round. In Geneva, although Challoner took the initial lead, Fujinami caught up to win it.

photoFujinami evaluates Challoner as an extremely composed rider considering it is his first year in the chamionship. Still, it seemed a tough challenge for Challoner at the observed sections in the Semi-Final, as he dropped three fives to finish with 17 points. Bou meanwhile showed a flawless riding again to mark all cleans. The battle was then focused with the rest of the four riders; Cabestany, Raga, Fajardo and Fujinami, to decide who were to proceed to the Final-Lap. All four started with clean at the section1 followed by a full mark at the section2. While the three Spaniards marking cleans, Fujinami dropped one time penalty point at the section3. At the section4, Cabestany marked clean while Raga and Fajardo dropped a single point, respectively. Fujinami also rode with a single point, but he dropped another time penalty point. As a result, Fujinami finished the Semi-Final with eight points, one point more than Raga and Fajardo.

Fujinami finished the day early, but said he was happy with the way he rode. Though the result was fifth, he was in the battle for second until the end. The team boss share the same feeling and rewarded Fujinami's effort too. There will be only two more rounds in the X-Trial Championship, and Fujinami definitely looking forward his appearance in the Final Lap, in Madrid for sure.

Quote from Fujigas:

The result was not satisfactory, but I have a positive feeling about the way I rode. Mr.Cirera gave me thumbs up too. I did not win the tie break so I would ride the first DL against Challoner, partly because he beat me last time, and I wanted to pay back this time. The condition of my neck is not getting as good as I hoped. We have a month of break before the next round.
I hope the neck problem will be gone by the time of the trip to Madrid.

2011 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Round4 Geneva, Switzerland
Final Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 10+0+0=10
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 15+2+5=22
3 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 13+5+7=25
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 15+3+7=25
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 8
6 Jack Challoner Beta 17
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 5+0=5
2 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 8+1=9
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 10+0=10
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 11+0=11
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 11+0=11
6 Jack Challoner Beta 14+0=14
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 14+0+14
8 James Dabill Beta 15+0=15
9 Matteo Grattarola Beta 17+0=0
10 Micheal Brown Gas Gas 20+0=20
-Tie Break for 4th vs 5th and 6th vs 7th
1 Toni Bou 80
2 Albert Cabestany 57
3 Adam Raga 48
4 Jeroni Fajardo 36
5 Takahisa Fujinami 26
6 Jack Challoner 16