2011 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round2-3

Breal Sous Monfort, France - 21-22/5/2011

5th and 4th

photoThe second Grand Prix of the wold championship took place in France in two-days format, the format becoming rare to be held in Europe. It was the venue held the Trial des Nation in 2006, and many sections located at the sheer rocky cliff.

Round2 - Saturday

There are three types of marker at each section. They are colored in red, blue and green to signal the course for the world class, the junior class, and the youth class, respectively. So there are many markers at each sections, and the riders are required to ride between the designated markers. If the rider knock down the marker, they will be fived. The problem is; 'Did the rider really hit the marker?' In the past, the calls by the observers were not so strict and the riders did not get penalized by hitting the markers - or touching gently - with the bike parts other than the tires, unless distinctly altering the position of the markers.

There must have been a change in the interpretation of the regulations, that the judgements related to "touching the marker" became strict from the opening round in Germany. In France, the observers' calls were very unforgiving to five the riders when any part of the motorcycle touched the marker. That was ok, because the riders actually hit it. What difficult to acceptable for the riders was that some of the fives were called when they took the close line to the marker without touching them.

Fujinami was not the only victims of the calls, and he lost ten points on Saturday because of them. Lampkin was there watching Fujinami receiving five at one of the occasions. He did not agree to the judgement and gave a word to the observer. Some of the calls were questionable, and it was clear from independent point of view. The riders' complaints were not because of trying to make accusations based on their own errors. Either way, the competitors could not change the calls, so the competition became more or less trying to stay away from the markers rather than concentrating on fighting against the sections.

Lampkin, by the way, has joined Gas Gas this year. He was sidelined in France, after having an injury at SSDT, and worked as an assistant staff for Raga. He participated in the German round, but he found the sections in France too demanding considering his body condition.

photoThere was a bright side in France. Although the rule applied so the competitors were not allowed to enter the sections to inspect, the observers moved away some rocks on the riding lines and cleaned up the surface upon request by the competitors by the observers' decision. Last year, observers refused to listen to the competitors. It was an improvement.

Fujinami did not make notable mistakes on Saturday, but he could not avoid touching the marker when the rear end slid out when trying to climb up the hill at an angle, for instance, to drop some fives. It was a same scenario for many other riders, facing the problem of touching the markers. It seemed though, Raga was the only rider, who stayed away from such problem.

Fujinami concluded his Lap1 with another five by touching the marker at the section15 to finish with 23 points. He went on to Lap2, and he was welcomed by the five at the section3. He tried to avoid the front tire hitting with the marker, and brought the rear tire farther away from the marker to be cautious, but he fived anyway. Cabestany watched his rival's full mark error, and changed his line to attack the huge rock in the middle. Probably the Spaniard chose to take five points after the straight fight if he had to, rather than dropping non-sense penalty. He succeeded to ride out with beautiful clean.

Fujinami fived at the section8 by touching the marker, again. He dropped another five at the section9 due to having uncomfortable feeling with the clutch. He finished the lap with 18 points to be 5th overall. Raga and Fajardo rode the best lap with seven points at Lap2, and the two Spaniards finished 1st and 2nd, respectively. The two showed an excellent ride, but it was not incomparable for Fujinami, as could have finished with eight points without two mysterious calls.

Round3 - Sunday

photoModifications took place on saturday evening to re-locate the markers to bring down the possibilities of the competitors accidentally hitting them. That unfortunately brought the severity higher, as the re-located markers blocked the detour lines at some sections.

From the feedback from his riding on the previous day, Fujinami thought three point ride a lap was possible. He knew he had to keep his point at least around ten for a lap, otherwise we would be out of contention. When he started his lap, however, he lost the momentum as early as at the section3 with a full mark error. It was solely his mistake.

Being 5th on Saturday, Fujinami had the four riders riding in front of him. Normally he tries not to know the competition report, but it was impossible for him not to grasp the other riders point situation. He saw Raga making some five point errors, and he thought the Spaniard was out of the top battle.

Fujinami rode with 17 points with three fives and two single point errors at Lap1. Cabestany had the best score of the lap riding with 11 points. Fujinami's anticipation was right, only his result did not turn out as he thought.

Still, Fujinami had a strong sprit before going into Lap2, thinking he had a chance to make a catch-up. Then he had his first five at the section2. The tip of his boot caught the face of the rock wall pushing the rear brake when he was on his climb up the wall. He lost the energy and fell down to the bottom. It was a heartbreaking mistake at the beginning of the lap, and he needed a little time to settle his feeling. He re-started and moved on to the next section only to five again, that time, he did not find the right timing and failed the challenge.

photoThe section11 was the hardest challenge on Sunday after having a complete modification. Almost all the riders dropped a full mark at both laps. Fujinami dropped five points at Lap1, too. For his second challenge, knowing all except Bou dropped five points, Fujinami faced a challenge squarely. Even with an attitude, which brought him many successes in the past, he failed and fived. He dropped three fives at each lap with two more single point errors to finish the day with 32 points. Raga, meanwhile achieved the second best lap with nine points at Lap2 following Bou with outstanding zero point, to went back up to 3rd overall with 29 points, pushing Fujinami out of the podium.

Quote from Fujigas:

Makers were big headache on Saturday. You want to stay away from them, but many times there were not many lines you can choose from. The Observers fived me some times where I did not touch them. If you call it unlucky, I was very unlucky. The organizer changed the position of the makers for Sunday, and the problems related to the makers decreased. Then I could not ride the way I could satisfied with on Sunday. We have about a month break before the next round. I want to work to adjust the clutch, that I had an odd feeling this time. I need to train more on the dry surface, too.

2011 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round2-3 - Breal Sous Monfort, France
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 22
2 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 24
3 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 27
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 38
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 41
6 James Dabill Beta 58
7 Michael Brown Gas Gas 64
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 66
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 12
2 Albert Cabestany Sherco 23
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 29
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 32
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 46
6 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 52
7 Jack Mhalloner Beta 72
8 Michael Brown Gas Gas 74
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 55
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 48
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 47
4 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 39
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 39
6 James Dabill Beta 27
7 Michael Brown Gas Gas 25
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 24