2011 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round5

Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra - 26/6/2011

2nd without Ceremony

photoThe world championship took place in Andorra, at the venue that has hosted every event in the past. The development works have taken place around there to cultivated the new area, and almost all the sections were new for everybody.

For the weekend, the technical control on Friday. Then on Saturday, the European championship took place, as well as the section inspection for the riders in the world championship. The severity found to be very high, the favorite type of challenge for the top riders. Though many sections seemed to be a bit too demanding even for the top riders, meaning it would be impossible to ride for the lower ranked riders. The modification therefore took place on Saturday evening to ease the severity. At an additional section inspection on Sunday morning, the severity found to be lowered at some of the sections, but there were many challenging sections. Together with high temperature, it was expected to be a very hard competition overall.

photoThe first tough challenge of the day came at the section3 with a huge rock to climb. Bou rode with a single point, but Raga and Cabestany could not match to be fived. Fujinami followed the challenge but failed too. From the section4 to 8, Fujinami minimized the damage by riding with a single mark, while Raga and Cabestany making some mistakes. Fujinami was again starting from fourth, so he could not avoid knowing the three riders' point situation. He tried not to know the exact points of his rivals, but it was clear and easy to know that he was some steps ahead of the two Spaniards.

The next big challenge was the section9, climbing up an overhanging rock without run-up area. Bou showed his strength again to ride with a single point, and all the other riders failed. Fujinami knew Bou was getting away, but he was able to build a cushion against the followers when Lap1 was over, as he finished with13 points, while Raga 19 points and Cabestany was further down with 24 points.

photoThe tough sections with the heat took a toll on everybody at Lap2. Fujinami too started to wear out, but he gave a strong go at the section3 to ride with a single point so as his team-mate did. The rest of the riders all dropped a full mark, giving the Japanese rider a chance to extend his lead against the followers.

At the end of the lap, Fujinami was tired and the time was running out. He hurried up his ride to finish the lap, but he had a strong feeling to keep the advantage over Raga and Cabestany. Although an impressive ride at the section3, Fujinami dropped more penalty points than the previous lap - nine points more - to finish with 22 points. He admitted he was getting out of shape at the later stage because of tiredness. Cabestany decreased the penalty point at Lap2, but it was not enough to move up the position.

Job well done. Fujinami headed to the ceremony with Bou after being told from the team that it was their one-two finish with the Gas Gas rider finishing 3rd. However, the name of the Japanese rider never announced at the ceremony, and the announcer called out Cabestany 3rd and Raga 2nd instead.

photoIt was the scenario came out of the blue, but the officials disqualified Fujinami for changing the silencer. After the ceremony the FIM officials came to the paddock, and checked Fujinami's bike. They said the paint marker, which prevent changing the parts after the technical control, did not look to be present, which meant automatically guilty for changing the part. The staff of Montesa was very upset with the decision as they did not do anything guilty. The argument took more than 15 minutes. Fujinami walked away from the scene as he was very angry with the false charge.

The team changed the silencer protector on Saturday for the competition - changing the protector is not illegal - and the size of the part might be a bit different from what they had during the inspection to cover up the marker. When the protector was taken away the marker became visible. FIM officials saw it, and they withdrew the disqualification.

The paint marker became a problem for Bou in the past, too. The paint was not high temperature resistance, and it came off or became invisible after being exposed at very high temperature of the silencer, especially Bou and Fujinami's bikes produce very high temperature at the part. In Andorra, although Fujinami's side was totally innocent, they were lucky that the paint stayed on. What if the marker came off during the competition because of the high temp, and the officials could not see it?

photoThe confusion at the end of the day started by the appeal made by Raga's camp, which was not an accusation made to the Montesa camp for the first time. Fujinami did not appreciate the treat, and he visited Raga to give him a strong word to keep it at the sections to battle it out not after the competition.

The result was revised back to the way supposed to be, but the confusion ruined the happy end of the day of Fujinami's personal 2nd and the team's 1-2 finish to cerebrate on the podium.

Quote from Fujigas:

What an awful ending. I was so uncomfortable that I don't know if I could keep riding for the rest of the season when the decision did not turn around. I am glad that FIM withdrew the decision, though they did not need to make an action from the first place. We have not done anything unfair. I don't think it is appropriate that the riders competing at the top level in the world championship can be disqualified because of the tiny marker that is prone to be worn off. Something needs to be done before making an irremediable mistake. As far as the competition, Bou seemed to be in the class of his own. I was not in a top condition today and made some mistakes. I felt fatigue and started to lose my concentration at the end of day too. I have to work on the area to improve myself. I am confident to extend my lead over Cabestany. Yet, at the same time, I cannot relax at all as the Spaniard is very stable this year. I feel positive with today's result after the competition
physically very demanding. Next time, I will finish steadily, and stand up on the podium.

2011 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round5 - Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 15
2 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 35
3 Adam Raga Gas Gas 41
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 45
5 James Dabill Beta 81
6 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 84
7 Jack Challoner Beta 91
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 99
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 95
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 80
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 75
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 69
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 60
6 James Dabill Beta 48
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 41
8 Jack Challoner Beta 38