2011 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round6

Montecrestese, Italy - 10/7/2011

Significant 3rd

photoFujinami got ill days before the Italian Grand Prix suffering severe stomach ache and feeling nausea probably due to gastroenteritis. The condition did not improve by the time he headed to Italy on Thursday, but he was optimistic that the condition would improve before the weekend. On Friday, he could only inspect eight out of 15 sections before powerlessly lay down. He only saw the location of the rest of the sections. He went to bed on Saturday evening hoping things would be better to have more strength on Sunday.

He woke up on Sunday morning with severe nausea, a lot worse condition than on Friday. He was already weak because of the past few days being unable to take sufficient food. For the competition day, he had to supply the energy into his body. He forced to eat to get ready, but his body refused to take any food. Together with his body condition and the high heat took a toll on Fujinami when the competition got under way. He continuously tried to eat some fruits and Weider in Jelly - energy supplement, his usual food during competition, but he could not keep much of it as he got sick every time he ate. Drinking sport drink did not help him either.

Fujinami's condition never recover but he started to feel better at the second half of the day, probably because the heat eased down as the weather got worse. Though without strength by lack of energy in the body, Fujinami had to ride the section without inspection. He wanted to save as much energy as possible. At the second lap, he asked Carles and Josep to check the section and rode according to their direction.

The first eight sections in Italy were comparatively easy for the top riders. It rained Thursday and Friday, so the organizer made modifications to lower the severity to prepare for the wet condition. Rain however stopped on the Friday evening, and as the condition became better, the severity in turn became too low with the dry surface. Further modifications took place to respond the riders' demand to make them reasonably difficult after Saturday's inspection, but the severity did not bring up high enough at many of the sections. The Italian, Diego Bosis, who was in charge of the final adjustment of the section set-up, had to work hard to find the best solution for setting the severity, but it did not turned out exactly he aimed.

photoFujinami dropped a bit too many points to finish Lap1 with 21 points to be joint fifth with Dabil. Again Bou was strong to finish first with four points, followed by Cabestany with ten points. At the end of the lap, Fujinami did not have the energy to endure a minute and a half, and it was hard for him to keep concentration. He dropped five points at the section12 and 13 consecutively, where the section12 in particular was where the top seven riders except Fujinami all marked clean. Mr. Cirera, the team boss was watching his rider's riding carefully and asked Fujinami if he was alright. "I am not alright at all." Fujinami answered right away. Mr.Cirera then told Fujinami not to hesitate to foot. Dropping a single, or even three points were better than a full mark failure. Those words relieved Fujinami to realized that he could change the riding from the usual way. By then he figure out how to deal with nausea too.

So, for the second lap, Fujinami tried not to stop, or stop as little as possible, in the sections for making precise adjustment. It was a risky riding which should have been avoided in a normal circumstances, but to save energy he had to choose the riding less demanding to his body. He would foot to move on if he had to. He also took different riding lines obviously.

Raga was first to notice and respond, as usual, to a change of weather at Lap2. At Lap1, Fujinami followed Bou closely and always started behind the team-mate. After a brief inspection, the Japanese returned to the bike seat resting to wait for the team-mate coming back from an intensive inspection. He would watch the team-mate's riding then started his try. Raga could not pass Fujinami at Lap1. At Lap2 after detecting the weather turning worse, Raga passed both Bou and Fujinami to speed things up. He wanted to avoid riding in the wet condition especially a barked log at the final section, which was expected to be a very tough challenge when wet.

When the two Montesa riders arrived at the section12 the sprinkle of rain started to fall. The time was running out. Both rode fast on the transportation and rode fast in the section too. When they arrived at the final section, the surface of the log was starting to get wet. Bou marked clean, then Fujinami too rode with zero point. It was hard to get the traction, but Montesa riders made it in time. When they finished their lap the rain picked up its intensity. Thanks to a change of his riding style, Fujinami reduced the penalty points at Lap2. He was asked how many points he dropped after his riding, but he did not have enough room to think about the points, so could not answer it.

photoFujinami actually rode with five points, three single points and a single two points, very impressive riding considering his condition. While resting at the paddock, he figured 5th would be adequate after dropping many points at Lap1. He was completely exhausted after two laps of 15 sections, and vacantly watched the TV monitor showing flash report of the event telling that Fajardo and Cabestany were 22 points, respectively, with the final section to ride while Fujinami completed his ride with 26 points.

Bu the time rain was pouring outside. Fajardo could not even bring the front wheel on the log to drop five points at the final section. After watching his rival's failure, Cabestany escaped to drop five points. As a result, Fajardo and Cabestany both finished with 27 points to allow Fujinami finishing one point better at 3rd.

Though unfortunate fives for the two Spaniard at the final section helped, Fujinami managed to finished 3rd, total contrary to his expectation. He had one of the toughest competitions, using up all the energy, it was valuable result just like winning the event.

Quote from Fujigas:

Honestly speaking, I don't know how I could pull through the whole two laps. It was very tough. I like to thank my team that gave me a big support. Tony knew my condition, and he waited for me to start his riding as I needed to take time between the sections occasionally. He also gave me some advice about the sections and showed me the riding lines, as he also understood I did not have enough inspections. I truly appreciate his thought. Giving condition, I think I did well to ride with five points at Lap2. The next round will be UK, where I took the victory last season. I will remember standing on the podium with the condition today and take it positively even there was a luck involved, too. I will give it a go if I see any chance in UK.

2011 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round6 - Montecrestese, Italy
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 6
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 14
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 26
4 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 27
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 27
6 James Dabill Beta 41
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 59
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 77
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 115
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 97
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 86
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 84
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 73
6 James Dabill Beta 58
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 50
8 Jack Challoner Beta 45