2011 FIM SPEA Trial World Championship Round7

Fort William, United Kingdom - 31/7/2011

Could've been 1st but Satisfying 3rd

photoThe British Grand Prix was held at For William for the second consecutive year. It was the venue Fujinami took the victory of Day2 lat year, and he was pumped to repeat his success. This year, the UK round took place under one day format.

Using the same venue with the same area, but the over all condition was very different from last year because of the slippery surface. Obstacles in UK were not so tall unlike what we see at other world championship rounds. Although they did not look very hard from their appearance, the severity was still high because of very slippery condition too.

Another things that made the situation more difficult was that the length of the sections being very long. Allotted time at each section was extended from one minute to one and a half minute this year, but the length of the section also extended and many sections at Fort William were somewhat too long to ride in time. The competitors had to ride rapidly otherwise they would end up being fiver with time penalty.

photoThere was a water section in the river to start the lap followed by the indoor obstacles of the section2. Then it went back to the river for the section3 to 7, very slippery challenges. Fujinami thought those five sections would be decisive. How to minimize the penalty point there would make a huge difference. He thought it was important to keep the damage as less as possible rather than trying to push hard for cleans. As he planned, Fujinami stayed away from any full mark error during the sections. The section3 in particular, Bou rode steadily until the end, but he had to rush as his time was running out. He started to foot but used all his time to five in the end. Raga rode with a single point at the section, but he too dropped five points at the section6 because of running out of time. Fujinami, as he recalled, might be able to ride with one to two points at the section3, but he wanted to avoid the risk of dropping five points. He also footed intentionally to save time.

Fujinami noticed his team-mate Bou was not in a top condition in UK, and he thought it was worth making a challenge. At the section7, Fujinami marked clean, the only rider to be able to do so at Lap1, after Raga dropped three points and Bou fived. Things looked very good at that point. At the beginning half of the lap, Fujinami kept his rhythm, and he enjoyed riding in his way. Although not knowing the point situation, he sensed he was in a good position.

The section9 to 13 were all identical to the last year's, as if no inspection was necessary. It was when Cabestany and Fajardo passed Fujinami. The Japanese let them go as he thought riding later would give him better traction.

photoThough at the end of Lap1, Fujinami too began to run out of time. The section11 was a long and difficult, and Fujinami decided to pass the riders. His plan was just to finish the section quickly rather than taking time to aim for a clean. That way he thought he did not need to inspect the section either to save more time. His plan however did not pay off when his slid his foot to end with five points.

At the section14, Fujinami was held up by a UK's wild card junior rider, who was at his second lap. Fujinami thought it was not a big problem for the junior rider riding at the back of the group to give a way to wait and spend a minute, but when asked the junior rider refused to let Fujinami pass. While Bou and Raga were already gone, only Fujinami had to wait his turn spending more time. He followed the junior rider to finish the lap, and he had to face four time penalty points. Bou and Raga meanwhile dropped only one time penalty point.

For Lap2, Fujinami continued his game plan from the previous lap. As always, he tried not to grasp the point situation and the standing. However at the section2, he caught a sight of the monitor showing the standing in a distance with a long name at the top. He could only figure it was either Cabestany or Fujinami at the top.

photoFujinami noticed his rivals changed their riding at Lap2, not their riding itself but they started to ride effectively in time. That shook him up a little. At the section6, although Fujinami set his target as three points, Bou rode with one point and then Raga, who fived at the previous lap, rode with three points. Fujinami started to think of a need to alter his plan.

At the following section, where Fujinami was the sole rider to mark clean at Lap1, Bou then Raga marked clean at their second occasion. Fujinami being already in a doubt about his plan lost composure when he had to foot. Then his foot slid away and he ended with five points. At the section8 of Lap1, Fujinami rode with three points, which he figured was not a bad score. His rivals however rode better at their second try, as Bou marked clean and Raga rode with a single point. The Japanese rider pushed for a better score only to finish with the same three points.

It was also where Cabestany passed Fujinami. The Japanese rider noticed some rocks were about to fall down, and went up to the observer to suggest to take care of it. When he returned to his bike, the Spaniard was already in the corridor getting ready for his ride. Fujinami had to wait his turn spending more time, as a result, he received four, total of eight time penalty points in the end.

photoCabestany and Fujinami are in the battle for 3rd in the championship. Thanks to 3rd in UK, Fujinami cought up the Spaniard with even points. As the Spaniard declaring his no-show at Motegi and the factory approved their rider's decision, it was the last chance for Fujinami to catch his rival in the direct battle. Catch up or passing the absent rival in Motegi won't be convincing at all for Fujinami. Still he also knows he will catch the Spaniard even with his presence at Motegi though. At least Fujinami is glad to have the one of his missions completed before going back to his home country.

Fujinami will have his training with his second bike instead of waiting for his first bike to return from UK, then travels back to Japan in advance. He expects to return home on August 8th.

Quote from Fujigas:

I feel like it was the round that I could win, but the result was 3rd on the podium with one point advantage over Cabestany. I really wanted to climb up to 3r by myself, before Motegi, so I am happy to become even 3rd. It is pity that I don't have a chance to fight with Cabestany in Japan to decide who to become 3rd. Cabestany announced long before that he would not go to Motegi, but many other will be there. I will not have my direct rival there and it looks like my 3rd is fix, so I will aim for a better result. I will not have my bikes delivered to Japan until the last minute, so I cannot practice on it. At least I will go back to Japan earlier than other riders to have more time to get out of jet lag. That will be an advantage. I am looking forward to riding in Japan.

2011 FIM SPEA Trial WorldChampionship
Round7 - Fort William, United Kingdom
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 30
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 31
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 49
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 50
5 James Dabill Beta 61
6 Michael Brown Gas Gas 74
7 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 79
8 Dougie Lampkin Gas Gas 83
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 132
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 117
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 99
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 99
5 Jeroni Fajardo Ossa 82
6 James Dabill Beta 69
7 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 56
8 Michael Brown Gas Gas 53