2012 Trial World Championship Round3-4

Mt. Tarrengower, Australia 26-27/5/2012

First Podium on Sunday before the Home GP

photoThe World Championship resumed after about a month of break to travel to the Southern Continent for Australia's first ever Outdoor Trial Grand Prix. It was Fujinami's first visit to the continent as well.

The new method to decide the starting order, which caused confusion in France, was again effective in Australia. FIM thought that it was too early to judge as there was only one round to be held with the new rule.

Fujinami picked the first starting order at round one in France and had a big disadvantage. He talked with the riders after the opening rounds and found that majority had an opinion of NO for the new rule. The Montesa rider thought it would be convincing for the rider, who would be the most disadvantageous if the rule would be altered, to speak out, and wished that FIM would not try to stick with the change only to be fair for everybody.

Anyway, the starting order for Saturday was decided by the ballot with all the riders, and the classification of Saturday was taken account to decide the order on Sunday, just like the way it took in France.

The event took place at the rocky mountain located in the vast Australian plain, providing a dynamic and demanding stages. The traction seemed to be good when dry, but rain started to fall on Friday, making the condition very slippery after the surface of the rocks became wet and muddy.

- Saturday -

photoFujinami had a better luck in Australia to pick the seventh from the last for his starting order. Fajardo picked the fifth starting spot followed by Bou then Raga at seventh to start. There were three riders between the Gas Gas rider and Fujinami. Cabestany meanwhile picked the very late starting order, and it was too far away from his rivals. The late start did not give him any advantage, so he pushed hard at the beginning of the lap to catch up the friends to be in the usual competition.

Fujinami seemed to start his day strong, but he had a big concern regarded to the performance of the engine, possibly fuel related. The team did not bring the fuel they use in Europe. Although it was the exact same octane value, there was a slight difference. The setting of the bike was precisely adjusted, so a small difference in fuel effected. It was the same problem for Bou, but for Fujinami, he cares very much for the unity with the bike to perform his best, so it seriously effected.

The rain continued to fall on Saturday, but not enough to wash the dirt and mud away from the surface of the rocky sections, so the condition stayed slippery all day. Temperature was very low, even in June. Many visitors realized they were suddenly in the winter as they came to the southern hemisphere, especially in Melbourne situating close to the South pole. Fujinami needed two jackets to wear to keep him warm like when he was at pre-event inspection.

The condition was tough for everybody as they dropped many points to fight the slippery surfaces. Bou kept the penalty points low, but still dropped many points than his usual.

Fujinami struggled to adjust with the bike, but he knew he was doing moderately. He did not try to hear where he stood, but he knew he was doing not too badly. However, at the end of the lap, the engine started to show some bad symptoms, such as losing power and fouling plug. They had to change the spark plug at every section. The engine started to stop occasionally, so the team changed the fuel injection but the problem did not go away totally. They used time to work on the bike, pushing themselves in an even tougher situation, too.

At Lap2, while every other rivals started to ride better than the previous lap, Fujinami was too busy fighting with the engine performance to improve his riding. Fujinami dropped one point worse-32/33-at Lap2, to finish his day.

Before the final section of the lap, Fujinami actually heard that he was in an even score with Cabestany. To stand ahead of the Spaniard, Fujinami tried one final riding at the section with mud covered log. He dropped three points but Cabestany later dropped three points, too. Their point gap stayed the same, and the Spaniard had an upper hand with two more cleans than the Japanese. Fujinami had to settle with fourth, missing the podium for three consecutive rounds.

- Sunday -

photoRain stopped before the Sunday's competition, but the surfaces of the rocks covered with mud was very slippery. Overnight modifications took place at some of the sections to lower its severity as there were too many riders dropping the five points.

Fujinami started his lap with two single point ridings followed by a full mark, not a wonderful way to start his day. However, as the competition continued, he noticed Cabestany and Raga were having hard time. The team did not tell the Japanese rider any detailed competition report, but they gave him a rough words, like, "You were in a shot for second, possibly for third." It was how he felt from his own riding too.

The performance of the engine did not improve drastically from the previous day, and the power was low from the morning. To make the situation better, he changed the setting of the engine a bit before Lap2. Probably, simply it did not work or because of a fatigue of the rider at his second lap, but Fujinami did not feel strong at the latter lap.

photoAt the end of the lap, Fujinami found that Raga improved his score to catch him steadily. The object for Fujinami was to maintain a gap between himself and the Spaniard, so he could finish on the podium. Raga was very strong at Lap2, showing impressive 11 consecutive cleans from the beginning of the lap. Fujinami in turn dropped 15 points by the end of the section11. The Spaniard probably thought he could catch up the Montesa rider to stand on the podium. However, he made some small mistakes at the end of the lap, dropping a single point at the section12, 13 and 15. Fujinami was well aware of the point situation to finish the lap with 17 points, two points less than the Spaniard to capture the third podium finish.

Quote from Fujigas:

I wanted to stand on the podium at least once before going home, so I am glad that I had a decent riding on Sunday. I was in a position to fight for the podium on Saturday, too, but it was too bad that I had to miss it by the number of the cleans. The next will be the Japanese Grand Prix, where I had so many good memories and wonderful results. I am going to ride hard to sweep away some frustrations I had for the two grand prix. Please be ready for that.

2012 Trial World Championship
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 24
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 54
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 65
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 65
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 79
6 Daniel Oliveras Ossa 105
7 James Dabill Beta 105
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 116
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 10
2 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 19
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 31
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 33
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 35
6 James Dabill Beta 45
7 Jack Challoner Beta 62
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 75
1 Toni Bou 77
2 Adam Raga 61
3 Jeroni Fajardo 58
4 Albert Cabestany 56
5 Takahisa Fujinami 52
6 James Dabill 39
7 Jack Challoner 32
8 Loris Gubian 28