The world championship traveled to Carlisle after three years, to hold the final rounds of the season in U.K. Fujinami rode strong to finish 2nd on Saturday, but unable to repeat the performance on the next day to move up his position in the standing. He finished 6th on Sunday, the lowest position of the year to conclude his 2012 season. His position in the standing remained the same while there was a drastic change of the positions by the three riders in front of the Japanese rider.
The severity of the sections in Carlisle in general was not very high. Still, they were not an easy challenges as the length of many of the sections were very long. If things did not go smoothly in the section and spent more time as planned, it was wise to hurry to ride out the section in time in stead of trying to go for a clean to get fived by the time penalty. The direction of the riding lines at many of the sections were reversed from the way they rode three years ago, with the rocky sections from the section1 to 10, then the section11 to 15 were located at the muddy slopes.
Three years ago, Fujinami faced his first retirement from the event in his career in Carlisle. The sheer cliff was still present in the way it refused the challenge of the Japanese rider before. Although the section set up was different, in order to wipe out his bad memory, Fujinami marked strong cleans at the cliff section.
Fujinami drew the first pick at the opening round of the season in France. It was interesting that he picked the final starting order at the final Grand Prix of the season, while Cabestany picked the first starting order.
Starting about ten minutes later than the rivals, Fujinami's plan at the beginning of the lap was clear to catch up Bou and Raga soon as possible and to stay with them. His plan worked out very easily because there were many UK junior riders participating in the event, and they were holding up the top riders. Fujinami, without an effort, caught his rivals at the very beginning of the lap.
Fujinami's physical condition was fine. The finger, the biggest concern for him at the past rounds, became stiffer without nonsense movement. He assumed the bone was getting set although without an operation. The weather was on and off rain, as usual. Fujinami had rain started to fall when he was around the section8, 9 and 10. He halted for a while till the rain stopped.
In UK, Fujinami took a different approach with an information, and he actively asked for the competition report. He asked the report when he saw the team boss at the section3 of Lap2, but Mr. Cirera responded that he did not want to tell him in detail. Yet he said Fujinami was on course for taking 2nd, and even had a chance to challenge the victory if he could keep the rhythm. Mr. Cirera has a long time relationship with Fujinami, and he must have thought it was not a very good timing to tell the exact situation, otherwise the information would have upset Fujinami's concentration.
Knowing or without knowing the consideration of his team boss, Fujinami was relaxed without any tension for being at the closing Grand Prix and being at a very good position, and he continued to ride strong, marking better score at Lap2 than the previous lap. When he arrived at the section10, the team boss approached Fujinami to tell him that there were only four points separation between Fujinami and Bou. However, Fujinami dropped five points at the section, while Bou marked clean, so the gap extended to nine. He thought his challenge to his teammate was over at that time.
At the following three sections, Fujinami failed to mark cleans, dropping a single mark at each of them. The gap to Bou extended even more, which was not a problem as the Japanese rider already thought the challenge was over, but he started to worry if the riders behind him would catch him up. When asked, the team boss encouraged the rider, "Just concentrate your riding".
Fujinami marked clean at the section14, while Bou dropped five points. The gap shrank to eight, but it was too much to do anything with one more section to go. At the final section, Fujinami carefully rode the section with a single point, after watching Raga dropping a single mark. Fujinami finished the day with 52 points, nine points more than Bou and four points less than Raga, to be 2nd.
Fujinami had no pressure and he thought the condition was good, but he started Day2 with a full mark at the section1. He never felt right on Sunday, as it seemed he had a trouble finding an integrated feeling with the bike from the beginning of the lap. He marked five consecutive cleans from the section2, but they were no near of his satisfactory riding. He then dropped another full mark at the section8 when he missed to climb up from the start of the section. Rain kept falling longer than it did on Saturday, making the surface more slippery, but it was not the reason for him being out of form. He tried many things to regain his form, but none worked.
After Lap1, Fujinami checked the competition report, and he found he was in a close battle against Challoner and Cabestany. Fujinami braised up for a fight but he could not improve his riding at Lap2. As a result, he finished six points more than Cabestany to be 6th, the worst position of the season. He at least fought off the Challenge of Challoner, as they finished at even score but Fujinami bettered the UK rider by the number of cleans.
Fujinami's 2012 season ended with the worst result of the season. He described later that it was easy to accept as he knows his riding was off on Sunday. It was as if he had the lesson to find out which stones are unturned and needed to be worked out to prepare for the coming season.
With 2nd and 6th at the Grand Prix of UK, Fujinami finished 5th in the final standings. It looks like at the moment that the team Japan is not planning to participate in the Trial des Nations this year, it will be the start of a long off season to be ready for Takahisa Fujinami.
I had a finger injury, but it was not the reason why I was not as strong as I needed to be this year. I started the season with 5th without an injury, you know. Raga moved up to take 2nd in the championship with the results in UK. I congratulate him for that, but it would be much easier for me to accept if it was Fajardo who finished 2nd, because Raga made such a huge jump up. Although I am not happy to finish 5th in the season, at the same time, I know I had a good chance to finish 2nd. I am glad to know at least I am still capable of.
I have never finished outside the top 3 since 1999 season. One time FIM board members praised me with my results, which I kept finishing at the top for 13 years. It was not easy to do of course, but because I have done it for many years, it became a sort of ordinary thing for me. Now I am outside top 3, and I realize how hard it was and how much effort I had to put for 13 years. And at the same time, the result gave me the energy to re-capture the position in the coming season. Thank you very much everybody for all the thoughts and supports for me in 2012 season.
|1||Toni Bou||Repsol Montesa Honda||43|
|2||Takahisa Fujinami||Repsol Montesa Honda||52|
|3||Adam Raga||Gas Gas||56|
|9||Michael Brown||Gas Gas||111|
|10||Alexz Wigg||Gas Gas||126|
|1||Toni Bou||Repsol Montesa Honda||12|
|2||Adam Raga||Gas Gas||20|
|6||Takahisa Fujinami||Repsol Montesa Honda||58|
|8||Wigg Alex||Gas Gas||86|
|10||Michael Brown||Gas Gas||99|