2013 X-Trial World Championship Round2

Barcelona, Spain 10/2/2013

Great Evening, 3rd on the Podium

photoAt the round2 of 2013 X-Trial took place at the city of Barcelona, Fujinami struggled during the Qualification lap to finish fifth, but he regained his strength at Semi Final to finished third. The Montesa rider then proceed to the Final Lap, where he capture the third place. The mission accomplished, but then he found out he was very close from taking even the second place.

The Barcelona is often called as the home of trial, because of the many trial teams and the manufacturers base at the city. Many of the competitors including Fujinami reside nearby city as well. The city welcomed the championship round after a year of absence, but with or without the championship status, the trial event takes place in Barcelona will have a huge support from the fans, friends and the sponsors. Fujinami too sees the event very special as the VIPs of Repsol, the major sponsor for the team, come to see the event every year. For this year in particular, the students and their parents at the local Japanese school were to come to see the event, after the Japanese rider had a little lecture at the school during the last off season. It was the joint event of Indoor Enduro and X-Trial, so the number of spectators was very high, too. It was said to be nearly 15,000 spectators at the stadium in the evening.

The sections in Barcelona have had a tendency of 'all or nothing, succeed to climb up or complete fail' style in the past. Small mistakes easily end with a full mark failure, results will be everybody five or everybody clean, or more realistically everybody five except Bou, and it could be less attractive as a competition. This year, Francesc Taress, the brother of Jordi, probably better known now as the father of Pol, was in charge of the section coordination. He was probably aware of the situation, and he change the way to set up the sections. For example, there were some sections with turning. Fujinami said there were any section other than linearly set up in Barcelona as far as he could remember.

The Qualification started at 12:30, hours earlier than the event become open for public with TV coverage. Which meant, the six riders to proceed to the Semi Final would be selected before the eyes of the people, and the two riders eliminated would not seen at all by the people at the stadium nor on TV. There were eight riders to participate in the event, Bou, Cabestany, Fajardo, Ferrer, Fujinami, Raga, Challoner and Grattarola. Dabill, who finished fourth at the opening round of the season did not join as he was a wild card rider at the UK event.

photoThe procedure for the Qualification was different from what was taken place in UK, sort of the way natural for the trial competition, that a single rider to ride a section and everybody followed to ride in the order decided by the ballot. The riders were divided into the two groups according to the results at the opening round, and ballot was taken place at each group. The order was then decided as Challoner to be the first rider followed by Raga, Gattarola, and then Fujinami in the lower group, and then Bou, Fajardo, Cabestany, and Ferrer as the final starter in the higher group.

Fujinami thought that he needed to mark clean at the section1 and at least one more to avoid being eliminated. However, his plan went south from the beginning as he made a full mark error at the section1, and he spent nearly three minutes. Not only the five points hurt but he had to ride the rest of four sections in five minutes. He fived at the section2, then rode with a single point at the section3 with an intentional footing when the engine under guard stuck with the section. He fived two more to finish the lap with 21 points. As Challoner also finished with 21 points, two of them rode a speed race for a tie breaker. Fujinami was determined to win the battle to keep his hope for the evening, and won it by three seconds. However, Ferrer rode next to complete the lap with 25 points, so both Fujinami and Challoner were selected for the next lap.

The event in front of the public started in the evening with the Semi Final with the six riders to compete. There were one speed race with four observed sections, and the two more riders were to be eliminated, and the four riders to proceed to the Final. The starting order for the Semi Final was decided by the classification of the Qualification, thus Fujinami was the second to start following Challoner. As he started, he was surprised that his riding became a lot better than the previous lap. He struggled earlier as if the bike let you ride, but he felt a full control of the bike in the evening.

Having lost a single point at the section1 and 2 for time penalty, respectively, Fujinami succeeded to mark clean at the section3. It was the exact section being used as the section4 during the Qualification, where Fujinami failed for his first attempt. At the Semi Final, there were only three riders, Bou, Raga and Fujinami, who managed to mark clean. After having fived at the section4 like everybody else, Fujinami finished the lap with seven points to be third. He was four points better than Cabestany, who finished fifth, so the clean at the section3 was indeed the decisive result for the Japanese rider.

After his riding, Fujinami was asked by many people around him how he turn the things around to suddenly improve his performance. He wished he knew the secret, but he was absolutely clueless. Once he was out of shape that he thought he was hopeless for the evening, but he picked up the rhythm to proceed to the Final. Then he was pumped up and wanted to finish up on the podium, which would be the result makes a huge difference for his confident, too.

photoFujinami set his target to Fajardo, and he tired to be ahead of the Spaniard. The Montesa rider lost the battle at the Double Lane but cancelled the disadvantage at the section1, when the Beta rider lost one more point for the time penalty. Fujinami shared the same points with Fajardo for the section2 and 3, but he bettered the Spaniard by two points, one point with two time penalty points, to finish ahead of the Spaniard, who failed at the section.

Job well done, and Fujinami was thrilled for his podium finish. But then, he found out that Raga, who finished after him finished second to beat him by only two points. The Montesa rider was still happy, but the results became a bit disappointing, as he had a chance to ride the section2 with one point with one time penalty. And if he could do that, he could have finished second. It was all 'what if' story, and of course Fujinami was very happy to stand on the podium, considering being completely out of shape at the Qualification. It was the great results for him for confident boost to know the feel with the bike, which would bring out the good results.

photoFujinami told us he did not know the reason for his sudden improvements, but all those support from the people, fans and friends, sponsors and everybody at the stadium pushed him and gave him the strength. It is always a good feeling to have a big support from the people, and then rider can cheer up the people with a good result for an appreciation, which for Barcelona, the third place on the podium from Takahisa Fujinami.

Quote from Fujigas:

I have been focusing on practicing No-Stop riding for the coming Outdoor competition lately, and seldom do the practice for Indoor. We had non titled indoor event at Toulouse a week before the Barcelona round, so I took time to have an intensive training for indoor at the Montesa's practicing site this week, and I think that paid off too. Still all the support from the people gave me the strength to finish third. The Barcelona event is special with or without championship. The coverage of the event will be broadcasted over and over after the event, so I can feel good watching the show with my good result for a while. It is not a secret that I am not very good at indoor competition, nor I like the sections in Barcelona, but as I look back, my results in Barcelona have not been so bad. I don't know why. The one thing for sure is that it is wonderful to be able to feel great. Thank you for your support.

2013 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Round2 Barcelona
Final Lap and Semi Final
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 2+5
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 15+6
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 16+7
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 18+10
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
6 Jack Challoner Beta 17
Qualificarion Lap
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 0
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 2
3 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 10
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 21
6 Jack Challoner Beta 21
7 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 25
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 25
1 Toni Bou 40
2 Jeroni Fajardo 21
3 Albert Cabestany 21
4 Adam Raga 19
5 Takahisa Fujinami 17
6 Alexandre Ferrer 10
7 James Dabill 9
8 Jack Challoner 7
9 Matteo Grattarola 4
10 Micheal Brown 3