2013 Trial World Championship Round1 and Round2

Twin Ring Motegi 27-28/4/2013

Fourth on Saturday, Victory on Sunday

photo2013 Trial World Championship has kicked off at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan. Because of the fact that the Motegi rounds are well designed, compactly set up to provide easy access and viewing for the spectators, the total length of the distance the competitors travel during the competition was found not to be enough to meet the requirement. To compensate, this year, the event took place with three laps, each consisted of 12 sections.

It was the first rounds for everybody to see the competition under the new rule, non stop rule. The starting order for this year will be decided according with the point standings at the previous round, therefore for the Saturday's event in Motegi, it was decided as the final standings in 2012.

There were also some changes at the Montesa champ. Their bike had major modifications in 2009, but since then there have not been a big change except some changes such as engine management mappings. For 2013, they had major modifications with the engine. The most noticeable thing from looking was that the engine now has two spark plugs. There were some changes with the clutch, too.

Tomoyuki Ogawa, who was in charge of the bike testing has visited in Spain during his off season for further refinements for the bike. Ogawa was there in Motegi to participated in the Japanese rounds with the bike he put a lot effort for its development as well.


photoFujinami's starting order was fifth from the last, based on his standing, but it did not hurt him so much, as he has never had the best luck with the ballot anyway.

Overnight rain on Friday brought the severity of all the section higher than originally designed. The section1 was difficult with logs lying on the hill, and the surface was very muddy. Also the section was long, and high concentration was required because of the new non-stop rule. So overall, the section was physically and mentally very demanding. Fujinami started his competition with a clean.

The section2 appeared to be difficult to ride without stopping. Although Kuroyama marked clean then Ogawa rode with three marks, it did not mean that the section was easy for the world class riders, as Dabill made a full mark error. Fujinami rode strong until the end of the section, but his bike stop its movement and he suffered a full mark too.

Fujinami slid the front tire and fell down from the big rock at the section3. He was fortunate that he only dropped five points but the bike, as Calres held the bike from falling down. Two consecutive fives but Fajardo and Dabill also did, so, it was not a hopeless situation for Fujinami. Still, Bou and Raga both rode with two cleans, Cabestany rode with two and three points, so the point gap to the front group started to extend.

The section4 and 5 were the usual rocky section at Motegi. They were long and Fujinami found them as his weak point in Motegi every year. Yet, he managed to ride with a single point at the both sections. Meanwhile Raga kept his flawless riding and continued the all cleans. The gap between Fujinami and the top rider became 12 as early as at the section5.

There was a dirt slop at the section6, and it was difficult because of the soil being so wet. The section7 was a combination of the muddy slope with rocks, and it was a tough challenge, too. While Raga dropped his first five at the section6, Fujinami rode with two and three points, respectively, so the gap stayed the same.

There was an extremely muddy and rocky hazard at the section8 with the concrete blocks as the special feature. The beginning of the section with the small rocks was also difficult because of the non-stop rule, which many riders suffered five points. All the top riders chose to take a tricky line to avoid climbing the two blocks consecutively. Fujinami pre-cautiously footed to ride with two points, while Raga dropped another five points. Cabestany rode with a single point, and Bou marked clean.

With four sections remained, Cabestany led the field with six points followed by Bou with seven points. Raga was third with ten points, then Fujinami was nine points behind at fourth.

photoFujinami could not picked up his rhythm for the rest of the lap. He marked clean at the section9, but he dropped a single point at the section10, then a full mark error at the section11. He rode with three points at the final section to finish the lap with 28 points to be fourth with nine points separation to the third placed Cabestany, who dropped two consecutive fives to move down from the top to third at the end of the lap. Bou moved up to first with ten points followed by Raga with 15 points.

Fujinami continued to feel awkward at the next lap, and could not show his own riding. He managed to mark clean at the section2 and 3, where previously he dropped five marks, but he fived at the section4 and 5 in turn. Cabestany lost the rhythm at Lap2, so the point gap shrunk a bit, but Fujinami was not in a good shape to make a full fight back, either.

At Lap3, Fujinami made a three consecutive fives from the section3 to 5, and he lost the chance to move up his position. As the day was over, Cabestany finished the with 63 points, only six points better than Fujinami, so the podium finish was not completely out of the reach for the Japanese rider, as he reviewed the day's competition.

Before the season got started, Fujinami thought introduction of non-stop rule would be interesting to see how it would pan out. He made a welcoming comment for the new rule. The results on Saturday tuned to be a disappointment that he could not take advantage of the rule at all.

After the competition, Fujinami had a strategy meeting with his minder how they would fight on the coming battle.


photoFujinami's started one spot better on Sunday, and he was determined not to repeat the disappointment he had on the previous day. Fujinami started off the day strongly with three consecutive cleans, where he dropped five points at the section2 and 3 on the previous day.

Fujinami talked with his team mate at the Saturday evening asking for a lesson how to conquer the section4, one of his weak points at Motegi. When he came to the section on Sunday, he asked for a quick report about the condition of the section to his country riders, Kuroyama and Ogawa, who just finished their riding. Both of them stopped to share their time to help the country man. Thanks to those advices, Fujinami rode the section with a single point. Fujinami continued to show his improvement as he rode the section5 with a single mark, where he dropped two fives in three laps on the previous day.

At the moment, the battle was intense as Bou was first with zero point, Fajardo was second with a single point, then Raga and Fujinami were the joint third with two points.

Then the power balance started to change at the section6. First Raga made a full mark error, which allowed Fujinami to move up to third. Then at the section7, Bou made a full mark error. Fajardo and Fujinami moved up their positions to first and second, respectively. Bou moved down to third then Raga and Dabill were the joint fourth with seven points.

Overnight modification took place for the section8 putting some logs in between the concrete blocks to lower the severity, and the detour line became unavailable in turn. It did not seem to make the things easier for Bou, as he made a full mark error again as he did at Lap3 on Saturday. He was the only rider to drop five points at the section among the top riders. Bou dropped three points at the section11, then made another full mark error at the section12. Very much uncharacteristic for the reigning champion.

Fujinami meanwhile marked clean at the section8 followed by three more cleans to come to the section12. The final section of the lap was a tough challenge not solely because of the severity of the hazard itself but to ride without stopping. There were two choices, one was to make intensional footing to bring the bike up, and another was taking a line for a clean, which of course required intense concentration. Fujinami chose the former way to ride with two points. Raga dropped a single point. Fajardo was in form on Sunday and he rode the section with a single point, which was indeed the sole penalty point he dropped at Lap1.

photoFujinami dropped four points at Lap1 to be second with three points gap to Fajardo. It was not a huge gap, and he had plenty of chances to move up the position, especially there were two more laps to compete.

Fajardo continued to be in form at Lap2 marking six consecutive cleans at the beginning. Raga and Bou both dropped a single mark at Lap4, and Fujinami dropped a single mark at the section5. The point gap then became four.

At the section7, Fajardo made his first and the only mistake of the lap to drop three points. Fujinami dropped three points as well, so the gap stayed the same.

While there were many cleans at Lap2, Raga dropped a single mark at the section7 then five points at the section8 to start to get out of the reach from the top battle.

As Lap2 was over, Fajardo was first with four points, Fujinami was six points behind to be second with ten points. Bou, who dropped 18 points at Lap1, bounced back to ride with a single point at Lap2 and he moved up to third.

Things shifted a bit at the section4 of Lap3. Fajardo started his ride, after Fujinami marked clean and left the section for the next. The Spaniard was unable to carry the momentum at the end of the section and stopped. It was Fajardo's first five of the day, and the point gap between the Spaniard and Fujinami shrunk down to a single point.

Fujinami did not have a chance to see Fajardo's five point mistake. He only knew the point situation from the electric score board showing that 10 for Fujinami and 4 for Fajardo, when he went back to the paddock after Lap1. He made a full mark error at the very next section to extended the gap by himself. It was in fact the sole five point mistake by the Japanese rider on Sunday.

Fujinami, still not aware of the point situation, rode mistake free from the section6 to the section11. He overheard that Fajardo made a mistake somewhere, but he did not hear in detail. It was the team decision not to tell the situation to the Japanese rider, either.

Fajardo passed Fujinami to start his try at the section11, and the Spaniard dropped his second five of the day. Fujinami knew the gap shrunk down, but he did not know how close their point gap became.

photoBefore the final section, Fujinami took his time to inspect the section. Fajardo could not wait and started his try. Fujinami watched his rival carefully rode not to foot nor stop. The Spaniard approached to the final slope to climb, and it seemed no doubt that he would clean to finish the lap to take the victory, especially the section was not a tough challenge for many of the riders. However Fajardo's rear tire slid in the climb and lost the momentum. Fajardo crouched down without picking up his bike, buried his head in his hands being in despair knowing he made a decisive mistake. He knew he ruined the chance for the second victory of his career.

Fujinami knew the point gap shrunk down, but he did not know how serious the situation became. Then he was called up by Mr.Cirera and had a brief advice. The team boss did not tell him the point difference itself but tell him to be sure to ride out the section. Before Fujinami started his try, Fajardo also gave a word, "The victory is yours if you clean", but Fujinami pretended not to hear.

One more section to ride, Fujinami took a moment to calm down, and he entered the section. From the beginning to the middle of the section, Fujinami rode with extra caution, just like Fajardo did. He took the exact line as Fajardo took, going around the rock wall, where the Spaniard went through there without problem. Fujinami however lost the balance at the turn and footed. He heard the word by Fajardo, and he thought he needed a clean. So, he thought at the moment that he blew the chance for the victory. Fujinami did not give up though, he continued his ride to finish his day strongly. He did not want to lose without giving his best.

photoFujinami rode out the section with a single point to finish the competition. The first person gave a word to Fujinami, who thought he just lost the battle, was Fajardo to congratulate. It was indeed the time that the Japanese rider realized that he won the battle.

It was the first victory for Fujinami since the UK round in 2010. His last victory in Japan went back in 2005, some eight years ago. He has tried and wanted to win so badly every year. However, the more he got eager to win, the more the chance for a victory seemed to slip away from his hands. He has competed in the past seasons knowing the importance of not having distracting thoughts, and the victory in Japan on Sunday came sort of without knowing to the Japanese rider.

Quote from Fujigas:

I would like to thank you and thank you very much for everybody. It has been a while to win my home Grand Prix, but without the support and the power from the fans I could not make it happen. I had a regrettable riding on Saturday. Toni worried and spoke to me what was wrong with me. Tony is a very good rider and he said I rode better in practice, so I though I could be more confident with my riding. His word helped me to get over to ride better on Sunday. I rode offensively for all day on Sunday, and I did not know I was fighting for the victory until the competition was over. I was told I won after I got out the final section then the sensations kicked in. This victory is very important and means a lot to me. Again, thank you very much for your support!

2013 Trial World Championship
Round1 and Round2 Twin Ring Motegi
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 25
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 45
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 63
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 69
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 74
6 James Dabill Beta 77
7 Tomoyuki Ogawa Honda 90
8 Michael Brown Gas Gas 95
1 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 16
2 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 19
3 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 20
4 Adam Raga Gas Gas 22
5 James Dabill Beta 26
6 Albert Cabestany Sherco 39
7 Michael Brown Gas Gas 40
8 Fumitaka Nozaki Yamaha 55
1 Toni Bou 35
2 Takahisa Fujinami 33
3 Adam Raga 30
4 Jeroni Fajardo 28
5 Albert Cabestany 25
6 James Dabill 21
7 Michael Brown 17
8 Tomoyuki Ogawa 14