2013 Trial World Championship Round5 and Round6

Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra 15-16/6/2013

Fifth on Both Days


photoBecause the venue situates at high altitude, around 2,000 meters above the sea, finding an adequate engine set up for the thin air is a must for the Andorra Grand Prix. Takahisa Fujinami and the team Montesa have done numerous intensive high elevation testings as well as visiting Andorra for on site checking before the Grand Prix. In Japan, Tomoyuki Ogawa also worked on high elevation testing. Thanks to all the preparation, the outcome was very satisfactory. Fujinami explained that despite all the hard work, a bit of power shortage was inevitable at Andorra in the past. This year, he could forget about altitude difference because the engine acted like when riding at regular altitude.

The sections were divided into three groups, the section1 to the section4 as the first group, the section5 was situated alone in the middle of the course, then the section6 to the section18 as the third group. There were some water sections, but mostly there were dry sections huge rocks.

Fujinami dropped first five at the section2, the section consisted of a huge rock with three continuous rock beds to follow. Severity should not have been so high if he could stop to ride one by one, but it was tough to keep it in one motion. At the following section, the observer fived Fujinami for stopping. He did not think he stopped, though. The judgement standard in Andorra was far more strict than the previous rounds in U.S.A. He felt it was probably more strict than what they were at the Japanese rounds. He was confident to get all fived by riding the way they did in the U.S.A.

Dropping ten points at the beginning of the lap did not disturb Fujinami too much. The severity from the section6 to the section12 was not particularly high, and he went on to ride steadily to regain his confidence. Then there were some tough challenges at the end of the lap, the section13, 15 and 16. Fujinami dropped two points at the section13, three points at the section15, and fived at the section16. He marked two cleans to finish the lap.

photoIn Andorra, the paddock area locates in the city, then the competitors travel up in the mountain around 2,000 meters for the sections. The course is long, about 23 km per lap. It takes about a hour to just travel around the course, so there was also a competition against allocated time, too. Fujinami went passed Fajardo in a middle of the lap to make up the time. Still, when he finished Lap1, he only had ten seconds left. All the eventual top four finishers dropped time penalty at Lap1, so Fujinami's plan worked out.

At Lap2, many riders started to improve their riding as the condition of the sections got better. Fujinami however could not pick up his rhythm, and he finished the day with 44 points, in a tie with Fajardo. The Spaniard took the fourth place by the number of the cleans, thus Fujinami finished fifth.


Modifications took place at the three sections to bring the severity higher for Sunday. Although Fujinami's fived again at the section2, he marked the total of eight cleans to arrive at the section10; one of the toughest challenges on Sunday. While majority of the precedent riders failed, Fujinami rode with two points. He marked clean at the following section, then rode with a single point at the section12, another big challenge after being modified.

Fujinami heard the news that Bou was strong on Sunday. The Montesa team mate, meanwhile, could not sleep at all on Saturday night in a frustration after giving away the victories to Raga for three consecutive times. Fujinami figured Bou would be the first, and he would be involved in the battle for third or second considering the way he was riding.

The section15 was another tough challenge on Sunday. Fujinami rode steadily, and surely, he could have finish the section with an intensional footing to ride out with a single point. Though, he got a bit too eager and challenged for a clean. His challenge did not work as the riding line was a tire width off to end with five points. He went on to mark three cleans to finished the lap with 13 points, which was not a bad result as many except Bou finished with similar points.

Fujinami started his Lap2, and again, he dropped five points at the section2. He had a hard time to decide which gear to choose; the second or the third, and which engine mapping to choose. On Saturday, he chose the mapping for more power, and he succeeded with a single point at Lap2. The engine held the power despite almost stalling but to bring him up to the top of the obstacle. On Sunday in turn, he lost the momentum for both times and could not climb up. Still, at the point, because of the positive feedback from his riding at Lap1, he was motivated to do well at the rest of the Lap2. A team staff gave an encouragement to Fujinami that he would finish better on Sunday than yesterday. Fujinami had room to tell a joke back to him, saying, "Has to be, because yesterday's were the worst."

However, around the section8, Fujinami felt some odd feeling with the clutch. Then the clutch became to early to engage and engagement became too rapid, too. He could have gone back to the paddock for a quick repair if it were an ordinary round, but the paddock was so far away in the city at Andorra round. There was no option but to continue riding the bike as was for the rest of the day. Ironically, he is one the most sensitive rider with the clutch feeling and demands precise clutch set up. The clutch control became crucial to ride under the non stop rule, and being struggled to adapt with the sudden change of the clutch feel, Fujinami fived all the sections, where required a precise clutch control to ride with. As a result, he finished Lap2 with 22 points, nine points more than the previous lap.

photoWhen Fujinami arrived at the finish area, he found Dabill, who started with five points disadvantage, had finished three points ahead of him. It was at least good to know that Fajardo was not in form at Lap1 dropping 30 points. Having 17 points cushion in between, the Japanese rider was almost certain that he would finished ahead of the Spaniard. However, the shocking news came in soon that Fajardo finished the second lap with only five points to be even score with Fujinami. To ride the lap with a single digit points, he must have ridding with a lot of cleans. Fujinami thought he did not have to hear the final results, so he went back in to the pit to start packing his stuff.

It took a while for Fujinami to find that he actually finished fifth ahead of Fajardo. The Japanese rider did not know that both riders finished with exact scores, same penalty points, same number of cleans, one point, three points, and fives. The only difference between the two was their finishing time. Fujinami finished more than three minutes quicker than Fajardo, thus the fifth place went to his. It is always good to finish upper. Still, it was not a very pleasant position to be at. On the way to go back home, Fujinami was surprised to find that despite finishing fifth for both days, his third at the point standings was still intact.

Quote from Fujigas:

I was off the rhythm for both days. I had a bit of hard time with the non stop rule and then the clutch problem struck me, but it was not the only the reason why I could not perform the way I was supposed to. Simply, I was not strong enough. Except that my position remained at third in the point standings, there was nothing to feel good about. It was the weekend to forget for me. Toni and Adam have been doing so well, and I can't even compete together. I will try to be in the battle. Most of all, I need to win again.

2013 Trial World Championship
Round5 and Round6 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 21
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 26
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 55
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 44 (25 Cleans)
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 44 (19 Cleans)
6 Daniel Oliveras Ossa 64
7 James Dabill Beta 65
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 75
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 5
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 17
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 28
4 James Dabill Beta 32
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 35 (26 Cleans, 1x1, 1x2, 0x2,6x5 Time 05:07:19)
6 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 35 (26 Cleans, 1x1, 1x2, 0x2,6x5 Time 05:11:19)
7 Daniel Oliveras Ossa 58
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 61
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 107
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 106
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 81
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 79
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 79
6 James Dabill Beta 63
7 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 37
8 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 33