2013 Trial World Championship Round8

Moto Club Monza Barzio, Italy 7/7/2013

Had to settle with 3rd

photoAt the round8 of Trial World Championship took place in Italy, Takahisa Fujinami finished third to stand up on the podium after three rounds. It may sound one happy result, but the fact was far from the result to celebrate. He was well in the position to capture the second place until the very end of the day, but he made mistakes and settled with the third place.

As Montesa released the new trial bike in the market, Fujinami and Bou came to Italy with some new parts installed on their bike, such as the fuel tank with the similar shape of the production model as well as the slimmed down rear fender. Still, fundamentally the bikes were the same from the previous round.

The cause of the clutch problem that Fujinami faced in Andorra was not pinned down, but the symptom did not seem to come out again after some of the parts were exchanged. Free from the problem, Fujinami felt well in Italy and enjoyed his riding. Most of all, he did not waste too many chances, and kept the penalty point as minimum as possible. Some of the fives he dropped were at the tough challenges, where his rivals also struggled, thus the point gap did not extend too much.

In Italy, IT score calculation system like we saw at Motegi Japan was in operation. The scoring data input by the observers were sent to the central computer at the home base to show how the competition was going in real time. Before heading into the second lap, Fujinami went back to the paddock and checked the competition status. There Fujinami found he was third with a slim margin to the second place.

Fujinami rode steadily at Lap2. One of the example showed he was in form was his riding at the section2. There was a big step-2.5 meters high-after loose gravels. Everybody except the two riders failed the challenge at Lap2. Bou and Fujinami, the two Montesa riders rode out the section with two points, respectively.

photoFujinami kept his rhythm at Lap2 to finish with 19points. He remained third, but it was the best score of the lap. Bou was the second best with 20 points and Raga followed with 21 points. Two laps combine, it was Bou convincingly stood up on top with 28 pionts followed by Raga with 39 points. Fujinami followed with 41 points, two points down from the Gas Gas rider.

The weather became uncertain when Fujinami went into Lap3. He then started to pick up his pace, passing Fajardo to ride as many sections as possible before the rain started to fall, or even finish the Lap while the condition was dry. Then it was at the section6 when he mishap happened to the Japanese rider. It was the section, where only Bou and Raga previously succeeded to ride out. Fujinami fived again at his third attempt. The penalty points itself were not a real problem, but he had to let go his bike when he made the mistake. His Montesa hit the rock, and the left side of the engine part cracked and the oil started to leak.

Thanks to an urgent repair work, Fujinami continued his riding and marked clean at the section7. However the oil started to leak again from the repaired area as the oil pressure went up. The next section was in a distance about ten minutes riding up in the mountain. Fujinami and the minder decided that it was not possible to continue riding with the problem, and the minder returned to the paddock to bring the spare parts.

Fujinami's time would run out in about 25 minutes. Fortunately, the next time check was located after the section10. The imminent task for him was to ride the section8 to the section10 in 25 minutes including about ten minutes travel from the section7 to the section8. Then he would have
20 minutes to ride the two remaining sections to finish the lap.

Fujinami waited patiently nearby the exit of the section7, and finally the parts was brought to him. It took a short time to change the case cover, and he had 12 minutes till the next time check. They could not add the oil, so he could not ride in fast pace in the transport section. He noticed the engine started to make a strange noise, too. He arrived at the section8 with six minutes remaining, and he marked clean. He escaped the section9 as everybody dropped five points except Bou at Lap1. Fortunate for him, he did not have to wait in the line as there was no one was around the sections anymore when he arrived. He was slightly surprised to find he had the four minutes remaining when he marked clean at the section10 to have his time checked.

photoWhen Fujinami arrived at the section11, he was informed that Raga dropped a full mark there. There was not a lot of word, but the message was clear for Fujinami. He knew the team boss told him not to drop five points. However, Fujinami made the similar mistake as the Spaniard did to end with five points. The surface of the section was torn off after many riders had gone through. He recalls that although he had an enough time to ride the last two sections, he was slightly impatient and he entered the section without checking the section carefully enough. It was a 'Oh No!' moment for himself and the people around the section, too. He was encouraged that he still had a chance for taking the second place.

Then there was the final section consisted of a triangular rock to climb at the end after passing the tough challenge, where Fujinami marked clean at the previous laps. He had a little worry from the previous experiences for the risk of hitting the gate marker at the top, so for his final challenge, he chose to ride a bit away to the left to have more room from the marker to be cautious. Then there would be only a meter to finish the section.

99.9% of people around the scene had no doubt that Fujinami would have no problem to mark clean especially from his previous performances. Consequently his second position seemed to be a sure thing. Fujinami started his riding, taking the different line, climbing up the section. He also knew he had to climb up higher by choosing the left side than the previous laps. However, he could not bring the bike up enough to went over the top of the triangular rock and the engine's under-guard hit the rock. It could have been no problem if he could slid down, but instead, he went end over end, falling from the top of the rock.

photoEverybody including Fujinami himself could not believe what happened. It was the similar case of Fajardo, when the Spaniard made a mistake at the very final section of the day2 at Motegi to spoiled the chance of the victory with just a few meter to go. In Italy, it was Fujinami's turn to spoil the chance. He knew exactly how the Spaniard felt on Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Just looking at the picture, it seems a happy result to stand at the third on the podium after the three rounds, but it was very disappointing, regrettable end of the day for Takahisa Fujinami.

Quote from Fujigas:

I was away from the podium finish for some rounds. I know I should take this third place positively but I cannot. I am so disappointed to myself. I rode steadily without making too many mistakes even when having a problem with the bike after the crashing. I fought patiently but in the end I made two mistakes, which I definitely had to avoid at all cost. Still, my condition is good, so I will try hard not to make such mistakes to ruin my chances at the next round.

2013 Trial World Championship
Round8 Moto Club Monza Barzio, Italy
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 43
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 67
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 71
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 73
5 Albert Cabestany Sherco 86
6 James Dabill Beta 90
7 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 102
8 Michael Brown Gas Gas 103
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 146
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 141
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 109
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 105
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 102
6 James Dabill Beta 79
7 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 57
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 46