2013 Trial World Championship Round9

Kramolin, Czech.Rep. 14/7/2013

Way Off, Sixth

photoAt the ninth round of Trial World Championship held in Czech.Rep., Takahisa Fujinami somehow lost the rhythm during the competition despite having a good practice on Saturday and warm up practice on Sunday morning. It was the battle of nerves with the severity of the sections was low, where every point to drop could become decisive. Fujinami made full mark errors at the beginning of Lap1 and had to ride patiently for the rest of the laps, but he never had a chance to close the gap while his rivals did not collapse in the pressure.

Fujinami figured that the showdown would be the section2 and the section3 when he inspected the sections on Saturday. Originally, there was a stepping-helping-stone at the both sections, but they were removed after having a feedback from the riders claiming that the sections appeared to be too easy.

At the one of the hardest challenge of the Lap, the section2, Fujinami failed to climb up the tipple stair case. A full mark error at the beginning of the day and knowing it would be difficult to cancel the point gap somewhat shook him up. Fujinami, recomposed and managed to ride the next section with two points. It was not an ideal riding, but it was not a bad score neither. However, after Fujinami finished his riding, his minder accidentally cut the section tape when his foot got entangled with. The observer at the section immediately called a five for the rider. Fujinami appealed that the call was inappropriate. The observer contacted the home base for an advice, and the juries supported the judgement. Thus the observer did not want to change the score. Fujinami was optimistic then that the score would be corrected after the competition, so he had his card punched out with five and headed for the next section.

Fujinami marked clean at the section4. Then at the section5, where Raga chose to make an intensional footing to ride with a single point at all three laps, eventually, Fujinami probably tried too hard by wanting for a clean, did not want to sacrifice any point when he was focusing on catching up to the top riders. His effort however did not pay off, and a five was punched out on his score card, again. Already three fives were punched out, Fujinami asked the competition report when he finished Lap1. He was then told he was around seventh place behind Ferrer. Fujinami puzzled with his performance of the day because he knew his condition was not particularly bad and he felt strong, too. He knew it was going to be a touch challenge to improve his riding to cancel his early mistakes.

photoAt Lap2, he dropped five again at the section2 after making a same error as the previous lap. He marked clean at the section3 in turn, then dropped two points at the section4. He went on to the section5 and he rode with a single mark. It was not the best of his performance to cancel the point gap, but he was able to hold back the penalty point as less as possible.

Then there was a huge mistake at the section11. "It was an easy section", Fujinami recalled. None of the eventual top nine riders dropped five marks at the section except the Montesa rider. The section consisted of about five stones consecutively laid out. It required the rider to hop on to the first stone, changing the direction of the bike at the same time, to continue jumping on to the following stones. Fujinami went to far when he jumped on to the first stone. Not being able to hop stationary to change the direction because of non-stop rule, he muscled his way despite being at the wrong place. The result was the five point failure.

Fujinami finished Lap2 with 14 points, a bit less than the previous lap, but it was not enough to close the gap to get involved with the top riders. He went back to the pit, washed his face to refresh, then spent about 15 minutes to calm down, 'resetting' himself. It was fortunate for him on that Sunday that he had about an hour of allotted time to finish Lap2. While the Japanese rider was taking time to cool down at the pit, the other riders left for their final lap. When Fujinami finally arrived at the section1, there was no one around the area. Bou and Raga were at the section2 when Fujinami arrived, but they already finished their riding and ready to leave. He continued to ride at the very end of the field for the rest of the lap, enjoyed riding alone without bothered by the traffic neither.

Fujinami rode the section2 with a single point, the first time on that day to ride out the section without a complete failure. However at the following section3, Fujinami made another full mark error. It was the moment when he realized that his hope to improve his position was gone. He dropped two more points but finished Lap3 with eight points, a lot better than the previous two laps. Looking at the result sheet, though, even if the Japanese rider rode all cleans at Lap3, it was not enough for him to bring him up to the podium position.

Fujinami visited the home base after the competition to talk about the five point penalty at the section3 at Lap1. The juries in Czech Rep., who held the right to make a decision, told Fujinami the decision was based on 'the minder altering the section', and it was final. Fujinami was well aware of the penalty for altering the section by mean of moving stones or putting helping stones and so forth, but he believed it should not have been applicate for his case. His minder accidentally cut the section tape only after his rider finished and out of the section. The decision was hard to accept, but Fujinami and the team decided not to make an official and further protest for the issue. They were sure that their protest would be granted and the score therefore to be corrected if they protested, but they held back their action, because the finish position would remain the same even the points were corrected.

photoRaga took the victory in Czech Rep. by three points advantage over Bou. The Gas Gas rider rode with a single point at Lap1 and Lap2, respectively, with another single digit at Lap3. The runner up Bou marked clean at the every section in the course of three laps, which showed riding with all cleans was not impossible, in theory. The severity of the section became higher in the past few rounds from Spain to Italy, which was welcomed by the top riders on the whole. But it was very much eased off in Czech Rep., in which even the junior class was competed with single digit riding a lap.

The judgement standard for the non stop rule was generally forgiving in Czech Rep. For instance, Fujinami changed the way of riding at the section4 at Lap3 after having two points dropped at Lap2. He was afraid of making a full mark error for stopping, and he footed instead. At the later lap, he knew the observer was forgiving for stopping, so he confidently adjusted his riding in the section but still marked clean. Fujinami points out the problem with the new rule, that checking out the observer's preference to decide the way of riding should not be a proper way of the trial competition. It has been about a half year since FIM re-introduced the non-stop rule for the trial championship, but there are still some confusions with the rule especially with the way of handling and setting up the concrete standard.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was a shameful result today. You cannot make mistakes here and there to put yourself in a high position in the top level of the competition. There will be only four rounds left in this year. I think it will be very hard to catch up the top two as they are far away from me. The battle for the third position became intense as a few riders are close together. I need to move up to third and to defend it for the rest of the rounds. It does not mean that I will concentrate in the battle against Cabestany and Fajardo, but what I will do is trying to focus on my own trial. After all, trial is all about the challenge and the battle against own self.

2013 Trial World Championship
Round9 Kramolin, Czech.Rep.
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 9
2 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 12
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 17
4 James Dabill Beta 32
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 35
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 40
7 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 46
8 Daniel Oliveras Ossa 64
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 163
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 161
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 120
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 119
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 113
6 James Dabill Beta 92
7 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 64
8 Loris Gubian Gas Gas 51