2014 X-Trial World Championship Round3

Barcelona, Spain 9/2/2014

Sixth again, but the Knee is Recovering Favorably

photoThe round three of X-Trial World Championship took place in Barcelona, considered to be the most prestigious round of the season. The total number of the participants were eight instead of ten at the previous rounds. There were four pairings instead of five at the Qualification, and the two riders were to be eliminated. The pairing for the qualification was made after dividing eight riders into two groups, upper four and the lower four. Sixth in the standings, Fujinami picked the ballot in the lower group to be paired with Toni Bou. Probably the worst rider to have a battle against if one wanted to win. Fujinami though took the opportunity positively as he would have all the information from the other riders for being the final starter.

The first battle in the Qualification took place between Casales and Fajardo. The rookie rider showed a strong riding but it was not enough to beat the Beta rider. Casales rode with 27 points with five fives with a two point mistake. The second pairing was between Gubian and Raga, and the Spaniard took the victory while the French rider finished with 26 points with five fives with an point mistake. Then, Dabill lost the battle with Cabestany by finishing with 13 points, but he secured the place for the Semi Final.

The severity of the sections with a typical Barcelona style was high, and the degree to be either succeeded or complete failure increased. The Section1 was technical, that required to hop on the stones with rear tire. The Section2 was consisted of a huge trash can. A very tall section with a big chance to make a complete failure. Fujinami knew he would survive to Semi Final if he could stay away from the five point mistake at least at the two sections. He then expected to ride out at the Section1, 3 and 5.

photoHis plan did not work as early as at the Section1 when he made a five point failure, where he thought to ride with a single or two points. At the next section, he made another five point error, which however was s somewhat the result he expected. What he did not expected was that he smashed the exhaust pipe in the process to ruin his challenge at a section later. He went passed the difficult part of the Section3 to arrived at the V-shaped area. The engine had a hiccup and stalled as he brought the front wheel to the other side of the slope. That misfire was caused by the damaged pipe. The error did not hurt Fujinami psychologically as he knew the cause of his error. Still, both Casales and Gubian succeeded with two and one point respectively, the warning signal changed from yellow to red for Fujinami, as he went down to the bottom of the scoreboard.

Fujinami fived at the Section4 as everybody else except Bou. The next section did not seem to be easy as Raga made a five point failure. Fujinami put the engine's under guard momentary to the obstacle to ride out, and he thought it was good enough for a clean. However, the observer gave him a single penalty point. He concluded his lap by falling down from the obstacle at the Section6, another five point failure. As a result, he only succeeded at the Section5, and he finished the Qualification with 26 points, equal point with Gubian. The rule states that in the event of the multiple rider being an equalled point, the standing is decided by the result at the final section, since both Fujinami and Gubian fived at the section, the score at the previous section was taken account. Thus the Montesa ride took the sixth place with his single point riding at the Section5, where the French rider finished with five points. So the order at the Qualification was, Bou, Cabestany, Dabill,
Raga, Fajardo then Fujinami.

Being sixth at the Qualification, Fujinami again paired with the team mate at the Semi Final. Again Bou was not an easy rider to ride against, but paring with the first rider gave the Japanese rider a chance to grasp the situation of the competition, even he would lose the first speed race.

At the first paring for the Semi Final, Raga won with ten points against Dabill with 13 points. Then Cabestany won with 11 points against Fajardo with 14 points. As the two riders were to be eliminated in the Semi Final, Fujinami had the two options to keep his challenge alive; to beat Bou or to finish better than Dabill.

photoAt the speed race, the two Montesa riders showed a close fight, but Fujinami lost it in the end. Then at the first ride at the observed sections, he rode to the end but was fived because of footing plus three points time penalty. He was sure he did not make any mistake through the section, so he figured the observer probably made a call for the machine leaning. He went on to ride at the Section2 and he fived again, and he smashed the pipe as well. At the second incident, the pipe was damaged intensively and needed to be replace. The jot could not be done in time because the access to the tightening bolts was restricted by the damaged pipe, thus there was no choice for Fujinami to switch to the spare bike to ride at the rest of the sections.

At the Section3, his first ride with his spare bike, Fujinami hooked the under guard momentary to climb up the obstacle. The observer did not call the machine leaning. But instead, the Japanese rider footed at the top when the rear tire slid out. It was the better score than Fajardo's, that he rode earlier with five points, but he rode better than Fujinami with two points at the Section2 in turn.

At the final section of the Semi Final, Bou was the only rider to succeed, and the rest of the riders all fived. Fujinami succeeded to ride out only one section to finish the lap with 16 points, being three points behind Dabill and two points behind Fajardo to be sixth. Thus he was eliminated for the rest of the evening.

Fujinami could only succeeded at the two sections in the evening in Barcelona. The results were not satisfying, but his knee seemed to be a lot stronger than it was at the previous rounds. After a talk with his trainer, Fujinami decided not to take out the fluid from his knee as he has done so after the competition at the previous rounds, but to let it heal itself. Fujinami is also taken a treatment to his knee, which is to take out his blood, do some component separation, then inject the thicker and stronger blood back into his knee. Fujinami does not know exactly about the treatment, but he figures that the process makes the density of white blood cells higher. It is a sort of autogenous healing using his own blood. Fujinami hopes it will speed up the healing process.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was pity that I could succeed to ride at the two sections only. All the sections were made with 'the Barcelona taste,' and they were tricky. Still, there was the way to conquer, and you have to find it and make it stick if you want to proceed to the Final lap. About the treatment I am having to my knee, taking shots of blood back to my knee hurts a lot!

2014 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Round3 Barcelona, Spain
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 1
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 9
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 15
4 James Dabill Beta 15
Semi Final
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 1
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 10
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
4 James Dabill Beta 13
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 14
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 16
Qualificarion Lap
Win Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 4
X Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 26
Win Albert Cabestany Sherco 12
X James Dabill Beta 13
Win Adam Raga Gas Gas 15
X-DNQ Loris Gubian Ossa 26
Win Jeroni Fajardo Beta 17
X-DNQ Jorge Casales Gas Gas 27
1 Toni Bou 60
2 Albert Cabestany 39
3 Adam Raga 36
4 Jeroni Fajardo 24
5 James Dabill 23
6 Takahisa Fujinami 19
7 Loris Gubian 10
8 Jorge Casales 10
9 Steven Coquelin 3
10 Michael Brown 2
11 Alexandre Ferrer 1
12 Jack Challoner 1