2014 X-Trial World Championship Round4

Milan, Italy 15/3/2014

Seventh to End Early

photoX-Trial Championship traveled to Milan for the penultimate round in the five round championship. Milan is known for manufacturing, and it hosts one of the biggest motor shows in the world. The city has a recognition as the sacred place for motorcycle, too.

Dabill, Gubian, and the Italian duo of Grattarola and Poli joined the six nominated riders of Bou, Fujinami, Raga, Cabestany, Fajardo and Casales to form ten participants for the event. If you look at it from the makes point of view, there were three Gas Gases, two Montesas, two Betas, two Ossas and a single Sherco. With the 2014's rule, the riders were divided into two groups, which for Milan, the top five and the rest of five to decide the starting order. Being sixth in the standing, Fujinami was among the rest to pick the draw, where he was designated to ride with Raga in the third pair for the Qualification.

In the first pair competed by Dabill and Gubian, the UK rider took the victory when he finished the lap with a point better than the French rider. In the second pair of Fajardo and the local rider Grattarola, the Spaniard bettered the Italian by two points, when they finished with 16 and 18 points respectively.

photoFujinami was next in the third pair, and had the two options in the Qualification. One was to take the victory in the pair, or if it was not possible, to finish better than the previous losers so that he would be in the safe position for the Semi Final. He set the target point at 15 anyway for his first lap. During the section inspection earlier, he found the Section6 to be a tough challenge. It was true that eventually everybody except Raga and Bou fived at the section. He thought losing five points was likely at the section. Then he figured he would accomplish his objective if he would mark three cleans to finish with 15 points even with two more fives.

Fujinami started his lap with a clean at the Section1, where Fajardo and Grattarola fived, and Dabill dropped a single mark at their ride previously. Encouraging start of the lap for the Japanese, and he needed two more cleans to accomplish his initial target. There was a big tree stump and the rectangular object at the next Section2, and the latter obstacle became a tough challenge for Fujinami. Since going backwards is allowed at Indoor competition unless footing five times to be five, the riders can challenge the obstacles multiple times within his allotted time. Fujinami tried to go up the obstacle for a few times but failed to five in the end.

photoFujinami started to concentrate on his practice for the Outdoor competition lately. There will be some rule changes in the series including the minimum weight goes down to 70kg as well as the sound restriction becomes more strict. To cope with the changes, the clutch setting was altered at the team Montesa. The new clutch engages gradually, where the old one in contrast engages more aggressively. He got used to the feel with the new clutch, and he thought it would work in the same way as the Outdoor riding. But it might have not suited with Indoor competition, where the obstacles are tall and tricky in general. Fujinami's riding skills at the staircases by the way became a lot better, thanks to the intensive training after suffering the injury, but for some reason, he did not feel good at those obstacles on that day. He struggled to find the way before the competition, and he kept struggling during the competition as well. He suspected that he could not adjust his riding
with the new clutch for the Indoor riding.

photoFujinami aimed for a clean at the Seciton3, but probably he was a bit too eager as he hit the engine's under guard to the obstacle to lose a point then footed afterwards to finish with two points. Probably, he did not have to lose two if he was not going for a clean and rode differently. Fujinami was not paricularly confident at the Section4, and he thought he had a fifty-fifty chance for a success. He believed it was a decisive section if he wanted to make a recovery, but he ended at the wrong side of 'fifty', falling down to five.

There were two more sections to ride with one of them appeared to be hard to conquer. Fujinami would finish with 17 points even making full mark error at the Section6 by marking clean at the Section5, and he would stand a point ahead of Grattarola. It was not as safe position as he planned at first, though. The Montesa rider fought hard and strong at the Section5, but lost a point at the very end. He countinued, and he fived at the final section as he thought he would to finish the lap with 18 points, to finish in a tie with Grattarola. Since both of them fived at the Section6, the results at the Section5 were taken account. While Grattarola marked clean, Fujinami lost one point at the section, thus it was the end of the day for the Japanese rider.

photoRaga, meanwhile followed to finish the lap with two points. The fourth pairing was won by Cabestany with eight points and Poli lost with 25 points. In the final pairing, Bou rode with all cleans to win against Casales with 19 points. As the lap was over, Fujinami was the second best loser, but it was not enough, and his evening ended with a disappointment with the seventh finish without proceeding to the Semi Final for the first time in the season.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was pity that I was disqualified for the first time this year. I finished tie in points with Grattarola but I lost it because of my riding at the Section5. Looking back my riding in the evening, the outcome could be different by not losing a point at the Section3 or hold out without mistake at the Section5. I was so close to move on to Semi Final, but I think I deserve the results today. My knee is getting a lot stronger, not much pain nor need treatment after the competition. We have one more round before the season is up, and I have another non-world championship indoor trial before THE season gets started. I am already concentrating and trying to get fully ready for the coming Outdoor championship.

2014 X-Trial World Trial Championship
Round4 Milan, Italy
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 1
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 13
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 16
4 James Dabill Beta 20
Semi Final
1 Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 0
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 7
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 11
4 James Dabill Beta 11
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 15
6 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 16
Qualificarion Lap
Win Toni Bou Repsol Montesa Honda 0
xxx Jorge Casales Gas Gas 19
Win Albert Cabestany Sherco 6
xxx Matteo Poli Ossa 25
Win Adam Raga Gas Gas 2
xxx Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Montesa Honda 18
Win Jeroni Fajardo Beta 16
BL Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 18
Win James Dabill Beta 18
xxx Loris Gubian Ossa 19
1 Toni Bou 80
2 Albert Cabestany 54
3 Adam Raga 48
4 James Dabill 32
5 Jeroni Fajardo 30
6 Takahisa Fujinami 23
7 Jorge Casales 13
8 Loris Gubian 12
9 Matteo Grattarola 5
10 Steven Coquelin 3
11 Michael Brown 2
12 Matteo Poli 1
13 Alexandre Ferrer 1
14 Jack Challoner 1