2014 Trial World Championship Round5-6

Ile Rousse, France 24-25/5/2014

Sixth the Blessing Results in Difficulties

photoThe Trial World Championship returned to Europe after the two long expeditions to Australia and Japan, as the Grand Prix of Europe held in Corsica in France. A resort island in the Mediterranean is a familiar place for motor sports, as the venue has been hosting a prestigious round for a Rally Championship, Tour de Corse.

Although the events on Saturday for the World Cup class and 125 class were conducted normally, there was a difficulty in the World Pro class, because of the length of the course was very long. Together with the fact that the World Pro class riders had to follow the two preceding classes and forced to spend additional time for waiting in line, none of the World Pro class riders were able to complete the three laps in time, precisely they used up their time when they finished the two laps. This was followed after riders' appeal for asking to extend their allotted time, but apparently their request was rejected by the organizer.

Fujinami finished the Lap1, relatively quick, with five minutes over time. It was because he rode the last half of the sections without section inspection before riding. The time was short for even Bou as he finished the lap with seven minutes over time. Fajardo, in an extreme case, finished with ten minutes over time. It took almost three hours for the riders to ride the first 12 sections. That meant they were going to have to ride the rest of the laps in only two hours, and it was impossible, and all the riders were disqualified when the Lap2 was over. There were some reports telling that Saturday's event had been boycotted, but it was not true. All the World Pro class riders tried their best but the time was just too short.

photoAt the beginning of the Lap2, almost all the riders of the World Pro class had a chance to gather nearby Section1 and 2 to discuss what they would do for the rest of the afternoon. Everybody knew they did not have enough time. There was actually an opinion to boycott, but they did not want to make things controversial, and most of all, they did not wanted to disappoint the fans eagerly waiting to see their action along the coastline. Then the riders came up to the decision to continue riding without being rushed, not making intensional fives to speed thing up to perform at their best, because hurrying would not make a big difference, and they would be disqualified sooner or later.

Fujinami's physical condition was not very good, mainly because of the knee he hurt more in Japan. He had it checked up after returning to Spain, and small fractures of the bone was found. He struggled a lot in Japan, but the revealed condition explained how tough the fight he had at his home Grand Prix. Although additional injury was not a part of his plan, he expected a big difficulty in the challenge for this year's championship when he decided not to have an operation to the injury he sustained in the off season.

Fujinami did not have any riding time before the European Grand Prix, partly because shipping back from Japan took more than expected and he did not have the bike to ride with, but mainly because the condition of knee did not allow him to ride. He had nothing but to concentrate in the training and exercise to prepare, just like what he did earlier this year.

photoWithout any time on the bike and knowing the traction in Corsica would be super high with all the rocks, which would take a toll on physically, Fujinami did not think the European Grand Prix would turn out in his favor, even before he arrived at the venue. It was somehow fortunate happening for him that the event ended a lap shorter on Saturday.

There were some talks with the organizer on Saturday evening for the next day's event. The preparation work in Fujinami's team continued until late at night to make the bike to allow Fujinami to ride comfortably by changing engine mapping and suspension settings.


There were some section modifications took place as well as the allotted time was extended to make the competition reasonable on Sunday. For Fujinami, just an overnight rest was not enough to improve the condition of the knee. He knew he would ride by taking pain killer, which was the situation he knew he had to consider when he made the decision in the last autumn. He definitely knew that he did not have a chance to win on Sunday.

His riding at Lap1 was not very good. He improved at the second lap, but missed the rhythm again at Lap3 to finish with the same penalty points as he did at Lap1. At Lap3, he particularly struggled with the stair cases. He made three consecutive fives at the beginning of Lap3 and two more fives at the lap, all from the errors he made with the staircases. Fujinami at one point thought he would have to finish as low as eighth, or even tenth as he found Casales was in good form, as well as having the news that Grattarola was competing ahead of the Japanese rider.

photoSo, he was pleasantly surprised with the sixth place finish when the day was over. Fajardo hurt his hand during warm up riding and Dabill not being in form on Sunday also contributed to Japanese results. It was hard and difficult challenge on Sunday, in which Fujinami did the best he could, but he was disappointing to find he was not too far away from fourth, when saw the results after the competition.

Fujinami's team mate Bou missed the victory on Sunday, after making the total of 27 penalty points. The winner Raga rode convincingly, with two single mark riding at Lap2 and Lap3 stood out especially. Fujinami held on to third in the standings despite his sixth finish.

Quote from Fujigas:

I have nothing to tell you about the good thing in today's competition. If I really have to pick one, marking clean at the Section8 at Lap3 was. The Italian Grand Prix awaits only in a week, so I cannot do much for any treatment to my knee except taking the fluid out. There will be a month of interval after Italy, so I will have time to take care of the injury then. I expected to have these sorts of difficulties in this season, so I will try to control myself to fight patiently.

2014 Trial World Championship
Round5-6 Ile Rousse, France
1 No Results
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 14
2 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 27
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 39
4 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 65
5 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 67
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 70
7 James Dabill Beta 71
8 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 77
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 90
2 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 88
3 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 68
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 66
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 59
6 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 47
7 James Dabill Beta 47
8 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 38