2014 Trial World Championship Round8

Comblain au Pont, Belgium 13/7/2014

Encouraging Recovery to Fourth

photoAfter about a month of short break, Trial World Championship resumed as the Belgian Grand Prix took place. After giving away third in the standings to Cabestany by finishing sixth in Italy, the objective toward the Belgian round for Takahisa Fujinami was to bring up his condition so that he would be able to mix up with the top riders.

Damp condition was not new for the Belgian Grand Prix, but it was hard to bring the bike to get going in muddy soil during section inspection and practice. Severity of the sections was very high as well. Even modifications to some sections were to take place, but a tough competition was expected on Sunday. There was a change of rule, which allowed competitors to enter the sections for inspection a day before the competition. Time allowance was the same-one and half hour-so the competitors could not take time for a deep thinking. Still, the change was a big relief for the rider to have a safety margin and a bit of breathing time during the competition. Some of the sections, however, seemed impossible to ride especially under non-stop rule, so the riders did not even need to bother inspecting.

photoFujinami assumed the condition to ride at the Belgian Grand Prix to be very slippery, so he spent time training in a similar condition during the interval. After having a difficulty to find synchronization with the bike setting at the previous rounds, he made a decision to have his bike set up specially for the Belgian Grand Prix. Still, because of the difference of the condition between the training area and the venue in Belgium, he had a slight concern if his bold decision would work out.

Modifications took place at the three sections to ease off severity on Sunday morning. Fujinami wished the overnight rain continued to fall and rained even harder during the competition to wash the surface of the sections for a better traction, but the rain stopped by the morning thus the condition looked to be same as it was on Saturday. There was a special treatment for the allotted time in Belgian, which was to have a time control at the end of the Section10. The competitor needed to ride the remaining two sections in 30 minutes including a long transport section between the Section10 and the Section11.

photoFujinami started sixth from the last based on his result in Italy, so all the top riders would do their job behind the Japanese rider. A bit too many fives, he realized he was not in form at Lap1. No one came up to inform the point situation, because the staff knew the rider did not need. Majority of team staff was around where Bou was competing, behind Fujinami, anyway.

Fujinami told us he had a problem choosing the right engine mapping for Lap1. He found the soil in Belgium a lot more slippery than what he had at the training site in Spain, and in the end, he chose the mapping for muddy condition. The choice might not be the best one, as he could not find own riding. Then rain started again before Lap2, so Fujinami changed the setting back to what he had at the training site. He expected the rain would washed the dirt and mud off from the surface of the section. The choice seemed to click and he finally found the riding enjoyable at Lap2. Not knowing the point situation, he felt he was making a strong recovery. While the riders riding before him making many fives, fans responded and was thrilled with Fujinami marking cleans at some of the sections as the first successful riding at the sections.

photoFujinami was eight at the end of Lap1 and moved up to fourth by the end of the day. Being eight was not the position to praised for, but just as he planned, making considerable recovery at the later lap was an encouraging result. Fujinami still struggles to produce the best of him, but things are looking better to look forward to the second half of season.

Quote from Fujigas:

It was good that I finally felt like I was in the command on the bike. Considering the previous results, fourth was not too bad. My objective is to be in the top three for the championship, so I have to be careful not to let Cabestany get away too much. I am happy with the way it went this time, but I will keep pushing for the next rounds. The condition of my knee seemed to be better than ever since getting hurt. If the condition would be like this, I feel like I may not need to have an operation. I am already looking forward to the next battle in UK to have some good riding.

2014 Trial World Championship
Round8 Comblain au Pont, Belgium
1 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 59
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 65
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 66
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 84
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 87
6 James Dabill Beta 88
7 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 91
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 99
1 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 128
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 124
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 96
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 91
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 83
6 James Dabill Beta 68
7 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 61
8 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 51