2014 Trial World Championship Round11

La Mongie, France 27/7/2014

Going down to 5th with 6th

photoTrial World Championship made the last stop in the busiest schedule of the year, having three Grand Prix in three weeks, for the French Grand Prix took place at La Mongie. It is the famous ski resort, also known as the prestigious bicycle race, Tour de France. The city locates about 1,800 meters above the sea level, and the sections situated further up in altitude as the Section1 was set up about 2,200 meters. Almost all the sections located above the altitude of 2,000 meters. Many sections were set up with dry rock, so the small number of the penalty point was expected. Still it was uncertain how the non-stop rule would play into the results.

It was the same week as Tour de France took place. Crossing the Pyrenean valleys nearby the Grand Prix venue is known as the big challenge. People arriving at the venue on Thursday halted their preparation a while to observe furious battle of the bicycle race. Fujinami missed the opportunity as he arrived at the venue on Friday.

photoFujinami had a concern toward the competition in France. The condition of the knee he hurt again in UK become better, but far from the ideal condition. The Section6 found to be impossible as the challenge would give a lot of stress to the legs and the knees. He tried to find the better way-riding line less stressful to the knee-but he could not, so he was going to have to accept at least three fives at the section. Other than that, as traction was good on the dry surface, overall, there were not so many big challenges.

Although the severity in general was not very high, Fujinami did not expect the top two would finish the day with only two points, respectively, with 12 points separation to the third rider. The judgements by the observers were somewhat forgiving, and momentary stopping was disregarded at many cases.

Fujinami made a good start right off with five cleans, unlike being stiff not to be able to perform his own ride at the beginning of the day in the past rounds. He fived at the following Section6, as he expected earlier, and he moved on to ride with two more a single point riding to keep the penalty point in a single digit.

photoThe Section9 did not seem to be a big challenge itself. However the allotted time was beginning to be a concern. The time did not seem to be long enough, and the traffic jam was forming up with 125 class riders and the world class riders. To save the time, Fujinami decided to do give up precise inspection before his riding and ask his minder to give him instruction in the sections. At the end of the section, there were four stepped stones with run up area at a grass grown slope. It was tricky but manageable for the world class riders. Fujinami, however, span up the rear tire when he tried to accelerate for the steps, and his bike lost its forward movement. Thus another five points failure. To communicate with the minder, Fujinami rode slowly toward the obstacles. Acceleration was a bit harder than normal circumstance to have the right momentum. It would have been no problem if he carried the speed before the challenge.

Fujinami figured in the morning that he needed to keep the penalty point around ten points for the podium finishes, and by watching Cabestany, who was right behind him, he knew his theory was right. He realized he was in trouble.

At Lap2, Fujinami made some a single point mistakes at the beginning. He fived at the Section6, then he went on to finish the lap with 11 points. It was a better lap than the previous one, but it was not an enough recovery if he was to make a catch up.

photoAt Lap3, weather became uncertain. Fujinami decided to take a chance to speed things up to complete before the condition got worse. It was a risky choice but it was the only way to move up the position. He lost three points at the Section4, then again fived at the Section6. He made a single point error at the Section7, but he kept the penalty point within a single digit. It seemed he was doing well with his plan until at the Section9.

He went through with enough speed on the grass slope to succeed the triple steps. He would have marked clean if he could pull the front end up to go down to the bottom. But he slid the rear tire at the top of the obstacles when he tried to pull up the front, and he ended with forward roll to crash. He lost five points as well as suffering some damages to the bike. He hurt his fingers, too.

Fujinami had the three more sections to go, and it did not look like to rain until the finish. He took some time to have his bike fixed, and slowing down the pace for the rest of the sections. He finished the day with 5 hours and 3 minutes and 3 seconds in the end, to be one of the fastest riders to complete the day.

photoThree fives at the Section6 were unavoidable for Fujinami with his physical condition, but making two more five point mistakes at the Section9 were not. If he succeeded one of them, he could finish fifth ahead of Casales. But catching up Cabestany to be fourth was not possible even succeeding with two of them.

Fujinami moved down to fifth at the point standings three points behind Fajardo. Cabestany at third is now ten points away from the Japanese rider. Fujinami has not given up though, as he lost third in the championship at the final Grand Prix after arriving there with ten points advantage. Same thing may happen at the battle for third in the championship.

Quote from Fujigas:

I feel bad that I can only tell you about bad results. I had a trouble to find the right setting to meat the high altitude, but it was not the reason for me to finish at bad position. I made a good start from the beginning, but there are many easy mistakes, too. We are into a month of interval, and it seems that many will go to a vacation. I do not need one because I happen to live in the middle of a resort area anyway, and more importantly, I have to keep doing my physical training. I will improve the strength of muscles to make the condition of my knee better. I look forward to arriving at the final Grand Prix to do well and move back up at the standings, before entering the off season to concentrate on the treatment on my knee.

2014 Trial World Championship
Round11 La Mongie, France
1 Adam Raga Gas Gas 2
2 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 2
3 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 13
4 Albert Cabestany Sherco 22
5 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 34
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 39
7 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 42
8 Pol Tarres Sherco 63
1 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 185
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 178
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 133
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 126
5 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 123
6 James Dabill Beta 97
7 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 89
8 Alexandre Ferrer Sherco 76