World Trial Championship Round 4 Duluth, U.S.A.

The forth round of world trial championship was held at Duluth in Minnesota U.S.A., the city by the Lake Superior. The venue held the world trial round 2 years ago. After winning the Japanese Grand Prix Fujinami flew back to his base in Spain prior to his US trip. Achieving his first perfect victory at round 3, it would be a test round for him to prove it was real and repeat his performance he had shown at his home round.

Day 1 - Saturday, June 5th

Due to the tight schedule in the season, the team decided to use two motorcycles alternatively, and sent the secondary bike to the US. It was the bike Fuji rode in indoor championship. Although the team had extensive modification to adjust the bike as close as Fuji's main bike in outdoor, it was undeniable that Fuji felt a slight uneasiness on the bike, which he had not ridden for quite some time.

Fuji was at the pinnacle of his condition in the US. Fuji's trainer Mr. Kamata was there as the previous round, Fuji's physical management was perfect too. Although he had a little cold as he arrived in the US, it wasn't too much to worry about after all.

Most of the sections were way too easy when the competitors observed them on Friday. The organizer responded the petition presented by the competitors and modified the sections to make them more difficult.

There were 14 A-class riders entered the event. They weredivided by 6 for ballot, and Lampkin and Fuji were left to decide the final starting position. Fuji drew the second from the last.

It was a torrential rain on Saturday, making the condition extraordinary with the sections which had been modified to be more difficult. Rain kept falling and muddy areas became uncontrollably slippery, there was no choice to put their feet down to move forward with 3 points in some areas. However not all the sections became more difficult, for the rain washed the dirt away to provide better grip in some areas.

Fuji made a lot of mistake on lap1. Apart from the section 9 where no one was able to attack with flooding, he failed to score clean from section 5 to 12. He knew he was off, and he felt his hope for the victory was fading away. But when lap1 was over he found that other riders were not doing well either. Lampkin finished the lap on top with 24 points followed by Jarvis 26, and Fuji was third with 27 points, only 3 points gap. It wasn't very bad position to recover at lap2.

For lap2, Fuji tried to concentrate not worry about how other would do and tried to focus on his riding. Lampkin made a major mistake at section 3 and broke his bike. It was a huge step about 4 meters, and he smashed his front end into the rock, breaking a front fork bracket. Fuji was there and watched his major rival's misfortune, still it did not make Fuji feel any better, knowing the hard time makes champion stronger. Fuji knew how strong Lampkin was, and he was sure Lampkin would come back up.

As lap2 was over, Raga finished on top with 17 points. Fuji was second with 1 point behind and won the day by 4 points. Lampkin clearly lost his rhythm after the crash, and he continued to add penalties. It was third consecutive victory for Fuji. But he too was off the pace, and it wasn't truly a satisfactory result for him. It was one of those 'lucky wins', which Fuji had not experienced before.

Day 2 - Sunday, June 6th

It rained throughout Saturday but it stopped about the time for the prize ceremony of day1. On Sunday, the sun showed up and the weather turned to be very beautiful. As the weather drastically changed, some of the sections became easy, but overnight alteration took place at some sections, it was hard to say if it became easier or more difficult than the previous day. Fuji found it was more slippery on lap1 compared to day 1.

Lap1 didn't start out well for Fuji and he fived at section 2. Lampkin too fived at section 3, it was a seesaw game between Fuji, Lampkin and Raga. Lapmkin showed decent performance and kept his lead, but at section 13, another misfortune struck him. He missed the marker, which was altered from Saturday and fived at the section appeared to be very easy. A huge set back for the main rival, still Fuji knew it was going to be very tough battle. It was a battle against 7 times champion Lampkin and 2 times indoor champion Raga, both are very dangerous riders.

Although Fuji finished lap1 on top and built 2 points lead over Raga, he finished the lap before he was able to pick up his rhythm. He didn't feel he was at his best.
For lap2, Fuji decided to keep an eye on two of his main competitors. One thing Fuji was lucky for the lap was that he could observe how they attacked the sections without risking his time because of his starting order.

Fuji was first to add 1 point at section 2, followed by Lampkin and Raga at section 3. At section 5 all three added 1 point, and Fuji and Raga added another point at section 7. It was close and severe battle, and the persistency became the key for the victory.

After a severe mental battle, Lampkin managed to keep the score lowest with 2 points, and he finished at top for the lap, Fuji and Raga followed him with 3 points. Fourth rider Bou meanwhile finished the lap with 15 penalty points, showing the level of competition the top three riders performed.

So the day 2 was over and Fuji won it with 15 points against Lampkin and Raga who both had 17 points. Raga had to settle for third on the podium with number of cleans.

It was Fuji's second time to achieve the perfect victory. He became a regular winner, and he got used to having a perfect victory. However Fuji wasn't too much thrilled about his results, for there still a big goal to conquer.

Quote from Fujigas:
I feel lucky that I won two consecutive days. Having Lampkin finished 4th on Saturday helped me too. I was surprised to know that I won on Saturday. I didn't expect it at all. Yet I am happy about Sunday's result because it turned out the way I planned. I was fighting for win, I managed to build some lead on lap1 and kept it on lap2. Many people congratulate me on the 4 consecutive victories, but I don't think it is the time to celebrate. We still have a long way to go, and I want to be happy at the end of the season, not now.

2004 World Trial Championship
Round 4 Duluth, U.S.A.
1. Takahisa Fujinami 45 (27+18) 11
2. Graham Jarvis 49 (26+23) 8
3. Adam Raga 52 (31+17+4) 12
4. Dougie Lampkin 53 (24+29) 13
5. Albert Cabestany 69 (39+30) 6
6. Marc Freixa 77 (45+32) 8
1. Takahisa Fujinami 15 (12+3) 21
2. Dougie Lampkin 17 (15+2) 23
3. Adam Raga 17 (14+3) 21
4. Albert Cabestany 33 (16+17) 18
5. Antonio Bou 35 (20+15) 14
6. Graham Jarvis 44 (27+17) 16
1. Takahisa Fujinami 141
2. Dougie Lampkin 131
3. Adam Raga 124
4. Albert Cabestany 100
5. Marc Freixa 94
6. Jeroni Fajardo 79

Pix: Mario Candelone Official Results PDF- Saturday
Official Results PDF- Sunday
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