World Trial Championship Round 6 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra

World Trial Championship visited Andorra, a small principality by the Pyrenees Mountains. Unlike usual 2day format, 1day competition took place, and the Spanish Championship was held on Saturday instead. Most of the world championship contenders participated in the Saturday event Knowing the section on Sunday would be very similar. They did not want to miss the perfect opportunity to use the event for their competitive practice.

Fujinami also participated in the Saturday event and finished 8th. It may sound bad, but he had total of 62 penalty points with 37 time-penalty points. Having missed the previous Spanish round, Fuji started 20 minutes earlier than his strong opponents. He looked the Saturday event solely for his preparation for Sunday, did not worry about time-penalty. He was focused onto simulating Sunday event. Finishing 8th gave him a good idea for Sunday, and he was very much looking forward to it.

Sunday, June 20th

At the very beginning of the day Fuji fived at the section 1. He had a little trouble at the section on both laps on Saturday, barely scored two cleans there. He went faster that time in order to ride with a good margin, but it worked negatively. A discouraging way to start the day, but he wasn't dejected too much, tried to refresh his mind and continued to attack the rest. But on section 3, observer gave Fuji 1 point for his shoulder touched the wall of a rock momentary. It seemed to be hard for him to catch his rhythm.

Sections in Andorra look severe and difficult due to its rugged terrain. But because the traction is good, it isn't too difficult as it appears to be. Yet small mistake may lead to five-point failure, it became a good mental battle for the competitors.

It was at the end of lap1 that Fuji finally started to get on his rhythm. He was provisional 6th up to the section6. He rode well and managed to keep the penalty points as low as two for the rest of the lap.

At the end of the lap, Fuji had an advise from Mr. Cirera, the team manager, that there was no time to relax, because it was a close battle. Although the advice did not give Fuji a lot of information; what kind of toughness or whom he was fighting against - Fuji admitted later that it helped him to re-concentrate for the lap2.

Fuji marked clean at the first 4 sections of lap2. At the section 5, one of the toughest challenges, Fuji added 1. Many failed at the ending half of the section. Fuji had a slight mistake at the beginning, ok at the ending half; it was close for him to score clean. Over-night modification took place on section 6, where Fuji scored 5 and clean on Saturday. He tried the new line but it didn't work well and fived. Raga and Lampkin scored clean at section 6 on both laps. Together with Pascuet, they were the only three riders who succeed to mark clean at the section.

From section 7 Fuji showed flawless ride and marked 10 consecutive clean to finish the lap. At section 13, Mr. Cirera came to Fuji again for his advise. "Raga is too strong so it is not possible to win. But 2nd is almost certain, because the next guy is very much far down". Fuji misunderstood by the advise that Lampkin was 3rd, and he kept scoring clean to protect his 2nd from the rival. When the lap was over he found out he was wrong. Lampkin had scored 5 more five than Fuji and finished at surprising 7th place.

Two laps were over and Raga won the round. It allowed him to move up the championship position into 2nd, 14 points down from Fuji. Lampkin on the other hand dropped his position into 3rd; widen his gap from Fuji as 19 points.

Fuji still stands on top at the championship battle. Now the closest competition has changed from Lampkin to Raga, but there is no difference who is on the second if it's Raga or Lampkin. They are both strong competitors. Fuji will continue to fight for the victory and try to be up on a podium when winning is not possible for the rest of the season.

Quote from Fujigas:
Finishing 2nd at this round means a lot for the championship battle, almost as good as winning. It was lucky for me that Lampkin finished 7th allowing me to build more gap too. However, he is a dangerous rider and I should not underestimate him. Still speaking from my own experience, it would be very tough having 19 points disadvantage at the 5th round of the season. But I don't need to practice such calculations. I believe the championship will come along if I continue to fight the right way, like I have been able to do so far this season.

2004 World Trial Championship
Round 6 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
1. Adam Raga 10 (3+7) 21
2. Takahisa Fujinami 17 (11+6) 22
3. Albert Cabestany 31 (17+14) 21
4. Kenichi Kuroyama 34 (14+20) 15
5. Marc Freixa 35 (19+16) 15
6. Jeroni Fajardo 39 (22+17) 14
7. Dougie Lampkin 44 (22+22) 16
Ranking (5 more rounds to go)
1. Takahisa Fujinami 193
2. Adam Raga 179
3. Dougie Lampkin 174
4. Albert Cabestany 141
5. Marc Freixa 123
6. Jeroni Fajardo 111

Pix: Hiroshi Nishimaki Official Results PDF- Sunday
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