World Trial Championship Round 10 Moutier, Switzerland

A month summer break was over, and the final round of world trial championship took place in Switzerland, at a quite remote mountain village about an hour from Zurich. Thanks to Bruno Camozzi for setting up the hazards, and many of them appeared to be very tough. After preliminary inspection Fujinami was happy and looked forward to having some tough ride than having some nerve breaking battles at easy sections.

Day 1 - Saturday, Sep 4th

There were man-made rocky hazards from section 1 to 3, and 4 to 14 were located in woods at the ranch. The last section 15 was being set up at the in-door skate rink, which hosted start-finish area too.

There were a lot of HRC related personals at the round, as well as Japanese Fujigas supporters to celebrate Fuji's magical moment. Atmosphere of the final round was somehow different from usual world championship rounds.

Naoko, Fuji's wife was unable to make the trip because she was expecting delivery on October. Fuji's parents who have been supporting Fuji from the start of his carrer were there to support their son.

Fuji picked the last starting position by ballot. When he marked clean at the very first section of the day, he noticed his body was reacting much better than usual. Normally Fuji doesn't feels too comfortable even when he marks some cleans at the beginning of the Day. He marked one point at the exit of section 2, but things were going very well at the point.

Following section 3, Fuji fived for overtime penalty. It seemed he lost a little bit of rhythm there, but he kept the motivation for the victory high, which in fact was the style he had kept throughout the 2004 season. He went on and marked 3 points at a tough hazard of section 4, followed by clean at section 5, and 2 points at section 6.

He tried to shift it up to perform better, but he fived at section 7 and 8 in a row. Section 9 was too difficult and almost all chose to escape, Fuji too opted to escape and marked five.

From section 11 to 14 were located closely from the headquarter, and there were a lot of spectators around the areas. Fuji enjoyed support from fellow Japanese fans, and it pushed him to perform better, just like he did at Motegi.

However Fuji couldn't maintain his groove on Saturday. He went on to start lap2, and he fived at section 3 as the previous lap, followed by another five at section 4. Although he did not set his goal to capture the title on Saturday, it was beginning to appear that he had to wait till Sunday to secure the title.

The closest rival of Fuji, the only man who can mathematically stop Fuji from taking the title, Dougie Lampkin however showing his best rides of 2004. He had a slight - 5 points - advantage over Fuji on lap1, but the level of concentration seemed to be much higher than Fuji's. For Fuji it was a matter of a couple of more points to secure his goal, but Lampkin was fighting a big battle with Raga for second place in the championship.

Fuji struggled to keep his concentration with his performance went up and down, but he managed to finish the day at 3rd place. Fuji admitted after the competition that he didn't deserve to finish at 3rd place with his performance of the day. But he finished at top three on the podium even things weren't going great, that symbolized the way Fuji had fought 2004 season.

So the day was over, and Lampkin took his third victory of the season on Saturday. Fuji finished 3rd by 11 points behind the winner, and 9 points from runner up finisher, Raga. Fuji barely missed the championship by one point. Fuji and Japanese supporters had to wait until the end of Sunday for the memorable, long awaited moment.

Day 2 - Sunday, Sep 5th

Some of the sections became shorter and some became easier, in fact, 10 of 15 sections were modified before Sunday's competition because many of competitors claimed that they were too difficult and too long to complete in time. However those modifications made the hazards very easy for the top riders.

Fuji needed to score 1 point to secure the title, which meant finishing at 15th or better on Sunday. It was then obvious that Fuji would take it unless something real disastrous would happen to him. So it wasn't the matter of IF Fuji would take it, but HOW. Fuji went for one more victory before the season was up, to make his day even sweeter.

Fuji started the lap with 2 cleans, but at section3, where he fived both laps on Saturday, he fived again. Fuji gave too much gas and the rear end slid a little to the side. It was a small mistake, but making five hurt a lot. As most of the hazards became easier on Sunday, there were small room for an error, and it was very difficult to recover. Still, Fuji managed to finish the lap at 2nd place by 3 points behind Lampkin.

Although Fuji seemed to have a chance to turn things around on lap2, it was Lampkin that showed the final performance of the year and rode brilliantly. He scored all cleans on the lap except he footed to mark single penalty point at section 12. It was as if Lampkin trying to give Fuji a compliment for the championship - the only way 7-time world champion knew how.

Fuji concluded 2004 season by finishing 2nd place ahead of Raga by 1 point, and 10 points behind Lampkin. As Fuji finished the lap, he was welcomed as the new world champion. It was the moment Fuji had waited for 9 years since he started to compete in the world trial championship, and after finishing at 2nd place for 5 years consecutively.


Quote from Fujigas:
It took a long time but I finally pulled it through.
I tried not to think about the championship on Saturday and even today. I was solely concentrating on getting victories, but I failed to win. Although I tried to push the championship out of my mind, I guess it was still there because I felt something different on both days.
It reminded me the strength and concentration that Dougie has because he had to go through what I experienced this time for 7 times in the past.
So, it's my first time, and I surely don't want it to be the end of it. I don't want people to think it was a fluke either. 2005 will be another challenge, and I will try hard again next year to make it two in a row.
I like to say thank you very much for people's support for me through the years. I believe that this championship is for everybody, because I couldn't do it without your support.

2004 World Trial Championship
Round 10, Montier, Switzerland
1. Dougie Lampkin 48 (27+21) 12
2. Adam Raga 50 (30+20) 15
3. Takahisa Fujinami 59 (32+27) 12
4. Antonio Bou 70 (36+34) 8
5. Albert Cabestany 73 (31+40) 10
6. Kenichi Kuroyama / Marc Freixa 74 (41+33) 6
1. Dougie Lampkin 9 (8+1) 25
2. Takahisa Fujinami 19 (11+8) 21
3. Adam Raga 20 (15+5) 20
4. Jeroni Fajardo 22 (13+9) 17
5. Albert Cabestany 30 (14+16) 18
6. Kenichi Kuroyama 33 (22+11) 14
2004 Ranking (Season Completed)
1. Takahisa Fujinami 282
2. Dougie Lampkin 266
3. Adam Raga 254
4. Albert Cabestany 195
5. Marc Freixa 174
6. Jeroni Fajardo 158

Pix: Hiroshi Nishimaki Official Results PDF- Saturday
Official Results PDF- Sunday
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