2004 Indoor Trial of the Nations, Tenerife, Spain

The final event in the World Trial calendar of the year, Indoor Trial of the Nations, took place at Tenerife in Spain on November 6th.

Number of rider capable of riding indoor trial is limited, so as eligible national team. Spain, Great Britain and Japan were again selected to participate. Takahisa Fujinami, Shinichi Kuroyama and Fumitaka Nozaki composed Team Japan in 2004. All three riders are based in Europe for the World Trial Championship, and are familiar with indoor trial too.

For Repsol Montesa HRC riders: Fujinami, Lampkin and Freixa, it was the final competition aboard 2-stroke machine - Honda RTL250R/Montesa Cota 315R. In 2005 season, they will be on 4-stroke machines - RTL250F/Cota4RT. The team has started to test their new machines, and the event was held in a middle of their transition period.

Up to the event, Fuji had been very busy taking care of his baby and doing numbers of champion interviews. He had only two demonstration runs and two test rides for a month. There was hot-air balloon event on November 3rd in Japan, and about 200,000 spectators were expected to gather. Fuji visited the event because he wanted to perform demonstration ride before the massive crowds. That forced him to travel to Spain directly from the event site, and he arrived Spanish site with severe jet rag.

There are some difference between regular trial championship and Trial of the Nations. Scoring system is one of them; winner at each section scores 3 points, 2 points for the 2nd place, and 1 point for the 3rd place. Another distinguish feature in Trial of the Nations is team riders share to ride sections; except high jump - all riders are assigned to ride. It is up to the teams' strategy to decide which rider to be assigning at each section.

Lack of riding was obvious for Fuji, and he wasn't in a good shape; in fact he felt very rough. It was the first time to ride his machine since Outdoor Trial of the Nations at Cordoba too. So, team Japan assigned Kuroyama for severe sections, letting Fuji ride the sections he felt he was sure. However Fuji couldn't perform the way he wished.
Spanish on the other hand showed excellent performances. Apart from single mistake made by Raga at section 6 and over-time, they had all clean for both laps. Huge crowds loved every minute of it. Team GB and Japan weren't up to Spanish strength, and they made Spanish team looked even well.

After lap1 over was over, GB bettered Japan by 5 points. Team Japan had a slim chance to catch up team GB. Spanish's fierce ride was expected before competition, Japanese riders developed a plan to beat GB to finish at 2nd place prior to the event. For lap2, Japanese rode better than the previous lap, but the point gap extended into 7 points; Japan finished 3rd overall.

So, that concluded Fujinami's trial competition on a 2-stroke machine. He will be testing the new 4-stroke machine in the off-season, and will be on the machine stating from 2005 indoor trial season. Development should continue as the season goes on.

Quote from Fujigas:
Sections were shorter and easier than we had in indoor championship round. Still, I felt there was no way we could beat Spanish team. I was not sure about the battle against team GB, but I didn't expect Colley to perform that well. I didn't feel easy on my 2-stroke machine at all. When I realized we lost a chance to catch up GB, I concentrated to ride to entertain spectators. Season is over, but a lot of testing for the next season is waiting for us.

2004 Indoor Trial of the Nations
1. Spain 66 (33+33)
2. Great Britain 46 (22+24)
3. Japan 39 (17+22)

Pix: EsedosOctagon Official Results PDF
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