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WCTAndorraJune 27, 2004
World Outdoor Trials Championship Round 6 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra
Fujinami stretches his championship lead

Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol – Montesa – HRC) moved another step closer to finally becoming World champion, when he secured an important second place behind Adam Raga (Gas Gas) at today’s round held in Andorra. Whilst Fujinami had no answer to the blistering standard set by Raga, his championship campaign received a major and unexpected boost as Dougie Lampkin (Repsol – Montesa – HRC) endured his worst result for seven years. Lampkin’s seventh place drops him to third place in the title race with five counting days remaining. Marc Freixa’s (Repsol – Montesa – HRC) unlucky run continued as he was demoted to fifth place by a single mark by Kenichi Kuroyama (Beta).

Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda)

Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda)

At this part in the season there is no rest for either the riders or the teams as the championship hops from one European country to another from one weekend to the next. France was home to series only for a few days, and as quick as the ‘circus’ had arrived in town it was soon left in a similar manner as everyone headed for the latest round in Andorra. Although this has been an important stop on the campaign, it was also only be a short pause, as already the trucks and teams are driving down the mountain and are on route to Italy ready for the third and final part of this three week mini tour. Much expectation surrounded this weekend’s round, with the normal two day format having been reduced to just one, with Saturday’s usual trial being replaced with a round of the Spanish championship. Despite it’s domestic status most of the top riders, Spanish or not, opted to ride on Saturday when the organizers confirmed that Sunday’s World championship trial would be run over a similar course. Whilst the home riders treated Saturday’s trial seriously with domestic points at stake, the others who were not concerned by this particular title race choose to use the day as competitive practice ahead of the main and proper event.

Having used similar hazards over a number of recent years, the organizers this time around served up a whole new challenge with all fifteen sections being located on completely the opposite side to the valley compared to the past. Whilst this presented a welcomed change, in reality the new location offered little variety, with the vast majority of the new hazards being steep and dry, with the usual mix of river sections missing completely. Sections six and seven were slightly muddy and were amongst the more difficult. The final section situated in front of the large municipal building comprised of rocks and logs, creating a tricky artificial finale.

Overnight changes to some of the sections increased the overall severity of the course, this plus extremely hot weather meant the riders were in for a tough day. However someone had forgotten to inform Raga of this point as his first lap was simply incredible, his loss of only three marks seemed almost impossible, but it was true and was enough to destroy the other riders' hopes of victory. Fujinami recovered well after failing in the very first section of the day, to hold second place on eleven marks after the first tour of the fifteen dry and dusty hazards. In contrast Lampkin’s nightmare had begun with three fives within quick succession to put him on twenty two marks for the same period and to leave him well down the leader board.

Holding a clear advantage Raga played it cautiously on his second lap, taking safety dabs as and when he needed them to prevent any disasters that may open the door for Fujinami. The Japanese rider maintained good pressure for the lead, his score of six marks was the best second lap showing and kept Raga’s winning margin within reason. Albert Cabestany (Beta) completed the rostrum, this was the first time since the opening round in Ireland back in April that Albert had finished in the top three. Incidentally the same duration since Lampkin also last won a trial.

Kenichi Kuroyama (Beta) recorded his best result of the 2004 season, his fourth position being almost as big a shock as Lampkin’s demise. Kuroyama’s return to form meant that Marc Freixa again had to settle for a result, perhaps lower than his riding actually deserves, although the young Spanish would be the first to admit that his consistency needs to improve.

Today’s result confirms Raga as Fujinami’s main threat in the title race, something Adam was also not shy at saying. “ It been a great weekend for me. First winning the Spanish championship round yesterday and then winning at the World event today. My performance during the opening lap, even I may say, was exceptional and gave me the chance to win without any great pressure during the second lap, although we were always aware of Fuji’s progress. With Lampkin failing today, it now looks like I am the main rider now to challenge Fuji for the title. If I am to take the crown I must again remind him of this fact in Italy next weekend.”

Fujinami recognised the value of his second place given the overall situation. “ It’s a good result for me, Adam was very strong today and whilst I was still looking for the win even during the latter part of today’s trial in reality I was never close enough to offer a real fight. Obviously Lampkin’s result today is good news for me, it would be strange if I said anything else, but whilst now I am holding a strong position with regard to the championship, I also know that I now have to fight with someone new. Raga is sure to be strong in the coming trials, so I certainly will not be taking anything for granted, especially now when every result is so important.”

Back on the podium Cabestany is now looking to continue this form to the end of the season. “ It is strange as I did not feel that I had rode well enough to be on the rostrum today. In other trials I feel that I have ridden much better, but ended up with a lower result, so it was not something I was expecting. As I did back in Ireland, I have again confirmed that I am a contender, so now my goal is to be on the podium for all the remaining trials and perhaps even take a victory. That would be a great way to close this year, as otherwise I am quite disappointed with my own performance.”

Marc Freixa was not happy with his result. “ I can not be happy with fifth place, especially in these conditions. As has been the story all of the year, I have made too many errors in the easier sections after performing quite well in the more difficult hazards. My hope now is to at least be on the podium during some of the closing trials.”

Pale faced, Lampkin spoke about his black day. “ Gutted hardly describes how I feel right at this moment, I feel physically sick as it really hurts that much. I not about to start making excuses, it has just been a very bad day. On the face of it winning an eighth straight title at this point seems almost impossible. I am not going to say a lot more now, as I really want to go away and have a long and hard think about exactly what has gone wrong with me today, as I am certainly not pointing the finger at anyone else. The best way to get over this big disappointment would be to get a good result in Italy next weekend, but I know that it isn’t going to be that simple.”

Marc Freixa (E-Montesa)

Dougie Lampkin (GB-Montesa)

World Outdoor Trials Championship Round 6 Sant Julia de Loria, Andorra

1 Adam Raga (E-Gas Gas)
2 Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda)
3 Albert Cabestany (E-Beta)
4 Kenichi kuroyama (J-Beta)
5 Marc Freixa (E-Montesa)
6 Jeroni Fajardo (E-Gas Gas)
7 Doug Lampkin (GB-Montesa)
8 Jordi Pascuet (E-Gas Gas)
9 Antonio Bou (E-Beta)
10 Graham Jarvis (GB-Sherco)
11 Josep Manzano (E-Beta)
12 Michele Orizio (I-Beta)
13 Fumitaka Nozaki (J-Scorpa)
14 Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL-Gas Gas)
15 Shaun Morris (GB-Gas Gas)

Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda)
Related Links

· WCT - FIM World Championship for Trial

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