Forty-one year-old an-favourite Takahisa Fujinami turned back the clock today at Tolmezzo to record a shock victory – his first since 2016 – at the Italian TrialGP, round two of the 2021 Hertz FIM Trial World Championship.
Trailing Spaniards Jeroni Fajardo (Sherco) and defending champion Toni Bou (Repsol Honda) after the opening lap, the veteran – world champion all the way back in 2004 – staged an epic comeback to record a second-lap total of just four which placed him eight marks clear of Bou.
Fajardo’s first-lap total of 13 gave him a two-mark cushion over Bou at the halfway point with Fujigas – his nickname is derived from his explosive riding style – another three off the pace. However, on the second lap of 12 sections the Japanese star produced a vintage performance that saw him claim a comfortable win.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” said Fujinami. “I would have been so happy with a podium so to win is just amazing. I must thank my team – they have always been behind me.”
Bou, who won yesterday despite still feeling the after-effects of a broken leg sustained last month, retained the championship lead with his two laps of 15 easily good enough for second as Adam Raga (TRRS) recovered from an expensive first lap to take third from Fajardo and Italy’s Matteo Grattarola (Beta).
In the TrialGP Women category, defending champion Emma Bristow (Sherco) struck back to avenge her loss yesterday at the hands of Laia Sanz (GASGAS).
After losing out by two marks to 13-time champion Sanz on Saturday, Bristow – who’s looking to claim her eighth consecutive world crown this season – broke out her ‘A’ game today and registered her career-first defeat of the Spaniard at this level.
Five marks behind Sanz after the opening lap, the British rider produced an extraordinary performance on lap two to record a score of just six that gave her an eventual 10-mark winning margin.
“I was third after the first lap which wasn’t where I wanted to be,” said Bristow, “and I knew I had to dig deep and fight for every mark. I had some really good rides on the second lap which gave me a comfortable win in the end – although it didn’t feel all that comfortable at times.”
Ending the day only one mark adrift of Sanz on 32, Berta Abellan (Vertigo) matched her Saturday performance in third with fellow Spaniard Sandra Gomez (TRRS) a distant fourth ahead of Norwegian rider Ingveig Hakonsen (TRRS).
Picking up from where they left off yesterday, Britain’s Toby Martyn (TRRS) and Jack Peace (Sherco) continued to slug it out at the front of the 35-strong Trial2 field.
Matching each other virtually section by section, Martyn held a slim two-mark advantage following the opening lap before Peace battled his way back into contention but missed out on making it back-to-back wins after losing the tie-break with a slower overall time.
“It’s been a good day,” said Martyn. “I’ve been happy with my riding all weekend. I made a few small mistakes so to get the win is great. Jack and I have had a good battle and it’s nice to start a championship off like this. I’m super-happy.”
With the British pair dominant, best of the rest was Spain’s Aniol Gelabert (Beta) who came home 12 marks further back with Norwegian rider Sondre Haga (Beta) and Spain’s Pablo Suarez (Montesa) completing the top five.
Disappointed to lose out yesterday on a tie-break after incurring a time penalty, Italy’s Andrea Sofia Rabino (Beta) made no mistake today to head home the Trial2 Women class with a healthy 13-mark winning margin over Saturday’s victor Sara Trentini (Vertigo).
“Today I’m very happy because I won,” said Rabino. “It has been a beautiful day for me but I will keep working hard towards the championship title.”
British rider Kaytlyn Adshead (TRRS) improved on her fifth-placed finish yesterday to take third ahead of her compatriot Alicia Robinson (Beta) and Germany’s Sophia Ter Jung (TRRS).
British riders once again dominated in the Trial125 category but there was a new name at the top of the results. Following on from his fourth-placed finish yesterday, Harry Turner (Scorpa) turned things around with a second-lap total of eight good enough for a four-mark winning margin over compatriot Jack Dance (GASGAS) who had to settle for second after his victory on Saturday.
“Today didn’t start off in the best way with a five on my first lap,” said Turner, “but I managed to pull it back and I’m so happy to get my first win. It’s been a brilliant day.”
Spain’s Adria Mercade (Sherco) was a further four marks behind Dance on a total of 29 to take third on a tie-break from Britain’s Ben Dignan (Vertigo) with Harry Hemingway (Beta) ending the day in fifth on 31.