After a short pause the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship moved to Japan for the second round of the series, which was hosted for the seventeenth consecutive time at the magnificent Motegi Twin Ring circuit. Factory Vertigo riders Jeroni Fajardo and James Dabill again scored solid points towards their respective campaigns over the weekend, with Fajardo taking fifth spot on Sunday to sign off on a productive trip to the land of the rising sun.
The local organisers had worked hard to create a variety of new sections in the steep wooded areas that surrounded the imposing tarmac circuits. Whilst the sun shone brightly on day one the ground remained wet from the rain earlier in the week and made for difficult conditions as the mud dragged onto the rounded boulders. Despite the smooth power delivery of the fuel injected two stroke engine, which sits at the heart of the revolutionary Combat model, both Dabill and Fajardo struggled to find their best form during Saturday’s competition.
It was Jeroni who produced the more consistent performance with three similar lap scores, whilst in slight contrast Dabill did not enjoy the best of opening laps, but improved lap on lap to record the third lowest lap score on his final tour. Both Vertigo factory riders can count themselves a touch unlucky as a mere four marks separated positions fifth to eighth come the close of play on day one. Tied on the same marks, and just four marks away from a top five placing Fajardo beat Dabill on a most cleans tie-break as the pairing ended Saturday in seventh and eighth places respectively.
Rain overnight then forced the local organisers to modify ten out of the twelve sections ahead of Sunday’s trial. These changes, to reduce the severity, and the effect of the sun drying the wet terrain out over the course of the day brought a much easier competition on day two. In almost a mirror performance of twenty-four hours earlier Fajardo again delivered three consistent laps to seal a solid fifth spot to round out his weekend. Dabill’s day was much different with him incurring heavy losses on lap one before he then produced two much improved laps to pull himself up the order and into eighth spot for the second day running.
Commenting on the Japanese GP Fajardo said. “It has been another tough weekend, with some strange and changing conditions in the sections due to the weather. Fifth place on Sunday was at least an improvement from the previous day, and although we are not where we want to be at the moment it feels like we are moving in the right direction.”
Reflecting on his own weekend Dabill stated. “After a great result in Spain and two more good results in the British championship last weekend I came here with a good level of confidence. Apart from the leading few riders the scores have been very close on both days, so my results could have easily been much better than they actually were. Each day I got better as the day wore on so I can take something positive from that before I head back to ride the SSDT.”
With now one month until round three of the 2016 FIM Trial World Championship in Germany, the Vertigo team will now focus its attentions on the World famous Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT) that will begin in Fort William, Scotland on Monday 2nd May. Dougie Lampkin will again lead the Vertigo attack as the defending and already nine times SSDT champion looks to repeat the debut success he gave the then prototype Combat twelve months ago.
The 2016 FIM Trial World Championship kicked off with two fiercely fought days of competition in Cal Rosal, Spain as the elite riders within this specialised discipline looked to get the new campaign started in strongest way possible. Factory Vertigo rider, James Dabill confirmed that both he and the revolutionary Combat can compete at the highest level as he secured a maiden GP podium for the team, and the second of his career.
Third spot on day two for Dabill offset some of the frustration for him only managing to finish ninth on the opening day during two days when very little separated success and disappointment. Current World number three Jeroni Fajardo was more consistent over the weekend with fifth and sixth places to show for his first outdoor Grand Prix on the Combat.
Day one began in cool but bright conditions, with the sun shining brightly over the twelve sections that were scattered around a course that stretched from the host town of Cal Rosal to the neighbouring town of Olvan. With the exception of the two man made hazards – sections one and five – the remaining tests consisted of dry boulders on steep dusty inclines. Fajardo immediately confirmed his liking of the terrain as he rode his fuel injected Combat into second spot on the first lap behind surprise leader Jaime Busto with a loss of six marks.
However, Jeroni was to suffer badly on his second outing as he lost his initial rhythm and notched up four maximums on lap two to slip down the order. Back to his best, Fajardo recorded the second best last lap score on his final tour losing a mere three marks to climb up to fifth place come the finish and within touching distance of a top three placing. Two slightly disappointing opening laps by Dabill left the British rider with work to do, thankfully a much improved final lap showing saw James eventually claim ninth spot. Other Vertigo riders Francesc Moret and Benoit Dagnicourt placed sixteenth and twentieth respectively on day one.
More blue skies and sunshine defined the second day of competition at the Spanish GP as Dabill immediately announced himself a real contender for a podium place from the outset with an opening lap that put him in third spot. Despite a slight loss of momentum on his second lap James regrouped brilliantly on his final tour to earn himself his first rostrum finish since 2012. Fajardoâ€™s day was one of frustration as small errors stopped him challenging the front runners and him eventually having to settle for sixth spot on the closing day of his home GP. Sunday saw Moret and Dagnicourt place seventeenth and nineteenth respectively.
A delighted Dabill said. “This one is for Martin Lampkin. To be able to give Vertigo their first World Championship podium and at the Spanish GP is very special for everyone involved in the team. It’s a shame Dougie (Lampkin) could not be here to see it happen, but this result is about the hard work that has been done over the winter and which he has been a big part of. I now need to make sure I am at the sharp end in the next few rounds.”
A frustrated Fajardo stated. “It has been a difficult weekend for me, the results are not so bad as the scores have been close, but we came here to do better especially as it was my home event. We have learned a lot this weekend, so now we ned to go away and make some changes so that we can be stronger when we arrive in Japan.”
The second round of the 2016 FIM Championship will take place in Motegi, Japan on 23/24 April
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