2005 World Outdoor Trials Championship Round 2, Spain

Raga wins, with Cabestany and Freixa joining him on the podium

Marc Freixa was the highest placed Repsol Montesa HRC team member at the Spanish Grand Prix held at Tarragona, his third place marking a welcomed return to the podium for the Barcelona based team member. Adam Raga (Gas Gas) was the winner on the day, defeating Albert Cabestany (Sherco) in the very last section of the day to rob him of a home town victory. Reigning outdoor champion Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Montesa HRC) had his second off day in a row, as he only managed to gain fourth position to add to his fifth place at the opening round in Portugal. Last week's winner Dougie Lampkin (Repsol Montesa HRC) also endured a tough day, as a freak electrical fault cost him valuable time and ultimately left him down in fifth place.

This year the Spanish round had a different format, with the more usual type of sections giving way to a series of hazards set on the man made sea wall, with two artificial sections rounding out the lap. The course set on the outskirts of the city of Tarragona, approximately ninety kilometres south west of Barcelona was not with out its problems. Waves from a swelling sea crashed on to many of the sections, causing both delay and the riders to be swamped by water that at times resulted in engines being filled with water. Due to this extra time was added to the time allowances for both laps.

Albert Cabestany riding in his home town started strongly and made it clear that it was his intention to win in front of his many thousands of close fans. He parted with only a single dab in section three, before putting together a series of clean rides that was only blotted by his failure at section ten, which ironically was cleaned by his team mate Graham Jarvis. Cabestanys total of six marks for his opening lap put him as the clear leader. Whilst predicted that Raga would be Alberts main threat, it was in fact a rejuvenated Marc Freixa who was doing the early pushing, his score of ten marks put him in second place at the halfway point, three marks ahead of Raga.

The two fives on Raga's first punch card showed where he had lost ground to his two compatriots.

Behind the Spanish trio it was left to Fujinami and Lampkin to fight it out for the remaining places in the initial top five. Fujinami looked far from at home on the dry and technical hazards and found the effects of the sea a total distraction. Lampkin on the other hand was having his own problems, as he lost forty minutes after having only ridden two sections, as his mechanics fought to bring his factory machine back to life after it had developed a mystery electrical fault. This led Lampkin to ride the rest of the lap at speed and without properly inspecting the sections, this coupled without being able to watch his rivals in action, who were now long gone, reflected in his high first lap score.

With Cabestany continuing his run of form through the early sections on the second lap, it looked like there could only ever be one winner. However his luck was about to turn as he again failed at section ten, to allow Raga to close in, despite himself having suffered a five when both he and his bike were drowned in section five. Running four marks clear with just the final hazard to ride, Cabestany was already imagining sealing his dream victory with a special closing ride on the indoor type hazard. His warm thoughts were to prove his undoing as he under estimated the middle step that had become greasy due to a few spots of rain, as Cabestany fell back from the boulder Raga realised that his chance had finally come. Seizing the full glory of the defining moment Raga punched the air with delight as he exited the same section unpenalised to take the victory by a cruel single mark.

Freixa remained consistent during his closing lap, which has not been the case in more recent times, to stay ahead of both of his team mates. In a similar way Fujinami just did enough to hold his position, as Lampkin posted a far better second lap score that had been almost without incident. Ragas victory takes him to the head of the championship, with Cabestany moving into second place by virtue of his two runners up spots. As a result of his problems today, Lampkin has now slipped to third in the overall standings.

Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda)

Doug Lampkin (GB-Montesa)

Raga 1st:
"During the first lap I did my best to give the trial to my competitors, my riding was pretty poor at times, so I was surprised to find even after this that I still was in with a hope of winning. Although I started the second lap much better, I really thought my chance of victory had slipped away when the water came in at section five. The bike was dead and I took five marks. Anyway with the bike running again I kept pushing to at least keep close to Albert. Obviously it was a big present what he did in the last section, but still I had to ride with the pressure to win, so it was a great feeling when I passed the final ends cards."

Cabestany 2nd:
"As you said I was so close to getting my dream. But what happened shows that every section in the trial is important, I never went to the step with enough power or attention and I paid the price. To win in front of my home people would have been a fantastic moment, but still I can be happy with my performance, my result and my position in the championship at this stage of the season."

Freixa 3rd:
"This is a great result, it feels good to be back on the podium, as I have been away from it for a long time, too long really. The result today is also a good reward for all the hard work we have been doing with the new bike. For this I want to say thank you to my team. My aim now is to be a similar position at the next round in Japan."

Fujinami 4th:
"The sections were too like indoor sections for me to like them. I never felt comfortable with the trial. First we had problems with the sea, I was always waiting to take the correct moment to enter the section when I thought the water would be calm. This was not good for my concentration. Then I began to rush as I was not aware of the extra time we had been given. I know all the riders had the same conditions, but the question is should these conditions be in a World championship trial? Anyway now I can look forward to my home round in Japan, when I hope to achieve some better results."

Lampkin 5th:
"I came here in a confident mood after last weekend, so it has been a big disappointment today. Like all forms of motor sport, mechanical problems happen from time to time and today it was my turn. They never come at a good time, but we have had a good run so it is a part of the sport you just have to accept. After the problem on the first lap I never saw anyone else ride in front of me, so it was difficult to choose lines, especially as I was literally running through some sections to look and others I just rode without even getting off my bike. It was a strange trial, and I can't say that I was happy with the sections being so close to the sea, as it was pot luck if you got caught by a wave or not. Fifth is not a complete disaster, as at one point it looked like that it was going to be a lot worse."

Source: Honda Motor Co., Ltd

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