Round one of 10 round series, Pompilhosa Da Serra - Portugal. April 16-17, 2005.
Fujinami begins World Trials title defence in Portugal
Reigning World Trials Champion Takahisa Fujinami opens the defence of his hard won crown at Pompilhosa Da Serra, 100km south of Porto. 'Fuji san,' as he is known to Trials fans around the world, has enjoyed the fruits of world fame during the winter but since the turn of the year the 25 year-old Japanese star has been hard at work testing for the new season.
Fujinami and teammates Dougie Lampkin, the six times a world champion dethroned by Fujinami, and Marc Freixa, ranked fifth in the world standings, have spent months testing the new Montesa Cota 4RT four-stroke machine. The three-man team has given total dedication to preparing the 4RT for the grueling 10-event schedule that takes in eight European venues and one each in Japan and the USA.
Testing has gone well but there is nothing as intense as competing at world level and no faster way to develop a new machine. The machine has the potential, as displayed in the recent indoor trials series, the final test is about to begin.
The main threat to the 4RT riders will undoubtedly be Spaniard Adam Raga (Gas Gas). Raga, fresh from his third World Indoor title success chased Fujinami and Lampkin home in the 2004 championship and recent performances suggest he will be even more competitive than last year.
Albert Cabastany has elected to ride for Sherco in 2005 ending his ten-year association with the Beta factory. Cabastany finished the 2004 season in fourth place but his performance at the opening round of the Spanish Championship has instilled new confidence in the Spaniard and he could well feature on the podium this Sunday.
The Three Cota 4RT riders will have to be at their very best at. Pomothpilhosa Da Serra on Sunday if they are to begin the defence of the individual and manufacturers world titles. Fuji san and Dougie Lampkin are both confident that no area of development has been overlooked but both are aware that they have more work to do to fine tune the 4RT in competition.
Source: Honda Pro Image