For the third time in a row MX1 World Champion Stefan Everts let the overall win be earned by a Kiwi rider this weekend in Uddevalla, as the Belgian ended the event in third position. With a bad start in the opening race and a crash at the beginning of the second heat, the leader of the Championship had to work hard through the pack to finish both sprints in fourth position and save precious points for the championship. New-Zealanders Joshua Coppins and Ben Townley were the fastest riders in Uddevalla but this time it was Josh’s day as the Honda rider won both heats for the first time ever in his GP career! Second behind Spaniard Jonathan Barragan at the first start, Joshua took the lead on lap four and controlled most of the race. In the last two circulations Ben Townley put a lot of pressure on his friend, but Josh had the moto under control. He grabbed the holeshot of the second heat and pushed really hard in the opening laps to secure a safe advantage, winning the race by seven seconds over Joel Smets, who crashed and retired in the opening race. With a poor start – he was only twelfth after one lap – Townley was unable to challenge his countryman this time and ended up in third behind Smets. Thirteen months after his first GP win – at the Isle of Wight – Josh added a second success to his credit and stole points away from Everts for the second weekend in a row.
After his disappointing weekend in France Antonio Cairoli took revenge in Sweden, winning both races and gaining ground to Andrew McFarlane in the standings. Cairoli grabbed both holeshots and led from start to finish but McFarlane never gave up and remained several seconds adrift. He finished both races as runner-up, close to the Italian who is now second in the World Championship. Three of their main rivals missed a good opportunity in Sweden: Stephen Sword didn’t race due to his injured hand, Alessio Chiodi crashed and retired in the first race while Cedric Melotte had to recover from poor starts. David Philippaerts took his fourth podium in a row , followed by his team-mate Carl Nunn.
Most of the GP riders watched the Women Cup and the twenty-eight girls offered a great show to the Scandinavian public. Unfortunately none of the numerous Swedish or Danish participants finished on the podium! German Stephanie Laier (KTM 125) had a perfect weekend with a pole position in qualification and two wins; she started twice in second position behind Sweden’s Elin Man (KTM 250) but then pushed through to assume first place. New Zealander Katherine Prumm (Kawasaki 250) and Frenchwoman Livia Lancelot (Yamaha 125) battled in both heats but Katherine finally beat her rival twice.
Joshua Coppins: “It’s great to be on top and I made the points I need to challenge for the championship. I’ve left it a little bit late but I’m going to keep working hard and keep pressure on Everts. He has had some problems and there are some holes in his game at the moment so I need to keep pushing on and try and crack him and try to push for the championship. The team has been working very hard on the bike and we have got it set up now that I can push very hard. My biggest improvement today was the first moto – I never won an opening race in my GP career – and my first laps – I was riding good from the start and managed to carry that through – I’m looking forward to South Africa but now I’m going to enjoy the moment.”
Antonio Cairoli: “It’s a perfect weekend for me, especially after last week. I wanted to compete in France but that was not possible, and my goal here in Sweden was to win both races. The first heat was easy as the track was mainly flat, and in the second I had some physical troubles. I didn’t train for one week as I have always problems with my thumb that I injured in Great Britain, and in the last ten minutes it was pretty difficult to control McFarlane. I don’t really like this track, there are not enough jumps for me but it’s the same for everyone.”
Stephanie Laier: “It was not so easy to win both races but I think that my physical condition is higher than my rivals and that helped me a lot. The second race was more difficult, as it was the last race of the day and the track was more demanding after the MX1 and MX2 races. It was a really great event, we all appreciate the support that we had from the World Championship competitors and I hope to be back there next year.”
Info Mediapress, photo (C) Mx2k.com