After a rainy night the track was very slippery on Sunday morning and most of the riders used the warm up session to fix different settings and discover new lines on this technical and rough track. Stephen Sword was back from the hospital and gave positive news about his condition but he also had to watch countryman Carl Nunn crash on the same jump. With a painful neck, the Honda rider didn’t figure in the races.
In the MX1 class Mickael Pichon got the holeshot in the first race but Stefan Everts was at his rear wheel in the second corner! Pichon made a little gap but crashed on the fifth lap; losing time to re-start the bike and wasn’t able to catch Everts who won the first race followed by Pichon, Joshua Coppins and surprisingly Antoine Meo on a 250 Kawasaki. Pichon got another great start in the following heat but this time Everts totally missed out! He came back to third after one lap and then passed Steve Ramon for second spot; Pichon was so strong this time that he always improved the gap and won the race, followed by Everts, Coppins and Luigi Seguy. Seguy slipped at the first start and Ramon crashed on a fast jump during the first race, Meo retired in the second heat due to a broken shock and Kevin Strijbos finally finished this GP in 4th after messing up both starts.
The MX2 class proved to be much more exciting than the main category this weekend! In the first race Antonio Cairoli and Mickael Maschio battled for the win, but Cairoli crashed and let Alessio Chiodi and Claudio Federici on the podium alongside the French rider. Both retiring in the first race after a crash (Townley) and a broken gearbox (De Reuver) the KTM boys were dominant in the second heat; De Reuver got the holeshot and led the race for fourteen laps but finally Townley passed him. The most consistent rider in this class was finally Maschio, who finished the second heat sixth with a damaged rear brake; the factory Kawasaki rider won his first GP this season, followed by Sébastien Pourcel who got his debut GP podium and Claudio Federici.
MX1 Grand Prix: 1.Pichon (2/1) / 2.Everts (1/2) / 3.Coppins (3/3) / 4.Strijbos (5/6) / 5.Seguy (11/4) / 6.Dobes (7/8) / 7.Mackenzie (12/6) / 8.Noble (10/9) / 9.Leok (6/16) / 10.Freibergs (13/10)
MX2 Grand Prix: 1.Maschio (1/6) / 2.Pourcel (4/3) / 3.Federici (3/5) / 4.Cairoli (5/4) / 5.Townley (0/1) / 6.De Reuver (0/2) / 7.Bartolini (13/7) / 8.Leok (9/11) / 9.Rattray (7/13) / 10.Boissière (7/14)
Mickael Pichon: “The track changed a lot today compared to yesterday and I made a mistake with the setting of my suspensions in the first heat. I fell in a turn and lost time to re-start the bike, then Stefan was too far and had a good speed. The bike was perfect for the second heat, I got another holeshot and pushed really hard to make the gap. I’m happy to win the GP, I know that it’s quite impossible for me to be champion but we’re working with the team for next year.”
Stefan Everts: “I didn’t really expect the title here, I knew that nobody at the moment is able to get between me and Mickael. My starts this year have been really bad, and in the second race I missed it. I don’t really know where the problem is. We’ve been working a lot but haven’t found the solution. I came back quickly to third and then second, but Mickael put a big gap and it was not possible to catch him. I made a consistent moto but I was tired as I put a lot of effort to win the first race.”
“Although I had a large points advantage before this weekend’s race I really didn’t think that I’d win the championship today because I needed a rider in between me and Michaël to make that happen and there was no one that could do that. I’ve had some really bad starts this year but I don’t know what the problem is. We’ve been trying to change our settings on the bike but it’s not yet working out so well. In the second race today I struggled to control the power and lost traction when driving off the start gate. Then after one lap Michaël had already developed a big gap and I knew it would be tough to catch him. I tried to ride a consistent race and half way through I got really tired. I put in a lot of effort in the first race to win and in the second race I had to pay for that. The track was difficult this weekend but I still enjoyed my riding.”
Joshua Coppins: “My starts were not so bad but I was coming from behind and in the first heat when I came to third Stefan and Mickael were pretty far, it was a boring race for me. My start was better in the second one, I was close to Stefan but I was pretty tired and couldn’t fight with him. Two times third was the best I could do today.”
Mickael Maschio: “We’ve been struggling a lot this year with the new bike but the team never gave up and finally I got my first success with a new engine. In the first race I saw that Cairoli was taking some risks and finally he made a mistake. My second race was more difficult, I stalled the engine after four laps and at the end I had no rear brake. But I finally got this GP win, I hope it will help me to find a good deal for next year.”
Sébastien Pourcel: “I’m pretty happy with this first GP podium, it was one of my goals this season with a heat win. I had pretty bad starts today, I was maybe fifteenth in the first corner but came back fourth and third. I got already two heat podiums, I’ve been working a lot to be more consistent as I usually finished only one race in good position. I think that I’m mentally stronger since Czech Republic, and now my next goal is to win one moto.”
Claudio Federici: “I had a couple of crashed in the previous races, and at the beginning of the first heat I didn’t felt comfortable on the bike. Finally I found good lines and when my team-mate Cairoli crashed I got third position. I had a good start in the following race, but I did a mistake and went back from second to seventh. I’m happy with my podium, but I could have won today without this error.”
Tyla Rattray: “I got a bad start in the first race and it took me a while to move through to 7th. I didn’t ride the whole of last week and did not come here expecting to get on the podium; two top ten results would have been fine. In the second moto I had a very good jump from the gate but I messed up the first corner and bumped Pourcel. My riding got better but I had a little crash right at the end. My shoulder was pretty sore towards the end of the moto but I will work as hard as I can for Ballykelly.”
Ben Townley: “The first race was a disaster. It was my own fault. I was in 6th position going into the dip behind Boissere who was out wide and didn’t want me to pass so he whipped in tight and I couldn’t avoid him. I wanted to come back and four points would have given me the Championship today but I was so far behind. I tried but then crashed again; I’m gutted. In the second race it took me a while to find my rhythm but I closed down Marc bit by bit. I had been building up to taking the title this weekend and I was excited rather than nervous. I don’t think the crash has anything to do what was on the line this weekend.”
Marc De Reuver: “In the first moto the gearbox caused me to stop. For the second race I had one of Ben’s engines and managed to holeshot. I felt good and was pulling away but I struggled for breath later on and I still think that I am not ready for 35 minutes and 2 lap twice. Things are getting better though and I will practice in the sand this week so that I can go for the win in Ireland.”
Steve Ramon: “The strawbales were very close to the ruts at the side of the track and I just hit one as I came up to the jump. It was a dangerous situation and I had a big crash because of it. I was lucky not to come off worse. It was a shame because I had a good start and was right there with Stefan and Mickael. I felt a bit dizzy afterwards and my leg was hurting and it was not possible to continue. The doctor thought I had broken my leg because of the pain but an examination in the medical centre proved there was nothing serious, he left the decision to ride up to me. There might be a fracture and I will have another x-ray and some advice tomorrow. I took some painkillers and went for the second race because the Championship is important to me. I started well and the first half of the moto was good but towards the end I could not make the higher jumps because I couldn’t take the impact anymore but 5th was OK.”
Kevin Strijbos “In the first moto I started badly but was able to come back through pretty good. I had a small dip about halfway when I was behind Marnicq Bervoets and could not pass him. My riding was OK but in the second heat it was not great because I felt so tired. I think I just need a break. I have been racing for many weekends in a row and I feel like it caught up with me here. Fourth overall was good but it could have been better today.”
Tanel Leok “The first race was good. I made a solid start and could pass people and sixth was OK. I don’t know what happened but I could not ride in the second moto. I felt tight and couldn’t put the laps together. I have ridden three times in the last three weeks and trained hard this week, maybe too much because I did not have enough for both races.”
Cédric Melotte “Unfortunately in the first race my handlebars broke on the second lap and this forced my retirement from the race. In the second race I moved up from 16th place on lap one to 11th by lap five and I was happy with my speed but I made a silly mistake one lap later and lost the front wheel in a corner which forced a crash. I rejoined the race but I’d lost a lot of energy and felt sick so I slowed down and regained my rhythm. Today I’m actually quite happy with my performance and I’m now looking towards making a complete recovery for next year’s race season.”
Billy Mackenzie “I got off to an awesome start in race one and slotted into fourth place. All the leaders set about a really good pace and I managed to keep with them. I then passed Antoine Meo and after that I could see Stefan Everts in front of me and I was really keen to try and pass him but he was riding the track at its full potential and I wasn’t. I stepped up the pace and made a few mistakes, then Meo passed me and my arms pumped up and I dropped back eventually finishing the race in 12th place. I got a really good start in race two, but then another rider made an aggressive move on me and bent my front brake lever. I was really lucky to stay on the bike and I tried hard to settle into a relaxed pace and if anyone got close to me I’d up the pace again to keep them off. I had Steve Ramon in my sights for the whole race and I was hoping that he’d make a mistake. I was riding really smoothly but I didn’t want to risk anything and spoil my finish, so I took it easy and got a sixth place finish.”
For more info and results check the official web site of the FIM Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com