Even if there was no Grand Prix in the last weeks, most of the riders never stopped practicing and racing during many national championships events. Mickael Pichon (in France), Josh Coppins (in England), Kevin Strijbos (in Belgium) won some more trophies and tested their bikes during these events, before moving to Belgium or Netherlands in order to practice and set-up their bikes on sandy tracks. Valkenswaard this weekend will be a special event, but Lichtenvoorde in three weeks will be worse with deeper sand…
Many years ago mainly Dutch or Belgium riders were able to win a Dutch GP, as they grow up in sandy places and knew how to ride on this typical area. But the situation is now more open and for example French Mickael Pichon (winner of the last three 250 GP’s here) or Spaniard Garcia Vico (winner of national championship rounds here in the Netherlands) confirmed that with intensive training everything is possible.
In the MX1 class, Stefan Everts, Joel Smets, Steve Ramon, Cédric Melotte and Kevin Strijbos considered as “local” riders (the Belgium border is only fifteen kilometers south of Valkenswaard, city located in the suburbs of Eindhoven) will be once more the favourites of the GP. All of them scored wins or podiums here in the pass, and even if the track has been re-designed last winter they know perfectly each meter of the area as the GP circus came here yearly since 1989! But they will have to keep an eye on Mickael Pichon, Joshua Coppins, Kenneth Gundersen and Javier Garcia Vico who all scored podiums results here; Pichon and Everts had an incredible battle here twelve months ago, and the winner of the Portuguese GP is at the moment in a great period with wins every weekend. Coppins (podium in 2001), Gundersen and Garcia Vico (both on the podium in 2003) will expect another one good result, even if Vico will finally not use the new Aprilia this weekend (the 450 twin could appear the following week in Germany).
For the Dutch fans the main class this weekend will be the MX2 one, and they will cheer Marc De Reuver during both moto. The young Dutch star got his first GP podium here in 2001, but was unable to repeat this performance the last two seasons. Third in the championship he will have a tough job with his teammate Ben Townley, based in the Netherlands since two years now; Ben is leading the championship tied with Stephen Sword and could take the advantage this weekend as the Brit never shine on the sand. In this open championship Andrew McFarlane, Tyla Rattray, Aigar Leok, Jamie Dobb and Mickael Maschio also have high goals, while Belgium’s Manuel Priem, Marvin Van Daele and Patrick Caps could expect a great result.
The action will start Saturday at 10 am with the first free practice session, and qualifying will take place from 3 to 6pm. Sunday the MX2 races are scheduled at 12.05 and 15.05, and the MX1 at 13.05 and 16.05.
For more info and results check the official web site of the Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com