The Palexpo in Switzerland, which plays host to one of the finest indoor events that Europe has to offer, was the perfect setting for Arnaud Tonus to make his Wilvo Yamaha debut. The Swiss rider, who was adored by the thousands of fans in attendance, impressed across the two nights of racing.
Tonus immediately made his presence known on the first day, as he jumped to the top of the times in practice and vied for the fastest time against some of the greatest American riders. Third was where he eventually ended up, despite his lack of time on the new steed, which set him up well for the qualification races that were scheduled to run later in the day.
When the first of two SX1 heat races commenced, Tonus used all of the power available to him to rocket out of the gate and take the early lead! He eventually gave way to a pair of former 250SX East champions, after he had held his own at the head of the field for four laps, so crossed the line in third and secured his place in the main event.
Another great start in the main event left Tonus in the top five at the end of lap one, but he then wasted no time and starting to edge closer to a spot on the podium. Various battles ensued in the laps that followed, but he eventually settled into fifth and posted consistent lap times to secure yet another impressive finish. The result set him up well in the overall classification also, as another night of racing was scheduled for Saturday.
Although a new day had begun, Tonus continued to show a lot of speed aboard his YZ450F and mix it up with the frontrunners. Another great time left him third overall in practice, then he secured the same position in his heat race! Although some aggressive moves threatened to disrupt his rhythm, Tonus kept his cool and advanced from fifth to third in the final few laps. The stage was set for another exhilarating main event in front of the patriotic crowd.
A mediocre start in the second and final main event left Tonus with a bit of work to do, but he made quick progress to break into the top seven after two laps. His progress was halted, however, when he collided with an abandoned bike and fell to the ground. With his machine tangled, Tonus was forced to return to the pits and settle for sixteenth. That result still gave him eleventh overall, which wasn't a true representation of the speed shown in his Wilvo Yamaha debut.
Arnaud Tonus: “My weekend went alright actually. I felt pretty good on the bike, especially considering the little time that I spent on it. I probably rode five or six times on a supercross track. I just wanted to ride here at home, as it is a really cool event for me. I got fifth on the first night, which was alright; I had a lot of good riders in front of me. It was okay. I was seventh on the second night and catching the guys in front of me, but landed on someone who crashed in front of me. I had to stop the race, because I had a problem with the front brake. Overall it was pretty good and my riding was okay. I just need to spend a little more time on the bike and I’ll be ready for next year."