A busy phase of the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship begins this weekend for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 with round 10 of 17 taking place at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden.
The Scandinavian visit will be the first of three back-to-back events, also taking in trips to Latvia and Finland as the series hurries towards the ‘home straight’.
Clement Desalle is primed to bounce-back from his mechanical bad luck in Italy almost two weeks ago where the Belgian was practically assured of a seventh podium finish of the campaign with just one lap remaining of the second moto at Maggiora. Desalle is currently third and staring at an 83-point gap to the top of the MX1 standings but has been starting the motos well all year and comes to Sweden with memories of a convincing 1-1 scorecard last season.
Uddevalla has been a regular part of the Grand Prix calendar since the start of the century. The course mixes various elements of a typical motocross track; elevation changes, slow corners, fast sections, rough and rutted turns, but also areas almost hard-pack and slippery. Weather conditions normally have a lot to say in proceedings and determines the degree of difficulty of the surface.
“The Swedish GP means a nice track, nice place and nice country,” said ‘#25’ who enjoyed a weekend away from his factory RM-Z450 by spending a day cycling to Spa Francorchamps from his home in Belgium and also riding some Enduro with his friends and father. “I always enjoy going there but I think they need to take good care of the track. I find that they tend to move things around a lot and the weather can have a big effect on the dirt. It was good last year though, so I hope it will be the same.
“It can vary in grip,” he commented, getting more specific. “I think it is quite a typical track for Sweden. It is challenging because you have to work to find the traction. You can have some nice ruts in a corner and then suddenly they finish and you have to find more grip. It’s enjoyable. Every track has its own character and that’s one of the best things about the world championship. That big rock over the track is a special part of Uddevalla, the lake also…Swedish style!”
Team-mate Kevin Strijbos also ‘refreshed’ over the break between Italy and Sweden after racing commitments on the international stage meant two rounds of the AMA Pro motocross series as well as Grands Prix in Brazil, France and Maggiora in the last month. The Belgian is fifth in the MX1 points table and like Desalle has positive recent recollections of Uddevalla. After almost a decade of persistence the veteran finally broke in the top three in Sweden 2012 after attempts in 2004 and 2006 delivered two fourth positions; the closest he had managed to the Uddevalla podium.
Cloudy and warm conditions are forecast for the rest of the week and across Saturday and Sunday.