It has been a strange couple of weeks in Grand Prix motocross. A couple of weeks that highlighted that thin line between glory and pain and demonstrating yet again just how fickle motocross can be.
The contrast in fortunes for various riders and teams over the last two weekends in Germany and the Czech Republic has been as stark as the difference in the two tracks the riders had to race on.
MX Vice looks at the contrasting highs and lows of the last two GPs.
1. The ultimate high to low. Gautier Paulin went from winning the opening MX1 race to being unconscious in one fateful second. It was only a small mistake but it had big consequences. He had been second in the championship have his best ever season but Paulin could not even compete at the Czech GP and is now back to fourth in the series. Hopefully he can return before the end of the season.
2. The awkward moment. The Ice one racing KTM team have been having a fairly good season but with injuries to Rui Goncalves and Xavier Boog they were not even able to put a rider on the track in Czecho. With all the sponsor money that is put into GP racing that is a hard pill to swallow and an even harder phone call to make to the sponsoers. Next year they will be the factory Husqvarna team so hopefully they will have a bit more luck on the injury front.
3. Home hero to zero. A disappointed and exhausted Max Nagl was only 14th overall at his home GP and also had to pull into the pits for a bucket of water to be poured over him during the race! To make matters worse he was then diagnosed with the dreaded Epstein –Barr virus during the week. He was unable to race in Czecho and his return is unknown as rest is the only cure. This is not only bad news for the unfortunate Nagl and Honda but also the German MXDN team and fans. With the Nations only a few weeks away it appears Nagl will not be at 100% even if he is able to compete.
4. Poor Max Anstie. Just when Anstie looked to be back on form and had his starts sorted, he crashed in the last two minutes in Germany and took ninth instead of a possible second and missed the podium. Things then went from bad to worse when he crashed out of the Czech GP at the beginning of moto one and ruled himself out for the day. Just when everything looked back on track, they went off track, literally.
5. HM Plant KTM are finding it tough this year. They had a good weekend in Germany with both riders in the points but by the Czech Republic they were licking their wounds again after both riders failed to score any points. Consistency has been tough for the team this season and the last two races just about sum their season up.
1. Jeffrey Herlings is king of the world. Winning his second MX2 title at 18 years old and winning every overall has to be the ultimate high for any rider. He will also get a healthy bonus cheque from KTM and right now life can’t get any better for arguably the fastest MX2 rider on the planet. Factory KTM are also 1-2 in the series and leading MX1.
2. Clement Desalle is back. As fast as Gautier Paulin’s season has went downhill, Desalle’s has accelerated to the top of the hill. The Belgian has won three of the last four motos and has his home GP coming up. This recent run of wins will also no doubt aid his attempts to get a better paying deal for 2014!
3. The Belgians. Along with Desalle’s victories the Belgian MX1 riders have been out in force. They ran 1-2-3-4 at one point in the first moto in Czech and even Joel Roelants is returning to form! Jeremy Van Horebeek had his best ride of the year with a second in moto two in Czecho and Kevin Strijbos made it a Suzuki 1-2. Belgium will be looking forward to the Des Nations this year.
4. The Russian’s return. A podium for the often injured Evgeny Bobreyshev made everyone in Honda happy but a maiden GP podium for the teenaged Alex Tonkov meant a double podium for both Honda and Russia and cause for plenty of celebrations on Sunday evening. Tonkov also walked away with a factory Husqvarna contract in MX2 for 2014 -that’s what you call a good day! Russia should also have a good MXDN if these guys retain their form.
5. David Philippaerts is also finding some form. The 2008 World Champion has had a couple of bad injuries in the last two years forcing him out of the factory Yamaha team. And in the last two weeks he has show a return to form of sorts with a sixth and seventh overall on a privateer Honda. He even kept Cairoli at bay for a number of laps last weekend and Cairoli must have been secretly pleased as that means the Italian MXDN will stand a better chance of success in Germany. David is a fighter and one of the toughest out there so it is good to see he still has the ability and the health to compete well inside the top ten.
Article by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Youthstream