Loket is a circuit that is familiar to every rider, as it has long been a firm fixture on the World Championship calendar. The GP of the Czech Republic has been detrimental to a few guys in the past, which is always in the back of my mind when the series visits Loket. However it did not bother the riders, as they still pushed extremely hard all-day long, which was quite clear from the amount of crashes that we saw throughout the weekend. Despite this the on-track action was fast and furious. But in order to understand what really went on we must look at the lap times.
Kevin Strijbos vs. Ken de Dycker – MX1 Moto One
Kevin Strijbos (2nd)
Ken de Dycker (3rd)
I thought that this would be quite an interesting comparison, seeing as the Belgians swapped positions at the points focused on in the above chart. In my opinion this chart pinpoints their weaknesses in the moto. Despite starting second Kevin Strijbos lost the position to de Dycker on lap five; the lap times show that Ken was clearly the faster rider at this point. Perhaps this was a result of Kevin being too timid on the opening laps? De Dycker is known for not caring, and going for it regardless of the situation, which aided him in those opening laps. But Ken is known for suffering from fatigue also, so perhaps his lap times dropped in the second half of the race because he pushed so hard early on, rather than conserve energy.
Ken de Dycker actually established a bit of a gap over Kevin Strijbos once he made the move, so it seemed as though he had the position on lockdown. However, the Suzuki pilot began to inch closer as the laps wore on. Strijbos’ lap times did not alter much at all from lap six to lap fifteen, evidently, which is remarkable, as it indicates he was hitting his marks every lap. Ken still had a good pace going on the twelfth lap too, as he was reaching into the 1:49 range. De Dycker’s lap times got progressively worse from this point onwards, which stopped him from challenging Strijbos again. Clearly, Strijbos’ consistency triumphed in this fight.
Clement Desalle vs. Jeremy van Horebeek – MX1 Moto Two
Clement Desalle (1st)
Jeremy Van Horebeek (2nd)
Jeremy Van Horebeek captured the best moto result of his MX1 career at Loket, as he ended moto two in second. Jeremy clearly has the potential to finish up in that position regularly; it just needs to be unearthed. I thought it would be quite intriguing to see how close he was to running the pace of Desalle; we can use this data to determine how close Van Horebeek is to reaching that level. In the eight laps outlined above, he did not better the times of Desalle at any point; but he was still reasonably close – he was often within half a second of the leaders time.
If there is one thing that you can take from this chart, it is that Clement Desalle had the race under control, quite clearly. Intriguingly, in the lap times following the ones highlighted, van Horebeek did begin to post some times faster than his countryman, so the speed is there. In this battle, as well as the one in the previous chart, there is an underlying storyline, as these four are battling over the three spots on the Belgian Motocross des Nations squad. So when one of these riders meets one of their countrymen on-track, do not be surprised some extra fire, as they are out to prove a point.
Words by Lewis Phillips