Valkenswaard GP Preview

March 29, 2007 9:16am

With the 2007 FIM Motocross Grand Prix Series starting up this weekend in Holland, Geoff Meyer of took a trip down memory lane. Here’s his report on the Valkenswaard circuit.

Sylvain Geboers topped the 250cc class in '74

photo: Courtesy of Geoff Meyer

While Valkenswaard might not be considered one of the old school Grand Prix circuits of the 1960s, it still has a long history. Back in 1974 present-Suzuki factory team owner Sylvain Geboers topped the 250cc Grand Prix, while Harry Everts finished in third place. Everts would win the World 250cc championship the following year (on a Puch). As for Geboers, he would end the 1974 season in 11th place, and that victory in Holland would be the great rider’s last big win on the International scene.

Harry and Stefan Everts

photo: Courtesy of Geoff Meyer

It would be 18 years before the 250cc class would return to Valkenswaard and in a new era another Everts would show good speed around the twisty, tough sand track. A young Stefan Everts (the new World 125cc champion) had moved to the 250cc class in 1992 and shocked the world with victory around Valkenswaard. He would then add victories at the Eurocircuit in 1994, ‘95 and ‘96. Other riders to win in the 250cc class at Valkenswaard were Greg Albertyn in ‘93, Marnicq Bervoets twice in ‘97 and ‘99, Sebastien Tortelli in ‘98, Frederic Bolley in 2000, and Mickael Pichon in 2002.

Mickael Pichon

photo: Max Ludwig

In 2003 Pichon won the MX1/MotocrossGP class after a hard battle with Stefan Everts. The two collided mid-race, breaking the front spokes on Everts bike. It was the time when Pichon rode the best ever, taking the first three GPs of the season easily and looking likely to win the title. Everts would win the MX1 class in 2004, making it win number five around Valkenswaard and thus ending his love affair with the Dutch circuit.

Joel Smets

photo: Max Ludwig

In the 500cc class it was another story, the first GP was held here in 1980 and Andre Vromans won, although the 500cc class didn't venture to Valkenswaard as often as the 250cc class, and there would only be a handful of Open class winners around the Valkenswaard circuit: Three-time World 500cc champion Dave Thorpe in 1985, Belgian sand specialist Dirk Geukens in 1989, American Billy Liles in 1990, and Marnicq Bervoets in 2000. In 2002 five time World 500cc champion Joel Smets won his first Valkenswaard GP leading home Bervoets and Everts. Smets would add a 650cc win in Valkenswaard in 2003.

Valkenswaard's first turn

photo: Courtesy of Moto Verte

In the 125cc/MX2 class the history of Valkenswaard is mixed. In 1981 Marc Valkeneers won with 3-1 results, Harry Everts was second with 3-2 results, but the news of the day was the 1-DNF result by Eric Geboers. The DNF by Geboers would cost him the title as Everts won with a 15-point cushion (211 to 197.) In 1987 the Dutch golden boy Dave Strijbos would claim victory with 1-1 results, while two other Dutchman, Pedro Tragter and John Van Den Berk, finished second and third.

It was the golden era of Motocross in Holland. A very young Marnicq Bervoets finished with a magnificent 4th place in his second moto and showed that he had a liking for the Dutch circuit.  South African Grant Langston won in the 125cc class in 2000, while Steve Ramon won the 125cc class in 2002 and 2003. In 2004 Ben Townley dominated the Dutch GP, going 1-1 for victory.

Jamie Dobb

photo: Steve Jackson

Of course America also won the Motocross des Nations at Valkenswaard back in 1991. That team was Jeff Stanton, Damon Bradshaw and Mike Kiedrowski.

GP winners in Valkenswaard

1981 Marc Valkeneers
1987 Dave Strijbos
2000 Grant Langston
2002 Steve Ramon
2003 Steve Ramon
2004 Ben Townley

1974 Sylvain Geboers
1992 Stefan Everts
1993 Greg Albertyn
1994 Stefan Everts
1995 Stefan Everts
1996 Stefan Everts
1997 Marnicq Bervoets
1998 Sebastien Tortelli
1999 Marnicq Bervoets
2000 Frederic Bolley
2002 Mickael Pichon
2003 Mickael Pichon
2004 Stefan Everts

1980 Andre Vromans
1985 Dave Thorpe
1989 Dirk Geukens
1990 Billy Liles
2000 Marnicq Bervoets
2002 Joel Smets
2003 Joel Smets