FUNCHAL, 29 August 2007 - After having visited two “unseen” tracks –Moneyglass and the latest Donington- the FIM Motocross World Championship collective heads South, to the well known and sandy De Herselse Bossen at Lierop, Holland.
Steve Ramon arrives to this final round in Lierop full of confidence, as he has just made it to the Championship lead. On the other hand Josh Coppins had a bitter comeback at Donington, which ended with the retirement from the second moto. He will try to make up for it this weekend, in his last chance to grasp his maiden World Title.
Antonio Cairoli, who signed his MX1 debut with an overall victory at Donington, will come back to the MX2 class, and will try to seal his twentieth victory in the category after Tommy Searle’s maiden triumph at Donington.
Lierop will put an end also to the FIM Women’s Motocross World Cup. The Dutch meeting will be the final of three rounds, and it will be the first time that the series heads to a sandy course; Livia Lancelot is the current series leader, but defending Champion and runner up Katherine Prumm is only one point behind.
The wrestle for the MX1 title is in between two riders only: current leader Steve Ramon of Suzuki, and runner up Joshua Coppins of Yamaha Motocross.
The latter came back to Donington after a shoulder injury, but he sat out of the GP at the beginning of a painful second moto. The Kiwi’s physical conditions for Lierop are still unclear, but Coppins has already demonstrated he is one of the gutsiest riders in the paddock, and will not give up without fighting.
On the other hand, sand specialist Steve Ramon, who has a partially broken scaphoid, looks forward to Lierop. This can be his chance to secure his maiden World Title in the MX1 class, after the 2003 World Title in the 125cc class.
David Philippaerts of KTM Red Bull is rounding off the top five but will challenge Pourcel for the status of best MX1 debutant of the season. Both have won GP’s this year, but Philippaerts’ only victory dates back to Teutschenthal, while Pourcel’s latest of two triumphs was in Namur.
Ken De Dycker, who lies sixth behind Philippaerts, looks forward to another podium finish after the latest one at Donington, while home rider Marc De Reuver, currently sixteenth in the standings, will try to make up for a disappointing first season in the category on one of his favourite tracks.
A “first time out win” in the MX1 was not enough for Yamaha De Carli’s Antonio Cairoli to race his second Grand Prix in the class at Lierop, where the sandy ground is probably too demanding for the 2007 MX2 World Champion, who tested the 2008 production YZ450F only the Wednesday before Donington.
The flamboyant Sicilian, who will enjoy his well deserved party on Sunday night, wants to conquer another GP victory, his twentieth in the class and twenty first overall.
Christophe Pourcel, who is out recovering from the pelvis injury of Moneyglass, has locked up the third place but Tyla Rattray, who is also out for a knee injury but will be at Lierop to visit his team KTM Red Bull and commentate live the MX2 Race 1, can be snatched the fourth place by Nicolas Aubin.
Ricci Racing’s Aubin will desperately look for those 43 points allowing him the fourth place, but he has to watch out for sand specialist Gareth Swanepoel. The South African, who had suffered a slight dislocation of his wrist in Moneyglass, is just five points behind from Aubin.
Jeremy Tarroux, who grasped his maiden podium last weekend, looks forward to another positive GP, and so do Yamaha fellow riders Matteo Bonini and Dennis Verbruggen, who both entered the top five at Donington.
Livia Lancelot of GPKR heads into Lierop with the red plate, but her small advantage of one single point over runner up Katherine Prumm means the chase for the Cup is wide open. The Kiwi defending Champion, who rides for Molson Kawasaki, looks forward to this final round, but so does third placed Maria Franke from Germany. The German is six points behind leader Lancelot, but compatriot Larissa Papenmeier, winner of the first round of three at Teutschenthal, lies fourth and can still make it to her maiden World Cup victory.
Unfortunately Stephanie Laier of KTM Germany will not take part in this round, as she injured in the second moto at Uddevalla.
The De Herselse Bossen track, which hosted its first Grand Prix back in 1996 (500cc class), is a sandy track, located on the Dutch flatland. Its demanding layout includes a section which is located in a wood, and it is probably the hardest physical test for the FIM Motocross World Championship riders. Lierop’s sand takes no prisoners, and this is an aspect which all the riders have to cope with.
Lierop is a typical Dutch town at 20 kilometres from Eindhoven, which hosts the closest international airport. Amsterdam, the main city of Holland, and all its beauties are 150 kilometres North, but Lierop is the ideal place for a relaxing holiday, with its quiet and characteristic village atmosphere, its lively centre, and a beautiful Neogothic dome-church. Lierop is part of Someren, a municipality made of other three villages, Someren-Dorp, Someren-Eind and Someren-Heide, and having about 20.000 inhabitants in total.
Saturday September 1: Women’s Cup Free Practice 1 at 9:15 am; MX2 Free Practice at 10:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 1 at 11:00 am; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice at 12:00 am; Women’s Cup Free Practice 2 at 1:00 pm; MX1 Free Practice 2 at 2:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 1 at 3:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 2 at 3:45 pm; MX1 Time Practice at 4:30 pm; MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice at 5:15 pm; Women’s Cup Time Practice at 6:00 pm (local time).
Sunday September 2: Women’s Cup Warm-up at 8:15 am; MX2 Warm-up at 9:00 am; MX1 Warm-up at 9:30 am; Women’s Cup Race 1 at 11:08 am; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 at 12:08 am; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 at 1:08 pm; Women’s Cup Race 2 at 2:03 pm; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 at 3:03 pm; MX1 Grand Prix Race 2 at 4:03 pm (local time).