Strijbos to Miss MXoN

The injury-plagued American and French Teams are joined by Team Belgium after Suzuki star Kevin Strijbos announced today to pull out of the Red Bull MX of Nations. Strijbos (Suzuki Racing) has decided after consultation with his surgeon Dr. Toon Claes to have surgery to the meniscus of his left knee next Wednesday.

The 22-year old Strijbos was the sensation of the second half of the season. The Kid added three GP’s and five heat wins to his tally, inspite of his troubled knee. The Dutch GP in Lierop this weekend will be the last opportunity for fans this year to see the likeable rider from Wuustwezel in action. Strijbos is currently third in the MX1 World championship and second in the highly regarded Belgian championship. A replacement rider for Kevin -who was due to race in the MX2 clas in the US- has not been appointed yet. Joël Smets, who makes his debut as a team
manager of Team Belgium will name Strijbos’ replacement on Tuesday 4 September during an MXoN Team Belgium press conference at the Kinepolis Hasselt film theater.

Kevin Strijbos:
“This was a very tough decision, but unfortunately it was my only option. The last three GP’s. I have been riding with a painful knee again and in the back of my mind I knew more surgery would be needed. Today Dr. Claes confirmed further damage to the meniscus. To keep on riding is not impossible but it would make matters only worse. Just resting to let my knee heal for the MXoN was not really an option because the coming weeks I was due to test MX2 bike and I needed to keep on training anyway. Moreover I have a test planned with my new team on the 15th of October in Japan. We know you just need those six weeks of complete rest for proper healing... I feel sorry to let down Steve (Ramon), Ken (De Dijcker), Joël (Smets) and the promoter 2CMX since they have been putting in a lot of effort to prepare for Budds Creek. I have been on the phone to Joël quite a bit the last two days, but luckily he understands the situation and that’s a great relief for me.”

Joël Smets: “It’s never nice to lose one of the best riders in the world right before the most important race of the year! Kevin was going really strong lately and I’m 100% sure he wanted to show the world what he was capable of on the MX2 bike. Obviously Kevin’s absence makes things a lot more complicated because he was our MX2 rider and we are not spoilt for world class riders as we are in MX1. I have some good possibilities, but I don’t want to add extra pressure to the riders right before the GP this weekend. On top of that the MxoN in the US bring some practical and logistic issues along. That’s also something we will have to figure out, and other reason why I will announce the replacement rider for Strijbos on Tuesday.”