The motocross clock ticks inexorably on, and whereas the start of the world championship racing season seemed a long way off when the New Year came, it is now rushing down upon us with all manner of speed. The top protagonists of the GP circus have been very busy preparing their armouries for the commencement of hostilities. At this stage of the season, the good old mental game of one-upmanship is all important - getting in a few good results to give the opposition just that little bit of self-doubt.
Xavier Boog started off his 2009 season with some silverware during the one-on-one competition at the season opener in Mantova. Last weekend in Valence he had, by his own standards, a solid but somewhat iffy result, and consequently the easy-going Frenchman was all afire to produce a attention-getting result at possibly the most important early season race - the Hawkstone Park International in England. Xavier lined up with a goodly collection of the top world championship candidates who would compete for the day's honours and, possibly more importantly, bragging rights going into the GP series.
Easy going as he may be in the paddock, once on his bike, Xavier is all business. He likes the sandy underground of Hawkstone Park, and he expertly guided his Teka Suzuki round the track for the fourth best qualifying time. Some wheelspin off the start in race 1 kept Xavier down to a less-than-ideal, but still acceptable 8th place in the first lap. He made steady progress, and a few laps later he had worked himself all the way forward to second place. The jarring impacts of the roughening track gave him a good dose of arm pump, however, and when factory KTM rider Rui Goncalves came knocking, he had no option but to let the Portuguese rider past. With third place in the first heat, however, Xavier was well posed for an overall podium finish on the day.
THE KNOWLEDGEABLE SPECTATORS WATCHED THE STYLE MASTER'S EVERY MOVE
(Pic - Stefan Paetow)
One would not think it, but Xavier was less than entirely pleased with his first race, and with his arms fully loosened up, lined up his yellow missile for race 2. He slotted in straight behind the KTM pair of Shaun Simpson and Goncalves off the start, and realizing that the two factory riders had the better of him on the day, he settled in for third in the race. As it was, he came in close on a minute clear of the fourth-placed rider, underscoring the fact that he is ready for the GP season to commence.
In his quiet, jocular manner, Xavier was upbeat about the overall result. "In the first heat I came from 8th to second, but I had arm pump and had to let Goncalves by. I was not happy about that. In the second heat I had a better start, but on the day Simpson and Goncalves were too fast, and I rode my own race for third place."