Boog Seventh in Dutch Opener

Over the years, the world's top motocross riders have discovered a truism. Although most of the GP's in the world championship series take place on hard tracks, history has proven that more often than not, it is those riders who also master sand riding skills that rise to the top. In his relentless pursuit of world championship glory, Xavier Boog has subscribed to this theory, and he can often be spotted honing his sand riding skills in the deep sand of Lommel.

Not wishing to leave anything to coincidence, the affable Frenchman is prepared to do all that it takes to clamber his way to the top of the world. It was no surprise then to see his name amongst the entrants for the first Dutch Championship race of 2009 at Gemert. The deep sand track of Holland have a reputation as giant slayers, and have often swallowed riders whole, reputation and all.

Xavier's race day started a little shy of absolute brilliance, as he struggled to find a proper rhythm during qualifying. In a session that left him more frustrated than anything else, he only posted the 26th fastest time, leaving him with a poor gate choice for the races. The bad gate pick translated into a mediocre start in race 1, and Xavier's Teka Suzuki was buried deep in the pack as the field passed Gemert's terrifying full speed chicane for the first time. Xavier is experienced enough though to realize that, although a good start is very important, a good race result is built op over a period of time, particularly so on the energy-sapping, body-thumping Dutch tracks that often turn races into tests of endurance.

Xavier commenced his thrust to the front straight away, and within one lap, had gotten by some stragglers to move into a top 20 position. Lap for lap he advanced, and as he got nearer the top 10, started enjoying, if enjoying is the word, the company of some accomplished sand riders. After a brief struggle , he disposed of German-based Lars Oldekamp, and set off in pursuit of one of Holland's more accomplished sand rabbits, Rinus Van der Ven. He homed in on the Dutchman like a Somalian pirate on a fully laden freighter, and on lap 13, he made a successful move around Van Der Ven to move into the top 10. As race weariness set in, and most of the riders had their proverbial tongues hanging in the spokes, Xavier's hard-won fitness started playing a role. He gained two more spots to cross the line eighth, after a hard fought catch up race.

Despite his gallant effort, Xavier was rather piqued about the outcome of the first race, and thus spurred on, his start in race two was far and away a better effort. This time he slotted straight into the top 10, and naturally found himself in the company of the sand riding elite. This of course makes gaining positions a much more hard-fought affair, but he nevertheless gained a couple of spots, and as he passed Jeremy Van Horebeek with a few laps to go, he secured seventh place, both for the race and in the overall result.

Despite a solid result, Xavier was not quite beaming with happiness after his outing. "It could be better," he said after his post race shower. "The start in the first race was terrible, and I lost my rhythm in the middle part of the race. The second start was better, but I still need to be faster in this type of sand." His usual good spirits however bubbled to the surface again soon after. His eyes drew in crescent-shaped slits as he verbally chastised himself, and there is no doubt that it will be with redoubled efforts that Xavier Boog rolls out for action at the first GP in Faenza, Italy, on 29 March.

Xavier Boog