Racer X Race Report:  Grand Prix of Limburg

Racer X Race Report Grand Prix of Limburg

August 1, 2011 9:50am
The Grand Prix of Limburg is arguably the hardest event on the FIM Motocross World Championship calendar. Where is Limburg? It is an eastern province of Belgium bordering Holland and home to the small town of Lommel where a hefty quota of the Grand Prix fraternity base themselves during part of the season to take advantage of the sandy terrain and tracks in the area. The money for the grand prix (and indeed the 2012 Motocross of Nations) has been stumped up by the local government; hence the strange moniker for the event.

The Lommel sand is the roughest and toughest of the season physically for the riders and mechanically for the teams. The sand is so loose and shifting that it seems the terrain is as much of a foe as any rival. “I have never seen the track like this before,’ said Monster Energy Yamaha’s Steven Frossard who was fifth overall in MX1. “It was more like enduro than motocross; very, very difficult.”

Cairoli was dominant in Belgium going 1-1 for the overall.
Photo: Ray Archer

“The track was destroyed and the ramps of the jumps were like Trial!” offered MX2 Yamaha rider Gautier Paulin. “In some places it was deeper but I really love to ride here,” said MX1 victor Red Bull Teka KTM’s Tony Cairoli “the sand is so loose that it is easy to lose your rhythm and I got a bit over-confident in the second moto and lost control at one point. But I really enjoyed this victory.”

Under gloomy skies it was the Sicilian who again beat the sand specialists at the eleventh round of fifteen as Cairoli recovered from two falls, one in each moto, to clearly own his fourth victory of the year and second in a row. It was also his second triumph at Lommel where the defending number one resides for a sizeable chunk of the year. Cairoli is now in fact a sand-master himself after also winning Valkenswaard this season (and in previous years) and seems to take great pleasure in the technical and physical difficulty of the surface. As a result of his hot-streak of form Cairoli is now 52 points (an entire round) ahead of Rockstar Suzuki’s Clement Desalle – who was second overall and fronted a large part of the first moto with Cairoli needing to recover from his ‘off’ – and Frossard. Cairoli and Desalle were joined on the podium by the former’s team-mate Max Nagl. The German climbed the box for the first time since the last sandy event at Valkenswaard over Easter. Nagl then revealed he has been struggling with a damage spinal disc all season and could undergo surgery after round twelve; possibly throwing the German team’s plans for the Nations into the mire.

Desalle finished second overall in Belgium.
Photo: Ray Archer

From the MX1 class the factory Honda World Motocross team almost had a great event with Evgeny Bobryshev pushing back to sixth from last and then taking third place in the second moto but it was the expiry of Rui Goncalves’ engine several corners from the finish line while holding fourth in Moto2 than robbed the tough Portuguese of a first podium in the premier category. The former MX2 world championship runner-up and competent sand rider had ambushed Frossard at the finish of the opening moto to steal third position by three hundredths of a second after the Frenchman had misread his pit-board. Tanel Leok posted one of his better finishes of the year on the factory TM with sixth overall.

The AMA 250 class is under the vice-grip of Pro Circuit Kawasaki and the same is true for MX2 with the Red Bull Teka KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings allowing only one ‘non-orange’ winner this season. An exciting duel between the pair in the first moto at Lommel was decided with a spectacular crash by Roczen on the last lap that let the following Dutchman take the chequered flag. The second moto was staid and controlled by Herlings ahead of the German for his fourth win of 2011 and a complete shutout in the sand, having aced both motos earlier in the year in Holland. Roczen is 21 points ahead of Herlings and at this rate will struggle to claim the title at the penultimate round in front of his home fans at the beginning of September.

The sandmaster was at it again, going 1-1 for the overall.
Photo: Ray Archer

Third member of the team, Jeremy Van Horebeek, rode a couple of lonely races to take third and his first silverware on the factory bike in what has been an injury-plagued campaign. Max Anstie filled what is becoming a familiar fourth spot but the teenager was the best rider not steering a 250SX-F on the day. Gautier Paulin and Tommy Searle followed in the standings as the pair essentially duke it out for third in the series. The duo even came to blows in the first moto disputing fourth as two lines merged together on the exit of a turn and Searle (on the inside) did not ease off the gas.

For the first time in recent memory a race was halted on Saturday with the opening lap fall of former world champion and factory Suzuki rider Steve Ramon. The Belgian was ejected off the RM-Z450 after getting into a high-speed ‘swap’ and landed head-first into a sandy rut. The veteran initially reported only a tingling sensation in one hand and was swiftly taken to hospital where he slowly regained control of his limbs and after scans was found to have nerve damage in his neck. No bone breaks but a lot of pain in his shoulders. Comments from the team pointed to the role played by the Leatt-brace in preventing a more serious injury.

For those interested in Christophe Pourcel’s stop-start career then the next re-birth will take place this coming weekend at Loket in the Czech Republic; scene of the Frenchman’s first GP moto victory in 2005. Now having fully sorted out the settings on the CLS Kawasaki Pourcel has a last gasp chance to make the French Motocross of Nations team with the federation apparently sweating over whether to include Marvin Musquin for MX2 duties and announce the squad at Loket or wait further and see if Pourcel looks capable of being able to back-up Gautier Paulin (legible for either MX2 or Open) and Steven Frossard for the one strong moto result needed for the Gallic trio in front of their home crowd in September.

Ramon had a serious crash in Belgium, but intial reports are that he will make a full recovery.
Photo: Ray Archer

American Grand Prix representation dipped to a low not seen since 2009 at Lommel. While Michael Leib tries his best to get something out of the factory Husqvarna (and himself) Zach Osborne’s season is in threat after a left shoulder injury at the sixth round of eight in the British Championship last weekend saw the Virginian head home for diagnosis and treatment. More news on Osborne is expected in the coming days as the GP circus moves east and to the slippery hard-pack (talk about a circuit contrast) of Loket this weekend.


MX1 Moto1

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 39:57.975;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:09.126;
3. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), +0:29.308;
4. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +0:29.343;
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:32.189;
6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:51.252;
7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +0:58.628;
8. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:07.701;
9. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), +1:20.422;
10. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:32.403


MX1 Moto2

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42:30.771; ;
2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), +0:03.509;
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:14.535;
4. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), +0:45.467;
5. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +0:50.827;
6. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), +1:13.243;
7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Honda), +1:33.494;
8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), +1:57.676;
9. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:59.104;
10. Marc de Reuver (NED, Yamaha), +2:07.387


MX1 Overall result

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 50 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1), 40 p.;
3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 38 p.;
4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 35 p.;
5. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 33 p.;
6. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 29 p.;
7. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 28 p.;
8. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 26 p.;
9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Honda), 24 p.;
10. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), 22 p.


MX1 World Championship standings after 11 of 15 rounds

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 466 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 414 p.;
3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Yamaha), 403 p.;
4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 369 p.;
5. Maximilian Nagl (GER, KTM), 349 p.;
6. Rui Goncalves (POR, Honda), 309 p.;
7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), 308 p.;
8. Ken de Dycker (BEL, Honda), 250 p.;
9. Xavier Boog (FRA, Kawasaki), 235 p.
10. Jonathan Barragan (ESP, Kawasaki), 233 p.;

MX2 Moto1
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 40:09.879; ;
2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), +0:25.846;
3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:54.275;
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:13.150;
5. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +1:24.853;
6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:30.270;
7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +1:30.797;
8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +1:56.063;
9. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +2:08.345;
10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), -1 lap(s);

MX2 Moto2

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 41:28.098; ;
2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), +0:18.176;
3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), +0:44.762;
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:58.899;
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), +1:20.408;
6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:28.568;
7. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), +1:32.563;
8. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), +1:57.215;
9. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +2:05.593;
10. Matiss Karro (LAT, Honda), +2:32.356;


MX2 Overall result

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points;
2. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), 44 p.;
3. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, KTM), 40 p.;
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 36 p.;
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), 30 p.;
6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 30 p.;
7. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), 25 p.;
8. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 25 p.;
9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 21 p.;
10. Matiss Karro (LAT, Honda), 20 p.;

MX2 World Championship standings after 11 of 15 rounds
1. Ken Roczen (GER, KTM), 490 points;
2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 469 p.;
3. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 400 p.;
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Yamaha), 373 p.;
5. Zachary Osborne (USA, Yamaha), 295 p.;
6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Yamaha), 295 p.;
7. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 285 p.;
8. Harri Kullas (FIN, Yamaha), 249 p.;
9. Nicolas Aubin (FRA, KTM), 207 p.;
10. Joel Roelants (BEL, KTM), 180 p.;