Racer X Race Report:  MXGP of Great Britain

Racer X Race Report: MXGP of Great Britain

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If only everything were as reliable and consistent as freshly crowned five times MX1 World Champion Tony Cairoli, such as the English weather for example. For the third year in a row the expansive Matteley Basin circuit – all undulations, off-cambers, long, wide turns and mammoth jumps – was home to the British Grand Prix and the notorious UK climate. For two editions Matterley stayed dry and sunny but the odds could not be defied forever and the sixteenth round of seventeen in the FIM Motocross World Championship brought dark skies, lower temperatures and a morning of rain that made the crowd feel as though the year was deep into October rather than the height of summer.

Somehow good conditions did eventually appear in the weirdest weather reversal and converted the terrain into something rougher and more grippy than outright slippery. Belated sunshine cast a pleasant sheen on the Cairoli title melee that occurred right after the first MX1 moto and after the Sicilian had dispatched with the efforts of Clement Desalle. The factory Rockstar Suzuki rider had claimed the previous two rounds and would do so again in Great Britain but not before Cairoli had already made his mark. For 100cc less his 350SX-F makes a helluva noise at full celebratory rpm and it was this thrashing of the works motor that ultimately wrecked the champ’s quest for a 1-1 scorecard in the UK as the engine started to fail and cut-out and eventually forced his retirement later on. Cairoli was clearly the fastest around the track and Desalle wasn’t too far away but the Suzuki man was free to escape when the KTM expired after what Cairoli himself described as “too much abuse”. It seems a little incredible that TC’s invincible team didn’t switch around motors as a precaution; the champagne must have already been popped between motos.

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Cairoli clinched his seventh title on Sunday.
Ray Archer photo

Desalle led a Suzuki 1-2 for the second time this season with Kevin Strijbos producing one of his best performances of the year to motor from eleventh on the first lap of the second moto up to another third position. Impressive stuff from the unlucky Belgian who only just missed out on the cut for Team Belgium to Ken de Dycker: Cairoli’s teammate struggling a little at Matterley with a twisted left ankle. The final step of the podium belonged to Honda World Motocross’ Evgeny Bobryshev for the third time in a row and after two seasons of fits-and-spurts of fitness and form the Russian is proving that he can be a constant force. On this occasion he would surely have been bothered by Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy van Horebeek for silverware if the Belgian had not crashed on the first corner of Moto 1. JVH had set lap-times throughout the weekend that indicated he was primed for his first podium in what is a maiden MX1 season, but the costly spill would cast his excellent runner-up slot in the second moto as an opportunity missed.

CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Tommy Searle had the home Grand Prix spotlight full in the face and although fifth position is by no means a disaster of a result it felt like a bitter disappointment after the hype and expectation on the back of his 2012 triumph at the same event. A bad start in Moto 1 and then poor luck by running into the fallen David Philippaerts on the first lap of Moto 2 pretty much excluded him from podium potential and certainly binned a chance of seeing Searle trying to match the renewed champion.

“I was disappointed not to be able to win,” Cairoli admitted. “I had a good first race and I think I was a bit too hard on my bike celebrating! I feel a bit sorry now that I revved it so hard! I could feel something was not quite right at the start of the second moto. I thought it might clear in the first laps and after I recovered from my mistake I made some good time but then it started to cut-out again. Anyway, I got the title in the first moto and we are really happy.

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Clement Desalle took the MX 1 overall over Cairoli.
Suzuki photo

“Every year it feels different,” he added on the fact he has now accumulated five MX1 titles in a row and with seven altogether (two in MX2) and is the second most successful rider in GP history behind Stefan Everts (one more title that Joel Robert). “It is a different championship and brings different motivation. For sure the first one is the nicest and the one that I remember the most but each is special. Since my Mum passed away every title has gone towards her because she’s the one that pushed me to ride and gave me the motivation to keep positive and strong.”

MX2 was the kind of frenetic ball of chaos that observers had been expecting since Jeffrey Herlings ruled himself out for the rest of the season with a broken shoulder blade. After the first moto and a third chequered flag in succession for Monster Energy Yamaha’s Dean Ferris it looked as though the Australian would own proceedings once more. However a fall while frustrated behind Spaniard Jose Butron in the second moto split his fuel tank and caused a DNF. “The track really suited me because it was so technical and rutty,” he commented. “In moto two Butron was just a roadblock. I was trying everything to pass and getting off the line a lot. I crashed because I had my head-down from getting filled-in and the next thing I knew I was cartwheeling.”

With Ferris out and teammate Christophe Charlier disappearing at the front for his second moto win of the year – thus ensuring Yamaha took both wins on the day – a surge of mathematics and conjecture took place between Butron, Glen Coldenhoff, Dylan Ferrandis and Jake Nicholls to determine who would gain the overall. Ferrandis crashed and could not restart the Kawasaki and Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Tixier had suffered a huge fall on the pit lane straight in the first moto that also put him in the same boat with Ferris and Charlier (the latter falling twice in the opening race and making it to the line in 18th). Nicholls was brilliant at his home GP and the depth of his determination was seen by the fact just him and Max Anstie (again appalling starts wrecking his aspirations) were the only MX2 riders clearing the massive downhill triple. Nicholls was second in the first moto and slightly fluffed the start in the second but his fight back through to claim the second step of the box gave the partisan crowd good cause to clear their airways. There were some big ‘offs’ and Tim Gajser’s flipping KTM actually travelled into the spectator enclosure. We received no news regarding injuries.

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Glenn Coldenhoff won the MX2 overall despite not winning a moto.
Ray Archer photo

It was Coldenhoff who would prevail. “The track was so bumpy that I actually managed to look at my pit board only once during that race,” he said. “I was just hoping I would get on the podium as I had been feeling sick in the morning … I could not believe it when they said I had won with a 3-4.” So the Dutch national anthem was again on loop as Coldenhoff tackled the conditions efficiently and became the second first-time winner in just two events.

The second MXGP festival at Matterley still conjured some of the elements that we routinely see at the Motocross of Nations, in other words a large and eclectic turnout of competitors and a sense of community of the sport that crosses borders and languages. Maybe it sounds a touch idealistic but no other motorsport can bring diverse racers and racing groups together quite like this eleven-class behemoth over four days. One of the eleven categories was the European EMX250 contest and, like EMX125 (with new champion Pauls Jonass), was hitting the second-to-last round of the year. Pro Circuit’s rising star Thomas Covington chose Matterley Basin and the EMX250 series – Grand Prix’s feeder class – to taste his first experience of racing and travelling in Europe. The early rain and temperatures could not have provided a more stark contrast to his Californian existence but the teenager did hedge his bets for one of the acclaimed layouts on the scene. Covington was pushing Swiss Jeremy Seewer for the lead at one stage but a mistake dumped the seventeen year old on the floor and he had to fight back to take fourth by the flag. We grabbed some words as soon as he had pulled back into the CLS awning.

Fourth place. I guess you were expecting more. What happened?
I’m pretty bummed. I kind of threw it away there. I was right behind Seewer and just watching his lines and trying to be patient. I came into a corner a little hot and there was a big braking bump and it threw me right over the bars. I got up and was a little sore and tired! I tried to stay in there for the rest of the moto.

Credit for not giving up there…
I tried to keep going and kept fighting and it is pretty disappointing coming all this way and not being able to get on the podium but I rode a hard as I could. Now I’ll go back home and work a little harder to get ready for the Monster Cup.

After pole position on Friday you must have had high expectations…
I had no idea what to expect coming into this race and that is one of the reasons that I wanted to come over, just to see what it is like and see how the riders are. I thought it would be a really good experience for me and I really enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll get back over here one day. All the guys at CLS made the transition very easy for me and I felt comfortable on the bike right away.

How was Matterley?
The track was challenging for sure. It seemed good and tacky but you’d come into a corner and it would be like ice. It got very bumpy in that last moto. It was good. I enjoyed it. All the fans lining the track was a cool thing and one of the best parts of the event.

With the MX1 and MX2 titles wrapped and folded the final Grand Prix of the season in the sand of Lierop in two weeks will carry a note of levity. There are still top three championship positions to be confirmed in MX2 but otherwise the focus will be on the end of year parties and riders looking to close 2014 deals with the process of planning for the campaign ahead already late in terms of confirmation and announcement.

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Christophe Charlier won the second 250 moto en route to fifth overall.
Monster Energy photo

MX1 Moto 1

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 40:12.219;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:13.729;
3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:19.596;
4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:37.345;
5. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:44.925;
6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:52.268;
7. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), +0:57.437;
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:00.898;
9. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:31.427;
10. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:42.077;

MX1 Moto 2

1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 39:39.867;
2. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:09.276;
3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:16.160;
4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:28.647;
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:39.680;
6. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:50.764;
7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:03.211;
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:08.104;
9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), +1:38.004;
10. Matiss Karro (LAT, KTM), +1:48.876;

MX1 Overall

1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 47 points;
2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 40 p.;
3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 36 p.;
4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 31 p.;
5. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 29 p.;
6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 28 p.;
7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 28 p.;
8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), 26 p.;
9. Tanel Leok (EST, TM), 23 p.;
10. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), 22 p.;

MX1 World Championship standings after 16 of 17 rounds

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 718 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 647 p.;
3. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), 573 p.;
4. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), 513 p.;
5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), 509 p.;
6. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), 460 p.;
7. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL, Kawasaki), 405 p.;
8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), 314 p.;
9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 312 p.;
10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Honda), 282 p.;

MX2 Moto 1

1. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 39:38.386;
2. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:04.749;
3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:10.070;
4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:12.303;
5. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:41.303;
6. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), +0:45.536;
7. Tim Gajser (SLO, KTM), +0:48.624;
8. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +0:57.100;
9. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), +0:57.767;
10. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), +1:29.337;

MX2 Moto 2

1. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 40:55.169;
2. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), +0:08.949;
3. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:09.694;
4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:10.405;
5. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:12.238;
6. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), +0:14.166;
7. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), +0:46.988;
8. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:59.031;
9. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), +1:00.702;
10. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), +1:01.435;

MX2 Overall

1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 38 points;
2. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 37 p.;
3. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 36 p.;
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KTM), 34 p.;
5. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 28 p.;
6. Mel Pocock (GBR, Yamaha), 27 p.;
7. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 25 p.;
8. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 25 p.;
9. Elliott Banks-Browne (GBR, KTM), 22 p.;
10. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), 18 p.;

MX2 World Championship standings after 16 of 17 rounds

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 692 points;
2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 569 p.;
3. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 506 p.;
4. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), 467 p.;
5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 450 p.;
6. Dean Ferris (AUS, Yamaha), 434 p.;
7. Jake Nicholls (GBR, KTM), 407 p.;
8. Max Anstie (GBR, Suzuki), 320 p.;
9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), 319 p.;
10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), 287 p.;

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