FUNCHAL, 27 June 2007 - The second half of the season will start with the ninth of fifteen rounds, that will be held this weekend at Uddevalla, Sweden.
The Glimminge Mototstadion is a friendly ground for Championship leaders Joshua Coppins and Antonio Cairoli, of the MX1 and MX2 class respectively, but this season it seems that no one will secure their Championship position before the very last Grand Prix.
The FIM Women’s Motocross World Cup collective will be back to action for the second of three rounds of the series; Larissa Papenmeier is the current series leader, but she will face a tough opposition from runner up Maria Franke and Livia Lancelot, as defending Champion Catherine Prumm and 2005 World Cup Winner Stephanie Laier have to make up for a disappointing opening round in Teutschenthal, Germany.
Last year’s GP winner David Philippaerts moved to MX1 this year, but has already won his maiden Grand Prix in the class, and is getting stronger and stronger GP by GP. The gutsy Italian of KTM Red Bull missed the top five only in three occasions this year, showing an incredible strength.
Philippaerts and Pourcel are the only debutants in the top five at the moment, but their fight for the third spot may give Josh Coppins and Steve Ramon –first and second in the Championship- an advantage.
The Belgian is getting tougher and tougher race by race, whereas his team mate Kevin Strijbos suffered from a knee injury that kept him out of the latest round in Bulgaria. The Portuguese GP winner lost his runner up spot in the Championship, but he will be back to action for the forthcoming Swedish round.
Jonathan Barragan of KTM Red Bull was incredibly fast in Sevlievo, as he was also in Valkenswaard, but a shoulder injury has hindered his performances in between the two events. The Spaniard has almost reached his top level, and was strong in Uddevalla last year, when he chased Stefan Everts for victory in the opening heat.
Mike Brown is seventh behind Strijbos in the Championship, but he is working his way up to the top five since his heat victory at Sugo. On the other hand, team mate Ken De Dycker is rounding off the top nine, sandwiched in between Kawasaki riders Tanel Leok –eighth- and Billy Mackenzie –tenth.
The MX2 class has found a runaway leader in Yamaha de Carli’s Antonio Cairoli, but the category is also witnessing a dogfight for the runner up spot between GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel and KTM Red Bull’s Tyla Rattray.
The defending Champion is actually having a tough start to the season, having won only one Grand Prix so far, but he will come back stronger to Uddevalla, after the week rest that followed Bulgaria.
Tyla Rattray is only 11 points from Pourcel, but the South African has not won either a Grand Prix or a heat yet. Looking back at last year, this is a completely different season for Rattray; he was undefeated for the first three rounds, but now he is struggling to find his rhythm at the beginning of the heats.
A hard working Rattray will head to Uddevalla with at least podium ambitions, as team mate Tommy Searle will come back to the venue where he clinched his second career podium last year. The Brit is very fit and quickly got to grips with the KTM 250 SX-F, where he mounted at the end of last year after having spent his rookie season with Molson Kawasaki.
Gareth Swanepoel raced a consistent Bulgarian Grand Prix, but he can do more in Uddevalla; Swanie was on his maiden podium in Valkenswaard, but has never repeated that performance again. On the other hand Kenneth Gundersen is having an even tougher start to the season; the Norwegian will seek for better luck in Uddevalla, his “home away from home”.
From this Grand Prix until the end of the season, young gun Jeremy Tarroux will race in the Axo KTM Silver Action squad, alongside Rui Goncalves and Angelo Pellegrini, the latter being currently injured.
FIM WOMEN’S MOTOCROSS WORLD CUP
A very fast Larissa Papenmeier is on the top of the points standings after she won the opening round in Teutschenthal in May, which was also the home event for the 17 year old.
Another German woman, Maria Franke of Kawasaki Elf Team Pfeil is the current runner up; Maria Franke was a surprise in Teutschenthal, but Livia Lancelot of GPKR is on her tail, having as many points as Franke -40 points.
Defending Champion Katherine Prumm of Kawasaki Molson had a difficult start to the Cup, crashing in both heats, but finally brought the bike home with a useful fourth place ahead of Dutch Marianne Veenstra.
Swedish rider Elin Mann is just outside the top five at the moment, but her home event will be her chance to climb up to the top five.
Last year Uddevalla hosted the second and final round of the Cup, which this year will have one more round in Lierop, on September 2.
GLIMMINGE MOTOTSTADION AND UDDEVALLA
There is a newly modified Glimminge Mototstadion waiting for round nine of the FIM Motocross World Championship. There will be a new location for the start area and the pit lane, the latter allowing the team crews a better track view, as the intermediate ground will be the same as last year. The technical Swedish track has a beautiful location, and is completed surrounded by nature.
Uddevalla is the largest city in the region of Bohuslän, with about 50000 inhabitants. It is less than 100 kilometres North of Gothenburg, and has an active port making it one of the most important industrial cities on the West coast of Sweden. The two most ancient buildings are the town hall and the church, which both date at the 19th century, but Uddevalla hosts also the Bohuslän museum, featuring a lot of the history of the province through the many life-size displays. Gustafsberg is Europe's oldest seaside health resort –dating at the 18th century- and it is just South of Uddevalla.
THE EVENT’S SCHEDULE
Saturday June 30: Women’s Cup Free Practice 1 at 9:15 am; MX2 Free Practice at 10:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 1 at 11:00 am; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice at 12:00 am; Women’s Cup Free Practice 2 at 1:00 pm; MX1 Free Practice 2 at 2:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 1 at 3:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 2 at 3:45 pm; MX1 Time Practice at 4:30 pm; MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice at 5:15 pm; Women’s Cup Time Practice at 6:00 pm (local time).
Sunday July 1: Women’s Cup Warm-up at 8:15 am; MX2 Warm-up at 9:00 am; MX1 Warm-up at 9:30 am; Women’s Cup Race 1 at 11:08 am; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 at 12:08 am; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 at 1:08 pm; Women’s Cup Race 2 at 2:03 pm; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 at 3:03 pm; MX1 Grand Prix Race 2 at 4:03 pm (local time).