MX1 series leader Ken de Dycker and MX2 Dutch GP winner Tyla Rattray will defend their leaderships in much different conditions than two weeks ago, with a handful of rivals ready to give chase, especially MX1 and MX2 Reigning Champions Steve Ramon and Antonio Cairoli.
Bellpuig will also see the start to the 2008 FIM Veterans World Cup, with last year’s winners Dave Thorpe and Tony Cooksley to battle it out for victory.
Valkenswaard was an incredible season beginning for Teka Suzuki WMX1’s Ken de Dycker; the Belgian dominated the entire weekend, grasping the Lovemytime Pole Position Award and winning both heats to jump on the top of the points standings. This is the first time that De Dycker sits on top of the standings; with other 14 rounds remaining, this weekend’s GP at Bellpuig will be a new challenge with different conditions than wet Valkenswaard.
Defending Champion Steve Ramon of Teka Suzuki WMX1 has gone over the flu that affected him right before Valkenswaard; last year a crash at the start of heat two put an end to his podium chances which the Belgian will try to keep alive this weekend.
CAS Honda rider Billy Mackenzie’s performances were hampered by an accident at Valkenswaard but the Scott feels comfortable on the new factory Honda bike. He might be a surprise at Bellpuig where he ended a disappointing eleventh in 2007.
The Yamaha duo is sandwiching Kawasaki Racing’s Manuel Priem, sitting in sixth place, while Kawasaki fellow riders Kevin Strijbos –second on the Spanish podium last year- and Sebastien Pourcel are respectively ninth and 22nd.
The best placed home rider is Jonathan Barragan of AXO KTM Silver Action, being tenth in the standings after Valkenswaard’s zero in heat one, but he is expected to climb up the standings right from this weekend.
With the injury plagued 2007 season behind his broad shoulders, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tyla Rattray went on to take his first GP win in almost two years – his last victory dated back to August 2006 at the Northern Irish GP, Desertmartin. That was a solid comeback, as the South African took victory in both heats after having won the Lovemytime Qualifying Award alongside team mate Tommy Searle on Saturday.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tommy Searle calls revenge for round two, as he crashed in both heats in Holland. The Brit’s speed was hampered by the tough sandy conditions of two weeks ago but the 2007 runner up has still 14 rounds left to build on his current fourth place.
Other KTM fellow riders Rui Goncalves –Red Bull KTM Factory Racing- and Shaun Simpson –KTM UK- look forward to Bellpuig as both are in the conditions to improve their 2007 results which were a 23rd and an 18th place respectively.
On the other hand Ricci Racing Yamaha’s Davide Guarneri knows this will be a tough weekend for him, as he picked up a shoulder injury last week in training. Bellpuig does not seem to be the luckiest venue for the Italian GP winner, as he rode injured also in 2007 without being able to finish either of the motos.
FIM VETERANS WORLD CUP
Bellpuig will open the Veterans World Cup season, including a total of three rounds with the remaining two to take place at Mallory Park (June 1) and Lommel (August 3). The series dedicated to the Motocross legendary riders started in 2006 and so far has visited the race tracks of Namur (in 2006 and in 2007) and Donington Park (in 2007). This weekend’s round one will be the Veterans’ first visit to Bellpuig.
The FIM Veterans World Cup has grown into a very popular series throughout the years and currently sees former three time 500cc World Champion Dave Thorpe defending the Title.
The strong Brit will see also former GP winner Charles Sun challenging him for victory, as well as 2007 and 2006 Veteran class Cup winners Tony Cooksley (2007) and Marc van den Brink (2006).
THE CIRCUIT DE MOTOCROS DE CATALUNYA AND BELLPUIG
The Circuit de Motocros de Catalunya is one of the best permanent Spanish motocross courses; the fantastic track layout provides excellent racing and lots of home fans show up during the weekend for a strong crowd attendance each year. The ground is normally hard pack but rain can turn it upside down as it did last year; the 2007 Grand Prix was held on a very muddy and demanding course with Yamaha fellow riders Joshua Coppins (MX1) and Antonio Cairoli (MX2) taking the overall victory at the end of an extremely tough race. The weather forecast for the weekend is cloudy.
THE EVENT’S SCHEDULE
Saturday April 19: Veterans Free Practice 1 at 9:00 am; MX2 Free Practice at 10:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 1 at 11:00 am; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice at 12:00 am; Veterans Free Practice 2 at 1:15 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; Veterans Time Practice at 6:00 pm (local time).
Sunday April 20: Veterans Warm-up at 9:00 am; MX2 Warm-up at 9:30 am; MX1 Warm-up at 10:00 am; Veterans Race 1 at 11:10 am; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 at 12:10 am; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 at 1:10 pm; Veterans Race 2 at 2:10 pm; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 at 3:03 pm; MX1 Grand Prix Race 2 at 4:03 pm (local time).
Information, photos and results are online at http://www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.