Strange as it may seem for a French rider, and a popular one in his home country at that, but Xavier Boog has not had that many opportunities to race in his home country over the last few years. Being in the employ of a German-based team, the Frenchman has to make do with the French GP and ad-hoc international races to roll out in front of his compatriots.
This weekend's international event at Valence provided such an opportunity. Although the track south of Lyon is far form his home in the Alsace, there was plenty of support for the popular young man next to the track. The race resembled a mini GP, with many of the world's top talents ready to go into action. Xavier doesn't particularly list the track situated in an industrial area as amongst his favourites, but got on with the job at hand and qualified in ninth position for the races.
PLOWING UP THE STONY MUD AT VALENCE
(Pic - Sébastien LAUER)
THe good gate pick did not assist Xavier much, as his start gate got stuck at the beginning of the first race. By the time the gate dropped, he had to carve his way through the pack from the rear on his Teka Suzuki. He wa steadily heading for top 10 territory when the fate delivered her final knock out blow as far as this race was concerned. With a lap to go, the bike gave up the ghost, and that was that as far as race 1 was concerned.
IN race 2, Xavier charged into turn 1 in 12th position, but worked his way forward with determination. He got all the way up to 5th, and was involved in a fierce battle with Nicholas Aubin and Gautier Paulin for this spot. A mistake cost him some time, however, and he lost the position to his compatriots, coming home in 7th position.
The slinking sun and a distinct nip in the air greeted the riders as they rolled out for the late afternoon Superfinal race, pitting the best riders of the MX1 - and MX2 classes against each other. Xavier produced a start that was not far removed form being atrocious, and he had to fight another comeback battle. He wrung the most out of his little 250cc machine, and managed to claw his way back to 15th by the time the flagman mercifully indicated to the riders that they can now retire to a cup of tea.
Xavier's frenetic racing activity will continue for the next few weeks as he prepares for the opening GP in Italy in little more than a month's time.
IF YOU LET A CHAMELEON LOOSE ON MULTI-COLOURED XAVIER, THE POOR ANIMAL WILL HAVE NERVOUS FITS
(Pic - Sébastien LAUER)