Mixed weekend for Australia's Ferris with 12th overall.
Riders went in pursuit of traction this weekend with the steep and pebbly clay based circuit of Loket hosting round 14 of the FIM Motocross World Championship and shelving what was, arguably, the most emotionally charged GP this season with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier both reaching the peak of their careers with their first ever race wins and overall victories.
It was the moment we had all been waiting for, and when it arrived there was not one person at the venue here in Loket who couldn’t help but smile and applaud Van Horebeek as he took one of the most deserving race victories and overall wins of the season.
After 13 rounds of podium riddled performances the young Belgian’s hard work, heart and determination finally paid its dues rewarding him with his first ever MXGP race win and overall victory.
“I came into this weekend thinking this weekend is my time, after I made a mistake in Finland I was happy I did it, it’s great. The feeling is a little difficult to explain but these guys here in MXGP are the best riders in the world so it’s a special one, it won’t be my last, I’ve tasted it and now I want more.”
Even Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos, who rode flawlessly to victory in race one, couldn’t help but smile for his fellow countryman even though he was clearly gutted to have come so close to taking his first win since Lierop 2007 and having it not pan out.
Despite the smidge of disappointment, the Belgian admitted, “I almost got Tony on the last lap, it was so close, so I have to be happy even though it’s a little bit of both, but I am happy to be back on the podium for sure.”
It’s no secret Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli is not a fan of Loket but nevertheless the defending champion was content with third overall.
“I find Loket very difficult on a 350cc, I have to rev a lot which causes a lot of wheel spin and it’s difficult to find the balance with my power and corner speed, so I was looking forward to putting this GP behind me,” he said. “But I did my best like I do every time but Jere was on the gas today.”
Taking home a respectable fourth after his seven round absence, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin posted a pair of sixths, both being hard fought with race two being his best performance of the day after making life difficult for himself when he flogged the gate about one second too soon and started from dead last.
Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM’s Shaun Simpson appears to have found his groove and is starting to make a dent in his FIM Motocross World Championship campaign after locking down his season’s best finish with fifth overall.
As for Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle, his team has confirmed the super smooth Belgian has broken his scaphoid and will be shifting his focus toward healing up and he will miss the rest of the season.
After qualifying fifth, Australian Dean Ferris was ninth in moto one for Red Bull Ice One Racing Husqvarna, but a 15th in moto two after crashing while in eighth with two laps to go dropped him to 12th overall.
With so much hype surrounding MX2 this weekend it was expected to be epic and it definitely didn’t fail to deliver. All 21,000 spectators were captivated by the speed, drama and intensity as the eager youngsters rode with their hearts on their sleeves in hopes of taking home their first ever FIM MX2 Grand Prix victory.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tixier silenced all his critics today with his unfaultable performance in race one when he made quick work of the hot starters KTM Silver Action’s Jose Butrón and Standing Construct KTM’s Valentin Guillod, and demonstrated a surprisingly high level of comfort out front as he rode toward his first ever MX2 race victory.
With one race down and another to go, the highest ranked Frenchman was put to the ultimate test after an average start left him brawling for points in what was one of the gnarliest battles of the season. At the end of it, the KTM rider banked fourth to reach yet another milestone in his career with first ever MX2 grand prix overall.
“I can not believe it, the hole weekend was really good for me, already on Saturday I had a good feeling on the track only Romain was a little bit faster than me but I had such a good feeling on the track and so much pleasure to ride and I won today, so it was really good,” he said.
Speaking of race one’s FOX Holeshot getter, Standing Construct KTM’s Valentin Guillod rode incredibly this weekend to uncork a bottle of bubbles on the MX2 podium for the first time in his career with second overall.
Probably the most surprising performances of the weekend was that of Yamaha Factory Racing’s Christophe Charlier who came into this weekend completely over looked with three of his fellow French competitors in the running for the MX2 title stealing the limelight.
After missing six grand prix’ this season after fracturing his shin in Thailand, Charlier buried his seventh in race one with a stellar performance in race two which saw him gobble up the competition to claim his first MX2 race victory and podium finish this year with third.
Meanwhile yesterday’s qualifying heat winner Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre was forced to settle for fourth, a result that doesn’t reflect the speed or effort that went into his racing this weekend.
After a solid second place in race one, the Frenchman fought tooth and nail in race two after a bad start left him buried at the back of the pack, to work his way up to third only to have it all come undone a few laps from home with a clumsy error.
In typical Jose Butrón fashion, the KTM Silver Action Spaniard started at the front of the pack in both races. Despite his best efforts to run the pace, for one reason or another he couldn’t maintain it for the entire 30 minute plus two lap duration meaning he would have to be content with two fifths for fifth.
2014 MXGP World Championship
Round 14 – Loket, Czech Republic
MX1 overall results:
1. Jeremy Van Horebeek 47
2. Kevin Strijbos 45
3. Antonio Cairoli 42
4. Gautier Paulin 30
5. Shaun Simpson 29
6. Steven Frossard 26
7. Dennis Ullrich 23
8. Maximilian Nagl 22
9. Tanel Leok 21
10. Matiss Karro 20
12. Dean Ferris (AUS) 18
MXGP championship standings:
1. Antonio Cairoli 619
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek 562
3. Clement Desalle 484
4. Kevin Strijbos 469
5. Steven Frossard 333
6. Shaun Simpson 325
7. Maximilian Nagl 291
8. Gautier Paulin 235
9. David Philippaerts 234
10. Davide Guarneri 232
21. Todd Waters (AUS) 107
25. Dean Ferris (AUS) 56
MX2 overall results:
1. Jordi Tixier 43
2. Valentin Guillod 40
3. Christophe Charlier 39
4. Romain Febvre 37
5. Jose Butron 32
6. Tim Gajser 30
7. Aleksandr Tonkov 27
8. Jeremy Seewer 25
9. Julien Lieber 23
10. Dylan Ferrandis 22
1. Jeffrey Herlings 594
2. Jordi Tixier 492
3. Romain Febvre 453
4. Dylan Ferrandis 425
5. Tim Gajser 420
6. Arnaud Tonus 389
7. Valentin Guillod 354
8. Aleksandr Tonkov 335
9. Jose Butron 321
10. Jeremy Seewer 282
22. Luke Styke (AUS) 80