First win for Rattray and new record for Everts
The Grand Prix of Spain, held under difficult conditions, saw some new faces on the podium as only Joshua Coppins in the MX1 and Stephen Sword in the MX2 enjoyed two podiums in a row. Young South African talent Tyla Rattray took his first GP win in the MX2, while Stefan Everts celebratd his record 73rd success !
With twenty four hours of continuous rain from Saturday noon until Sunday, the Bellpuig track was not in his best state but with a hard structure of the soil the entire cicuit was used for the races. Coming more and more sticky during the afternoon as the temperature climbed, the track offered mainly one line for the racers.
Despite his thumb injury sustained in Zolder and with a very light training program before travelling to Bellpuig, Stefan Everts did more than secure some points in Spain as he won both races and took the lead in the championship. With two good starts Everts was able to take the head the world twice from Brian Jorgensen who was the holeshotter in each race; the Danish rider crashed in the first heat but finished second in the next, giving his team the podium that Mickaël Pichon missed this weekend. Pichon was unable to take advantage of his pole position; he had a mid-pack start in the first race and then got stuck fast in a deep muddy rut, a rebounding gate meant that he started last in the second heat. He saved some points with seventh spot, and had to watch Joshua Coppins and Kenneth Gundersen with Everts take to the podium. Javier Garcia Vico only missed the podium by one point and without an engine problem in the second race Kevin Strijbos would have secured a podium today.
In the MX2 class there were many changes during the races, due to crashes or mechanical problems. Neither Townley or De Reuver, winners of the first two races in Zolder mounted the Spanish podium despite a win for Townley in the first heat.
The New Zealander stretched out an important gap (more than one minute) over his rivals, but after a good start in the second heat he crashed twice and retired when his bike stopped. De Reuver was expected to win the second race as he passed early leader Maschio at the halfway point, but he was halted by a broken gear box. Maschio won the heat, but due to a crash at the end of the first race (he was in second position and finished only 15th) he missed the GP win and even the podium. Second and third, Tyla Rattray got his first ever GP winner’s trophy on his 125 two stroke KTM, proving that this technology is not yet out of date. McFarlane (sixth and second) and Sword (third and fifth) joined Rattray on the podium and all three are now closely bunched leading the MX2 World Championship (Sword 73, McFarlane 72 and Townley 71!).
Info (C) Youthstream – Photo (C) A. Hodgkinson