Back to an historical place for motocross
When the FIM created the 500 Motocross World Championship in 1957, England was one of the best places in the world for this sport. With several top riders (Leslie Archer, John Draper, Jeff Smith…) and national brands (BSA, CCM, Norton, Matchless…) involved in this sport, the island was one of the keys for the development of Motocross. Fours years after the last British GP (hold in Foxhill), England is back in the calendar with the seventh round of the 2004 series.
Most of the riders had probably last week one of their first and last free week-end before summer, as the World Championship has now five rounds scheduled within the next six weeks! Sand tracks are over now, and the three next rounds (Isle of Wight, France and Italy) will be fore sure more regular bases for most of the riders involved in the MX1 and MX2 series.
Winner of three rounds since the opening race in Zolder, Stefan Everts has a strong lead (38 points ahead of Melotte) and could now secure his position even if there’s till ten GP’s to go. “In fact I got good advices from my team mate Cedric Melotte, and I know that I have to push now. Cedric is a new dad, and he explained me that it’s sometimes difficult to sleep at home with his young son; Kelly is expecting our baby in august, and may be I’ll have also some sleeping troubles at this moment” said the factory Yamaha rider. But even with a strong leadership, Stefan knows that he must stay focused on his job; after Everts and Smets (pre-season races), Crockard (British championship), Pichon and Gundersen (Germany), Jorgensen (Benelux), Melotte was injured last week during a testing session in Italy. Best newcomer in the MX1 class, the affable Belgium will decide only saturday evening if he is able to race or not the British GP.
On the new track built on the famous Isle of Wight, that most of the riders will discover this week-end (a British championship round was organized there last year, but the track had been re-designed) any forecast is difficult; Pichon has totally recovered from his German injury and will look for a top result one week prior to the French GP, Ramon is defending his third position in the series, Gundersen is back after his knee operation, Coppins is used to race in Great Britain and wants to offer to his British based team another podium while Smets and Strijbos who both got a third spot this year are now expecting a better result. Coming on a hard soil will probably give a new motivation to some riders….
Revelation of the season in the MX2 class, British Stephen Sword was dreaming to come to his home GP as leader of the series; unfortunately he got two weeks ago his worst result of the season and lost the red plate, but this will probably give him a higher motivation. Winner in the Benelux Townley counts four GP wins but missed two races, and must be now more regular if he wants to reach his goal this season. Always really fast, the Kiwi kid needs also consistency… Best two-stroke rider, Rattray is holding a worldwide four-stroke assault with Australian McFarlane (on a British based Yamaha), Italian Cairoli, French Maschio and Brit’s Dobb and Nunn pushing behind him. Both Dobb and Nunn will race for a podium in front of their always excited fans (the best public of the season?), but this could be a tough job for them as the best Honda result in this class was a fourth position for Dobb in Zolder. Both will have this week-end the support of Japanese Akira Narita, who will discover the GP world alongside his countrymen Yoshitaka Atsuta racing the MX1 class since last year.
The action will start Saturday at 10am with the first free practice session, and qualifying will take place from 3 to 6pm. Sunday the MX2 races are scheduled at 12.05 and 15.05, and the MX1 at 13.05 and 16.05.
For more info and results check the official web site of the FIM Motocross World Championships: www.motocrossMX1.com