BELGIAN MOTOCROSS GRAND PRIX: HERLINGS IS THE SAND MASTER, BUT THE WORLD MOTOCROSS STANDINGS REMAIN THE SAME

July 31, 2011
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The 450 title chase is between Tony Cairoli (222) and Clement Desalle (25).     Photo: Ray Archer

With Steve Ramon out of the 450 class after a qualifying crash on Saturday and Zach Osborne pulling out of the 250 World Motocross Championships after an injury at last week’s British Motocross Championship, the FIM World Motocross Championships went into the 11th round of the 15 round series with two top five riders missing…and two points leaders holding onto relatively large leads. Ken Roczen and Antonio Cairoli aren’t under any pressure from behind. If they can make the podium in the next four rounds, it won’t matter what their competition does.


The butt patch says it all.              Photo: Ray Archer

Called the Grand Prix of Limburg…the Belgian Grand Prix was held at the Lommel sand track. The distinct nature of the soft ground eliminated some riders from a chance of winning, but gave Dutch sand master Jeffrey Herlings (250 class) and Antonio Cairoli (450 class) a big advantage.

250 CLASS

Ken Roczen.             
Photo: Ray Archer


The Dutch have always been the best in the sand, but Jeffrey Herlings may be the best ever. Photo: Ray Archer

As expected Jeffrey Herlings won the Grand Prix of Limburg at the Lommel sand track with a 1-1 score. 250 World Championship points leader Ken Roczen went 2-2, while Jeremy Van Horebeek completed a KTM sweep of the podium with a 3-3. Roczen took the lead in both motos, but Herlings quickly dispatched both times. Herlings’ fastest lap time was 11 seconds better than any 450 rider.

450 CLASS

Tony seems to have it handled with four races to go in the 450 World Championship.

Early in the season Belgian Clement Desalle led the 450 Championship, but he dislocated his shoulder three races ago and has been riding injured. In the meantime, Antonio Cairoli has had a hot hand and started winning. The result. Desalle is now 52 points back with only 200 points left in the season. Cairoli can DNF both motos at the next GP in the Czech Republic and still lead the Championship by two points. Desalle got second overall at Lommel, but lost ten points. Max Nagl was third with a 5-2 day. Surprising Russian rider Evgeny Bobryshev just missed the podium.

Steven Frossard.

Tony Cairoli said, “It’s nice to race here in Lommel, I have always said many times that I like to race here in the sand. We had the speed to win this weekend but I made it a bit harder because I made some small mistakes. I got the two holeshots but a couple of times I lost concentration.”

It was a particularly rewarding for the German rider Max Nagl who is riding with a back injury and after the next race in Loket in the Czech Republic will consult with specialist concerning a longer-term solution to the problem. Despite this, Max was very happy with his weekend’s ride. “I’ve been really looking forward to this GP because I know I am good in the sand. Since Latvia I haven’t been able to train at all because the doctor would not allow it. So I am really happy to be on the podium today. I got two good starts and I could also see I had the same speed as the top guys, even if Tony was faster.”


Steve Ramon was injured in qualifying, but is on the road to recovery.

Steve Ramon was sent to the hospital after a qualifyng crash on Saturday. The former World Champion hit the sand head-first and initially lacked sensation in his limbs. The condition was caused by spinal shock and fortunately the consequences did not involve any broken bones?only nerve damage in his neck and other scrapes.

Team manager Sylvain Geboers said, “Steve has undergone some good treatment already. He can feel all of his body and was bending his legs and even wanted to watch the race from his hospital bed. He will move hospital tomorrow to one that is closer to his home and where he had attention after the neck injury in 2009. He has less pain now, but is obviously very sore and fragile. Realistically, I don’t think we can expect to see him racing again this season, but the main objective has to be a full recovery and good health.”


Max Anstie was fourth in the sand.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX: 250 RESULTS     
1. Jeffrey Herlings…1-1
2. Ken Roczen…2-2
3. Jeremy van Horebeek…3-3
4. Max Anstie…4-4
5. Gautier Paulin…7-5
6. Tommy Searle…6-6
7. Harri Kullas…9-8
8. Jake Nicholls…8-9
9. Arnaud Tonus…10-11
10. Matiss Karro…12-10
11. Mike Kras…11-14
12. Jordi Tixier…13-13
13. Petar Petrov…5-23
14. Joel Roelants…23-7
15. Jose Butron…16-12
Other notables:
19. Filip Bengtsson (17-27); 26. Sean Mitchell (22-24); 30. Michael Leib (31-30).


Tommy Searle is 90 points behind Ken Roczen in the 250 title chase and 69 points behind second place Jeffrey Herlings.


Yamaha’s Gautier Paulin is fourth in 250 GP points.

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX: 450 RESULTS     
1. Antonio Cairoli…1-1
2. Clement Desalle…2-4
3. Max Nagl…5-2
4. Evgeny Bobryshev…6-3
5. Steven Frossard…4-6
6. Tanel Leok…8-5
7. Rui Goncalves…3-13
8. David Phillipaerts…7-9
9. Shaun Simpson…11-7
10. Ken deDycker…12-8
11. Xavier Boog…10-12
12. Jonathan Barragan…9-14
13. Marvin Van Daele…14-11
14. Marc DeReuver…30-10
15. Kevin Strijbos…16-15
Other notables:
16. Anthony Boissiere (13-18); 19. Tom Church (17-33); 28. Davide Guarneri (34-25).


Tanel Leok and the TM MX450 are getting better with each passing week. Leok was sixth in Belgium.

250 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
(After 11 of 15 events)
1. Ken Roczen…490
2. Jeffrey Herlings…469
3. Tommy Searle…400
4. Gautier Paulin…373
5. Zach Osborne…295
6. Arnaud Tonus…295
7. Max Anstie…285
8. Harri Kullas…249
9. Nicholas Aubin…207
10. Joel Roelants…180
11. Christophe Charlier…170
12. Jake Nicholls…139
13. Jordi Tixier…131
14. Alessandro Lupino…124
15. Petar Petrov…102


Clement Desalle still hangs on to second overall in the 450 points.

450 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
(After 11 of 15 events)
1. Antonio Cairoli…466
2. Clement Desalle…414
3. Steven Frossard…403
4. Evgeny Bobryshev…369
5. Max Nagl…349
6. Rui Goncalves…3091
7. David Philippaerts…308
8. Ken de Dycker…250
9. Xavier Boog…235
10. Jonathan Barragan…233
11. Steve Ramon…229
12. Tanel Leok…198
13. Kevin Strijbos…176
14. Shaun Simpson…149
14. Anthony Boissiere…146

Miscellaneous photos: Youthstream, Suzuki Racing and Yamaha

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