FUNCHAL, 13 June 2007- With the two runaway leaders Joshua Coppins and Antonio Cairoli having increased their advantage in France, the FIM Motocross World Championship offers soon a new chance of revenge to their rivals.
The Bulgarian Grand Prix at Sevlievo this weekend will mark the mid point of a tough season, in which Coppins is currently kept under constant pressure by a good bunch of heat winners, as Cairoli has dominated the MX2 class so far, missing the heat victory only twice in 14 occasions.
KTM Red Bull’s David Philippaerts looks forward to arriving at the Gorna Rositza circuit, which is the track where he started a four podium row last year. Together with Steve Ramon, the Italian is the most consistent rider after Coppins this season; he has grasped three podiums so far, one of which was a victory.
David is also the most consistent MX1 debutant, and last weekend in France he displayed once again his skills by making it to the podium.
St. Jean d’Angely was an important Grand Prix also for Steve Ramon of Suzuki. The Belgian made it to a strong moto victory, which has surely given him more confidence, and was second on the podium by just two points. Steve has never won a MX1 Grand Prix, and this was only his second heat win since he moved to the class after clinching the 125cc World Title in 2003.
Sevlievo may be the Belgian’s turn in luck, but the factory Suzuki team headed by Sylvain Geboers is experiencing mixed fortunes with Kevin Strijbos’ knee injury, that prevented the 2006 runner up from racing the final moto of the French GP.
On the other hand, a rock-solid Josh Coppins of Yamaha Motocross Team is leading the series, but he did not race in Bulgaria last year because of an injury that kept him off duty for the first seven rounds. The Kiwi came back to victory in France, but this season he has never won more than two GP’s in a row.
Riders such as Philippaerts, Strijbos and Mackenzie beat him once each in the challenge for the GP victory, but his team mate Marc de Reuver can be a new threat on this circuit. Calimero conquered his second career victory here in 2006, and he has to make up for a disappointing French GP.
Tanel Leok raced a consistent final moto in France, but he was less performing in the opening heat, even starting from pole. The hard working Estonian has the speed though, and has more to show his rivals.
Max Nagl broke his collarbone in France, and will miss Bulgaria, while KTM fellow rider Jonathan Barragan hopes the shoulder he injured in Japan will feel better.
After winning in Japan, GPKR’s Christophe Pourcel had to move back to the second place of the podium in his home Grand Prix, continuing his unlucky tradition of missing victory in front of his home fans. But Pourcel was a solid contender last year in Bulgaria, where he will be a man out for revenge this weekend.
Only he and Antonio Cairoli of Yamaha de Carli have won Grand Prix’s this season, but the Italian tally is impressive, with six rounds taken out of seven. Cairoli has a bad memory for his last Bulgarian appearance; he won the opening moto but crashed twice in the second one, to finish sixth in the overall.
The Italian wants to be at least on the podium to forget about that bitter moment, as KTM Red Bull’s Tyla Rattray still aims at his first victory of the season. The South African is currently working on his starts, because he has been struggling to find his rhythm in the early stages of the race. The 21 year old’s determination is well known in the paddock, and everyone expects him on the top of the podium soon.
Since he joined Martin Honda Team in the German round at Teutschenthal, Pascal Leuret has not given the Italian squad a podium finish yet, but his settling stage is almost complete now. Leuret rounded off the top five with countryman Nicollas Aubin in the previous GP, and he has missed the top six only twice so far in the season.
Young gun Tommy Searle is maturing a lot inside the KTM Red Bull team headed by 10 time World Champion Stefan Everts. The Brit is battling tooth and nail with Leuret for fourth in the Championship, and currently holds the fifth spot, but he can arrive higher by the end of his second season as full time racer in the World Championship.
GORNA ROSITZA AND SEVLIEVO
Having the shape of an amphitheatre, the circuit Gorna Rositza is the most developed Motocross facility of Bulgaria, and last year it won the Best Organizer Award at Monte Carlo’s FIM Off Road Awards.
The Grand Prix of Bulgaria enjoys a healthy support from the political authorities, helping with the development of the track and its facilities.
The circuit was originally built in 1959, but its reconstruction begun in 2000. Only small changes were done at the track’s layout from 2006, but the hard pack Gorna Rositza remains one of the most demanding circuits in the calendar, being characterized by breathtaking uphill and downhill sections .
Bulgaria entered the EU on the 1st of January 2007, and Sevlievo is in the heart of the country, 180 kilometres from Sofia, on the road between the capital city and Varna.
Sevlievo was funded at the end of the 10th century, and is now a dynamic but quiet town; its atmosphere makes it the ideal venue for a short break.
The town is 201 metres above the sea level, and its municipality is characterized by a huge area full of forests. In the area of Sevlievo there are typical village churches with wood carved altars and ancient icons from the 18th century, adding a traditional touch to the everyday life.
THE EVENT’S SCHEDULE
The FIM Motocross Grand Prix of Bulgaria will be held on Sunday June 17th, with practice and qualifying taking place on the preceding Saturday.
Information and results on www.motocrossMX1.com, the official website of the FIM Motocross World Championships.