VALKENSWAARD (THE NETHERLANDS), 4 April 2007- The whole FIM Motocross World Championship circus has finally gathered at Valkenswaard to race the first GP of the season this Sunday on the sandy Eurocircuit.
With lots of teams’ presentations having taken place during the day (Suzuki, KTM, Kawasaki and Yamaha all presented at least their factory teams) the focus was still on the two defending Champions Steve Ramon (MX1) and Antonio Cairoli (MX2) who surely have a tough season ahead of them if they intend to repeat their 2007 success. And of course they do want to go for it again.
Teka Suzuki WMX1’s Ramon looked confident onboard the new works RM-Z 450 featuring fuel injection and a new chassis while his number one rival Joshua Coppins of Yamaha Monster Motocross picked up an injury and broke two toes in his right foot the Saturday before Easter. Though the hard working Kiwi will be trying his best this weekend at Valkenswaard, where he won last year’s season opener. GPKR’s Kevin Strijbos will also be up for a battle, which will be his first challenge in green colours after he finished runner up in the Championship last year, for the second season in a row. Team mate Sebastien Pourcel will be another strong rider here this weekend and the same goes for Yamaha Motocross newcomer David Philippaerts and fresh CAS Honda rider Billy Mackenzie. Sand specialists Ken de Dycker (Teka Suzuki WMX1) and Marc de Reuver (Martin Honda) will also be a threat.
After his impressive 2007, Tony Cairoli of Yamaha Red Bull De Carli’s starts the year as the favourite but this will be his first 2008 race with those who are described as his toughest rivals. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tommy Searle, runner up last year, and team mate Tyla Rattray are raring to give chase to the double World Champion. While 17 year old Searle also had an year to remember in 2007, winning his maiden GP at Donington, Rattray was stopped by a knee injury and will be extremely motivated to make up for that misfortune. With Molson Kawasaki’s Gareth Swanepoel out after a recent wrist operation, the MX2 factory Green team will line up 2007 European MX2 Champion and GP debutant Gautier Paulin, and experienced Stephen Sword, who have both chances of battling it out for a win even with Frenchmen Pascal Leuret (Suzuki Swift) and Nicolas Aubin (Ricci Racing Yamaha).
THE EUROCIRCUIT AND VALKENSWAARD
Valkenswaard’s Eurocircuit is a characteristic Dutch sandy circuit located at about 20 kilometres from the closest city Eindhoven. The Eurocircuit begun hosting Motocross races in 1980 and it has always been a popular venue of the FIM series. After its absence from the 2005 and 2006 calendars, the Championship was back at Valkenswaard in style last year, welcoming 25.000 spectators. 2007 saw a renewed layout, with a different location of the start grid and the riding direction changed from anti clockwise to clockwise. This year the finish line will be closer to the starting area.
Valkenswaard is in the Southern part of the Netherlands, ithe province of Noord-Brabant. The municipality hosts a population of 30.943 inhabitants. It is 130 kilometres South of the capital city Amsterdam and very close to Eindhoven. The city was named after its rich history of falconers, with “valk” meaning falcon in Dutch language. Today’s Valkenswaard is a nice city, with eye catching architecture, colorful flowers, lots of Dutch-style cycling paths and many cafes, alongside many art galleries and museums featuring the city’s rich history.
THE EVENT’S SCHEDULE
Saturday April 5: MX2 Free Practice at 10:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 1 at 11:00 am; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice at 12:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 2 at 2:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 1 at 3:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 2 at 3:45 pm; MX1 Time Practice at 4:30 pm; MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice at 5:15 pm (local time).
Sunday April 6: MX2 Warm-up at 9:00 am; MX1 Warm-up at 9:30 am; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 at 12:10 am; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 at 1:10 pm; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 at 3:03 pm; MX1 Grand Prix Race 2 at 4:03 pm (local time).
The Grand Prix will be broadcast live on:
- EUROSPORT 2 : MX1 Race 1 at 13:00 CET
- MOTORS TV (co commentary by Mickael Pichon): MX2 Race 1 at 12:00 and Race 2 at 15:00 CET
- SPORT ITALIA: MX2 Race 1 at 12:00 and Race 2 at 15:00 CET
- GALAXIE SPORT: MX2 Race 2 at 15:00 CET
- ART: MX1 Race 2 at 16:00 CET
- SPORT TV: MX2 Race 1 at 12:00 and Race 2 at 15:00 CET
- MEDIAZONE: MX2 Race 1 at 12:00 and Race 2 at 15:00; MX1 Race 1 at 13:00 and Race 2 at 16:00 CET
The Grand Prix will be broadcast delayed on:
- EUROSPORT 2 : Sunday April 6; MX1 Race 2 at 18:30 CET
- SPORT ITALIA: Sunday April 6; MX1 Race 1 at 00:00 and Race 2 at 1:00 CET
- VRT: Sunday April 6; MX1 Race 1 at 17:15 and Race 2 at 17:40 CET
- EUROSPORT WORLD: Sunday April 6; MX1 Race 1 at 17:30 and Race 2 at 18:30. Monday April 7; MX1 Race 2 at 5:30 and at 14:00; MX2 Class at 15:00 and at 22:30. Tuesday April 8; MX2 Class 17:45 GMT
- AMERICA ONE SPORTS: Second Tuesday after the GP; MX2 Race 2 at 21:00; MX1 Race 2 at 22:00 CET
- GAORA: MX2 Race 1 and Race 2; MX1 Race 1 and Race 2; N/A CET
:15 and Race 2 at 17:40 CET