Dunlop’s MX1 Grand Prix riders head for Great Britain, the birthplace of Motocross, seeking strong performances as the 2012 World Championship enters its crucial closing stages.
Matterley Basin, near Winchester in the south of England, returned to the MX1 calendar last season, when the circuit hosted its first Grand Prix since 2006.
The former Motocross of Nations venue is situated in a natural amphitheatre, allowing gradient and camber to be incorporated into a flowing layout, punctuated by some huge jumps, while offering the MX-mad British fans excellent viewing opportunities.
The Matterley dirt is naturally hard-packed, but softer sections are usually created and the notorious British weather can change grip levels in an instant. An extensive support-race line-up means the track is sure to get rough, rutted and technical as the weekend goes on.
Last year, local star Brad Anderson was cheered to fifth overall on a Dunlop-shod Honda and home riders could again cause a surprise. This year’s event is round 13 of 16.
Boog Building Momentum, Paulin ‘Feeling Good’
The recent Czech Republic Grand Prix saw Xavier Boog snatch top Dunlop honours for only the second time this season, courtesy of fifth overall on the fast and slick Loket circuit.
The Kawasaki Racing Team star continued the momentum from a rostrum ride in a non-GP event and is now just 13 points from a top six place in the World Championship.
Boog, a moto winner in Brazil, said: “I rode two good races so I can be satisfied; fifth is also my best GP result for several weeks. I rode an international race and finished on the podium so that helped my confidence and we’ll continue to practice in preparation for the rest of the series.”
MX1 rookie team-mate Gautier Paulin remains fourth and the top Dunlop rider in the Championship despite being classified eighth overall following a ‘character building’ final moto at Loket.
Paulin is 33-points from third, but has full confidence in his equipment and few would bet against a fourth podium – and possibly second win – during the final four events.
Paulin said: “I clashed with other riders early in race two at Loket. The track was difficult to pass on, but I found some places and recovered from 18th to eleventh. I’m pretty happy as I have a good feeling on the bike again, and we’ll continue to train in Holland to be stronger in the last GPs.”
Goncalves Shows Fighting Spirit, Bobryshev ‘Looking Forward’
While Paulin paid the price for a poor second moto at Loket, Honda World Motocross rider Rui Goncalves lost out after ‘messing up’ the start of moto one. A more representative fifth in moto two meant seventh overall, having set a strong pace throughout both races.
Gonçalves, seeking his first silverware of 2012 despite being joint third in Latvia, said: “It’s a shame for the first moto, as the overall could have been a different story, but it’s been a positive weekend. I’m happy after good races in Latvia and Russia. We will keep focussed until the last round.”
Team-mate Evgeny Bobryshev missed last year’s Matterley Basin event through injury and has spent most of 2012 battling a range of physical setbacks. But the Russian knows and likes the British track and is looking forward to the GP.
Bobryshev, eleventh at Loket, said: “I am looking forward to Matterley Basin, as although I didn’t race there last year, I do know the track and I like the ground. [At Loket] the ground is unique, so it’s difficult to train on anything similar, but at Matterley there is grip and that’s more for my style.”
Dunlop Quote – Dunlop MX race coordinator Eddy Seel:
“Here we go with the last four races of the season. We have missed out the podium for several events now and I really hope that we make it in the UK. I really like Matterley Basin, as the name says, the track is in a basin and you have a very good view from almost everywhere. It’s very green and pleasant there and mixed with the noise of the Motocross bike engines it has a unique flair I enjoy a lot. It is a track that suits all of our riders and I expect some good results, so let’s see what the weekend brings!”