The war clichés were wheeled out in force for the Grand Prix of Belgium at Bastogne and the eighth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship saw an important victory for the Monster Army as Floride Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle owned the dark mud on the edge of the Ardennes forest.
The Brit shared moto wins and runner-up slots with arch-rival for the MX2-GP crown, Jeffrey Herlings, but his superb error-free run in the second race was key for the likeable racer’s third garland of the season. “I knew it would go down to the backmarkers in that second moto,” offered up Searle who was kept ‘honest’ by the company of Herlings. “When we were both going at that speed cutting through the slower guys becomes an important part of the race to get right. Anyway, I was able to bring it home nicely.”
After a deadlock between the duo in this latest episode of the MX2 title chase the gap stands at 24 points between the pair with half the campaign in the can. “There is still a long time left in this championship. The competition is high but I’m confident in what I can do. I really enjoy it when Jeffrey and I can race together and to come out on top is really cool.”
Bastogne was nearly washed out on Saturday through 24 hours of rain but a weather-reverse and rare Belgium sun amazingly turned the slimy mud into the best racing surface of the year with lines aplenty. While Searle was the main-man in MX2 CP377 Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel lifted a fifth podium trophy of the MX1 campaign by taking third position overall. The highlight of the French ace’s day was an intense battle with Monster Energy Yamaha’s David Philippaerts for fifth position in the first race. Different trajectories, sideways looks and a closeness that merged the green and black bikes almost into one, it kept the 18,000 spectators away from the ‘frittur’ stands and eagerly leaning over the fences to see who had the advantage around the next lap. ‘CP’ would win-out against the feisty Italian and went 5-3 for his silverware.
Elsewhere, big shout to Arnaud Tonus on the Monster Energy Yamaha in MX2 for grabbing fifth in just his third meeting since coming back from injury and for chasing Searle’s Kawi team-mate Joel Roelants. The aggressive Belgian was cheered by noisy local support to fourth overall, watched by AMA Supercross Champ Ryan Villopoto who was taking in his first MX Grand Prix on a rare trip to Europe and almost caused a stampede in a busy autograph session at the Monster rig on raceday.
After three GPs back-to-back the Monster Energy Grand Prix collective can ‘take five’ next week. The rocky hillside of Uddevalla in Sweden waits at the end of the month.
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