After fifteen gruelling rounds, the world motocross championship finally comes to its last stop. From the opening fixture in the punishing sand of Valkenswaard, Youthstream have taken the series on a whirlwind tour of Europe and South America. From the dust of Mexico and the torrential rain in Brazil to the blazing heat of Matterley, Giuseppe Luongo and his team have delivered a testing variety of tracks and surfaces to test the mettle of the riders for the last six months. The sixteenth and final round this weekend will be at the Talkessel Basin at Teutschenthal in Germany. Equipped with vast areas of spectator banking around the outside of the track, there is more than a feel of a Roman amphitheatre to the circuit, ready to see the Gladiators of MX1 and MX2 fight their final battles in front of a ridiculously partisan German crowd. With scores of big jumps, huge hills and tough rutted corners, the hard pack circuit is going to deliver fast and spectacular racing throughout the day.
Now for all our bigging up of the racing in Germany on Sunday, in terms of the championship titles in both MX1 and MX2, the Teutschenthal GP is all but irrelevant. Tony Cairoli wrapped up his sixth world championship in front of a home crowd in the sweltering heat of Faenza and there cannot have been a single member of the audience either at the track of behind the screens that didn’t think he deserved it. TC222 is such a naturally talented rider, it’s arguable as to whether he is actually more talented than his team boss Stefan Everts – certainly he has the potential to equal Number 72’s ten titles.
That said, Tony is a racer through and through and he’s not going to turn up and settle for tenth, especially as the German fans will be rooting for the wild card rider at the final GP, a certain Kenneth Roczen. Ken makes a return to the GP circuit at the circuit that last saw his hard earned MX2 title in 2011, but this time round he’s going to be armed with a KTM 450 rather than his usual 250. If his occasional outings on the big bike in the Supercross series are anything to go by, Ken has the speed and the skill to run in the top five and embarrass many of the more experienced MX1 pilots.
Other riders trying to rain on the German parade will be the French double act of Paulin and Pourcel, both fighting for the third place spot in the championship and their own evident dislike of each other. With Desalle having the runner up spot locked down, Paulin had a slight points lead at this stage, bit Christophe will want to use his hard-pack speed to snatch the bronze medal position.
But will Bobryshev manage to sweep the lot of them aside and repeat his 1 – 1 performance at the circuit last year? Certainly the Russian rider could do with a good season send off after his less than successful 2012. With Nagl set to join him on Big Red next year, it seems likely that Bobby’s future team mate might be the one to stand in his way, and with the home crowd behind him, the German fans will love it if he does…
Prediction Cairoli, Nagl, Roczen
As we said, the fire is gone from the championship now that young Jeff is the 2012 MX2 World Champion. Herlings clinched the deal in the last moto at Faenza, to complete a rather successful day at the office for KTM. But although Tommy looks a dead cert for second place, it’s still theoretically possible for Van horebeek to clinch second – OK so Searle would have to have a shocker and two DNFs and Van horebeek would need to win both races – it’s possible if not likely! Tommy will want to put in a decent result ahead of the Nations and his love for the hard pack looks set to allow this to happen. Herlings however may have other ideas and will want to end the year as he started, with a win.
Jake Nicholls won’t be able to get up to Vanhorebeek’s points lead for third this weekend, but he will be wanting to get a wiggle on to maintain his slender eight points advantage over Jordi Tixier, whilst keeping out of danger for the team effort in Lommel. The third member of the GB trio Max Anstie will also want to put in a good showing, allowing him to move up to sixth past the injured Roelants and maintain his momentum from a staggering result in Lierop.
So who is going to challenge this bunch – yes it’s the Dixon squad of Zach and Arnaud with little to lose and kudos to gain, the twin Yamahas are sure to be towards the front.
Prediction Searle, Herlings, Osborne
It’s a long drive or a short flight to Germany to catch this one (and to be honest, you might be better to make a trip to Lommel a week later!) but if you are going you are in for a cracking weekend in a cauldron of German patriotic fervour. If you are staying at home, grab yourself a stein of Erdinger beer and a Bratwurst and catch the action right here with Moto…..