Roelants sets career milestone through Latvian bump-fest

Ray Chuss Ray Chuss

Round ten of the FIM Motocross World Champion carried a few surprises but nobody was shocked that the rain again fell on the latest Grand Prix in the sixteen race calendar. Kegums in Latvia was the scene of the latest ‘mudder’ in the series and while the 21,000 fans were able to scope Floride Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Joel Roelants toasting his first career victory in MX2 they also saw the side of motorsport that really sucks as Tommy Searle left eastern Europe empty handed.

Bumps, ruts, ripples and shifty soil: Kegums was a tricky and technical nightmare for man and machine after the rain turned the fast hard-pack on Saturday into a suspension-rattling sea of physical stress on Sunday.

In the premier class riders such as Gautier Paulin (fifth), Shaun Simpson (eighth) Christophe Pourcel (eleventh) and Seb Pourcel (fifteenth) all pushed the limit as far as they could go in the conditions but it was in MX2 where elation sat next to heartbreak. Roelants streaked away to ace the first moto and then showed impressive speed in the wettest race of the day second time out to be runner-up and confirm a maiden overall success.

“I’m really happy to be able to go 100% again and I was starting to feel good already in Sweden two weeks ago,” he said. “I should have had two podiums in a row actually but this result is great. The bike is really good and I want to finish the season strong.”

For team-mate Tommy Searle Latvia was the stuff that produces cold sweats in the middle of the night. An engine problem ended his first race and a rear tyre problem produced the second ‘0’ of the day in what could be a major turning point in his close duel with Jeffrey Herlings for the MX2 crown. The second moto anguish was even worse considering that Herlingsalso later pulled out with mechanical trouble. A tight contest between the pair has now widened in the Dutchman’s favour with the gap at 41 points in the standings. There’s still twelve motos left to go though…

Full props to Monster Energy Yamaha’s Mel Pocock who was ‘perfect’ again in every session and race in the second round of the European EMX2 series (feeder class to Grand Prix) to further stretch his dominance in the seven race contest.

The Grand Prix teams roll out of Kegums in convoy in the next day or two and head all the way across the border and beyond Moscow toSemigorje for the second GP to hit Russian turf this century.

Photos by Milagro

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