A motocross bike is really a bit of a beast. It bucks and bumps, going this way and that. It unleashes its power without mercy and sometimes seems intent on unseating its rider, in retribution for the thrashing handed out to it. One really needs to be in the best of shape if you want to handle this affair to maximum effect. Any physical flaw is seen by a weakness by the brutal animal and gives it an entry point to get the better of you. Of all the discomforts one can imagine whilst riding a 60 horsepower galloping brute, an abscess on your derriere is one of those that least bears thinking about. Kevin Strijbos endured this during his last outing. Not only had he to suffer the indignity of medical ministration to the problem, there was also the resultant discomfort as he lined up, gingerly, for the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The track of Agueda has long featured in motocross world championship racing. Situated not far from the Portuguese coast, one would normally associate the venue with baking heat, blazing sunshine and twittering summer birdies. Not so this time. After much promise for such conditions on Saturday, the clouds packed a scrum during the afternoon, and from then on until well into the Sunday it was drizzly, miserable and wet.
Kevin was, understandably, not feeling fully cosseted as qualifying proceedings got underway. Despite his discomfort, he qualified in 10th position, and repaired for as good a rest as he could get before the grueling races. he started off well in the first race, but the waterlogged track claimed him as a victim when the front end of his bike (mud) washed away. He had to recover from a position in the dark depths of the pack, and finally guided his HM Plant KTM to 15th position.
A somewhat lesser start in the second race actually yielded a better result for the Belgian, since this time he managed to get the better of his interplays with gravity. He made steady progress, and on the very last lap got by Frenchman Xavier Boog to claim 10th for the race. This helped him to 13th overall in the day, and a world ranking of 8th, with 171 points in the drawer.
Kevin heads for home shores next, and will ride on a wave of local support at the Belgian GP at Bastogne.
Reporting by Tinus Nel
PHYSICAL DISCOMFORT CAN’T DAMPEN THE SMILE