Oftentimes someone does something really well, and it goes largely unheralded. The IT technician that fixes something in the back office, thereby making the company tick. A rugby lock working his heard out in the scrum, allowing the wing to score a try. In a sense, Kevin Strijbos’ 2012 motocross world championship campaign has been like this. The unassuming Belgian has been solid as a rock, scoring bagfuls of points at every outing. Due to the fact that he didn’t feature in any leading battles or any wild chases, his achievements have gone unnoticed to a great extent. Yet, there he is, solidly placed in the world championship standings, underlining his status as one of the top riders on the planet.
The former junior world – and European champion was a model of consistency yet again at the Italian GP. The scene of battle was Fermo, undoubtedly one of the most spectacular racks in the motocross world. The seemingly vertical up-and downhills cling to a steep hillside, from atop of which there are beautiful vistas across the Italian countryside. The track is hard-pack in true Italian tradition, but the maintenance crew had given it a good working-over and a thorough soaking leading up to the GP, and this allowed the track to develop ruts in which small armies could get lost.
Kevin did not have the most eminent of qualifying sessions, posting the 18th fastest pre-qualifying time and following that up with 14th spot in the qualifying race. The points, as we have mentioned before, are distributed on race day though, and it was all hands on deck for the HM Plant KTM rider as he lined up for the first salvos on Sunday. A bobble off the start dropped him to 16th position initially, but he battled his way forward throughout the duration of the 40 minute race. His lap times remained steady, even though the track was deteriorating lap by lap, and he clinched 10th spot before the flag signaled some welcome respite.
A lightning start in race two had the orange-mounted rider in the thick of the leading battle. He held fifth spot for a number of laps, until a combination of pressure form the rear and a small mistake cost him a position. He remained in sixth spot for the majority of the race, but lost a position when the previous weekend’s GP winner, Gautier Paulin, his fuse well and truly lit, came charging along. Nonetheless, there is nothing to be displeased about if you finish seventh in a world championship race on a tough track, and the points haul is of course very welcome.
After yet another solid and consistent race weekend, Kevin finishes seventh overall. He added 25 points to his world championship tally, allowing him to hold steady in sixth position on the world championship log.
A bit of exotica inserts itself into the world championship calendar now, as the teams and rider prepare to jet off to South America for the Mexican – and Brazilian GP’s.