The motocross world championships may have had an off weekend, but this does not mean that silence has descended upon motocross tracks across the world. All over Europe, riders pulled up for various national championship events, which are so important for sponsors within their own countries as well as home fans. In Germany, the planes, trucks and automobiles headed in the direction of Aichwald, one of the classic circuits of motocrossdom. The Bodo Schmidt crew was there too, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, making the best of the great weather conditions that welcomed Aichwald’s traditionally plentiful crowd. The team’s stalwart, Romain Febvre, was there to defend his second position in the premier Masters class, and he started his weekend off well by posting the second fastest qualifying time, just behind GP star and fellow Frenchman Xavier Boog.
Romain launched into the race perfectly, and was fighting for the lead form his platform in third position. A crash on lap 2 however dropped him down the mineshaft of the field, and he had to fight his way back pretty much from the tip of the tail. He had a tough job ahead of him, and got stuck into it with gusto. It took him all of 12 laps to fight his way through the pack into a points scoring position again. With the race approaching its end, there was not much time for him to make any more progress, yet he battled it out and crossed the line in 11th spot.
Another good departure launched the quiet achiever into third spot again. As in the first race, an early mistake cost him some positions, but this time he was still well in the hunt after recovering. He maintained a punishing race pace, and his efforts were rewarded with third place when the flagman was called upon to do his duty. The first race mishap cost Romain in the overall classification, and he was noted down as fifth overall, three measly points off an overall podium finish. He maintains second position in the championship standings, a few points ahead of German rider Dennis Ullrich.
Whilst Romain basked in success, the youngsters of the team did not have the greatest of outings. Birthday boy Calvin Vlaanderen was amongst the qualified riders late into the qualifying session, but he had to pull into the pits for some mechanical attention. As his bike was being attended to, some opponents posted faster times and he dropped steadily down the list. Although he tried to make good his position, time ran out for him, and he stranded in 18th spot, just outside of direct qualification. Apart from it being his birthday, luck was surely not swinging Calvin’s way. A clash of machinery with another rider early int he last chance race left him with no hope of achieving a top 2 position which would ensure his qualification, and it was a very disappointed rider that returned to the team camp, having not made the cut.
Henry Jacobi switched to a 125cc machine for his outing, whereas he would normally fight for honours on a 250cc fourstroke machine at ADAC events. The 125 tiddlers were seriously outgunned, especially on a track such as Aichwald where the grunty, traction-grabbing qualities of the fourstroke machines come to the fore, and under the circumstances he was pleased to have secured the 14th birth behind the start gate.
A troubled start in the first race landed Henry in a sea of troubles. He battled forward manfully, and then a crash later in the race robbed him of any chance to add to his points tally. A similar script in the second race, namely a less-than-optimal start followed by a crash evaporated any hopes that he may have harboured of scoring points on the day. Although disappointed at not having troubled the scorer, Henry saw the day as a day of adaptation on the smaller machine in amongst the fiercer brethren, and in this respect he was happy to have found his footing.
Reporting by Tinus Nel