It is a fact of life that we don’t always get a smooth road to travel on, and after two GP podium finishes in succession, Kevin Strijbos knew that he had to have his wits about him to continue with the trend. The call to arms for the eleventh round of the world championships came form Mother Russia. A long trip brought rider and team to Semigorje, some 400 km from Moscow, and there, awaiting them, was a perfectly-prepared track lined with thousands upon thousands of spectators. World championship motocross had made its return to Russia after a ten year hiatus.
Matters looked ominous on Saturday on the weather front, and indeed some persistent rain made the technical track very challenging. Kevin qualified in 12th position, and hoped to pull his planets of personal good fortune in alignment sufficiently enough to improve substantially on this come race day.
The sky was blazing blue as race day broke, and is by magic the track, a muddy mess a day before, dried up, so much so that puffs of dust began to raise here and and there. Kevin produced another one of the lightning starts that had begun to characterize his racing of late, and rode a remarkably consistent race, holding fifth position from start to finish.
The Belgian just snuck into the top ten at the start of the second race on his HM Plant KTM. He coped well with a track that was becoming more difficult by the minute, and two-thirds through the race moved into ninth spot. All looked fine for a good top ten result when a mistake on the very last lap cost him dearly, and forced him three rungs down the ladder.
Having sampled the heady aroma of podium champagne on the two previous occasions, Kevin was naturally not too pleased with eighth overall on the day. The main thing, though, is that he continued his steady harvest of points, and for the moment holds steady in sixth position in the world rankings.
Reporting by Tinus Nel