The track in Lommel for the fourteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was extremely gnarly. Quite possibly the gnarliest it has ever been in the last twenty-five years since it first hosted a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1990. While every rider struggled at one point or another, Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson and Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie made it look a lot easier than it was with their double moto victories for the MXGP and MX2 overalls here at the MXGP of Belgium.
Everybody loves an underdog, which is why there was not one soul who watched MXGP this weekend who wasn’t happy for Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM’s Shaun Simpson, who didn’t only dominate the most demanding race ever, but he did so as a privateer. “I maybe wasn’t the fastest guy, but I planned it and I knew I could do it. What wasn’t on the script was my crash, I just landed in some soft sand and high-sided, I don’t think I’ve ever got up and on the bike so quickly,” he said, “this is probably the roughest I’ve seen Lommel, but I would call this real motocross, plenty of bumps, a lot of places to pass and a great contrast to what we are used to. It was totally enjoyable,” he concluded.
Taking points on fellow Frenchman Romain Febvre was essential for Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin this weekend in order to remain in the MXGP title hunt, and although it wasn’t as easy as most would have predicted, since GP21 is one of the most proven sand riders in the class, he managed to do so with two second place finishes for second overall and a four point gain on the number 461.
Paulin said after race two, “the track was like nothing I have ever seen before, it was so rough,” which was a statement Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s championship leading rookie Romain Febvre could identify with since he binned it in both races. Despite his wee setbacks, the red plate holder bounced back for third on both occasions, third overall and his ninth consecutive bottle of bubbles.
Like most riders, Team HRC’s Evgeny Bobryshev had a tough day fighting the track but still finished both races inside the top five for fourth overall while the Belgians Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos and Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Jeremy Van Horebeek tied on points for fifth.