There was plenty of ‘Ooo’ in Uddevalla. On the same weekend that MotoGP visited one of its historical meccas at Assen in Holland, Grand Prix motocross also travelled to a traditional hotbed of fandom in Scandinavia.
It was across the weaving and stony hard-pack – flanked by a massive rocky hillside in which a healthy degree of the 22,000 attendance were encamped – that Monster Energy Yamaha’s Christophe Charlier became one of just three MX2 moto winners in 2013 and marked a career-first with a confident chequered flag.
The stylish Corsican was operating in fine form at what was round 10 of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship. Uddevalla blossomed into a tough, slippery and dusty racing course after a deluge of rain on Saturday threatened to flood the event. The climate turnaround to sunshine and blue skies was nothing short of stunning.
Charlier, a former European Champ, pumped his fists in elation when he crossed the finish line after fronting the world for 35 minutes and two laps on the factory Yamaha. The second moto saw the racer in third position and only several seconds from securing the overall win but the final classification gave Herlings the top 10 by virtue of the second moto ranking.
“I am very happy with this Grand Prix. A good start meant I could get in the lead and it was fantastic to win my first moto,” he said. Full credit to team-mate Dean Ferris for a penultimate lap attack in the second race that saw him overtake Jose Butron and Alex Tonkov for two more positions and across a gnarly terrain that wasn’t easy for passing. CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit’s Alex Lupino was also fifth overall with smooth and efficient speed. Only bad starts stopped the Italian sneaking a second consecutive trophy.
A hard day for MX1 star Gautier Paulin after a first moto tip-off effectively cast him out of podium positions and fellow Kawasaki ace Tommy Searle can also feel harshly done-by as a 10 second penalty for clearing a jump under yellow flags (the Brit was in a hard place to even see the signs) saw the ’12 MX2 championship runner-up lose a hard fought-and-won third place and drop to 13th. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Steven Frossard came back into the GP frame after recent foot and knee injuries and an awesome pole position on Saturday was followed by a solid eighth position in the first moto.
Grand Prix motocross is in a move. And fast. Trips to Latvia and Finland are now set-up in the next two weeks, which will take the series to round twelve of seventeen and the final phases of the calendar.