Tears, smiles and elation at the Grand Prix of Brazil as CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Arnaud Tonus dropped MX2 milestones all over the third round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
A first career Grand Prix win, first moto victory, first Grand Prix win for Switzerland…and two years of injury hell all buried with a furious throttle hand.
Brazil raged to the roar of Grand Prix motocross again for the sixth year in a row and the sun shone in spurts on the immaculate Beto Carrero theme park facility where this rollercoaster of a FIM World Championship continued its climb to oncoming thrills.
The combination of Brazil and motocross typically means several things: heat, red hard-pack dirt and…passion. All three elements were in place for this third Grand Prix of 2014 but it was the excitement and vibe coming off the grandstands that once more gave the event the feel of an intense soccer match.
There are few other places in the world where the fans get so worked-up about hard overtaking moves, determined comebacks and some aerial showboating.
At the heart of the sporting story in Brazil was Tonus; an undisputed talent who has endured two years of injury misery. In 2012 he had both arms in plaster and had to be assisted in day-to-day basic tasks.
At the end of the season he snapped his right leg at the Motocross of Nations and complications with the break wrote-off much of 2013. The Swiss was fast at Losail for the 2014 GP opener and then plagued with technical problems in Thailand three weeks ago.
But at Beto Carrero he went for it. A comfortable win in the first moto was already a career landmark but an easy run to second position in the following sprint guaranteed his place in the record books.
“It is unreal,” Tonus said after also taking the red plate as MX2 championship leader. “I don’t feel like I have won. Everything went so great today and it has been so emotional after what has happened over the past two years. I’m so happy.”
“I was nervous for the last 15 minutes!” he added. “I saw the board saying I had 15 left and it felt like it would never end. I wasn’t riding I was just counting time! I was fine when I saw the ‘two lap’ board. There are no words to describe what it feels like to be leading the world championship; so much has happened today.”
Kudos to CLS team-mate Dylan Ferrandis for a battling display. The impressive Frenchman rallied from a bad start to capture second place to Tonus in Moto one and was leading Moto two on the first lap until a crash damaged his KX250F and he had to pit, re-joining the field almost last – from where he blasted back to 10th in frustration. Good enough for fourth in the final MX2 list.
Over in MXGP and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Gautier Paulin slipped off the KX450F in the first moto and battled all the way to the last corner where he relegated Australian Todd Waters to seventh place. The flamboyant Frenchman was the pick of the ‘Claw Elite’ in the second race – and therefore overall – when he showed his mettle to run a clear second to Antonio Cairoli.
MXGP’s worldwide trekking for the opening phases of the 2014 calendar now slows down a little as the series prepares for the elongated European stage of the schedule.
The Dolomite Mountains in northern Italy will again cast their shadow over the scenic Arco di Trento circuit on April 13 as the Grand Prix of Trentino brings everybody back together for round four of 18.