The trees of the Ardennes forest shook with the sounds of Grand Prix motocross machinery for the second year in a row as Bastogne staged a memorable Belgian round of the FIM World Championship, and the 15th meeting of 17 in the series was especially sweet for Monster Energy Yamaha’s Dean Ferris.
The Australian broke the KTM stronghold on the MX2 class for the first time in 2013. It was a number of ‘firsts’ for the 23 year old; moto wins, the overall victory and complete wrap with Pole Position on Saturday to boot.
19,000 fans swapped shorts and shades for coats and umbrellas as the weather performed a swift reversal for the latest fixture in this fast dwindling campaign.
Quick and slick, the fine Belgian ‘powder’ was hard-pack and rutty in places and loose in others. The showers were light and brief and didn’t have the expected soaking effect on the terrain. Whatever the demands – Ferris was totally dialled-in this weekend.
A battle with world champion Jeffrey Herlings on Saturday was won when the Dutchman crashed and injured his left shoulder. It was ‘open season’ for the battered MX2 field that finally saw a chance of success after Herlings’ run of domination in 2013 and Ferris responded.
He chased team-mate Maxime Desprey – the French GP rookie going on to post a career-best result of fourth – in the first chilly moto and ran away from his peers in the second race for a perfect set of results for what was his fourth podium appearance of the year. Ferris became the fourth Aussie winner of a motocross Grand Prix and the first since 2005.
“When Jeffrey went home last night I think all of the guys in MX2 thought they would give it a really good go today and I’m proud that I took both motos,” he offered-up. “I’ve won a GP now so the ‘monkey is off the back’ and I think the Matterley Basin track up next will be good for me. At the beginning of the year I had a goal of winning a grand prix. I knew I’d be super-stoked if it happened and I’m pumped that I actually got one.”
On the 450s and in the MX1 class CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit Tommy Searle struggled to get going over the terrain (seventh overall) but brand-mate Gautier Paulin made a decent comeback from his hefty crash in Germany three weeks ago with a run to third position in the first moto.
Grand Prix marches out of southern Belgium this week and will float over the Channel to the UK for the British GP/MXGP Festival (the second edition of 11 classes competing over a four day period) as the ticking clock gets louder on the final moments of the 2013 season.