The Grand Prix of Latvia brought the FIM Motocross World Championship up to round 12 of 18 of the 2015 campaign and Standing Construct Yamaha’s Valentin Guillod managed to keep third place in the MX2 standings despite a hard day at Kegums and 12th position overall.

Yamaha were able to enjoy some success thanks to Kemea Yamaha’s Damon Graulus taking overall victory in the seventh appointment of nine in the EMX250 European Championship.

Periods of heavy rainfall on Sunday morning and then changeable conditions during the programme meant that the loose terrain at Kegums – with a hard base of rippling bumps – was rough, technical and difficult. Not a traditional sand track by any means (although many riders opted for sand scoop tyre profiles) Kegums provided a mix of demands from mud, soft berms and long ruts as well as areas of hard-pack.


The first moto was a difficult one for the Standing Construct duo with Guillod and Lieber both hitting the deck. It was left to Kemea’s Benoit Paturel to earn the highest classification in 11th with Guillod 12th and followed by Lieber. Brent Van Doninck was 15th and couldn’t find the best feeling around the fast layout.

In the second race British Grand Prix winner Guillod made a great start and was almost first coming down the hill into the third turn when he lost control of the front end of the bike and crashed.

The Swiss picked up, but was luckless after being hit by Jordi Tixier while regaining positions later in the moto. It meant another trawl from deep regions of the pack. He managed to claw back some points by taking 13th spot. Julien Lieber was frustrated by his start and another mistake but with 10th place was the best YZ250F runner in the moto. A crash for Paturel and slightly improved speed for Van Doninck meant the Kemea boys were reduced to 22nd and 12th positions respectively.

The MX2 championship points table shows that Guillod is only 10 points from Tim Gajser in second position. Lieber is eighth, Paturel 12th and Van Doninck 16th, although the rookie has missed two Grands Prix due to his knee injury.

In EMX250 Damon Graulus conquered motos in contrasting conditions. The fast, dry ground of Saturday was a happy hunting ground for the Belgian as he escaped to post his fourth moto victory of the campaign, and fourth from the last four meetings.

Sunday morning and the second race was a wetter and bumpier test – one hour before the first MX2 moto exited the gate – and Graulus was still carrying good speed. He chased Lars Van Berkel for much of the race before Brian Hsu closed up and started a three man dispute for first position.

In a chaotic final two laps Damon managed to reach the flag with fourth, which was still enough for the top step of the podium. He is now 15 points from Nick Kouwenberg and the red plate with races in Lommel and Assen left to go.

The Grand Prix of Czech Republic will make its traditional stop at the hillside circuit of Loket towards the end of the month for round 13.

Valentin Guillod said: “Yesterday was okay. My riding was not perfect but today I had a lot of problems. To ride here and in those conditions you have to clutch-it a lot and ride on high rpm and that’s not really my style. In the first moto I was 10th and a rider crashed right in front of me in a corner. I had nowhere to go. I was really motivated for the second race because I wanted to do much better and I made the start I needed but in the third corner I came alongside Anstie and lost the front wheel; I really don’t know why that happened. My riding after that was not so bad but Tixier hit my rear wheel coming out of a corner and I crashed again. A weekend to forget really.”

Julien Lieber: “I crashed in each race…so at least I was consistent with those. We struggled a lot with the start again and we need to find a solution so I am not always stuck in the top 15. I need to push too much on tracks that are difficult for overtaking. Not a good weekend but at least I’m healthy. Now we need to work more on the starts.”

Brent Van Doninck: “I had an off weekend… I had the same feeling as in Germany, the pace and speed weren’t there and only in the last 15 minutes of the final moto I felt alright.

“Maybe I put too much pressure on myself. When you get top six finishes you want to be there every weekend but when it already went wrong on Saturday I started riding too tense. It makes me realise I still need to learn a lot and although bad days do not feel good you still have take something from them.”

Benoit Paturel: “I had a really bad weekend. The starts were bad and I could not find a good pace. In the second moto I crashed twice and lost a lot of time to get started again. I already want to forget this weekend but in another way it motivates me to work harder for the next one.”

Damon Graulus: “Yesterday was good and I liked the track. It was a good win. Today was difficult with the mud and the rain and it was hard to pass. I made a couple of mistakes and ended up fourth; I wasn’t happy with that but still took the overall after two difficult races in Germany and Sweden. Now we’ll look to Lommel and one of my practice tracks…so I’m really excited.”