Lommel! It has been said that Lommel cannot be truly mastered, only survived. The gruelling deep sand provides arguably the toughest test for man and machine on the GP calendar and both Evgeny Bobryshev and Rui Gonçalves will need to bring their A game to the GP of Limburg this weekend (July 30-31) if they are to continue their climb in the championship standings.
After a string of podiums and a first career win in Germany, Bobryshev currently sits in fourth position in the overall standings, 36 points behind third-placed Steven Frossard. Gonçalves sits in a comfortable seventh but in recent weeks has closed the gap on the two men in front as he sets his sights on a top five overall position. He is currently 10 points behind David Philippaerts and only 30 behind Max Nagl. With a potential 50 points up for grab, both these deficits can realistically be turned around in just one race weekend.
Located in north east Belgium – the heartland of European motocross – Lommel is used by many of the grand prix protagonists as a training facility throughout the year. Although most of the top riders know their way around extremely well, the prospect of two 35-minute plus two lap motos at full race speed is a daunting one for even the toughest competitor.
However, the Honda World Motocross team have worked hard in perfecting the sand set-up of the CRF450R, as have Dunlop with the MX11 rear and a front sand tyre prototype version which will be used by the team this weekend. This could well give them the edge over the rest of the field.
Evgeny Bobryshev, Honda World Motocross
“Lommel I do not like. I really don’t have a good feeling racing there, well that is how it has been in the past. It is good for training, for working on conditioning and for practising technique but racing there is a different story. The type of sand there is really particular and it can cause many crashes when you are pushing hard. I am hoping that this year I can turn it around and make it my track. I rode good at the German Masters last week, taking the overall, so I am feeling in good form going into this one.”
Rui Gonçalves, Honda World Motocross
“Lommel is probably the track where I train the most through the season. A lot of riders are based in Belgium and so use the facility throughout the week, not just getting ready for the GP but as part of their year-round training. It is really deep sand and is a real test for your physical conditioning. It is one of the places that a 35-minute plus two lap moto seems like a long time but I am fit and I know what I can do there. I had fun riding at the Evert’s race in the week I had off and even won the 150cc race there. I am enjoying my riding at the moment and looking to carry this on into the weekend.”