It was occasionally wet, very cold and oh-so windy but the British Motocross Grand Prix was actually absolutely brilliant!
And all those motocross fans that travelled from around the world to Matterley Basin and kept the faith were eventually awarded with four exceedingly good GP motos come Sunday afternoon (and yes, the EMX125 and WMX races in the morning were rather good too).
I have to admit that as I stood in the queue for my media pass at 8am on Saturday I had to question my sanity – especially since I’d been up since three.
By this point I already knew that a storm had battered the circuit severely on Friday night, knocking down the VIP Skybox structure that normally sits behind the start gate and delaying any on-track proceedings for a few hours.
And annoying as it was that there were no bikes on track, it was the right thing to do. The first three on-track sessions were sloppy to say the least but by the time the MX2 Free/Timed Practice session came around conditions were pretty damn decent.
Then Armageddon arrived during the MXGP sesh and we were taken back almost to square one.
Saturday’s sole races – for EMX125 and WMX competitors – were somewhat wet but after an overnight tickling of the track from Johnny Douglas-Hamilton and his crew, conditions were prime come Sunday morning and despite an ice shower or two, remained so until the whole shebang was done and dusted.
The way the track rutted and roughed up was very reminiscent to the 2006 Motocross of Nations when similar weather conditions threatened to ruin the party but all came good in the end.
Also similar to the ’06 MXdN was the moment when Liam Everts pulled off a pass much like his old man had on James Stewart some 14 years back – on the pegs, right around the outside. And the crowd went wild. Isn’t that right, Rog?
MX2 was good and absolutely wide open as predicted. Of the 25 points scorers only Mikkel Haarup – who ran 3-3 for third overall – was anything like consistent.
The level of competition in this class is certainly high but still not a patch on MXGP where the competition is so deep that every rider on the track is battling tooth and nail, right the way to the finish.
A prime example of this, was former MX2 moto winner Samuele Bernardini and Iker Larranaga who took each other out on the second-to-last lap of moto two as they scrapped over 31st place.
They don’t pay points that far back and there’s zero prize money on the line but these boys had come to race and that’s what they were doing. It was good to see. Not the aftermath so much but certainly the intensity of the battle.
Another good example of the depth of talent was Adam Sterry’s second race. He worked ridiculously hard all moto long and was riding very well. His reward was a meagre two world championship points and I hope he appreciates them just as much as I appreciated the work he put in to get them – it was a great ride.
At the front of the pack how could anyone not be impressed by the pace of the leaders – especially on a circuit that was so damn gnarly. Full of deep ruts and much rougher than it looked from a distance, Matterley Basin has never been so perfect for a motocross grand prix.
And with that in mind I’d like to thank Steve Dixon for putting it all on the line and every member of his team too – that’s everyone from admin managers to track marshals.
You all deserve a medal for stepping up and doing what was necessary for us motocross fans to be able to enjoy an amazing weekend – thank you so much…
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