As if to emphasise that a long spring and summer of racing had come to an end the initial rain and chilly temperatures in Holland this weekend made the sweaty climate of Qatar six months earlier feel like a lifetime ago.
Across the 15 countries, three continents and through 17 Grand Prix fixtures the Monster Energy crew were protagonists to the last and a constant podium menace, even if the coveted MX1 and MX2 titles eluded the group this season.
The devilish sand of Lierop was a harsh final playing ground for the battle-wearied Grand Prix racers. Oversized fuel tanks, blisters, aching limbs and some bangs and bruises were just some of the symptoms that complimented euphoria in a few cases where the bumps and holes had been conquered with champagne to show.
Those tired but buzzing at the end of the event and the season were Monster Energy Yamaha duo Dean Ferris and Christophe Charlier as the pair sealed sixth and seventh positions respectively in the sand.
Ferris had emerged from his first full GP term as one of just three winners in the MX2 class and with a decent sixth spot in the final points table. #111 entered the limited club of just four GP victors from Australia with his Belgian GP achievement last month. Meanwhile Charlier grinded out the laps in front of a 17,000 crowd that eventually basked in some late Lierop sunshine to make sure of fourth place in the Championship representing a career-best and a notable forward step for the stylish Corsican.
Kawasaki aces Gautier Paulin (winner of three grands prix in 2013) and Tommy Searle (top MX1 rookie in 2013) closed out their seasons with steady performances in Holland and perhaps with eyes on the 67th Motocross of Nations where they will star for their countries and 39 other entries at Teutschenthal in Germany on September 28-29.
While Shaun Simpson enjoyed a fairytale success story on privateer machinery and a shoestring budget at Lierop, the other big news of the day was Monster Energy’s Kiara Fontanesi who wrapped up her second FIM Women’s World Championship in a row at the final round of the series in Slovakia. The rapid Italian was nursing a sore ankle from an injury picked up midweek but grafted on her YZ250F Yamaha in the first moto to secure the seven points necessary to crack open the champagne for a second successive season.
“I’ve worked all year for this world title and I knew that doing it again would be almost tougher than winning it the first year,” she said after claiming four of six rounds. “I could not win all the races as I wanted, but that’s okay. I dedicate this to my family that does so much for me, Michele Rinaldi Yamaha, to all the sponsors and those who love me. It was nice to get to the finish line and then screaming out to get rid of the all the tension and just take in the moment.”
All roads to Germany then, where the entire small town of Teutschenthal is preparing to welcome tens of thousands of fans for the biggest motocross spectacle of the year; an explosion of colour, vibe, patriotism and the site of some of the fastest off-road motorcycle racers in the world coming together. Can’t wait…