A hard day in Germany. Hot, humid, a rough and gnarly track that inflicted pain on mistakes and sometimes punished the innocent. The thirteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was no cakewalk. The Lausitzring layout might have been knocked together in seven days and across part of the asphalt in the motorsport complex deep in the east of the country but it was still a kicking course for racing. On this unusual platform the fans that weren’t preoccupied with the 67th Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal risked ferocious sunburn in +30 degree temperatures to watch motocross Grand Prix stars go to the physical and mental limits.
It was a heavy day for MX1 Kawasaki star Gautier Paulin. The French ace was cruising with a four second lead in the first of two motos when he got out of shape exiting the turn before the pitlane. Crossed-up on the jump GP was chucked to the ground and briefly lost consciousness. Cue panic and a big scare for the Kawasaki crew but Paulin was stretchered away and later deemed OK, staying one night in a hospital just for observation.
With the Bulgaria, Portuguese and Italian Grand Prix winner out of commission Tommy Searle took another nudge into the spotlight. The MX1 rookie claimed a confident pole position on Saturday (the first for the UK in the class) and then rode to a solid third place in the first sprint. An overdue maiden podium was briefly in touching distance in the second race but a small crash when the Brit lost the front end of the KX450F and Ken Dycker was gone. Searle needed to demote the Belgian to grasp third overall but the margin was too great.
Across a demanding stage there were a number of notable performances. European Champion Mel Pocock equalled a career-best in the MX2 class on his Monster Energy Yamaha with sixth place in Moto2 while team-mate Dean Ferris was sixth overall despite running the last phases of the second outing without a rear brake. In MX1 Yamaha’s Joel Roelants partly buried some of the frustration of an injury-riddled rookie campaign by barrelling the factory YZ450FM to sixth spot in Moto1. Substitute rider – for the absent Steven Frossard – Milko Potisek also turned heads with speed that put him on the fringes of the top ten.
Perhaps the most awesome sight however was that of Christophe Charlier. The stylish Corsican flicked his works Yamaha to second place in the first MX2 run-out and was unlucky to get involved in a multi-rider crash on the first lap of race two. The 22 year old then charged from last to twelfth position with no front brake, a damaged clutch and a smoking radiator until the bike gave up the ghost in the final two laps. On that fast and treacherous terrain it was gutsy stuff.
No let-up for the Grand Prix racers this week as the whole show takes a short trip south and to the hilly hard-pack of Loket where the Czech Republic fixture will be played out this Sunday.