While in Europe the MXGP series goes from strength to strength with big entry numbers, the start gate reached a low at the fifth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Leon, Mexico with 20 in MX2 and just 19 waiting for the gate drop in MXGP.
Shaun Simpson’s GP weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts when his team, through no fault of their own, where caught up in a customs issue in Mexico.
We’ve heard that Mexican customs found an aerosol in one of the crates and they promptly confiscated the entire batch.
With nine race bikes and a batch of Pirelli tyres not initially making it through customs, there was a delay and pre-quali got cut to one session.
Italian Assomotor team were fingered for the customs cock-up and FIM MX boss Tony Skillington confirmed that the maximum fine of 5,000 Swiss Francs had been imposed.
David Luongo of Youthstream thanked the Mexican authorities for extending their working hours and getting them out of a jam. “We must be most grateful to Mexican customs for their cooperation. Normally, as in most countries, they close for the weekend at 2pm on Fridays, but they re-opened especially for us at 4pm and the crates arrived at the track 5am Saturday morning.”
Back to the Brits and it was a mixed weekend across the two classes.
After I commented last week that Tommy Searle couldn’t buy a good start so far in the series, he promptly sorted that out in moto one as he shot out of the gate second to Nagl, but then blew the advantage when he made the wrong line choices for the next few turns. By the end of the opening lap he had dropped to 12th.
Although Searle made progress up to eighth an off would drop him down the pack and he would end the race with 12th place.
After a difficult opening race, Searle had a much better second race as he charged through the field to finish in sixth for an eighth overall. He remains in 10th place in the series standings and has closed the gap on Coldenhoff to six points.
Simpson was right in the thick of it after a mid-pack start in the opening moto. He was able to move up a couple of positions towards the end of the race to take eighth.
In moto two Simmo had worked his way up to eighth but a tip over in a tacky rut put him in front of a charging Lupino who nailed the Scot. Luckily #24 got off lightly, considering, but he was still left with heavy hits to both wrists and his right bicep and right leg both have haematomas. Unsurprisingly Simpson was unable to continue.
The Wilvo Virus Performance KTM pilot took 13th place overall and is eighth in the MXGP standings, but just a couple of points behind seventh.
Max Anstie should have been on the podium in Mexico just like he should at the MXGP of Patagonia Argentina one week earlier.
Anstie took the holeshot in the opening moto but was soon passed by the Red Bull KTM duo of Herlings and Jonass.
Jonass made a mistake and that was enough to put Anstie back to second spot but a faltering Husky engine finally gave up just a couple of laps from the chequers.
Moto two was a little more straight forward for #99 and he was running times to match Herlings, but with moto one’s issues on his mind Anstie didn’t push his luck and the Brit settled for second.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing pilot finished the weekend with a 9th overall and moves up one spot in the MX2 championship to 10th.