Former World Champion Tyla Rattray plans to be embarking on his third ‘comeback’ of 2014 this weekend at Lommel for the Grand Prix of Belgium.
The 28-year-old returned to the FIM Motocross World Championship this year for the first time since winning the 2008 MX2 crown, then had to miss the opening three races of the season due to a broken finger.
After an operation on a thumb injury (sustained at Maggiora) and a six week period of convalescence the South African is now hoping to join his Red Bull Husqvarna IceOne factory racing team for the final European fixture of the MXGP slate.
The Antti Pyrhonen-helmed squad could even be back to their full original line-up for the first time since round four at the GP of Trentino as Todd Waters also initially hoped to be racing the FC450 by the time of the Belgian fixture.
“I’m looking forward to coming back at Lommel and the most important thing for me now is just to be out there racing,” he said. “My thumb feels good and I have been doing the motos for about a week and a half now. I feel fit but race fitness is a different thing. I’ve done so much riding in the sand that Lommel is a decent track for me and I’m happy to get back into it.”
It has been a stop-start term for Rattray due to the injury niggles (a concussion in France also) and a fourth place overall at Matterley Basin for the British GP has been his best finish on the works FC350 so far.
Lommel will allow the ex-GP and AMA race winner an opportunity to show he still has some of the speed and guile to be considered for a factory ride in 2015 with his Husky saddle likely to be filled by another athlete next year. Waters and Max Nagl are heavily rumoured to be Husky’s main force while talk of a third rider emerged last weekend in the Czech Republic.
Rattray has been heavily linked to a Monster Energy Kawasaki double-up with Ryan Villopoto for 2015; some gossip in the paddock even suggesting that the American champion has requested that former team-mate Rattray be given the second KX450F alongside him in green.
Tyla commented: “I’m not sure yet and I expect some news in the next week or so. There have been a few talks but there is no firm offer yet. I rode for Kawasaki for five years in the U.S. and also worked with Ryan and filled-in for him when he’s had some injuries so we know each other well.”
Father of two Rattray knows well how much of an impact and stir a racer of Villopoto’s calibre will add to MXGP. “You are talking about a rider who has won supercross for the last four years at such a high level of competition,” he said. “It will be a big thing for Grand Prix if he comes.”