Which do you prefer, wet mud or dry mud? Both were offered for the first set of motos today at the Swiss double-header MX GP, with the first 250cc heat taking place on a slimy track under sunny skies, and the first 500cc heat going off under a race-long downpour. For his part, 500cc moto-one winner thought that his class had the advantage.
“In some ways the rain helped us because it kept the mud wet,” Smets said. “When the mud gets dry, it sticks to the bike.”
Nevertheless, Frenchman Yves Demaria wasn’t exactly complaining of the 250cc conditions, perhaps because his start-to-finish win prevented much of any mud from having much of a chance to stick to him. Demaria pulled a holeshot and establishing a huge lead before getting a late challenge from Winfield/Motorex Kawasaki rider Pit Beirer, contesting his final race for the team before switching to Free Time Yamaha next season.
“I had a good lead, but I made a little mistake, and Pit was pushing really hard,” Demaria said. Beirer didn’t gate well, and spent several laps in a dice with teammate Mickael Maschio before breaking free and going after the leader, cutting Beirer’s lead from over 10 seconds in the early laps down to just a few at the finish.
“I’ve had many races [this season] where I was not like the Pit everybody knows,” Beirer said. “I’m very happy that I could go 40 minutes really hard”.
As for the PAMO Honda team, it didn’t fare so well. American Ryan Hughes had problems in the mud, and newly re-crowned champion Frederic Bolley went off the track while running near the front early on, and he lost so much time sliding around on the grassy, snotty hillside trying to get back up to the course that he opted to pull out.
Smets, the newly crowned 500cc champ, also led start to finish in his race, constructing an adavantage that was as big as 35 seconds at one point, and notching his record 23rd moto win of the season. Other riders had it a bit tougher, getting stuck on hills and in muddy ruts, and tossing away their gloves and goggles. Riding in his last race with the number-one plate, Italian Andrea Bartolini took the Yamaha thumper to a strong runner-up result, holding off a late charge from teammate Marnicq Bervoets.
“In the beginning, I had good speed,” said Bartolini. “But I had some troubles later, when the turns started getting wider.”
“I fell, but I kept trying,” said a red-eyed Bervoets at race’s end. “It was a difficult race, and I couldn’t find my rhythm.” MOTO ONE RESULTS:
250: 1. Yves Demaria (Yam); 2. Pit Beirer (Kaw); 3. Claudio Federici (Yam); 4. Mickael Mashio (Yam); 5. Gordon Crockard (Hon); 6. Ryan Hughes (Hon); 7. Joshua Coppins (Suz); 8. Danny Theybers (KTM); 9. Marko Kovalainen (Yam); 10. Saso Kragelj (Yam); 11. Michal Kadlecek (Suz); 12. Mark Huckelbridge (Kaw); 13. Alessandro Belometti (Kaw); 14. Pierrick Paget (Hon); 15. Jussi-Pekka Vehvilainen (Hon).
500: 1. Joel Smets (KTM); 2. Andrea Bartolini (Yam); 3. Marnicq Bervoets (Yam); 4. Miska Aaltonen (Hus); 5. Darryl King (Hus); 6. Peter Johansson (KTM); 7. Jonas Engdahl (KTM); 8. Jonny Lindhe (Hus); 9. Erwin Machtlinger (Hon); 10. Rupert Walkner (KTM); 11. Johan Boonen (KTM); 12. Fabrizio Dini (Hus); 13. Avo Leok (KTM); 14. Gert-Jan Van Doorn (VOR); 15. Joakim Karlsson (Hon).