GRAND PRIX OF BELGIUM-GP FLANDERS WELCOMES EXCITING MOTOCROSS SERIES IN LOMMEL

An extremely exciting finale to the 2008 season will get underway in the five remaining Grand Prix’s, starting with the Belgian round in Lommel this weekend.

David Philippaerts holds the MX1 red plate but he is closely followed by 2007 World Champion Steve Ramon and Joshua Coppins.

After South Africa defending MX2 Champion Antonio Cairoli is out of the chase for the Title as current leader Tyla Rattray and team mate Tommy Searle remain the two most creditable candidates for the crown.

The week of the Grand Prix of Belgium-GP Flanders will actually start with the MX Rookie, an event dedicated to all the MX2 machines mounted amateur riders, to finish with the MX1/MX2 GP and the conclusive round of the Veterans’ World Cup where Belgian Peter Iven is leading from defending Champion Dave Thorpe.

MX1

After a week break the World Motocross series is back in action and the Belgian meeting in Lommel is an extremely important one for the Teka Suzuki WMX1 squad made of Steve Ramon and Ken De Dycker, both Belgians.

Defending Champion Ramon is currently second in the series after shortening the gap from leader David Philippaerts to 11 points courtesy of the South African podium. Also early series leader De Dycker is in a close dice for third with Philippaerts’ Yamaha Monster Motocross team mate Joshua Coppins as both made their latest podium appearance in Germany.

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Steve Ramon will be under the spotlight this weekend at home

On the other hand AXO KTM Silver Action’s Jonathan Barragan and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Max Nagl are in excellent form at the moment. The Spaniard took his third season’s GP win in South Africa, where the German led most of both moto’s to end a solid second overall.

Despite the sandy course might not be their favourite hunting ground Barragan and Nagl hope to improve on their fifth and seventh place in the Championship.

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Max Nagl is as strong as ever

Dutchman Marc de Reuver will come back to the GP scene after a left foot injury took him out of the South African GP.

MX2

The South African Grand Prix left a heavy mark on the 2008 season by taking off defending MX2 Champion Antonio Cairoli, who underwent an operation to his left knee afterwards and will not take part to the remaining GP’s.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team mates Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle are ready to star in a new season’s finale without their arch rival who was likely to battle with them until the final round in Faenza.

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After South Africa Tyla Rattray is still on top of the MX2 Championship

Searle was the winner of the South African GP where home rider Rattray took a decent consolation with second on the podium and victory in the second heat. The Championship leader now looks forward to the sandy Belgian track where he plans his revenge on his favourite racing conditions.

KTM UK’s Shaun Simpson and Ricci Racing Yamaha’s Nicolas Aubin –on his first season’s podium in Nelspruit- are fourth and fifth in the series respectively, as both aim at improving their Championship position by overtaking Cairoli, currently third. The same goes for sixth placed Rui Goncalves.

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The first season’s podium at Nelspruit was a confidence booster for Nico Aubin

Racing at home might mean a podium chance for youngster Jeremy Van Horebeek, who is sandwiched in eighth place in between Xavier Boog and Steven Frossard.

On the other hand other young gun Gautier Paulin will miss Lommel, where he was supposed to come back to the GP scene after his injury in France, and the rest of the season’s meetings because he broke his left tibia in a training accident.

FIM VETERANS’ WORLD CUP

Winning the latest round in Mallory Park Belgian Peter Iven snatched the red plate from early leader Toine van Dijk and he is ready to enter this final round to wrap up the title. The British round was an important step forward for defending Champion Dave Thorpe, who made up for Bellpuig by ending runner up to Iven in the points standings. The duo is now separate by just 14 points, as Van Dijk and 2006 World Cup winner Thierry Godfroid round off the top four being a short distance away from Thorpe.

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The Veterans starting at Mallory Park

MX ROOKIE

The week of Lommel will be a Motocross kermesse as it will open with the MX Rookie to finish with the spectacular MX1/MX2 Grand Prix and the Veterans’ Cup.

The MX Rookie open to all the MX2 machines mounted amateur riders who will race the final on Friday on the GP circuit after a selection to be carried out on Wednesday and Thursday on a separate race track. At the end of the final the first three riders will be handed the trophies on the GP podium.

The focus of the MX Rookie is on the amateur riders, who are recognized to be the base of a pyramid structure where the top is represented by the FIM Motocross World Championship. Setting up the MX Rookie right next to the Grand Prix circus will represent the chance to connect the base with the top, with the event representing the bridging.

STEDELIJK MOTOCROSSCENTRUM AND LOMMEL

The race track in Lommel is one of the most popular sandy courses in the world, as it is very well known for its deep and demanding ground. The weekend will be probably the toughest in the GP calendar even though the high summer temperatures might be reduced by possible rain showers. In occasion of the Grand Prix the track has been fully rebuilt; compared to the previous layout the course is slightly shorter, wider and more flowing. These conditions will allow the riders to keep a higher and more constant pace, which is normally a worry in a sandy course as the track conditions change lap by lap.

The town of Lommel is 112 kilometres East of Brussels; it is in the province of Limburg, the easternmost province of Flanders, one of Belgium’s main regions. Having about 30000 inhabitants, Lommel has got plenty of interesting spots which are all worth a visit. The “Sahara” is a beautiful natural attraction consisting of a desert-like landscape with white sand and a lake in the middle of the area. In the city there are modern buildings such as the Soeverein, a multipurpose hall, and ancient constructions such as the Burgomaster’s House, an estate which is now a well equipped centre for visitors, with also a visual tour on Lommel’s history.

THE EVENT’S SCHEDULE

Saturday August 2: Veterans Free Practice 1 at 9:00 am; MX2 Free Practice at 10:00 am; MX1 Free Practice 1 at 11:00 am; MX2 Pre-Qualifying Practice at 12:00 am; Veterans Free Practice 2 at 1:15 pm; MX1 Free Practice 2 at 2:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 1 at 3:00 pm; MX2 Qualifying Race 2 at 3:45 pm; MX1 Time Practice at 4:30 pm; MX2 Last Chance Qualifying Practice at 5:15 pm; Veterans Time Practice at 6:00 pm (local time).

Sunday August 3: Veterans Warm-up at 9:00 am; MX2 Warm-up at 9:30 am; MX1 Warm-up at 10:00 am; Veterans Race 1 at 11:10 am; MX2 Grand Prix Race 1 at 12:10 am; MX1 Grand Prix Race 1 at 1:10 pm; Veterans Race 2 at 2:10 pm; MX2 Grand Prix Race 2 at 3:03 pm; MX1 Grand Prix Race 2 at 4:03 pm (local time).