MX2 Race 1
The First race started with incident as Herlings sliced from his line straight in front of Tommy Searle to take the holeshot. Behind Herlings there were the KTMs of Van Horebeek and Tixier with the newly returned Arnaud Tonus joining them. By the second lap Herlings was beginning to stretch things out from Van Horebeek and Tonus with Tommy well back in around tenth.
But with a steely resolve, Searle was not going to take this lying down and set about a charge to get towards the front. French rider Teillet was getting strong support from the crowd and was responding well to the encouragement as he moved into third.
Within a short period of time Tommy was up with his team mate Joel Roelants and Tonus, and in the blink of an eye was past both of them and going for Teillet. He despatched the Kawasaki rider on the flat just before the enormous downhill jump. Once in third, there was little more that Searle could do as Van Horebeek and Herlings were just too far ahead, so he was forced to settle for a 20 point finish and the bronze position.
Behind Tommy were Roelants, Teillet, Tixier, Tonus, Charlier, Butron, Nicholls.
MX1 Race 1
There was a huge feeling of excitement before the first MX1 race as the crowd could sense the possibility of a French win and even a podium sweep from the home riders. And for a moment it was on as Boog got the holeshot with 222 close behind. But Tony got the drive on the top straight after the second turn and swiftly snatched the lead away. Pourcel muscled his way into second spot and looked like he was going to be able to realise the dreams on the French fans. Goncalves was going well in third but lost out to Boog on lap six. DeSalle was having a good ride in fifth with Paulin following behind. Boog was soon able to get past Rui, as was Paulin and by this time parts of the track were beginning to blue groove on the face of the jumps.
Then all of a sudden, Paulin launched a blistering attack and blasted his way past both Boog and Pourcel to take second place and was clearly going for the death or glory option and chasing down No 222. The crowd went wild and the tri-colour flags were a blur if waving. But with two laps to go, it was clear that Tony had enough in his reserves to keep just far enough in front of Gautier, and took the win. Pourcel took third, Boog fourth and DeSalle rounded of the top 5.
Shaun Simpson got a 14th place, Jamie Law 24th and Alfie Smith 25th.
MX2 Race 2
The second race was bound to be hard fought, and after Herlings aggressive start move in the first moto it was good to see Tommy get out ahead of the 84 machine. It was actually Tixier that got the holeshot with Jeffrey lurking in fourth. Tonus had a strong start and soon managed to get past Tixier for the lead. Searle didn’t take long to follow suit, and had the Swiss rider in his sights. Soon enough Tommy had got past Tonus and Herlings was charging hard.
Before long Herlings was up to third with only Tonus between him and Searle, but Arnaud was in no mood to move over despite Herlings pressure. Then going into the right hander after the table top jump at the bottom of the circuit, Herlings made a super aggressive move, diving into the same space that Tonus already had his wheels. The manoeuvre totally took tonus out and sent his bike turning upside down Arnaud floundering on the ground as Herlings powered away.
The rest of the moto went without much incident and although Herlings made some ground on Tommy, at the same time Van Horebeek and Roelants were gaining on him. By the flag, Tommy won the moto, but with a third in the first race compared to Jeffrey’s second, the GP overall win went to Jeffrey.
On the podium after the race some remorse must have swept over the KTM rider and he apologised for the move on Tonus.
MX1 Race 2
The second race was just as dramatic as the first outing, with the crowd still holding onto the hope of a French victory. Cairoli got yet another holeshot ahead of Frossard and Philippaerts, with Desalle and Pourcel in 4th and 5th. Frossard was riding like a man very late for an appointment, storming around to the delight of the home crowd. When he managed to pull past Cairoli it was like he’d won the championship.
But the delight lasted only four laps, as Cairoli was able to take his place back took his place back and proceeded to try to make some sort of gap from the pack of hungry French riders behind him. But as soon as Frossard fell back, the storming Kawasaki of Gautier Paulin was in Cairoli’s mirrors big time. The French man was desperate to get close enough for a pass, but as ever Antonio was able to find more speed when needed to keep himself far enough in front.
Fellow Italian David Philippaerts had been at the head of the pack for most of the race, and when Paulin got cross rutted at the top of the circuit was ideally placed to take the second spot. But it didn’t last for long as Christophe Pourcel had found some late moto speed, taking him from steadily through the pack and eventually past No 19. It even looked like he might have enough in the tank to get up with Antonio, but with only four laps to do it, the task was just too much and Cairoli took the win and the overall.
The rest of the podium was pleasingly Gallic, with Pourcel in second and Paulin in third.
Words Julian Challis
Images by Ray Chuss