After a successful weekend in the Portuguese GP, Team STR KTM headed to Bastogne in Belgium for round eight of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
In an eventful day, Jamie Law secured his second Championship point while a crash prevented Matiss Karro building on his result last weekend in Portugal.
Heavy rain fell throughout Friday night, reducing the track and the paddock to such a muddy mess that the organisers cancelled the qualifying race. This meant that the times from the pre-qualifying practice on Saturday afternoon were used to determine the gate pick for Sunday’s races. In the end Karro qualified in 13th place with Law in 26th.
Karro missed the jump off the start but kept it pinned through the first turn, coming out in 11th with Law just behind in 13th. However, Law was to suffer misfortune as a rock holed his radiator and he was forced to pull out to save cooking his engine.
Karro, after initially losing a place to Christophe Pourcel, pushed on and soon forced his way through to ninth. As he closed in on Sebastian Pourcel, he began to suffer with arm pump and struggled to maintain his pace. In the final laps he came under pressure from Tanel Leok and Ken De Dyker and was unable to hold them off. Thankfully, he had built up a huge lead over the chasing pack and was able to cruise home for an impressive 11th place finish.
Karro started better in the second race and rounded the first corner in tenth, with Law just outside the top twenty. The front five started to pull away, leaving the next six riders embroiled in a race long battle which saw positions constantly changing. After moving up as high as eighth, a small crash at the end of the pit straight dropped him down to eleventh.
A couple of laps later he came together with a back-marker in mid air over a jump and although he miraculously managed to stay upright he had suffered damage to his gear lever. As he went through the whoops it slipped into neutral, throwing him forward with such force that he smashed his face on the handlebars, resulting in a deep gash to his chin. After trying to soldier on for a couple of laps, even though he was struggling to change gear, the brave youngster decided he was fighting a losing battle and with his shirt and neck brace splattered with blood, he made his way to the medical centre for some attention.
Law, who by this time had fought his way to 21st place, was promoted to 20th after Karro’s crash. He was able to hold on to this position until the chequered flag to take another World Championship point to add to the one he had collected last weekend in Portugal.
Jamie Law was upbeat, “I felt a lot more comfortable with the bike today but after getting a good start in the first race tried to push too hard. Then I found some rhythm but about 20 minutes into the race I was forced out with a hole in my radiator. I made a poor start in race two but managed to sneak through on the first couple of corners and was just outside the point scoring positions. I felt pretty good and didn’t feel tired and managed to bring it home in 20th for another point which I’m really chuffed about. I’ve enjoyed the last three weekends and feel that I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully I will take some of what I’ve learned back to the British Championship next week.”
After returning from the medical centre with ten stiches in his chin a disappointed Matiss Karrocommented, “I was happy with my first race although I got a bit of arm pump, but I was still able to go with the top ten so pretty good really. The second race I felt even better and was fighting all the time with (Davide) Guarneri, (Xavier) Boog and (Gautier) Paulin but I made a small mistake and lost a couple of positions which I was not happy with. Then I came together with a lapper over a jump and bent my gear lever and as I went through the whoops it slipped into neutral and threw me forward, smashing my chin on the bars. My chin was cut badly but I decided to carry on and got going again in 19th but I couldn’t change gear and had to pull out. I’m not happy as I’ve lost a lot of points but I know I rode well today and will be up for it again next week at Desertmartin in the British Championship.”
Team Manager, Steve Turner, “I’m gutted for Matiss, he rode well again in the first race and took a great 11th, even with some arm-pump in the latter stages. In race two he was going even better and was up to eighth at one point but the competition is intense at this level and absolutely relentless and just a small mistake can cost you positions. Coming together with a back-marker proved disastrous in the end and cost him another great result. The good thing is Matiss is around the top ten in near enough every GP which is a massive step up for him. Jamie had his bad luck in the first race with a hole in his radiator resulting in a DNF but in the second race he rode great to take another point. He has definitely improved throughout his three week initiation into GP’s and the whole team’s enjoyed working with him and his family.”