Monster Energy Yamaha finished the 2012 FIM Motocross World Championship covered in the sweet taste of podium champagne as Zach Osborne and Arnaud Tonus finished second and third respectively at a packed Teutschenthal circuit for the Grand Prix of Germany.
Round sixteen and the final fixture on the GP calendar was played out in front of 40,000 spectators surrounding the undulating, twisty and rough hard-pack track. Chilly conditions provided the first signs that the summer is drawing to a close but there were still some bright moments in store as both Osborne and Tonus excelled on the slick terrain that was difficult for overtaking.
In his last Grand Prix appearance after five seasons in Europe with the Dixon-led Yamaha team, Osborne set out his stall early on Saturday with fast lap-times in practice and second place in the qualification heat (in contrast Arnaud Tonus found himself buried down in 24th position in the gate). Zach gunned the YZ250F to second spot behind the escaping Tommy Searle in the first moto and almost caught the Briton towards the end of the 35 minute and 2 lap race. A poor start in the second outing and a crash that caused him to lose four positions and drop out of the top ten helped instigate arguably his most effective performance of the season as he charged past Jake Nicholls and into fourth to ensure runner-up status in Germany and his best finish of 2012.
The American will take away good memories of his first GP win in Turkey in 2009, the 2010 Maxxis British Championship title, the Marty Moates Cup as best ranking American at the Glen Helen GP and 4th place in the 2010 MX2 series; the highest for a rider from the USA this century.
Just in front of Osborne in the second moto was Tonus. A smooth and consistent flow of lap-times assisted the Swiss to enter the top three for the first time in 2012 after an injury-disrupted term. His third position complimented the sixth earned in the first moto and ‘7’ picked up his second career podium and first on the Yamaha.
With Steve Dixon hospitalised and requiring back surgery in Germany the double trophy haul was the perfect news and remedy to end a turbulent campaign of misfortune and drama for the British squad. Mel Pocock’s European Championship was an undoubted highlight and the twenty year old could still confirm the crew’s third British crown in a row with a third different rider in Exeter during October. First up is the 66th Motocross of Nations in the sand of Lommel, Belgium next week where Osborne will use the influence of his American passport to represent Puerto Rico and Tonus will wear Swiss colours.
“This is a good way to send-off and I’m really happy. I got a really bad start in the second moto and was working my way through and got up to eighth when I crashed. That put me back to twelfth and I had to start all over again. I knew it was my last GP moto of this stage of my career so I put my heart and soul into it and was able to finish on the podium. At the beginning of the season I was in great shape after the supercross and unfortunately picked up that injury. I feel now that I am coming back to a good level and was able to charge the whole time in both motos. It was a good feeling. I didn’t have anything for Arnaud in the second moto. It was great for the team and also Steve [Dixon, Team Manager absent and undergoing a back operation in hospital] for us to finish the year this way.”
“It has been a really tough season for me and I’ve had a lot of problems physically so to get on the podium at the last race is amazing. Especially after yesterday because I had a terrible quali race and had to work hard to come back through from a bad gate position. I really hope I can push for the championship next year after getting a solid winter of work behind me. That’s twice now I’ve taken podium results in the last GPs of the year so the goal will be to reverse that for the start of 2013!”