Life is full of relativity. One man’s excellence is another man’s disappointment. Whereas just about every motocross rider in existence and his proverbial dog would relish the thought of an overall GP result just outside the top 10, for Kevin Strijbos it was not exactly a result to pull the postcard and fountain pen out for. Granted, he has had some great results this season, and the soles of his boots have made some sizeable imprints upon world championship podiums this year, so there is ample reason to understand why the Belgian would be more than a tad disgruntled with his result at Faenza, Italy.
The penultimate GP of the 2012 season brought the great and the good of the world championship motocross fraternity to this steep Italian hillside. The track sports nosebleed-inducing up-and downhills, and those with vertigo had best not clamber around. For some reason, the track did not “talk” to Kevin, and after a start pretty much near the stern of the pack, he (literally) had an uphill battle to bring his HM Plant KTM through to qualify 16th.
Kevin got squeezed out in the track’s first bottleneck in race one, and form then on it was always going to be a battle for him to knit himself the best possible result from the frayed ball of wool he got. He rode well enough at the beginning of the race, but as mistakes started to creep in later during proceedings, his sense of self-preservation kicked in and he opted for a safe (and, more importantly, upright) result, finally crossing the line in eleventh spot.
The second race was a virtual carbon copy of the first. Another troubled start left the Belgian with a mountain of work to do. The track, by now a challenging patchwork of light and shade in the setting sun, was by no means easier to negotiate, with some gnarly bumps hidden from sight in the shady parts. Extreme care was called for to keep the crash monsters at bay, and for the most part, the track did not offer many passing opportunities. Kevin did as best he could, and again guided his orange machine across the line in the double one position.
A twenty point harvest kept Kevin to a relatively modest (by his standards) eleventh position overall for the day. This didn’t exactly have him grabbing for the celebratory ribbons, but the most important part is that he had done enough to maintain sixth position in the world standings. With one GP left to go, he can mathematically not advance any further up the ladder, but on the other hand, he does enjoy a fairly comfortable cushion over Xavier Boog in seventh place, and all things being equal, he can cement his position at the final world championship event of the season at Teutschenthal in two weeks’ time.
Reporting by Tinus Nel
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(Lierop Pics – Eric Van Hoydonck)