A motocross rider takes a hammering out there on the bike. This much is common cause. Even those who have not piloted a high-powered machine around terrain that resembles a lunar landscape for roughness can appreciate the punishment dished out to every part of the body. The nature of the sport forces the rider’s body to absorb all kinds of bumps and shocks, and when he is seated, most of that force is transmitted from the tail bone upward.
Imagine the discomfort, then, when you as a rider are in the midst of an enduring struggle with an uncomfortably-placed abscess. This is the challenge that faced Kevin Strijbos as he lined up for the Czech Grand Prix in Loket. Not only had the not-quite-healed-up abscess bared its teeth again, it had spread its ill effect into the rider’s thigh, causing inflammation as far as it went. This forced the hapless Belgian to adopt a – shall we say – unconventional sitting position, an arrangement not customarily associated with comfortable race progress.
The discomfort was still somewhat bearable during Saturday’s qualifying sessions, and Kevin scurried around the track that had been the scene of one of his earliest GP victories with considerable alacrity, finishing second in the qualifying race on his HM Plant KTM. His lap times were firmly in the top-level ballpark, and from the outside, all looked well for the race.
After a restless and uncomfortable night, Kevin knew beforehand that his race day would turn into a battle for survival. To compound matters, he did not have the best of starts in the first race. He battled for all his worth, but could really not settle into a proper rhythm, and under the circumstances, he did well to come home in 15th position to collect 6 points.
The kind of discomfort we are talking about, does not go away in the blink of an eye, and Kevin was destined for more of the same int he second race. His awkward seating position also brought on other problems, most notably the much-dreaded arm-pump. He is a soldier, though, and bit through the discomfort. After moving as high as tenth in the race, he finally had to relent somewhat when the discomfort became too much, and finally crossed the line in 12th position.
Finishing fourteenth overall in a GP is a far cry from Kevin’s best results during the year, but under the circumstances he did very well to contain the damage. Although he had sacrificed some points, he still clings on to sixth position in the world standings. After the long road trip back home, Kevin will seek out medical advice and treatment, and make a decision on his participation in the upcoming Red Bull Pro Nationals race.
Reporting by Tinus Nel