The National Cross Country standings have been shaken after the withdrawal of injured championship contender Kenny Gilbert. The fight for the OR1 title is as fierce as ever, however, as Brother Leader Tread KTM teammates Ross Branch and Louwrens Mahoney prepare to go to war.
Mahoney and Branch now share the top step of the leader board ahead of the fourth round of the series that takes place in Lesotho on Saturday.
With his convincing of credentials, Branch will be a favourite for the win this weekend. The rider has held the OR1 title for the past three years and shows no signs of slowing down. He is also more fired-up than ever after recently announcing that he will be returning to the Dakar Rally next year.
Teammate Mahoney will certainly not go down without a fight, however. After stepping up to the OR1 Class this season, Mahoney has been relentless in pursuit of his former national glory. While he has finished each race consistently this season, the rider is yet to snatch victory.
“It’s really good for KTM to have two of their riders going for the championship! Ross is a talented rider with great pace. I have a lot of respect for him as both a competitor and teammate,” said Mahoney.
Playing to his advantage will certainly be his wealth of technical experience. As a three-time winner of the Roof of Africa, Mahoney is no to stranger to Lesotho’s unforgiving terrain.
While the championship is being decided, fans are certainly in for some heated racing over the next few months as the pair of multiple national champions go head-to-head.
LOKET (Czech Republic) 24 July 2019 – After two weeks travelling through Indonesia the FIM Motocross World Championship returns to Europe for the 13thstop of the calendar and continues at the old school hard pack circuit of Loket for the MXGP of Czech Republic.
150 Km west of Prague, Loket has been
part of the Motocross World Championship calendar since 1995. While the
heat of Palembang and Semarang tested the MXGP and MX2 riders, a sudden
heat wave in Europe might see the riders get another action-packed
Joining the MXGP and MX2 classes at round 13 of the 2019 series, will be
the EMX65, EMX85 Finals and the FIM Women’s Motocross World
Championship. For the 65cc and 85cc young talents it will be their
unique outing on the MXGP track in 2019 as finals of the European
Championships while the WMX championship will be facing its 3rdround.
The New Zealander Courtney Duncan is leading the WMX class and won three
of the four races in the series being very much the favourite going
into Loket. Also looking to make a good points haul will be Nancy Van de
Ven and Larissa Papenmeier. Both are very close to Duncan in the series
Heading into the MXGP of Czech Republic,
Team HRC’s Tim Gajser will be going for his eight GP win in a row and
extend his championship lead. Tim Gajser, who had a record-breaking in
Semarang with his seventh GP win in a row, being the best ever Honda GP
winner in the FIM Motocross World Championship had his best result in
Loket in 2016 with a second position while he reached the podium in
third in 2017 and 2018. The former MX2 and MXGP champion will line up
this weekend not only to win his first MXGP of Czech Republic but
ideally go into the next MXGP round in Lommel with step towards to wrap
up the championship.
Behind Gajser comes a freight train of blue machines. The Monster Energy
Yamaha Factory MXGP team is shaping into form over the past few rounds
and is now back at full strength with Romain Febvre who won his first
race of 2019 in Palembang and Jeremy Seewer who moved up to second
position and extended his gap on the MXGP Championship in Semarang, both
are ready to battle for podium spots. Romain Febvre won the MXGP of
Czech Republic in MXGP class in 2015 while he finishes 4thin 2018.
Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP rider Arnaud Tonus is riding
at the peak of his career and a run of podium finishes and his first
MXGP victory could be just around the corner. Also Monster Energy Wilvo
Yamaha Official MXGP’s Gautier Paulin loves the hard pack and might be
able to join his team-mate on the podium. The French won in Loket in MX2
class back in 2009. Tonus and Paulin are running fourth and fifth on
the championship chase just a handful of points behind Red Bull KTM
Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass also loves the
hard pack of Loket and could spring a minor surprise.Pauls Jonass had a
promising race 2 in Semarang and looks confident for a podium finish in
Loket. Jonass has good memories from Loket, he missed the MX2 podium in
Loket in 2018, but he won the MXGP of Czech Republic in 2017.
Tommy Searle is joining Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team for the
remainder of the season and he’ll make his debut in the KRT family this
weekend in Loket.
2018 MXGP of Czech Republic MX2 Podium
1. Jeffrey Herlings
2. Antonio Cairoli
3. Tim Gajser
MXGP – World Championship Top Ten:1. Tim
Gajser (SLO, HON), 538 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 365 p.; 3.
Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 358 p.; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 346 p.;
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, YAM), 343 p.; 6. Arminas Jasikonis (LTU, HUS),
299 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 288 p.; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek
(BEL, HON), 271 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HUS), 268 p.; 10. Romain
Febvre (FRA, YAM), 243 p.
In MX2 class it has been Red Bull KTM
Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who has more or less dominated every single
round he has ridden, and he will go into Loket riding the crest of a
wave. Jorge Prado has 11 GP win out of 12 and he has good memories from
Loket not only because the won the MXGP of Czech Republic in 2018 as in
that occasion he took the MX2 Red Plate for the first time in his
Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha Official MX2’s Jago Geerts is one of the few
riders this year to have taken a race from Prado, only 6 points
separated Geerts to Vialle for the championship podium and you can be
sure to see his best to be back on the top 3. Geerts’ teammate Ben
Watson is not going to line up in Loket and his return will be announced
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle is also showing good results or
late, so he could easily figure in his 6thpodium finish of the season.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Kjer Olsen who is the
only other rider to have won a Grand Prix in MX2 this year, had solid
performances in Indonesia and he is a favourite to make the podium in
the Czech Republic.
Team HRC Calvin Vlaanderen, who had a promising return to action in
Indonesia picking up his first podium of the season in Semarang, made
the podium at Loket in 2018 so expect these two Honda riders to shine in
the hot sun of Czech Republic.
Other M2 riders to watch out are Team SM Action Yamaha’s Maxime Renaux
who showed good speed in Indonesia, F&H Racing’s Henry Jacobi who
had shown brilliance in the early round of the year but struggled with
mistakes recently, and his teammate Adam Sterry whocould be looking to
make a charge as the season closes down. Honda 114 Motorsports’ Mitchell
Evans had a tough time in Indonesia, injuring himself in Palembang, and
missing the round in Semarang. He might come back well in Loket having
made a trip home to Australia to recover.
2018 MXGP of Czech Republic MX2 Podium
1. Jorge Prado
2. Calvin Vlaanderen
3. Thomas Covington
MX2 – World Championship Top Ten:1.
Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 544 points; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 466
p.; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 366 p.; 4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 360
p.; 5. Henry Jacobi (GER, KAW), 335 p.; 6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 246
p.; 7. Adam Sterry (GBR, KAW), 242 p.; 8. Mitchell Evans (AUS, HON), 228
p.; 9. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 227 p.; 10. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 220
Saturday: 08h30 EMX85 Free Practice, 08h55 WMX Free Practice; 09h20
EMX65 Free Practice, 10h00 EMX85 Time Practice; 10h30 WMX Time Practice;
11h10 EMX65 Time Practice; 11h50 EMX85 Race 1; 12h30 MX2 Free Practice,
13h00 MXGP Free Practice, 13h50 EMX65 Race 1, 14h40 MX2 Time Practice,
15h15 MXGP Time Practice, 16h05 WMX Race 1, 16h55 MX2 Qualifying Race,
17h40 MXGP Qualifying Race.
The national team on Sunday started training for the FIM Motocross of Africa Nations (FIMOAN) due August 31 to September 2 in Zimbabwe.
However, Team Uganda will need sh192m to be able to take a full squad of 34 riders if they are to reclaim the trophy last won in 2012.
The Federation of Motorsport Clubs of Uganda (FMU) deputy vice president in charge of cycling, Barak Orland, disclosed the financial struggles at the launch of the team training at the Uganda Motocross Arena, Busiika.
“We have a very strong team, but it can only win us the title if we manage to take a full squad in Zimbabwe,” Orland said.
“We are looking for $52,000, (sh192m) to supplement what we have to be able to cover registration of riders, medical, accommodation and transportation of riders with their bikes from Uganda to Zimbabwe and back,” the DVP added.
He explained that each rider will pay $230 which totals to $7,820 (sh28.9m), then the rest will go into catering for accommodation and transport.
“The parents have invested in the bikes are servicing them incurring training costs and we appeal to the government to come in and give us the push that motivates these young boys and girls that will fly the Uganda flag high,” Orland explained.
FMU secretary Joseph Mwangala added that other riders are training outside the country, but will all later train together before departure.
Deputy team captain Asaf Natan explained that they expect to field five riders in each class including MX50, Veterans and 65cc, seven in MX125cc, three in MX2, ten in MX10, three in the ladies and one in the MX1 class.
Last year, Uganda finished fourth overall and will be out to challenge Zambia, Zimbabwe and defending champions South Africa.