The French GP- where heroes are made!
The French GP- where heroes are made!
Cairoli and Herlings just about defeat the French!
Report by Jonathan McCready
Pictures by YS and KTM Images/Ray Archer
Now that’s what world championship motocross is all about – a local hero chasing the world champion for the win, cheered on by a large partisan and vociferous crowd!
Under cloudy skies the French GP at the tight hillside track at Ernee had it all and was one of the best races of the season.
Jeffrey Herlings had a highlight reel crash of a big step down that resulted in him being tossed off the big and bouncing down the track like a rag doll. The Dutch wonder was lucky he didn’t break anything but was very battered and bruised opening the door for another possible defeat.
And it was French teenager Dylan Ferrandis that tried to do it. The Bud Kawasaki rider got into second behind Herlings is race one and slowly but surely reeled him in. The atmosphere was crazy with the crowd urging the youngster to pass Herlings, even the French lapped riders waved him on as he went past!
French hero Ferrandis made the podium at the French GP which thrilled the home fans.
Herlings though held strong under the pressure and under the pain from Saturday’s crash, holding on to take the win in a heroic ride. Ferrandis though, was the crowd’s hero and he was jubilant with his second place – his best result ever in a GP race.
As the riders lined up behind the gate for the second moto people began to wonder if Ferrandis really could do it. He started fifth on lap one with Herlings in fourth but within a lap Ferrandis was second leaving Herlings in his wake. The kid was on fire!
Pumped up by the crowd Ferrandis took the lead from early leader Jake Nicholls and unbelievably started pulling away with Herlings still stuck in fourth. The crowd were going wild but the adrenalin of the moment proved a bit too much for Ferrandis when he lost the front end in a turn and went down.
He remounted in fifth and quickly got back into fourth but by then Herlings was second and working on Jake Nicholls for the lead. Herlings got around Nicholls and pulled a small gap as Ferrandis tried to claw his way back.
Ferrandis eventually fought his way back through to second in a splendid ride as Herlings won in yet another impressive way but this time due to the toughness he showed after such a massive crash.
Herlings was sore but happy and Ferrandis was absolutely overjoyed with the performance of his life as Herlings classily waited to congratulate Ferrandis on his brilliant performance.
But in the end, it was yet another Jeffrey Herlings victory.
After only starting to ride the bike two weeks before the first GP following a broken leg Ferrandis took a while to get back on form, a broken finger held him back again but finally the Frenchman is showing the form and speed that many knew he had. His confidence soared during the day and he believed he could win the race. This was a huge step and it will be interesting to see if he can continue this form outside the cauldron of support that was Ernee.
It was two Frenchman on the podium after Christophe Charlier scored his first podium in over a year. A ninth in moto one following a bad start was boosted by a third in race two and right in the wheel tracks of Ferrandis.
Jimmy DeCotis had another bad day but he did get a point in the first moto for twentieth but then crashed and got stuck in a picket fence in race two. You feel the clock is ticking for DeCotis in the GPs he needs to find some speed from somewhere, CLS Kawasaki are not paying him to fight for one point.
In MX1 Gautier Paulin won the race of the year in the opening moto. Cairoli took his customary holeshot with Paulin in fourth. Cairoli looked to be walking away with it as Paulin shoulder charged Desalle out of the way to take third.
He passed his teammate Van Horebeek for second and then began the impossible task of reeling the six time world champion in. Slowly but surely he got onto the back wheel of Cairoli – no doubt helped by the huge crowd urging him on.
Under pressure Cairoli lost traction out of a tight left hander and allowed Paulin through, Cairoli regrouped and gave it everything in the last two laps but Paulin posted the fastest lap of the race on the last lap to take a magical win!
The two combatants shook hands and congratulated each other on a superb race as Clement Desalle came home third after getting left behind by the leaders.
In race two it was all set up for another battle but after turn one if was clear it wasn’t going to happen. Cairoli grabbed a big holeshot as Paulin narrowly avoided going down in a big first turn pile up. He got held up in some more carnage on lap one and came around only eighth.
Paulin would move his way up to fourth by the flag and enough for second overall but Cairoli took an easy win to claim the overall much to Paulin’s frustration.
Gauthier Paulin ran down and passed Antonio Cairoli in the first moto for an amazing win.
Clement Desalle was second after holding off a brilliant Tommy Searle charge in what was Tommy’s best ride of the year and it netted him fourth overall after a solid seventh in moto one where he banged bars with Max Nagl for the last half of the race as they both came through the field.
It was another great ride for Jeremy Van Horebeek who went down in turn one and climbed all the back to seventh and is starting to threaten Searle as the best rookie of the season.
Kevin Strijbos did not have a good day after his American adventure. A bad start left in in eleventh in race one and good start in race two didn’t help as he slipped back to eighth leaving him seventh overall.
You wouldn’t have known it by the results but Max Nagl was flying. He came from a terrible start in race one to challenge Searle for seventh and posted the second fastest lap of the race.
A good start would have meant a top three possibility but instead Nagl found himself on the ground in turn one. He got going and worked his way back into the top ten only to crash again and finish eleventh just behind teammate Bobryshev who also went down in the first corner.
The tour now heads to the restored old school circuit in Maggiora in Italy, scene of the 1986 Motocross Des Nations. Cairoli might have a few fans there…
GP classification MX1
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA), KTM, 47 p.
2. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Kawasaki, 43 p.
3. Clement Desalle (BEL), Suzuki, 42 p.
4. Tommy Searle (GBR), Kawasaki, 34 p.
5. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL), Kawasaki, 33 p.
6. Ken de Dycker (BEL), KTM, 32 p.
7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL), Suzuki, 23 p.
8. Davide Guarneri (ITA), KTM, 23 p.
9. Xavier Boog (FRA), KTM, 21 p.
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS), Honda, 21 p.
World Championship classification MX1
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA), KTM, 377 p.
2. Gautier Paulin (FRA), Kawasaki, 321 p.
3. Clement Desalle (BEL), Suzuki, 309 p.
4. Ken de Dycker (BEL), KTM, 277 p.
5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL), Suzuki, 243 p.
6. Tommy Searle (GBR), Kawasaki, 239 p.
7. Maximilian Nagl (GER), Honda, 190 p.
8. Jeremy van Horebeek (BEL), Kawasaki, 171 p.
9. Rui Goncalves (POR), KTM, 168 p.
10. David Philippaerts (ITA), Honda, 145 p.
GP classification MX2
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM, 50 p.
2. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Kawasaki, 44 p.
3. Christophe Charlier (FRA), Yamaha, 32 p.
4. Alexander Tonkov (RUS), Honda, 31 p.
5. Jake Nicholls (GBR), KTM, 31 p.
6. Jordi Tixier (FRA), KTM, 30 p.
7. Jose Butron (ESP), KTM, 29 p.
8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM, 23 p.
9. Petar Petrov (BUL), Yamaha, 21 p.
10. Max Anstie (GBR), Suzuki, 21 p.
World Championship classification MX2
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM, 397 p.
2. Jordi Tixier (FRA), KTM, 287 p.
3. Jose Butron (ESP), KTM, 247 p.
4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM, 237 p.
5. Christophe Charlier (FRA), Yamaha, 230 p.
6. Dean Ferris (AUS), Yamaha, 197 p.
7. Max Anstie (GBR), Suzuki, 193 p.
8. Jake Nicholls (GBR), KTM, 181 p.
9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA), Kawasaki, 162 p.
10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Kawasaki, 149 p.