MOTOCROSS: World Championship round four preview

McFarlane hoping for some Namur magic Yamaha-backed Australian Andrew McFarlane will be aiming to re-ignite his 2005 world motocross campaign when round four is held at the famous Namur circuit in Belgium this weekend. After finishing on...

McFarlane hoping for some Namur magic

Yamaha-backed Australian Andrew McFarlane will be aiming to re-ignite his 2005 world motocross campaign when round four is held at the famous Namur circuit in Belgium this weekend.

After finishing on the MX2 podium in the opening two rounds, 27-year-old McFarlane struggled last time out, and dropped two world championship places in the process -- from fifth to seventh.

The dual Australian 250cc champion now sits on 68pts, well behind Italian duo Antonio Cairoli (YZ250F, 122) and veteran Alessio Chiodi (YZ250F, 103). However, the leaderboard does tighten up appreciably after the leading duo, with just 22pts separating McFarlane from third-placed South African Tyla Rattray (KTM, 90). The first rider in McFarlane's sights at Namur will be British rider Billy Mackenzie (YZ250F), who has 71pts to his name. McFarlane will also have to watch his own tail, at an event where local riders traditionally lift in front of a vocal home crowd.

McFarlane first competed at Namur in 2001, the same year he made his full-time world championship debut with Yamaha. Later in 2001, McFarlane linked up with countrymen Chad Reed and Michael Byrne at the 2.477km circuit for Australia's assault on the Motocross of Nations, with their charge eventually scuppered after Byrne broke his wrist.

"I really like Namur, because it is something that you would never see in Australia," said the three-time GP winner. "Also, the spectators are so close to the action, and it is a very technical layout. I have a lot of fun there."

After a one-year exile, Namur returned to the world title calendar in 2003, where McFarlane, now Kawasaki-backed, scored fifth position in the premier MotocrossGP class. In 2004, McFarlane went one better in the all-new MX2 class, finishing third overall -- his last point-scoring efforts before his year was cut short with a broken collarbone.

In MX1, eight-time world champion Stefan Everts (Yamaha) has been the most consistent rider to date, with five podiums in six races, including two victories.. Everts is on 125pts, ahead of reigning No. 2 Mickael Pichon (Honda, 109), with New Zealander Josh Coppins (Honda, 101) the only other rider on three figures.

Pichon and Joel Smets (Suzuki) have also won two races apiece, in what has been a dominant start for the championship elite. However, another New Zealander, MX1 rookie, Ben Townley (KTM), has proven he can win at Namur, while a gaggle of local riders are capable of lifting for the occasion.

Smets, despite an underwhelming round three, is still in fourth on 96pts, ahead of last year's MX2 champion, Townley (85).

Belgian riders have won an amazing 46 world motocross titles out of a possible 121. Joel Robert was the first of the country's riders to break through when he clinched the 250cc title in 1964. Robert then went on to win another five championships, and he still remains the second most successful Belgian rider of all-time behind Everts.

For more information on the 2005 Motocross World Championship, visit www.motocrossmx1.com/

-Motorcycling Australia

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series General
Drivers Chad Reed , Andrew McFarlane , Tyla Rattray , Joel Smets , Stefan Everts
Tags MOTORCYLE