McFarlane holds onto fourth as Townley dominates After a four-year exile, the Motocross World Championship returned to the UK on May 28-29, with Australian Andrew McFarlane (Bike It Dixon Yamaha YZ250F) maintaining his secure hold on fourth...
McFarlane holds onto fourth as Townley dominates
After a four-year exile, the Motocross World Championship returned to the UK on May 28-29, with Australian Andrew McFarlane (Bike It Dixon Yamaha YZ250F) maintaining his secure hold on fourth place in the MX2 standings.
The 27-year-old just failed to get on the podium for the third time this year in the opening 18-lap race around the demanding Arreton circuit on the Isle of Wight, before a disappointing start in the second encounter saw him finish in ninth position -- the combined results good enough for sixth overall on the day.
"I got a fairly good start in race one and was right up there with the leading guys," said McFarlane, a multiple Australian motocross champion. "Sword stalled his bike in a corner, so I tried really hard to stay with Ben (Townley) and Tyla (Rattray), but they got away from me -- and Sword also made a pass.
"In race two, I got a really bad start and had to try and come through the pack. The track was really bumpy and I had a few problems with the suspension, which made life really difficult.
"I'm going to stay strong and positive and try and improve in the next coupler of rounds."
The Brisbane-bred Aussie has now moved onto 209pts; well clear of fifth-placed 2002 125cc world champion Mickael Maschio (Kawasaki KX250F, 209), but with an ever-widening gap to the championship's pacesetting trio -- New Zealander Ben Townley (KTM 250SXR, 294), Stephen Sword (KX250F, 268) and South African Tyla Rattray (KTM 125SX, 240).
Townley, 19, was unrelenting as he again claimed maximum points, with Rattray and Sword completing the trifecta in both races. Townley, chasing New Zealand's second world motocross title after Shayne King's 500cc triumph in 1996, has now won 10 of this year's 14 races, with Sword (two) the only other multiple winner. Moreover, KTM has scored a one-two in six of those races, with the now-injured Marc de Reuver also part of the early-season domination.
In MX1 (250cc two-stroke versus 450cc four-stroke), Honda's CRF450R dominated, with Frenchman Mickael Pichon and New Zealander Josh Coppins sharing the first and second places. Pichon, a two-time world 250cc champion in 2001-02, prevailed in the opening 19-lapper by 12.940sec, with Coppins' riposte a similar 12.068sec win in race two. 2003 125cc world champion Steve Ramon (KTM 450SXR) and championship leader Stefan Everts (Yamaha YZ450F) shared the third places.
It was the New Zealander's maiden GP win after a batch of second place finishes -- including a frustrating six behind the all-conquering Pichon in the 2002 250cc title.
"I don't really know what to say," said an effusive Coppins. "It has taken so long... and I've had more seconds than I can remember.
"I did not feel so good in the opening laps of the second moto but I concentrated on riding my own race and it bought me up to second place. I saw that Mickael had some good lines but I was riding very easily and was able to make a pass."
Coppins (224pts) jumped from fifth to fourth after his imperious round seven form, with Pichon (230) also advancing from fourth to third. Everts continues to lead the way on 306pts as he zeroes in on world title number eight, with his teammate Cedric Melotte (250) second. Melotte competed at Arreton, but was well below his best after a practice crash in Italy the week before.
Meanwhile, Ramon (213pts) lost two places to move back to fifth, ahead of Suzuki's Joel Smets (RM-Z450, 175).
Round eight will be held at St Jean d'Angely, France, this weekend (June 5-6).
<pre> RESULTS -- ROUND SEVEN
Race one: 18 laps 1 Ben Townley KTM 2 Tyla Rattray KTM 3 Stephen Sword Kawasaki 4 Andrew McFarlane Yamaha 5 Mickael Maschio Kawasaki 6 Carl Nunn Honda 7 Jamie Dobb Honda 8 Anthony Boissiere Yamaha 9 Akira Narita Honda 10 Billy Mackenzie Yamaha
Race two: 18 laps 1 Townley 2 Rattray 3 Sword 4 Narita 5 Tanel Leok KTM 6 Maschio 7 Nunn 8 Patrick Caps Yamaha 9 McFarlane 10 Alessio Chiodi Yamaha
Current MX2 standings (after seven of 16 rounds) 1 Sword 294 2 Sword 268 3 Rattray 240 4 McFarlane 209 5 Maschio 155 6 Antonio Cairoli 154 7 Dobb, Nunn 142 9 Aigar Leok 127 10 Chiodi 121 10 Marc de Reuver 121
Race one: 19 laps 1 Mickael Pichon Honda 2 Josh Coppins Honda 3 Steve Ramon KTM 4 Stefan Everts Yamaha 5 Tanel Leok Suzuki 6 Cedric Melotte Yamaha 7 Marnicq Bervoets Yamaha 8 Ken de Dijcker Honda 9 Marko Kovalainen Honda 10 Luigi Seguy Yamaha
Race two: 18 laps 1 Coppins 2 Pichon 3 Everts 4 Kevin Strijbos Suzuki 5 Leok 6 Joel Smets Suzuki 7 De Dijcker 8 Brian Jorgensen Honda 9 Bervoets 10 Seguy
Current MX1 standings (after seven of 16 rounds) 1 Everts 306 2 Melotte 250 3 Pichon 230 4 Coppins 224 5 Ramon 213 6 Smets 175 7 Strijbos 168 8 Leok 153 9 Gundersen 133 10 Jorgensen 123