MotoCross > 2008 Round 02: Spain > Race Results
WMXSpainApril 20, 2008
2008 FIM MX1 / MX2 World Motocross Championship Round 02
Grand Prix of Spain – Bellpuig

Billy McKenzie survives Spanish mudbath to keep championship leaders insight

Controversy and the cancellation of the second MX1 moto brought a premature end to the Grand Prix of Spain at Bellpuig, the second round of this year’s FIM MX1 Motocross World Championship. In what have been described as the worst conditions for a world championship motocross race ever, CAS Honda rider Billy McKenzie was Honda’s sole points scorer as Martin Honda rider Marc De Reuver was disqualified and both Julien Bill and Mike Brown struggled to slog their way through the deep muddy conditions.

Billy MacKenzie

Julian Bill

After the riders enjoyed almost perfect track conditions for Saturday’s qualifying sessions, heavy overnight rain turned the Bellpuig circuit into a sodden mess for race day. Despite the prospect of less than ideal racing conditions more than 15,000 Spanish fans poured into the Bellpuig circuit to see the world’s best motocross racers.

From the start of moto one both MacKenzie and De Reuver got away inside the top five but hit trouble during the carnage of the opening circuit. Along with fellow factory supported Honda riders Julien Bil and Mike Brown, they finished the first lap outside of the top-20.

While McKenzie – who was clearly enjoying the conditions – began to carve his way through the pack De Reuver was shown the black flag. The Martin Honda rider was disqualified after the start marshal claimed the Dutchman had ridden around the inside of the start gate as it fell. With no chance to appeal De Reuver’s disqualification is final.

McKenzie reached as high as fifth place before the grinding muddy conditions destroyed his brake pads slowing his progress. The problem had already cost the 24-year-old Scotsman one position to Tanel Leok before he crashed on the final lap trying to get around lapped rider Max Nagl. He finally finished his turbulent race in eighth position. MacKenzie was the only Honda points scorer in the race won by reigning world champion Steve Ramon.

American rider Mike Brown found the deep mud conditions difficult on his CAS Honda and is unable to battle through the pack after losing his goggles early in the race.

Honda Martin’s Swiss star Julien Bill had a similar race to Brown and after a promising start on his factory Honda but lost a lot of time retrieving the CRF450R from an impassable rut. Continuing to circulate until the end Bill finished pointless in 21st position.

The second MX2 moto was red flagged in the chaotic closing stages of the race when one of the stepped Bellpuig hills became blocked with fallen riders, the track was now virtually unridable. The MX1 riders met to discuss the safety aspect of racing of racing on the waterlogged track where many deep holes were hidden by surface water and mud, consequently the second MX1 race of the day was cancelled.

The world championship continues next weekend at Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal on April 27.

Mike Brown

Mark DeRuever

Roger Harvey – Honda Off-Road coordinator:
“It was a shame for Billy MacKenzie to lose out the way he did on the last lap. He had a great ride to come through the pack after his trouble on the first lap, up to fifth place. It was an excellent ride from him considering the conditions.
“Mike Brown struggled with mud in his eyes, all the riders had trouble with it but his seemed to be particularly bad. He’d have been struggling to start the second race because they were so bad but of course he was ready to race if it hadn’t been cancelled.”

“There’s a bit of controversy regarding Marc De Reuver, the organizers said that he started on the outside of the gate although Marc flatly denies this. The Honda Martin team have had to accept the decision of the race organizers and of course it’s too late to do anything about it as they black-flagged him during the race. I was upset that they came to the team to actually make the black-flag action as I believe it’s their job to do that and it should not be left up to the team to stop the rider.”

“Julien Bill struggled a little bit in these conditions today and he found it pretty hard work.”

“The second race was cancelled as the riders decided that they didn’t want to ride in the interests of safety. I can sympathize with that because when you look at the first turn – and what happened to Tommy Searle at the start of the second MX2 moto – aquaplaning across the deep water was obviously an issue. The organizers had tried their hardest to drain the water but there was nothing they could do so I agree that it was probably the right decision not to start.”

Billy MacKenzie – CAS Honda:
“I got a bad start and got totally filled in going down the start straight but I came out of the first corner in about fourth place. I tried to fight my way forward during the first few corners but chose the wrong rut in a corner and it was very deep and I got stuck and stalled the motor so was back in last place. I got going again and I was coming through the pack and it was just awesome – I was loving it! I passed so many people I was soon up to fifth position and felt like I could go even further but then I lost all my brakes and it caused me to go down again – a couple of times. On the last lap I tried to go around Nagl – who was actually a lap down – and I crashed again and ended up eighth.”

Mike Brown – CAS Honda:
“It was not a very good day for me because of the weather even though I know it was the same for everybody and we all had to ride the same track. I struggled off the start and from then on it was just a mess – the goggles came off and my eyes got full of dirt and had a few crashes. I think it was a good decision to cancel the second race because the conditions were a little dangerous.”

Marc De Reuver – Martin Honda:
“I took the complete inside gate pick because many of my rivals were starting in the middle and I thought that if I start on the inside it would be much better for the first corner. My rut was full of mud and water so I started outside of the rut but still behind the gate. I was second off the start, which was good, but I got showered with mud and had to come in for fresh goggles. I was progressing well again until I saw on my pit board that I was disqualified and had to pull out but when I passed the finish there was no black flag there so I carried on. But my mechanics stopped me the next lap and took me out of the race.

“I asked what was going on and was told the organizers had said that I rode around the start gate which is not possible because there is a hay bale there. I’ve looked over and over again at the video and it’s clearly obvious that I passed over the gate. The race director would not enter into any discussion over the matter even though I asked him to show me on the video what I had done – all they would say is that it didn’t matter because the marshal had seen me do it. I was in 12th place when they pulled me out and there was still 15 minutes left to go so who knows what position I could have got to – I’ve lost out on a lot of points here because of their mistake.

“I was keen to race the second moto to make up some points but I agree that it was dangerous and so the correct decision – not to race – was made.”

Julien Bill – Martin Honda:
“I had a good start and the first lap was pretty good for me also but I came into a really deep rut and got stuck with the bike. I needed four or five minutes to get out of the rut before I could continue with the race. I don’t even know how it was possible to ride around this track, it was unbelievable and I’ve never seen a track this bad before. I’m happy I finished the race but I’m disappointed I just missed out on the points by one place.”

2008 FIM MX1 / MX2 World Motocross Championship Round 02
Grand Prix of Spain – Bellpuig

MX1 Race 1
1 Ramon, Steve (Suzuki)
2 Philippaerts, David (Yamaha)
3 de Dycker, Ken (Suzuki)
4 Coppins, Joshua (Yamaha)
5 Leok, Tanel (Kawasaki)
6 Strijbos, Kevin (Kawasaki)
7 Church, Tom (Kawasaki)
8 Mackenzie, Billy (Honda)
9 Desalle, Clement (Suzuki)
10 Freibergs, Lauris (Yamaha)
11 Salvini, Alex (Suzuki)
12 Nemeth, Kornel (KTM)
13 Chiodi, Alessio (TM)
14 Noble, James (KTM)
15 Priem, Manuel (Kawasaki)
MX1 Race 2 cancelled due to bad weather  
MX2 Race 1
1 Rattray, Tyla (KTM)
2 Cairoli, Antonio (Yamaha)
3 Guarneri, Davide (Yamaha)
4 Sword, Stephen (Kawasaki)
5 Tarroux, Jeremy (KTM)
6 Monni, Manuel (Yamaha)
7 Aubin, Nicolas (Yamaha)
8 Musquin, Marvin (Honda)
9 Simpson, Shaun (KTM)
10 Searle, Tommy (KTM)
11 Boog, Xavier (Suzuki)
12 Frossard, Steven (Kawasaki)
13 Bobryshev, Evgeniy (Yamaha)
14 Nunn, Carl (Suzuki)
15 Lupino, Alessandro (Yamaha)
MX2 Race 2
1 Guarneri, Davide (Yamaha)
2 Monni, Manuel (Yamaha)
3 Paulin, Gautier (Kawasaki)
4 Goncalves, Rui (KTM)
5 Roelants, Joel (KTM)
6 Pellegrini, Angelo (KTM)
7 Sword, Stephen (Kawasaki)
8 Searle, Tommy (KTM)
9 van Horebeek, Jeremy (KTM)
10 Bobryshev, Evgeniy (Yamaha)
11 Cairoli, Antonio (Yamaha)
12 Boog, Xavier (Suzuki)
13 Krestinov, Gert (KTM)
14 Simpson, Shaun (KTM)
15 Aubin, Nicolas (Yamaha)

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