A top 10 finish is the target for New Zealand’s Josh Coppins as his racing career in Europe winds towards a conclusion.
There can be no doubt that the Grand Prix Benelux is one of the most popular GP events of the season and this year’s race should also attract a large crowd.
Italy’s Antonio Cairoli (KTM) has already taken the MX1 crown for 2010 and Coppins (Aprilia) is currently 11th in the MX1 championship standings, with just the Benelux GP and just one to follow, in Italy on September 12, to wrap up the championship.
Coppins is 32 points behind Italian Honda rider Davide Guarneri and there are 100 points still to be scored in the final four races (two motos at each GP) and the man from Motueka is exhibiting good form at the moment.
Meanwhile, Frenchman Marvin Musquin (KTM) heads to Lierop in Holland with a 72-point lead in the MX2 series points.
He needs to leave Lierop with a 51 point lead to clinch the title, so it’s nearly sure he will be crowned world MX2 champion at the Dutch sand track.
Musquin has gone 2-3-2-1-2-2 in the last six motos of the FIM MX2 world championship and is taking the slow and steady approach to his second world title. His biggest rival Ken Roczen, of Germany, has gone 1-2-1-2-1-1 in that same period and is on a roll form wise, but with the championship more or less in the hands of Musquin the pressure is not on the 16 year old.
At last year’s Grand Prix of Benelux, Musquin finished 2-1 and Roczen went 4-2 for third overall, but the situation this year is so different.
Unfortunately local favourite Jeffrey Herlings won’t be racing as he is recovering from injury, but that doesn’t mean that the Lierop circuit will suffer from lack of attendance. Lierop is often one of the most popular Grand Prix’s in the season and the Belgians, British and Dutch fans travel to beautiful facility.
Add the fact Dutch MX1 rider Marc De Reuver just clinched the Dutch MX1 championship last weekend and a short time earlier finished second in a major Belgian international race. The flying Dutchman is back to his best form and many local fans will hope he can duplicate his victory in 2008.
World MX1 Champion Cairoli will be going for his 37th Grand Prix victory, which would equal the tally of Swedish great Torsten Hallman. If Cairoli can win at Lierop the only riders with more Grand Prix wins in their career will be Stefan Everts (101), Joel Smets (57), Joel Robert (50) and Eric Geboers (39). It is just a matter of time before the Italian moves into the top five all time GP winners.
Of course, Cairoli wants to end the year with a win and it would also extend his winning streak to five GPs in a row, and then head to the last round in Italy with the chance to win GP number 38.
Whatever happens in Lierop this weekend we can all count on KTM having something to celebrate, and ending their four year dream of dominating the sport of motocross?
© Photo by Ray Archer