Nurse, the screens! The MX Medic, the Physician of Filth, the Surgeon of Shoite – call him what you like, the Dirt Doctor will see you now…
SuperBike.co.uk – the global pitstop for road riders – is going off-road and our industry insider is here to bring you all the global, er, dirt from motocross, enduro and maybe even some trials if you’re good little web surfers. Opinionated, informed and not afraid to insert his probe in places others fear to go, the Dirt Doctor’s bedside manner sucks but he will warm his hands before he cups your nuts and asks you to cough…
Who fancies a Thai?
No, not the sort of Asian babe with a suspicious lump in her pants, we’re talking about a large helping of moto Tom Yum Goong with a side of Pla Nung Ma Now and maybe even some of those spicy prawn crackers that remind me of big fishy Quavers.
Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki) certainly did and after last week’s false start in the opening MXGP of the year in Qatar the multiple American champ was bang on it at the circuit of Nakhonchaisri, about an hour from Bangkok.
Still rocking the ginger hair/beard combo that makes him look like a cuddly Californian lion, RV#2 smoked everyone in 450cc quali and then did more of the same in the opening race in Thailand. But if Ryan the Lion dominated the opener then Tony the Tiger – that’s defending world champ Tony Cairoli (Red Bull KTM) – returned the compliment in moto two to remind everyone that TC is still Top Cat.
RV got the overall with Cairoli third as Clement Desalle (World MXGP Suzuki) – aka the MX Panda (he likes to eat a lot and may or may not have sex once every three years) – ran 2-2 to split them on the podium and move into the series lead. With a lion, a tiger and a panda all on the podium expect to see David Attenborough sniffing around the MXGP paddock in the very near future.
The bespoke track, built especially for the occasion, wasn’t the best to be honest with more jumps than a Czech swingers flick suiting Villopotato and his supercross background. And with the weather more sweltering than your mate’s hot mum giving you the come-on in just a g-reg it was a tough day at the office all round, even when the race duration was shortened to stop the entry from keeling over with heat exhaustion.
It could have been worse for the riders – they could have been forced to listen to Paul Malin’s commentary that had me reaching for the bleach eardrops. Luckily, I came up with an ingenious solution – watching it on fast forward mercifully muted Maler and made the racing appear twice as fast. Double bonus!
Down in MX2 it was, once again, all about Jeffrey Herlings (Red Bull KTM). The young Dutchman only missed out on a hat-trick of world titles last season when he bust his leg arsing about on a 85cc bike in a charity race but the Bullit is back and made it four wins from four starts to cement his lead in the 250cc title race.
Brit hopes went for a bit of a bally Burton in the MXGP class with Shaun Simpson (Hitachi Revo KTM UK) coming home 12th, Paul Coates (Yamaha) 18th and Nathan Watson (Husqvarna) and Tommy Searle (Red Bull KTM) both failing to score. Luckily, Mel Pocock (Monster DRT Kawasaki) salvaged some honour with sixth overall in MX2 – good work little ginger bloke – and Ben Watson (KTM), baby bro of Nathan, grabbed a couple of points in his second moto.
The GP circus now packs up and heads to Argentina on March 29 when hopefully the Brits will regroup and show the sort of spirit that served us so well in that neck of the woods back in 1982!
While RV was tearing up the track in Thailand, 10,000 miles away his former sparring partners were rocking up at Daytona Beach for round 10 of the AMA supercross championship.
With early-season 450cc pace-setter Ken Roczen (Suzuki) pulling out after aggravating an ankle injury it was series leader Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM) who took the win from Eli Tomac (Honda) and Blake Baggett (Suzuki) to extend his series lead to 40 points with seven races left.
The 250cc East Region class was won by Marvellous Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) who took his third win from four starts. The former MX2 world champ now has a 12-point advantage ahead of 2014 outdoor champ Jeremy Martin (Yamaha).
Much closer to home – at Nantmawr Quarry in Shropshire to be precise – Jonny Walker (Red Bull KTM) finally managed to win The Tough One hard enduro after coming oh-so close for the last few years. Run over two-and-a-half hours, the event is massive on the global extreme enduro calendar and is probably the most challenging event of its kind in the world.
Just how hard is it? Remember the Kylie advert for Agent Provocateur? Yup, it really is that hard…
Words: TDD Images: Dunlop and Red Bull