Spain! Birthplace of Picasso, home of El Bulli, a country of arid plains, snow-capped mountains and sun-drenched beaches. But balls to all that cultured stuff – it’s also where you’ll find Talavera!
I’m not talking about Sean Bean poncing about with a big sword in Sharpe’s Eagle (remember that, before he starred as Boromir alongside Zach Osborne’s Frodo Baggins?), I’m talking about one of the most bad-ass motocross tracks on the planet. Fast, hardpack, less forgiving than Charlie Bronson in Death Wish.
If you’re from the UK then Talavera has served one main purpose – to provide somewhere for Gordon Crockard to take his first GP win in Y2K (watch it here) – and after being overlooked for years it returned to the GP schedule in 2014.
Well it’s back again this year – more precisely on Sunday – for round six of the MXGP world championship. So who’s going to win?
For starters, it ain’t going to be Ryan Villopoto. Ryan the Lion is still poorly-sick after his Larry Loop-Out in Italy. The official line is that his coccyx is giving him gyp but I suspect he’s watched the YouTube clip of his crash and is still throwing up in his mouth after listening to Paul Malin’s microphone money-shot. The multi-time AMA champ’s championship is shot.
Going by the form book there are four likely candidates for the overall on Sunday – Max Nagl, Clement Desalle, Antonio Cairoli and Gautier Paulin – and a lot of it depends on who gets out of bed the right side (although Desulk almost never gets out of bed the right side).
Even with his broken hand, the Dirt Doc’s dosh is going on Tony the Tiger but that’s mainly based on his eight world titles. The truth is that anyone of them could win it.
Despite having the perpetual appearance of a bi-polar bulldog licking piss off a wasp The MX Panda has had eight out of a possible 10 race podiums this season, Paulin ran 1-1 last time out – although that was in the sand – and the Blue Max has won three overalls so far and currently leads the championship. And Cairoli is, well, Cairoli. The Italian is, simply put, la merda.
As far as MX2 goes then I’ve got just two words. Jeffery and Herlings (I know, that’s actually three). The Bullit could probably win MXGP on his 250F then pop across to America to win a few SXs before brokering peace in the Middle East and finding a solution to world famine.
British hopes are pinned on Shaun Simpson and Max Anstie. Woody is sitting eighth in MXGP and is a machine on any surface although he favours sand and Max is capable of chasing home Herlings in both races if his bike doesn’t soil itself. Then there’s Tommy Searle who’s due a good result sometime soon since getting fooked in Thailand (like lots of Brits).
Spain will also mark the 2015 MXGP debut of Jake Nicolls who’s finally getting back to full race fitness. The Reverend’s a top-10 runner when he’s not crocked and in just his second full season on a fo-fiddy should start coming on strong in the next few months.
Whatever happens, this is shaping up to be the best GP so far this year…
Words: TDD Image: Ray Archer