STRIJBOS 4TH AT VALENCE INTERNATIONAL2007-02-25 23:52
Team Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos was one of three riders pushing hard for overall victory in the Valence International Motocross event yesterday under dark skies and wet conditions in southern France.
The 21 year old Belgian finally emerged with a hard fought fourth position overall after moto results of sixth, second and third.
The track conditions were extremely testing as a blanket of rain coated the region south of Lyon on Saturday night and created a swampy and slippy terrain for the first of three races under looming clouds. The surprising hesitancy of more showers meant that the dirt became drier throughout the day and the rutted course suited the 2006 MX1 World Championship runner-up who needed some circulations to find his speed on the RM-Z450.
Strijbos pushed David Philippaerts hard for the victory in the second moto in a tense finale that was the highlight of the race programme. The International placed MX1, MX2 and MX Open riders together in the same category. He lost out to David Philippaerts by less than a second but was a protagonist again in the final sprint against the Italian and eventual overall winner Josh Coppins. His lacklustre initial result meant that a podium was missed by just two points. The team were fairly pleased though after what was a difficult day in the conditions.
"I was happy with how it went overall although the first race was not too good because I could not find my lines and could not pass like I wanted,' he commented. 'The second race was better though and I could push right until the end and grabbed second. I almost got the holeshot in the third moto and I seemed to stay in third position. I was pushing hard to pass David for second place but it was difficult. I am happy with my riding and things are going well; I think I am also ready to go for it in Valkenswaard. We will do some testing with the new bike next week but we already have a good idea for set-up so there should not be that much to do, although I am looking forward to riding the 2007 model."
Steve Ramon claimed his maiden victory of 2007 last week in Grobbendonk for a Belgian International event but was unable to travel to France as an illness and fever ruled him out of action.
The former World Champion is expecting to be fit for the team's next race in a busy schedule this coming weekend when both Strijbos and Ramon head to the UK and the Hawkstone Park International where they will steer the 2007 version of the RM-Z450 for the first time.
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office
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