Round five of the 2004 FIM Motocross world championship will take place this weekend in Teutschenthal, in what was formerly East Germany.

Although Sunday will be only the tenth time that the Talkessel track has hosted the meeting. The GP has subsequently been a regular visitor at the venue from 1998 and entertained triple events since 2001.

One week after the Dutch Grand Prix on the sandy track of Valkenswaard, the riders will find a completely different circuit as the German is hard-pack. It's one of the nicest tracks of the series according to many and it usually boasts one of the biggest attendances of the season even if this year the fans will not witness former star Pit Beirer in action.

Winners last week and both leaders of their class Stefan Everts and Ben Townley will look for another top result this weekend, but it could be more difficult for them as the track offers a different test.

Nevertheless, with four heats and two GP wins in the MX1 class since the beginning of the season Stefan Everts is having a great season so far and has totalled 74 career GP wins.

"I've not totally recovered from my thumb and rib injuries but I've got pretty good results. I know that the season will be long and I'm sure that I will have some strong opposition in the following weeks so it's important to score as many points as possible each weekend," said the Monegasque resident, who into a new apartment this week.

Behind Everts in the points is his factory Yamaha team-mate Cedric Melotte; winner of two heats so far this year, the new father (his girl friend Sarah gave birth to Matteo last Sunday night) has confirmed his talent with a strong mix of speed and consistency.

With Steve Ramon in third, the Belgian riders are monopolising the championship podium, but after a strong opening GP in Zolder the KTM rider has missed the top three at the following rounds and now leads Pichon by only two points.

The Frenchman was unable last weekend to repeat his previous wins in Valkenswaard, and with a fourth position in the GP he lost some ground.

"Fourth is not such a bad result on a sandy track, but you can't be really happy with this position when your goal is to be world champion," said Pichon who has won twice in Teutschenthal (2001 and 2003) but failed in 2002 after a crash at the start.

It was the single GP that Pichon didn't win that year and allowed Kenneth Gundersen the opportunity to win his first GP in the main class, Now fifth in the current series, Gundersen will be riding all out for a podium this Sunday, but is likely to face the Suzuki riders to do so.

Last week saw Joel Smets take his first podium of the season, confirming real progress in the development of the new Suzuki, and - along with his young team-mate Kevin Strijbos - will be one of the men to watch carefully this weekend.

Meanwhile, the new boss of the MX2 class seems to be Ben Townley, who became the first rider to win two GP's in a row (Portugal and Netherlands) last weekend. On his four-stroke machinery BT has been luckier than his KTM team-mate Marc De Reuver so far and leads the series after winning races in all conditions (sand in Flanders or Netherlands, mud in Spain and 'normal' conditions in Portugal).

Townley missed the podium in Germany two years ago (fourth) and the GP last year (due to an operation) but has a history of speed at Teutschenthal. However, De Reuver won last year (his first ever GP win) and will hope to end his appalling run of bad luck this weekend which has seen him hit by mechanical problems in no less than four races.

Britain's Stephen Sword, who finished off the podium last weekend for the first time this season, lost a couple of points - but will feel more at ease on the hard packed ground of Germany than in Valkenswaard.

Also in contention are Sword's team-mate Mickael Maschio, plus Andrew McFarlane, Tyla Rattray, Alessio Chiodi and Andrea Bartolini, while young and promising talents such as Antonio Cairoli, Aigar Leok and S?bastien Pourcel will be racing for the first podium of their career.

The action will start Saturday at 10am with the first free practice session, and qualifying will take place from 3 to 6pm. On Sunday, the MX2 races are scheduled for 12.05 and 15.05, and the MX1 at 13.05 and 16.05.


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