MOTO-X » 2 July 2004
Preview - Grand Prix of Sweden.
Sweden has been a major player in the history of Motocross, with riders such as Rolf Tibblin, Sten Lundin, Bill Nilsson, Torsten Hallman, Bengt Aberg, Hakan Andersson, Hakan Carlqvist and Marcus Hansson all claiming at least one world title.
However, since the retirement of Peter Johansson, the home fans have had few front running local heroes to cheer, but have still provided a livery atmosphere at Uddevalla for the only Motocross grand prix currently held in Scandinavia. Indeed, for the past four years, Danish, Norwegians and Finnish motocross fans have joined the Swedes at Uddevalla, creating a colourful backdrop to the popular event.
The Swedish MX1 charge is expected to be led by Joakim Karlsson, Johnny Lindhe and Joakim Eliasson, but pre-event favourites will be championship leader Stefan Everts, Tiscali Honda's Mickael Pichon, KTM's Steve Ramon, Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos and CAS Honda's Joshua Coppins.
Unfortunately for the Norwegians, Kenneth Gundersen will not be present this weekend - or the rest of the season - but the factory KTM rider will attend the event as a spectator, while Belgian Sven Breugelmans will take his race ride.
There is better news for the Finns though with Antti Pyrhonen, injured six weeks ago, making his GP return on a new factory TM.
“We have finished our relationship with my previous team and I'm happy to have a deal with TM for the rest of the season,” he said. “I practiced three times on the bike this week and had a great feeling; it reminds me of the four-stroke Honda or Yamaha that I rode in past seasons.
“The goal for this weekend will be to finish both races in the points, then we have a three weeks break. I want to use that to test the bike and recover totally from my wrist injury,” he continued. “I plan to move from Holland to Italy in order to be near the factory, as we must do a lot of testing on the bike; my final goal is to be as strong as possible, I'm convinced that the TM has a very good potential ad I hope we can reach later a long term contract together.”
Alongside Antti, Dane Brian Jorgesen - winner in Teutschenthal - is sure to be one of the most well supported riders this weekend.
“This event is the closest GP to my hometown, and it's nice to know that there will be many people cheering me this weekend,” said the Tiscali Honda rider. “I put on a nice battle last week but lost some energy in the first race when I tried to catch Mickael (Pichon – team-mate).
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