27 August 2004
Preview - Grand Prix of Germany.
Only three more events remain in the 2004 MX1 and MX2 Motocross World Championship season, the first of which – this weekend's Grand Prix of Germany – could see both titles decided in favour of Belgian Stefan Everts and New Zealander Ben Townley.
Everts, now with 78 career grand prix wins (including six this year) is looking for his eighth world title, while Townley counts 8 grand prix wins and expects to become the second Kiwi, after Shayne King (1996), to claim a world championship. Both are leading their respective classes by a hefty margin (93 points) and need to have more than 100 points over their rivals come Sunday to start their celebrations.
Out to stop, or at least postpone, those celebrations will be Tyla Rattray in the MX2 class and Mickael Pichon in the MX1, although Stephen Sword (MX2) and Josh Coppins (MX1) can also, mathematically, have a shot at each crown.
Pichon and Coppins have both been boosted by securing national honours (in France and England respectively) last weekend and, together with KTM's Steve Ramon - winner of the last Belgian Championship round in Orp - are seen as potential GP winners, Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos and Tanel Leok, plus Pichon's Tiscali Honda team-mate Brian Jorgensen could also expect a podium.
Meanwhile, Gordon Crockard will make his GP comeback at Gaildorf, after sitting out five months of the season with a knee injury; 'Crockstar' raced last weekend in the British Championship (he finished 3rd and 10th) and will be making one of his last appearances with the CAS Honda team before moving to the Yamaha Dixon team aboard 2004 factory bikes next season.
Gaildorf will also be the last race this season for the revolutionary Aprilia V-Twin; After missing the last round in Namur, Traversini will end his GP campaign this weekend while the Italian engineers will focus on the Supermoto version of the machine, victorious won one month ago.
In the MX2 class, Sébastien Pourcel (France), Maximilian Nagl (Germany), Aigar Leok (Belgium) and Stephen Sword (England) have also clinched National titles – but can they disturb the KTM GP domination?
Townley and Rattray have already claimed ten of the thirteen rounds for the Austrian marque, with Andrew McFarlane, Antonio Cairoli and Stephen Sword all grabbing one GP apiece.
Veterans James Dobb and Philippe Dupasquier will also be present on the start gate, where they will be joined by young European challengers Pierre Alexandre Renet and Nicolas Aubin.
Three Russians will also take part in the qualifications on Saturday afternoon, while most of the German fans will strongly support Maximilian Nagl. The young teenager is considered as the next top German rider, and being crowned German champion three weeks ago could give him further confidence for his home GP.
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