Grand Prix of Benelux - Preview.

The pressure is rising for the final two rounds of the MX1 and MX2 World Championships, starting this weekend in Lierop, with several riders still in contention for both titles.

The closest battle is in the premier MX1 class, where David Philippaerts is now just five points ahead of reigning champion Steve Ramon, with Ken de Dycker 22 points further back in third - with a potential 100 points still to be won.

Worryingly for Monster Yamaha rider Philippaerts, he finished just 14th last year at Lierop - when Ramon clinched the crown with third place, although Suzuki team-mate de Dycker is arguably the pre-race favourite for 2008 success in the deep sand.

Kawasaki's Tanel Leok became an MX1 grand prix winner last weekend at Fairhouse in Ireland, but the Estonian is only eighth in the points with KTM's multiple GP winner Jonathan Barragan now leading the pursuit of de Dycker in fourth position.

Josh Coppins has now dropped to fifth in the standings after a nightmare race day in Ireland and needs to gain ten points on the title leader to have at least a mathematical chance of the crown heading into the Faenza season finale.

One rider to watch this weekend will be sand specialist Marc de Reuver, who collected his first and only podium of the 2007 MX1 season courtesy of an incredible final heat at Lierop last year.

In the MX2 class, Tyla Rattray will arrive at the penultimate round with an increased 27 point lead over KTM team-mate Tommy Searle, having exploited the latter's bad qualifying result in Ireland.

But anything can happen in motorcycling, as Searle knows only too well after a back brake problem while on route to a comfortable qualifying heat win on Saturday at Fairyhouse.

Exploiting his team-mate's 25th place on the gate, Rattray pulled away as much as he could and won the GP from Searle by seven points.

With Yamaha Red Bull De Carli's reigning champion Toni Cairoli having been ruled out by injury in Nelspruit, young American Zach Osborne returned a YZ machine to the front of the field with a shock opening moto victory in Ireland, only for a DNF in heat two to hamper his overall result.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
MX1 race start.
Motocross Grand Prix racing
Mark De Reuver and Steve Ramon (pic: Paul Harris)
Mark De Reuver and Steve Ramon (pic: Paul Harris)
Tanel Leok leads Mark De Reuver, Max Nagl, Steve Ramon and Evgeny Bobryshev (pic: Paul Harris)
The Mallory Park British Motocross Grand Prix track
Barragan, Cairoli and Leok on the Valkenswaard podium
Steve Ramon - Suzuki.
Jonathan Barragan and Steve Ramon.
Steve Ramon survives the rain in Spain for his first MX1 victory.
The Bellpuig grand prix circuit.
Steve Ramon – Suzuki.
Josh Coppins – Yamaha (pic: Yamaha)
USA (1st), France (2nd) and Belgium (3rd) on the 2007 Motocross of Nations podium.
Ramon wins 2007 MX1 Motocross world championship.
Ramon wins 2007 MX1 Motocross world championship.
Ramon wins 2007 MX1 Motocross world championship.
Kevin Strijbos won the GP, Marc De Reuver clinched his maiden MX1 podium in second place, and Steve Ramon grasped the 2007 world title with third

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