Kevin Strijbos scored a surprise first ever Grand Prix victory on an incident packed Sunday at a wet Loket circuit in the Czech Republic; the 13th round in a long 17-race 2005 FIM MX1 World Championship.
The triumph, courtesy of a strong fourth place in the opening moto and then his third career moto win in the second heat, was the maiden MX1 silverware for Team Suzuki and their RM-Z 450 four-stroke and their first garland in the premier-class since 2003.
Infrequent heavy showers coated the loose Czech dirt and although the surface became rougher and more technical, it was still slippery and very difficult to pass.
Both MX1 starts were fairly hectic with several crashes in the first corner. Yamaha's Brian Jorgensen led the first race for seven laps, but made a mistake in a muddy corner and offered first spot to Stefan Everts and Mickael Pichon.
Both rode the rest of the race together, but with only one dry line there was little chance of passing, helping Everts extend his championship lead over nearest rival Josh Coppins - who finished a few seconds behind Pichon for third.
However, much more drama would follow in race two when Everts, Pichon, Smets, Steve Ramon and many others were involved in two crashes at the start of race two. Most of the riders were collected in a turn one pile-up, but then a second clash two turns later wiped out five or six more.
Through the mayhem, Strijbos and Coppins grabbed the advantage and battled most of the race. Strijbos was passed by Coppins on the second lap, but never gave up and regained control later on as the rain returned with a vengence. He won the third heat of his career and collected the overall, the first ever MX1 for Suzuki and their RM-Z 450.
Coming back from almost last to fourth, Everts scored the same number of points as Strijbos, but lost the GP win due to a lower race two finish. Kevin's result was even more surprising considering the 14th overall he scored in similar weather conditions last week in Belgium. Strijbos became the fifth rider to enjoy an MX1 victory this season.
"This has been a bad season for me, up until now!" smiled Strijbos. "In Belgium I had bad starts and it was a difficult time but today was much better. I was watching Josh in the second moto and could see a few corners where I was faster. I pulled through on the inside and my first attack was enough to take control of the race. The track was slippery in places but nowhere near as bad as Nismes. I have been really motivated in the last couple of months and have been training hard to get back to this level; to win today is amazing. To be honest I still cannot believe it."