Yamaha Intur Sports rider Stefan Everts continued his unbeaten 2006 run with his eleventh victory in succession at a hot and humid Loket in the Czech Republic on Sunday.
The reigning MX1 World Champion - retiring at the end of his season - now needs to score just one point more than his nearest rival at his home Belgian round next weekend at Namur, his favourite circuit, to claim a record tenth title.
Everts triumphed in both Czech motos in front of 23,000 spectators and has now reached a total of 19 consecutive heat victories as well as a career tally of 98 overall grand prix wins; putting him just two wins away from the magic 100.
The hillside circuit located 110km west of Prague had been slightly altered over 2005 with a new pit-lane setting giving the riders more time to see their pit-boards and a tight set of corners behind the technical area. The terrain was loose and littered with small stones that made the mud slippery in places and the layout tended to favour sheer speed over technical ability.
Everts was denied his fifth consecutive pole position by just two hundreds of a second by Suzuki's Kevin Strijbos but it mattered little as the Belgian made a decent jump out of the gained and was just pipped to the holeshot by Josh Coppins - who will replace Everts next season..
By the end of the first lap Everts had placed his YZ450FM ahead of the pack and proceeded to show the CAS Honda rider the fastest route around the steep course. For two thirds of the duration the pair were not separated by more than two seconds but approaching the final ten minutes Everts broke his opponent's resistance and claimed his eighteenth moto in succession.
The second race was a more interesting affair as a bump on the first turn left the 33 year old outside of the top five and forced to chip away at a lead first held by KTM's Jonathan Barragan and then Strijbos. But Everts reached the front on lap eight and was able to comfortably control his nearest opposition from then on.
"It has been a hard GP for me," claimed Everts. "The track was not that difficult in the layout and you could see that by how fast everyone was going. The next few tracks will be more technical and better for me. Josh was riding well in that first moto. There were a few places on the track where I did not have such good lines and he was closing the gap but it is hard to know the full situation when you are in front. In the end I figured out a few places where I could improve and I think he must have made a mistake but it was quite easy to win that moto finally.
"My start wasn't that good in the second race and for a few laps I was in third position with Jonathan and Kevin having a small lead. I had to try hard to pass them both and it was tough, but it was also nice not having to always be working from first position. The new section around the back of the pits was very difficult and it was a place where you could make or lose some ground. That is eleven races in a row now but I am not trying to focus on records and take each weekend as it comes."