As the summer weather warms up so does the action and bar-banging in the 2013 FIM Motocross World Championship and Kawasaki’s Gautier Paulin keeps on pulling out the big guns in his duel with Tony Cairoli for the MX1 title.
The fence-to-fence attendance at a sweltering Italian Grand Prix for round nine of 17 was the latest playground for Paulin, Searle, Charlier, Lupino, Fontanesi and co, and saw a third spine-tingling event on the bounce in terms of atmosphere, noise and appreciation for this most physical and spectacular of motorcycle sports.
Magical Maggiora, mythical Maggiora, magnificent Maggiora; this was a prime stage for motocross. The ‘old-school’ feeling to the hillside curves and steep hills harked to a by-gone era but with the speed, athleticism and aerobatic skill on show of the modern day.
Third time was the charm for Frenchman Paulin who scored a third position in the first moto and then led the second from the first corner until the chequered flag. While ‘GP21’ was never headed, he came under intense pressure from Cairoli and the majority of the 38,000 band of native followers in the last four laps for an authentic grandstand finale. Fans were hanging over fences, waving whatever they had to hand and sitting on the edges of seats at home but Paulin did not put a foot wrong and picked up his third garland of the season in an emotional podium ceremony.
“When the public out there is like that, then motocross is such fun,” said Paulin, who trails Cairoli by 51 points in the MX1 contest.
“I didn’t need to look at the pit-board because I could hear Antonio was coming. I really love to race when the public is like this… there are almost no words to describe what it is like. I think we put on a good show. I enjoyed the track. There are many uphills and downhills and tricky jumps with lots of ruts… a good first corner. This place also has a big history and it feels nice to be part of it now. I’m proud of that.”
Italian joy might have been muffled in MX1 but CLS Kawasaki’s Alex Lupino raised the volume in MX2 by scoring second position in the second moto, which meant the friendly local walked the box for the second time in 2013. From all the hot ladies present at Maggiora none sizzled more than the racers out on the track for the third round of the FIM Women’s World Championship and Kiara Fontanesi dazzled in the sunshine. The reigning Champ took another confident double to maintain her perfect win streak in six motos so far in 2013 on the Monster Yamaha.
“When you win a GP it is always emotional,” ‘Fonta’ explained. “The emotion can be different each time but here in Italy it is special. I was doing the sighting lap and to see all the people cheering for me made me really happy. It was important to win here and in front of friends and all these people is even better.”
Motocross takes a breath for a week before heading to potentially cooler climes. Three weeks of furious activity from Sweden to Lativa and then to Finland will speed up the calendar through the opening weeks of July.