As they prepare for the Grand Prix of Sweden and the 12th round of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe was ecstatic to hear that Glenn Coldenhoff rode his RM-Z250 for the first time this week since his left knee reconstruction.
Coldenhoff, who scored three podium finishes on his factory machine in the first four rounds of the MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship, was injured in training for the Dutch Grand Prix at the end of April and has made a fantastic recovery, from what was initially forecast as a 16-20-week period, to be back on the Suzuki in just two-and-a-half months.
“I feel quite good and after a big injury I hope I am almost done,” the 23 year old said. “It was a really hard time for me, and the first two and a half weeks involved a lot of pain. We still have a long way to go but I have done more than a 1000km on the bicycle in my recovery – both road and mountain bike – as well as a lot of physio. I’ve been working hard and it is paying off.”
“I got the OK from my personal doctor last week and I visited the surgeon at the Ortema facility that fixed my knee and he also said the joint was looking fine,” Coldenhoff continued. “I have been pushing pretty hard with the mountain bike and it has felt pretty good and now I’m ready to try for the first time on the track.
“I don't have a gauge on my knee at the moment when it comes to riding and I’m sure I will get tired quite quickly,” he commented before climbing onboard the Suzuki. “But I plan to ride at a track that is just two kilometres from my home and that I could lap with my eyes shut. I can’t wait to be back on the bike.”
It is a major piece of good news for the crew as they travel to Uddevalla for the first of two northern European races in the space of a week. Despite the optimism Coldenhoff has not yet adjusted his initial goal of being back for the final two Grands Prix of the year – in Brazil and Mexico – and his last in the class before he then moves to an RM-Z450 for his maiden MXGP campaign for Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe in 2015.
“It is too early to say how things may or may not go,” he opined. “I have been totally focused on the rehab and I just want to continue in this positive way and see what happens. Either way it was great we could get to this stage after just two and a half months and I want to thank everybody that helped me.”
Last weekend Jeremy Seewer raced at Aichwald for the third round of the ADAC MX Masters German Championship. The nineteen year old placed fifth overall against a slew of bigger 450cc machinery. “It was great Grand Prix training for Jeremy who had to fight hard and learn to find good overtaking spots and moves,” said Team Manager Thomas Ramsbacher. “Julien Lieber elected not to compete and instead worked on some sand track training for some of the races like Finland and Lommel coming up.”
Seewer and Lieber are both presently 10th and 14th respectively in the MX2 table. Seewer enjoyed a podium finish (third) at Uddevalla last summer in what was the third round of eight in the European EMX250 championship.
Constantly evolving, the Uddevalla layout and the proactive club of this ever-present meeting on the FIM Motocross World Championship schedule has undergone more significant modifications for the 2014 edition of the Swedish Grand Prix. A new start area, first corner, finish line and reversed direction of the trajectory mean that the teams and riders will have to learn a vastly-different prospect compared to previous years. The Swedish dirt will still be in place of course and will mix slick and hard-pack surface sections with rutty and rough terrain. The weather forecast predicts warm and cloudy conditions for the weekend.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP confront the new layout at Uddevalla with Clement Desalle fresh off the back of his fourth victory this season in Germany and third from the last five events. The Belgian has finished on the podium in Sweden for the last two years, taking third place 12 months ago and then celebrating a double moto triumph in 2012. That same year his current team-mate on the factory RM-Z450, Kevin Strijbos, was also a ‘podiumee’ around Uddevalla.
Desalle was set to compete at Aichwald last weekend but decided to rest his injured wrist instead. “I still went to Germany because I like the series and the races there and to sign a few autographs,” he said. “I had my wrist checked after Teutschenthal by my doctor in Germany and he said there was no extra damage but it would be best to rest it for a few days so I decided it would be smart not to race at Aichwald and take any more risks. The wrist was obviously pretty good through the weekend at Teutschenthal but it was best to let it heal a bit more.
“I went to visit the people at Ortema and it was great to do that because they are one of my original sponsors when I came into the world championship and believed in me when there were no results to speak of,” he added.
Desalle is staring at a 25 point gap – one moto victory with 12 still to go this season - to Antonio Cairoli at the top of the MXGP series standings. Part of his goal this weekend will be to further chip away at this margin. “I like Sweden even though there are good and bad memories. I had a terrible time there just after injuring my shoulder but then the following year I won both motos and took the red plate!” he said. “I think it is really good that the club have decided to make more changes to the track. It is always interesting for a rider to arrive to a circuit you know well and find a new challenge.”
Kevin Strijbos may be lurking in a ‘no mans land’ when it comes to the MXGP points table (he is fourth and 90 from third and 108 in front of Shaun Simpson) but the Belgian has been in promising form of late; as his second position in the second moto at Teutschenthal - as well as a comprehensive clean sweep of all three races at Kester last weekend for the third round of the Belgian MX Masters contest – reveal.
MXGP World Championship Standings (after 11 of 17 rounds):
1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 477 points;
2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), 452 p.;
3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 440 p.;
4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP), 350 p.;
5. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 242 p.;
6. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 237 p.;
7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, KAW), 205 p.;
8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HON), 205 p.;
9. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 185 p.;
10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 184 p.;
MX2 World Championship Standings (after 11 of 17 rounds):
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 494 points;
2. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 389 p.;
3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 369 p.;
4. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 358 p.;
5. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 343 p.;
6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 313 p.;
7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 256 p.;
8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 256 p.;
9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 238 p.;
10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 211 p.;
13. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 176 p.;
14. Julien Lieber (BEL, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 164 p.;