Last week 2015 MXGP World Champion and Monster Energy Yamaha rider Romain Febvre posted a photo of his right arm on social media. The lower limb was a similar shade to his blue, black and green factory Yamaha after his scary (and blameless crash) at the Grand Prix of Latvia the previous Sunday.
It looked like #461 would be struggling to make the gate for the German round but Febvre’s recovery and outlook was typical of his resilience, quiet determination (questionable sanity to a degree?) and the freakishly quick rate at which elite level racers are able to put themselves back in the competitive picture after injury.
There is barely an athlete who is not limping, wincing or gritting their teeth to complete one of twenty rounds of the 2018 MXGP series. The sport is physically brutal, and the ordeal that many face ‘every other’ Sunday also brings more challenges and adversity in terms of confidence and mental resolve.
“It was a hard week but we are here and that’s all that matters at the moment,” the 25 year old said on Saturday and after qualification. “It’s been difficult, especially to accept when it was not my fault and what [Arminas] Jasikonis did to me in Latvia by cutting me off is not really racing.”
“We knew nothing was broken on Sunday but I went to see a hand specialist in France on Monday and he said I could ride and wouldn't damage the injury any more,” he continued. “We decided to race only on Thursday. I tried to ride with the bike and it wasn't too bad so that was the moment we chose to come here. On some parts of the track it is painful but I know that's normal. I have to deal with it this weekend.”
Talkessel wasn't the easiest surface for the French star to exercise restraint or caution with his throttle hand. The track continually winds up and down through a shallow valley setting. It’s narrow, bumpy and slick. On Sunday Febvre gunned the Yamaha through levels of discomfort for a buoyant fourth position in the first moto.
The second affair was much more dramatic. While desperately searching for a way to pass Gautier Paulin for third place and a shot at his first podium appearance of the season Romain again smashed the ground with just three laps to go. A mangled lip and sore left foot was the consequence, but the #461 motorcycle was in far worse shape. “We cannot believe that Romain managed to keep going,” said mechanic Manuel Volpato. “The bike was all bent and the wheel spokes were broken but he was determined to make the finish.”
Seventh position meant fifth overall and again Febvre’s feats highlight just how hardy motocrossers have to be. Mercifully the Yamaha crew and the rest of the MXGP band will get the chance to rest aches and pains with a free weekend. The epic jumps and sweeps of Matterley Basin in the UK will stage the British Grand Prix on the first weekend of June.