Hello Switzerland: where have you been? 45,000 spectators bulged the fences at the new Frauenfeld-Gachnang circuit for the fifteenth round of eighteen in MXGP this year and all the right ingredients were in place for a barnstormer of an event. Capacity crowd? Check. Stunning weather? Check. Challenging and spectacular circuit? Also. Grand Prix motocross made a welcome and memorable return to the country after a fifteen-year hiatus and the fixture immediately became one of the standout races of the season.
On this splendid stage Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Romain Febvre – the two fiercest and standout athletes from an intense MXGP campaign so far – threw their gauntlets on the table and were able to leave the third Grand Prix in three weeks with second and third positions overall and just behind Tony Cairoli. Also catching the eye was Kemea Yamaha’s Benoit Paturel who put the emotion of a recent family bereavement to one side to finish third in the MX2 class and for his third trophy of the year.
Weekend sunshine was a relief to organisers. Heavy rain in the run-up to the Grand Prix was initially a cause for worry, and signs of the battered mud on the largely grassy facility were evident as late as the Qualification Heat races on Saturday. Sunday dawned bright and light and the soil was heavy with braking bumps, ruts and scarred with other technical lumps and holes through the six category racing programme; EMX125, 250, 150 and the penultimate round of the Women’s World Championship complimenting the two principle classes of MX2 and MXGP.