The 24MX Tour – French Elite Motocross championship kicked off this weeked at St-Jean d’Angély. Belgium’s Damon Graulus managed to capture 5th overall in spite of terrible starts. Victory went to Steven Lenoir ahead of Honda riders Xavier Boog and Valentin Teillet.
The narrow, hard-pack hillside track 140 km north of Bordeaux is well known terrain for all international riders. For Graulus, who captured a 14th moto in last year’s Grand Prix in Saint Jean d’Angely, the 24MX Tour opener served as the perfect test after an intense multi-week training camp in France.
The 24MX Honda rider placed 6th in his qualifying group, 2.3 seconds down from polesitter Teillet. After getting boxed in at the start the former French MX2 champion was relegated to a comeback race. From 33rd in the first corner Damon quickly carved through the pack. With two laps to go he caught reigning French MX1 champion Aranda for sixth. Graulus kept on pushing till the end to finish just a second adrift of Teillet.
Once again Damon found himself caught up in the chaos of the first corner and was forced to shut off the throttle. Initially he blitzed the field to make his way up the leaderboard in record time! By the end of the first lap Graulus circulated in seventh. The early efforts temporarily demanded their toll but when the CRF450R mounted rider found his second wind he was unstoppable. Clocking the fastest lap times of the race allowed Damon to dispose of Soubeyras and Boog to take third. Unfortunately he ran out of time to pass Lenoir and Teillet.
Damon Graulus returns home to continue his preparation for the first European MXGP round in Arco di Trento. The 24MX Honda will take part in the highly anticipated Dutch Masters of Motocros opening round in Oss next weekend.
Damon Graulus: “I’m happy with my riding, but not so pleased with the final result! My objective for Saint Jean d’Angely was to fight for the win but it was good to see I made solid progress in terms of riding in the last few weeks. It’s clear I’m getting stronger and the way I was able to charge through the pack is encouraging as well. To have the speed and the deciseviness to make passes so quickly would have been more of an issue last year! I was really keen to catch the frontrunners in the final moto but I just needed two more laps to do it. Things are working well for the moment and I have a great feeling with the bike so I’m looking forward to the next races! We definitely need to keep on working on the starts because starts in MXGP are definitely key. To come back here is one thing but to do it in the stacked MXGP field is a much harder thing to do!”
24MX Tour – Saint Jean d’Angely
Moto 1: 1. Maxime Desprey, 2. Xavier Boog, 3. Steven Leonoir, 4. Cédric Soubeyras, 5. Valentin Teillet, 6. Damon Graulus (24MX Honda), 7. Gregory Aranda, 8. Fabien Izoird, 9. Milko Potisek, 10. Jason Clermont
Moto 2: 1. Steven Leonoir, 2. Valentin Teillet, 3. Damon Graulus (24MX Honda), 4. Xavier Boog, 5. Cédric Soubeyras, 6. Greg Aranda, 7. Nicolas Aubin, 8. Jason Clermont, 9. Maxime Desprey, 10. Milko Potisek
Final classification: 1. Steven Lenoir 45, 2. Xavier Boog 40, 3. Valentin Teillet 38, 4. Maxime Desprey 37, 5. Damon Graulus (24MX Honda) 35, 6. Cédric Soubeyras 34, 7. Greg Aranda 29, 7. Nicolas Aubin 24, 8. Jason Clermont 24, 10. Milko Potisek 23