The rains in the week before the German round of the world motocross championship would have had you think that this would be a wet round, not a scorching one. But you would be mistaken, very, very mistaken.
Saturday morning started off well enough. The morning’s early qualifying sessions saw Martin Barr put in a good time just outside the top twenty, while Nathan Parker found himself nudging the top thirty with two hundredths of a second. That’s where the weekend ended for Parker though. Whilst putting in his fastest time yet, he cross-rutted across a jump, resulting in a huge crash. After being initially taken to the on-site medical centre, he was subsequently airlifted by helicopter to the local hospital. Fortunately Parker escaped any serious injury and returned to the track later in the day, albeit as a spectator.
Temperatures rose to a scorching high in the afternoon, just in time for the qualifying race. Here Barr got off to a slow start in the rear of the pack after being caught up in a first-lap crash, but he pushed his way forward past several regular world championship contenders to end in twenty-fifth. The next morning dawned warmer still and in the warm-up session Barr set a time that put him in fifteenth, an encouraging sign for the day’s activities.
Then it was time for the first MX1 race. Barr didn?t get out of the gate too well and was down in thirty-second, but his hard work was rewarded as he progressed to eighteenth position within the first ten minutes. However, then disaster struck. Barr dropped back six places after a stall, and then lost several more as the boiling heat started to take its toll. Gritting his teeth, Barr was able to recover two places, but as dehydration rapidly set in in the closing laps, he had to concede one position, and finished the race in twenty-fourth.
By the time the second MX1 race went to the line, Barr had recovered some of his energy and insisted on joining his rivals in the race. Getting around the first corner in twenty-third, Barr soon found himself a position up, but heat exhaustion quickly caught up and after the fifth lap, the team ordered Barr to pull in for his own safety.
Commenting on the weekend’s activities, team principal Steve Turner said: ?Where do you start? The best thing about the weekend for me was the meal on Saturday night. This GP stuff is a lot tougher than some people make it out to be. I?m at a loss as to what happened to Martin. He prepared exactly the same this week as he always does but after making great progress early on in the first race he was completely wiped out after twenty minutes. For the second race we gave Martin the choice of not riding, and we told him we’d monitor his lap times and pull him in if necessary if he did go out, and we did just that. We?ll be getting some blood tests done this week to see if there?s anything wrong there.?
?Nathan learned a lot during the qualifying practice, and after riding really tight in the first session he relaxed a lot more and was looking good. In his final lap, on two of the three sectors on the track he was two seconds faster than he had done all morning, but then he cross-rutted over the jump and crashed big, hurting his neck. He was checked out and thankfully he is OK. We?re actually really lucky not have suffered any long term injuries and I suppose you can take that as a big positive on such a negative weekend.?
Nathan Parker: ?My free practice didn’t go very well, but for the pre-qualifying practice we changed a few things in the suspension and I felt a lot better. Early on I was up to twenty-second but then dropped back. I was on a fast lap and so far in it I was two seconds up and feeling a lot better than the previous session, then I went up the face of a jump and cross-rutted and went down. I hurt my neck, got airlifted out and that was that.?
Martin Barr: ?Things started off all right; in free practice I just gelled with the track and liked it and ended up eighteenth. In the qualifying practice I ended up twenty-fifth, and in the qualifying race I got a crap start and then got caught up in a pile-up in the first lap and stalled the bike. I got back up to twenty-fifth in that. In the first race I was feeling good, didn’t get the best of starts but I was pretty aggressive in the first couple of laps and was inside the points. Then it just hit me and I can’t remember much after that and ended in twenty-fourth. In the second one I just wanted to go out and see how I got on, but in the first ten minutes I suddenly felt all dizzy and pulled out of that one. So it’s been just another disappointing weekend, really.?