Motocross

Prumm injures knee before first WMX-GP

Prumm injures knee before first WMX-GP

The fourth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place at one of the best circuits on the calendar this weekend as the visit to Sevlievo not only kicks the series back into life after a two week break but also initiates the first meeting of five in the first ever Women’s World Championship. Van Beers Yamaha’s Katherine Prumm, a double Women’s World Cup winner, is struggling for full fitness after rupturing her right ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) while practicing this week.

Prumm has been based in Holland since mid-March and even attempted several
meetings against male opposition as part of her preparation for this weekend.
The news is a bitter blow to her ambitions although the lack of swelling means
she will endeavour to compete at Sevlievo with a special brace and sufficient
taping.


“Everything had gone really well recently and I could not have been
better prepared for the first Grand Prix,” she said. “I was three laps away from
finishing my practice moto when I lost traction on the ramp of a jump which put
me at 90 degrees. I came down at strange angle and my right leg was off the pegs
and took most of the impact. I felt something go ‘pop’ and I knew pretty much
right away what had happened. I could ride back but when I stopped I had some
pain and could not straighten the leg.”

“A scan revealed the broken ACL, thankfully it is not as bad as my left
knee which I injured in 2006 but at the end of the season I will need a
reconstruction,” she added. “Obviously it is not the way I wanted to start the
world championship but I will try and do my best at the weekend and see what
happens.”

The Yamaha Monster Motocross Team – currently holding 1st and 3rd
positions in the premier MX1-GP category thanks to their riders David
Philippaerts and Josh Coppins respectively – will travel to the venue where they
sampled victory with Coppins in 2007 and will also be following the progress of
MX2-GP World Champion Antonio Cairoli after his dominant win in Portugal a
fortnight ago and now who leads the class.

World championship leader
Philippaerts – the first Italian to head the MX1-GP series since its inception
in 2004 – has been using the recent good weather in his native country to
steadily train through the hiatus and claims that he will enjoy wearing the ‘red
plate’ this weekend for the first time in his career.

“We are only three
rounds into fifteen so it does not mean much to lead the championship at this
stage, but it does mean that we are competitive and it is always nice to look at
the bike with the red plate on!” he said. “I’ve been riding in Italy and
physically I feel fantastic, my confidence is good and I’m very pleased with how
things are going.”

Philippaerts finished 5th and 3rd last year at
Sevlievo, which was his first encounter with the track on a 450cc machine. “It
has similarities to some Italian tracks and has been hard and dry in the past,”
he remarked “normally it is quite fun to race there and the riders are close in
the times; it should be a good GP.”

Coppins has spent the time after the
Grand Prix of Portugal, where he seized third place and his first podium of the
season by passing world champion Steve Ramon on the last corner of the final lap
of the second moto, at his Belgian base recovering from a bout of flu.

“I
felt the flu coming thought it would disappear in a few days so I kept on riding
and doing some training, which perhaps wasn’t the smartest move as the virus
stuck around a bit longer, but I am more or less back to normal now,” he said.
“Obviously I’m happy after the podium in Portugal and, more than just the
result, the progress of my race fitness; to be strong like that at the end of
the motos was really encouraging.”

“I like the track, it’s fast and
jumpy; my kind of place,” he added about Sevlievo. “I won last year and have
also taken another podium a few years ago. The weather forecast is not the best
so I really hope the rain stays off for us.”

The impressive Sevlievo
circuit has a copious hard-standing paddock, immaculate facilities and
grandstands within the natural amphitheatre. The government-backed racecourse
provides one of the premium examples of 21st century motocross. The track itself
has a wide and fast layout with plenty of jumps and steep uphill and downhill
drags; forging a lap-time of almost two minutes. The hot and sunny conditions of
2007 are likely to give way to a cooler Grand Prix for the 2008 edition (the
third year in succession the world championship has visited Bulgaria) with even
rainfall predicted on Saturday.