The penultimate event of the MX2 class in the FIM Motocross World Championship took place across the bumpy and fast hard-pack of Faenza in Italy and was watched by a weekend audience of 24,000. The fifteenth round of sixteen was played out in bright sunshine and high temperatures and was also the site of the final meeting in the EMX2 competition.
Pocock became the UK's first European champion with a brave ride to fourth position on Saturday afternoon. A stone had dislodged the rear brake cable and forced the British Championship leader to exercise caution and no shortage of skill on the steep and treacherous downhills and fast jump sections. The twenty year old's top four result meant enough points to close the contest and start celebrations for the Steve Dixon-led Monster Energy crew that have now accumulated titles (domestic or international) for the last three years. On Sunday morning Pocock – now running his fettled 2012 YZ250F with a gold number plate – slipped off his bike negotiating the heavily watered terrain (that was slick and unpredictable as a result) but still managed to ace his tenth success (from fourteen) and ensure overall victory for a sixth triumph from a possible seven.
At Faenza Arnaud Tonus defied discomfort from a twisted right knee to score sixth and seventh for fifth overall. The Swiss worked hard across the difficult surface and was wary of his leg after suffering the slight twinge while training during the week. Zach Osborne was chasing a podium finish after taking third spot in the qualification heat on Saturday. The American suffered some arm-pump in the first moto that caused his race to vary in its effectiveness but picked up his pace by the final stages to overtake Jordi Tixier and take fourth. Osborne was fourth again in the second moto when a small oil leak forced the former British Champion to slow and finally enter the pits to safeguard the engine and avoid any possible complication. Countryman Michael Leib effectively curtailed his racing season after attempting practice and qualification on Saturday but has simply not recovered sufficiently from his virus to be able to operate at full strength.
Across the Atlantic at Lake Elsinore for the final round of the AMA Pro National Motocross series 2012 world champion Kiara Fontanesi confirmed her status as a global-leader in women's off-road racing by running to a 1-1 victory. The Monster Energy and Yamaha backed athlete had confirmed her (and Italy's) first world title in Great Britain last month with five victories in seven rounds but defeated America's finest – including Ashley Fiolek – to sign-off a triumphant term. The eighteen year old from Parma now has one more significant race meeting ahead with the last appointment on the FIM schedule coming in two weeks at Teutschenthal in Germany. The venue will also stage the closing chapter for the MX1 and MX2-GP trails before the 66th Motocross of Nations at Lommel on September 30th.
"The whole experience this weekend is a bit indescribable really. Winning a championship is something I dreamed of since I was a young kid. The key race was a bit nerve-wracking for me because I was pulling away at the front and lost my rear brake with six laps to go. I had to play the game differently and focus on bringing the bike home. As soon as I got to the line and turned right to see everyone there I think it was the best feeling I've ever had in motocross. I also wanted to take the overall win and had my work cut-out when I saw how wet the track was Sunday morning. I took another holeshot and was leading when I went down briefly. I had the gold number plate on my bike and I thought 'I cannot be in second place with this'. I worked hard to take the win."
"I'm so happy for this victory and I want to thank everyone. Michele Rinaldi and his staff for a great coordination for getting me here, Yamaha, Monster and Yamaha USA that have helped me with everything. I came here to win…and I did it! It has been such a fantastic year."
"In the first race I had good speed in the beginning but then had a bit of arm-pump. I got the rhythm back by the end and pushed back up to fourth. I almost passed Van Horebeek for third. In the second I had a really bad start but came through to fourth again and was inching towards Van Horebeek when we had a little mishap with the bike. The track was mega yesterday but today it was overwatered way too much. The whole thing was flattened and it was wide-open everywhere and it was hard to make any difference. Despite that I have to say it was pretty enjoyable."
"It was a tough grand prix because I was a bit worried about my leg over the jumps and all those bumps. To finish fifth overall in the circumstances is not too bad. I struggled to find a rhythm so I was nowhere near my best but the results could have been worse. My knee was already feeling better after I twisted it on Wednesday so I'm sure next week there will be more improvement and we'll be in good shape for Teutschenthal."
"I'm still not right and it's very disappointing. Basically the year finishes for me here. My plan was to come back to Europe and fight my way through two events and then be back to a good way for the final two but it has not worked out like that. I just have to close the season now and work towards a good winter."