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Blair roars to Motocross gold

Saturday’s Total International Motocross Championship 2009 saw both New Zealand riders take top two podium places in Expert Class grand final

Photo by:

MARK ROY

Two-time championship winner James Robinson (right) launches a desperate bid to regain the lead from fellow New Zealander Larry Blair Saturday during the Expert Class final at Preak Leap motorcross track.

Final Race Results
Total International Motocross Championship 2009

Class A: Motocross Experts

  • 1st – Larry Blair

    (New Zealand)

  • 2nd – James Robinson

    (New Zealand)

  • 3rd – Nuttakit Bootprawat

    (Thailand)

  • 4th – Pierre-Yves Catry

    (France/Cambodia)

  • 5th – Siam Tiencharoenphol

    (Thailand)

LOCAL and international riders put in some gritty performances in sweltering heat at the Total International Motocross Championship 2009 on Saturday.

The huge crowd that turned out at the Preak Leap motocross track six kilometres outside of Phnom Penh were rewarded with a freestyle motocross display, a day of trail bike and motocross action, and the sight of ten Cambodians challenging each other in a mountain bike race.

The main highlight of the day was undoubtedly the nail-biting conclusion to the ten-lap Experts class final. Having comprehensively won his first heat, defending champion James Robinson got down to business with a clean start, leading fellow New Zealander Larry Blair at the first turn.

Spectators cheered as time and again the two riders became airbourne almost side-by-side, as Blair brought pressure to bear on defending champion Robinson.

The 25-year-old was barely holding his lead, and had a third consecutive championship in his sights, when a spray of dirt from Blair's rear tyre filled his visor after a tight corner in the sixth lap.

Blair raced ahead, glancing over his shoulder as Robinson rode desperately to try to close the ever-widening gap. Ultimately Blair held on to his nerve, the 29-year-old roaring through to take the chequered flag.

After the race, Blair expressed his surprise at the result.

"I had a crash in the first race and had to come back through, so I wasn't really sure how fast James was going," he said.

"I just sat behind him and figured he would get tired. He hasn't been racing much in the past six months."

Blair said he had planned to pass Robinson about halfway through the race without running him off the track.

"It's hard to do it politely on this track, it's very tight and you can only really make a passing move in the corners," he said.

"You have to be pretty aggressive, a little physical, to make your pass."

The motocross expert noted that coping with the heat had been a battle.

Photo by:

MARK ROY

James Robinson performs freestyle tricks Satruday during the warm-up show.

"It was really hot out there, which made it hard to breathe," Blair said.

A competitor in the novice race, Alti Magnusson, agreed.

"I'm from Iceland, so at first it was a bit cloudy. But in the last race it was really hot," Magnusson said.

Event organiser Pierre-Yves Catry, who placed fourth, said in future they would try to run the event in a cooler month, such as January.

"This land is flooded in wet season, so we can only build a track at the end of December," said Catry.

However, Blair had nothing but praise for the event organisers.

Having competed in numerous events in SE Asia, the race winner said the Cambodian event was the best organised by far.

"The sponsors have really turned it on. They threw in lots of money and Pierre is great. He's really the driving force behind the event," Blair said.

Robinson, who lives in Malaysia, said the motocross scene in Cambodia is building every year.

"This is my third year of racing here and every year it is getting bigger and better," he said.

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