Pro Diary - Chuck Sun - FIM British Grand Prix Of Motocross - Dirt Rider Magazine Online

FIM British Grand Prix of Motocross
Mallory Park, England
June 1, 2008
Chuck SunThe County of Leicestershire is in the center of England a couple hours north of London and is home of the Mallory Park Circuit originally established in the early 1950's for track horse competitions that was in short order quickly converted to car a racing circuit in the early 60's. Rain during the week saturated huge amounts of mixed sand that was brought onto the gradual slope for the brand new FIM spec motocross track. Fresh off some great mud practice Friday before the Glen Helen National I was ready for more mud. Rain however subsided Thursday night and track workers scraped off the excess mud that resulted in a great track for Saturday practice. Still soft the track quickly created deep ruts in the many off camber turns. Deep ruts with chop created an extremely technical course with sizable jumps. I like jumps, but come on! I've been learning the new big jumps, but it still takes some time to size up. The first time on a 75ft. (Real double) with huge bumps coming into the bend immediately after had my attention. I got a tow over the 75 ft. Jump from 3 time World Champ David Thorpe and my eyes were wide with disbelief on how high we were. You just don't know if it's gonna work out until it is much too late to do anything about it. God! Do I need to be doing this at 50+! Apparently so, as I crested the other side clipping the top with the rear wheel without any trauma much my relief. From then on you have the feel for the jump and it very satisfying. I was faced with 3 of these monsters on the Mallory Circuit and did not even jump a 100 foot table until after qualifying thirteenth in the time session Saturday evening. A contributing factor was the very, very rough and rutty track that I really struggled for any kind of rhythm. Getting over the jumps was just the beginning of the challenge as I found out in the first moto. Jumping in traffic off the start is just something that I have not done. Combine that with some light watering just before the moto and I was not my usual relaxed self. Of the 30 qualified World Veteran's I got a great start in the top 8 but threw out an anchor on the jumps the for the first lap and dropped back. It wasn't until 50 World champ New Zealander Tony Cooksley showed me a wheel that I woke up and started to ride. Not before I got bagged by a rider from former Russia that I'm sure was over 6 ft. Tall on a 525 KTM. Jiri Mironov gave me little room to retaliate as he took me to the edge of the track. My hopes of winning the Veteran title have been dashed as the younger 40+ riders that have been racing local pro are qualifying 5-10 seconds a lap faster! That's a bit hard to take. So I find other battles to fight and it is with Mironov from the former Russian colony of Latvia next to the Baltic Sea. Reminds me of the battle I had with Russian rider Kavinov back in 1978 at a 250 GP in what was then called Leningrad, Russia. It was one of my first GP's and we battled throughout until the 100,000 strong encouraged the Russian to make a bold move for the last podium position. Afterword Kavinov came over and we had a toast of Stoly Vodka out of tuna fish cans!OK, so I finished the first moto at Mallory Park with a 14th place. Long time journalist Alex Hodgkinsen said I rode like a P___Y. Damn, that's hard to take. Next moto, I don't' care how rutty or choppy the bumps are I'm jumping everything on the first lap! Now keep in mind this is on a full factory Honda 450 which is Mike Brown's practice bike. I have no place to go for excuses. Great power and holeshot device put me onto the point at the start of the 2nd moto, so I pushed hard from the beginning to run as high as 8th close to the half way point. That is when Jiri Mironov came knocking on the door. Apparently no one told old Jiri that the cold war is over! OK game on...I dug down not to let him pull away as he had made his way by on the inside of a super chopped out rutted sweeper. As we came onto the mechanics straight down goes the big Russian! Jiri had kept the bike running and was soon trying to make another stuff pass on the inside. Not this time, however as I jumped to inside rut. What, did he think I was going to leave the door open? Jiri was a little closer than I thought and I heard a deep roar like a Sasquatch as he slammed into the side of my CAS Honda and down went Mironov. Got around Dutch rider Bergsma on the last lap to secure a 9th, reaching my goal of breaking the top ten! Alex gave me a thumbs up on a much improved performance and I felt like I had accomplished something. I'm still in the UK at my host Rob Kinsey's house at Ashbourne in Derbyshire with a flight leaving in the morning from Manchester back to Vegas. I got to jump in with calling the action on mediazone.com with live coverage of the 2nd moto of MX1 that was great. I should have footage of the Veterans race from Youthstream posted to http://www.chucksun.com within a couple days. I think you can find results at http://motocrossmx1.com

CAS Team Manager Neil Prince see's me off to practice from the factory rig. It was great to have both Neil and team owner Harry Ainsworth giving me tips on improving on the track.
It was great to see 1979 500 World Champion Graham Noyce to a lap of legends. Graham still enjoys riding twin shock events.