photo: Antti Hahl


Published on 14.5.2012 11:47


Before the AP24TEAM members Pyrhönen and Söderberg made the trip to round three of the MX3 World Championship in Bulgaria there was work to do in the 4 weeks break between this race and the previous one in France.

“We needed to put more race time on hard tracks to prepare ourselves for the third round in Bulgaria,” it sounded from both Sinisalo guy’s mouth.

Antti has been there twice so he knows exactly what to expect. “Troyan is hard and can be dusty, I never felt confident in 2009 when I raced there. Last year we had better conditions, I did a lot better in 2011 and was fighting for second place during a long time. A couple of my competitors for top scores are specialized on really hard and fast tracks like this, same as we Finns are more used to deep sand tracks.”

Ludde did more hard track training than Antti, simple because the older of the two got the flu and was sidelined for at least two weeks.

“During these 5 weeks we have 4 MX3 races, this is an important series where we try to give everything that we have. I cannot say it will decide the championship but to stay in the competition for the top position it is important to hang in there in every of the 8 motos.”

“The flu really had me in her grip and I lost time and training, luckily I know what I have to do and I have visited most tracks,” said Antti before flying out of Finland.  Team mate Ludde Söderberg took the ferry for the long trip.

“Everything is good with me,” said Ludde. “I have been training on hard tracks in Finland and also tested some new suspension settings and everything feels all right. I still know I can get even better but at least I have more hard-track hours under my belt than I did in France. I also did a Finnish championship MX1 race on my home track Vantaa, where I was second in both heats. I would have really liked to win that race, but at least I got two solid heats and some good training.”

And he adds: “Bulgaria is going to be a tough race, and I hope to get a good race with a result that I can be happy with.”


Big showers in the morning turned the Troyan circuit into a muddy pool for free practise, luckily in the afternoon the sun came out to help create ideal track conditions for the free and the qualifying practice. Czech rider Martin Michek on his KTM became the fastest man on the track to score his first pole position in the MX3 World Championship.

“Michek had some freak incidents in Holland and scored no points there but Martin is the number one danger man for the title, he is really fast on these kind of tracks,” said Antti.

Antti with another three guys were fighting for the fourth position at Sunday’s start gate. Closest rider to Antti after France, German Günter Schmidinger, crossed finish line in fifth place. The MX3 leader after France, Austrian Matthias Walkner, finished just outside a top ten score on Saturday in Bulgaria but most important for all riders is a good start on Sunday.

Antti: “Under the circumstances it’s okay in fourth place as conditions were difficult with a muddy track in free practise and one fast race line in the qualification when the sun dried the track. The difference between the top riders was small.”

His team mate Ludde scored a very acceptable eight place and he was happy with his progress. “It was a good day even though the track was a bit tricky in the morning. Eight place in qualifications is where I want to be. The bike feels good now that we put in new suspension settings that we sorted out while training and testing in Finland. I am really happy that I begin to feel more comfortable on the hard tracks. The training in Finland paid off, tomorrow I want to do two solid top ten finishes.”  

Czech Sinisalo rider Petr Bartos took a firm ninth position in qualification.

Qualifying Practice results – 1. Martin Michek (CZE, KTM), 1:43.704;
2. Matevz Irt (SLO, Suzuki), +0:00.261; 3. Michael Staufer (AUT, KTM), +0:00.682;  4. Antti Pyrhönen (FIN, Honda), +0:01.007;  5. Günter Schmidinger (AUT, Honda), +0:01.151; 6. Gercar Klemen (SLO, Honda), +0:01.213; 7. Ceriel Klein Kromhof (NED, Honda), +0:01.226; 8. Ludde Söderberg (FIN, Honda), +0:02.399; 9. Petr Bartos (CZE, KTM), +0:02.704; 10. Lukasz Lonka (POL, Honda), +0:02.901


The first moto became a good scrap between the guys who are the experts on such hard terrain. Antti was suffering a bit from his long time away from the bike and weakened conditions due to the flu. As this was the first MX3 without any wildcard riders from MX1 it now becomes clear who the guys are we can expect in the hunt for the 2012 MX3 World title.

Having been practicing at his home track and only a bit on hard, it was no surprise that Antti lost a bit of momentum and it bothered him in the first moto.  “I got tired in my arms and could not push until the end, that is why I finished sixth.”

After his zero points score in France it was good to see Ludde Söderberg back in the World Championship points and better than that, in the top ten.

“My start was not so good but I did a satisfying race. It is very difficult to pass on this fast track so I am happy with tenth place. On the last lap I did an attack on the guy in front for ninth but I could not make it stick. It was a competitive first race.”

The rider in front was Petr Bartos who proved he grows into the MX3 races.

In the second race Antti did a touch better with fifth place while Ludde dropped just out of the top 10 score

Antti: “The second moto was a bit better and became a furious battle for fifth place which was one position better. I could feel the effect of the four weeks and my sickness but it will get better next race I hope. Young Schmidinger passed me in the points and Michek is closing in so we need to get back to the target which is podium places every round.”

Ludde: “This second start I did better but made a small mistake at the beginning and had a quick crash. Passing was risky on this track and the flying mud made racing painful. I’m happy with my results, I have started to climb the Championship list and will climb more and more race by race. The bike felt great the whole weekend. We now move to Italy for more training on hard and then next race soon at Arco near Lake Garda in the north.”

Petr Bartos took a very welcome eight place, he is now 15th on the MX3 list. Swedish Sinisalo rider Tom Söderström was not able to race still suffering from his broken fingers.


Moto One:  1. Klemen; 2. Irt; 3. Staufer; 4. Michek; 5. Walkner;
6. PYRHÖNEN; 7. Schmidinger; 8. Lonka; 9. Bartos; 10. SÖDERBERG

Moto Two: 1. Michek; 2. Schmidinger; 3. Klein Kromhof; 4. Walkner;
5. PYRHÖNEN; 6. Klemen; 7. Irt; 8. Bartos; 9. Michalek; 10. Staufer;

MX3 Championship Classification: 1. Matthias Walkner, 95 points; 2. Schmidinger, 88;  3. ANTTI PYRHÖNEN, 87;  4. Michek, 74; 5. Klemen, 73; 6. Lonka, 72; 7. Staufer, 53;  8. Klein Kromhof, 49; 9. Soubeyras, 47; 10.  Wouts, 47; 15. Petr Bartos, 40;  21. LUDDE SÖDERBERG, 28