The Lierop Legend
By Geoff Meyer | 28 Aug 2012
The Lierop circuit in the south of Holland has seen many great races in its somewhat short history. I remember my first visit to Lierop some 16 years ago in 1996. It was the day Dutchman Leon Giesbers took home the 500cc Grand Prix ahead of Joel Smets.
It was the shock of the season and Giesbers on a CHAMP KTM machine showed just how good Dutch riders are in the sand.
Lierop appeared on the 500cc calendar on more occasions, but it was that 1996 version that started the magic of Lierop with Grand Prix Motocross. A year later three times World 125cc Champion Alessio Chiodi won the 125cc Grand Prix at Lierop, having had the 125cc GP run in places like Mill, Valkenswaard and Oss, Lierop got it's chance in 1997 and everyone was excited about this circuit’s future.
While the Valkenswaard circuit was known as THE place for the Grand Prix of Netherlands, Lierop started running more and more GP's and by the middle of the new millennium both Valkenswaard and Lierop were level pegging as the best GP circuit in the country.
The 2004 Motocross of Nations was a class event and one that saw local boy Marc De Reuver battle the greatest Stefan Everts in the sand. De Reuver also helped The Netherlands to second place overall behind Belgium.
A year later Antonio Cairoli won would win his first ever World Motocross Championship, raising his arms in celebration, as the Dutch fans embraced this fresh young face into the World scene.
Marc De Reuver would return in 2008 and win the Grand Prix of Netherlands, again at his beloved Lierop. De Reuver who has come back from a serious back injury looked at home in the deep sand and added to his 2004 success at the white sand circuit.
"I have always loved Lierop," De Reuver said once. "It is a circuit that I can really enjoy, the crowd is massive. I know I have had races there when my form wasn't good and people were disappointed, but in 2004 and in 2008 I felt on it, and I was so excited to be involved in those two events. Your home race is always special, and Lierop or Valkenswaard gives me a lot of energy."
The love affair with the sand and the Dutch riders continued up until this season when Jeffrey Herlings will arrive at Lierop with the intention of increasing his FIM World MX2 Championship lead. Herlings will love nothing more than turning the tables on rival Tommy Searle who took victory at his home Grand Prix last week.
Lierop Major events
1996 Grand Prix 500cc
1997 Grand Prix 125cc
1998 Grand Prix Sidecars
1999 Grand Prix 500cc
2000 Grand Prix Sidecars
2001 Triple Grand Prix
2002 European Championship 125cc
2003 Triple Grand Prix
2004 Motocross of Nations
2005 Grand Prix of The Netherlands
2006 Grand Prix of The Netherlands
2007 Grand Prix of The Netherlands
2008 Grand Prix of Benelux
2009 Grand Prix of Netherlands
2010 Grand Prix of Benelux
Read the next news: Jeffrey Herlings charging to the Championship (28 Aug 2012)
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