Daniel Sanders and GasGas ready for Silk Way Rally 2021
Herlings on form at Arnhem International
Dylan Ferrandis tops High Point ProMX
Jalek Swoll tops 250s – Jett Lawrence extends lead
2021 Racing Calendars
2021 Provisional MXGP
2021 Yamaha AORC presented by MXStore
2021 Australian Penrite ProMX
2021 Speedway GP
2021 FIM Hard Enduro World Championship
2021 FIM Cross-Country Rallies
2021 AMA Supercross
2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
2021 Progressive American Flat Track
2021 New Zealand Motocross
2021 New Zealand Cross-Country
2021 New Zealand Enduro
2021 Australian Supercross (provisional)
Mitch Evans to undergo further wrist surgery for complications
Team HRC’s Mitch Evans is set to have another surgery on his left wrist, as his recovery from the injury he sustained at the 2020 MXGP of Spain hasn’t gone as planned. The Australian rider had hoped to be racing at the opening round of the 2021 FIM World Motocross Champion in Russia, but complications have meant his return to action had to be delayed and now the decision has been made to have another surgery back in Australia to completely fix the problem.
“It was a really difficult decision to have to do this surgery, knowing that I’d be missing more racing but I knew that my wrist wasn’t 100% and I wouldn’t be able to compete at the level I wanted until I got it fixed. Now I’m back in Australia getting ready for the surgery and I’ll stay here until I’m ready to return to action, which hopefully won’t be too long. A big thank you to the team for their support and congrats to Tim on an excellent ride in Russia, I can’t wait to be on the gate alongside you! Also, thanks to my fans for their support during this tough period, it feels good that so many people believe in me and I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the races so I can repay everyone’s faith.”
Wil Ruprecht tops EnduroGP opener Day 2
The 2021 BORILLI FIM EnduroGP series got underway in earnest with host city Marco de Canaveses and its surrounding area producing a tough and demanding start to the season. With all eyes on the EnduroGP category, it was Britain’s Joe Wootton (Husqvarna) who was first to top the time sheets by taking the AKRAPOVIC Super Test win on Friday evening.
But rolling out for the first test on Saturday morning, Brad Freeman was quick to get down to business, taking an early lead and posting the fastest time. While Freeman was up to speed, defending EnduroGP champion Steve Holcombe (Beta) was already on the back foot, losing 42 seconds to his rival following a costly mistake.
While Freeman controlled his lead at the front, Holcombe set about regrouping and with each test climbed his way back up the leaderboard. At the midway point of the day, Freeman held a 15-second advantage over Australia’s Will Ruprecht (TM) in second, with Spain’s Josep Garcia (KTM) third.
The afternoon saw Freeman go on to execute a perfect day and claim his first victory of the season. Digging deep, Holcombe worked hard to finally claim the runner-up result, ending his day 35 seconds behind his Beta teammate. In the fight for third, Garcia edged out Ruprecht for the final step of the podium.
In the Enduro1 class it was defending champion Andrea Verona (GASGAS) who set the pace with victory on day one. Davide Guarneri (Fantic) kept himself in touch to finish 25 seconds behind in second, while France’s Christophe Charlier (Beta) held off Davide Soreca (Husqvarna) to prevent an Italian podium lockout.
Already looking like the most fiercely contested category for 2021, Enduro2 was a battle of the titans with Holcombe, Garcia and Ruprecht swapping positions throughout. Ruprecht was the early pace setter, before Garcia worked his way to the front. But with Holcombe charging hard in the latter stages, it was the Beta rider who ultimately took first E2 honours of the year.
“I definitely feel like I rode strong this weekend despite a couple of mistakes. My speed is good at this stage in the series, which is great because it’s going to be a big fight with a lot of riders able to win. Getting stuck in the mud on the very first test on Saturday wasn’t ideal, but having lost so much time, it was good to regroup and get second. The weather made day two a bit of a lottery and it was hard to stay mistake free on every test but racing hard like that against such strong company was still fun. I’m looking forward to Italy next weekend.”
Topping the overall classification, Freeman also went on to comfortably secure the Enduro3 win. Unbeatable, the defending Enduro3 champion swept all 13 tests to win by 92 seconds. The battle for second position was a tighter affair, with Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) holding off Britain’s Danny McCanney (Sherco) for the runner-up result. Jamie McCanney (Husqvarna) made his return to the Borilli FIM EnduroGP series with fourth in Enduro 3, while France’s Antoine Basset (Beta) rounded out the top five.
Making her first Enduro World Championship outing since 2017, Laia Sanz wasted no time in getting up to speed. The GASGAS rider showed straight away that she’s aiming for a sixth Enduro Women world crown. Winning the AKRAPOVIC Super Test, she ended day one with a 50-second margin of victory over defending champion Jane Daniels (Fantic). Behind the leading duo Mireia Badia (GASGAS) took third.
In Enduro Juniors, it was the Italian TM-mounted duo of Lorenzo Macoritto and Matteo Pavoni out front. While Pavoni kept his countryman honest, Macoritto had enough in hand to take the win. Finland’s Roni Kytonen (Honda) joined them on the podium in third.
The Enduro Youth category saw a close battle between Harry Edmondson and Sweden’s Albin Norrbin (Fantic) for the overall win. Neck and neck across the 13 special tests, Edmondson held his teammate off by just six seconds after over 73 minutes of timed racing to seal victory. Making it a Fantic 1-2-3 on day one, Kevin Cristino joined them on the podium in third.
Clearly stepping forward as a serious 2021 EnduroGP title contender, Ruprecht landed his first EnduroGP career win, in what were challenging conditions for all riders in Marco de Canaveses. With a change in weather adding to the difficulty of the special tests, the young Australian kept his cool as he battled with Steve Holcombe (Beta), day one winner Brad Freeman (Beta), and Josep Garcia (KTM) throughout the day.
Topping two of the day’s three Champion Enduro Tests, while limiting his mistakes on the slippery NERVE by JUST1 Extreme Test, the TM rider held on to claim a memorable win. Despite only one second separating the three riders entering the third and final lap, Freeman was unable to keep Ruprecht at bay and had to settle for the runner-up result.
Wil Ruprecht – P1
“It’s awesome to get my first EnduroGP win, I’m so happy with that. Today was a tough day, the tests were so rough after day one. Everyone was on the limit today, pushing for the win. Winning in these conditions, against these riders, it’s crazy. It will take a while for what’s just happened to sink in. It’s been a brilliant weekend and an incredible way to start the season.”
Holcombe, who held the lead with two tests to go, lost out to Ruprecht and Freeman to end his day in third. With mistakes proving costly, Garcia dropped out of contention for a podium result on the final lap to finish fourth. In the fight for fifth, Spain’s Jaume Betriu (KTM) held off Italy’s David Guarneri (Fantic) to complete the top five.
The Enduro2 class once again saw another three-way battle for victory between Ruprecht, Holcombe and Garcia, with Ruprecht this time besting the trio. As the fight for the EnduroGP lead chopped and changed all day, so too did the lead in Enduro2 with Ruprecht finally pulling clear on the final lap to take the win over Holcombe and Garcia. Behind the top three, 2020 FIM Enduro Junior champ Hamish MacDonald (Sherco) took fourth, with Finland’s Eero Remes (TM) fifth.
Josep Garcia – P3
“In the end, day one went okay for me, but it started off really badly – I had a big crash in the cross test but luckily I didn’t hurt myself too much and the bike was ok. I got stuck in the extreme test soon after that and so lost too many seconds to the others. I pushed really hard for the rest of the day and was able to get back some time, but I know I had the pace to do better. The conditions on day two were a lot tougher with every test becoming a lot more slippery. I tried my best again and although I made a few mistakes, I was able to be up near the top of the test times. Things were going really well until the last lap – I was a few seconds behind and knew I had to push. Unfortunately, I had a big crash in the enduro test, which lost me more time and after that I decided to just bring the bike home safely. My results are not too bad, but I’m frustrated at myself for making so many mistakes over the weekend. Next week is another race, so thankfully I’m still healthy, and will try my best to improve.”
While the EnduroGP win just eluded him, Freeman comfortably dominated proceedings in Enduro3 for the second day running. As the fight for the overall victory took him further ahead of his class, the Beta rider topped all-but-one of the day’s special tests, with only the first ACERBIS Cross Test getting away from him. Jaume Betriu secured the runner-up result again on day two, while Sherco’s Daniel McCanney (GB) completed the podium. Enric Francisco (S-Sherco) and Jamie McCanney (GB-Husqvarna) rounded out the top five.
In E1, Davide Guarneri took the Stage 2 win from Stage 1 victor Andrea Verona, with Samuele Bernardini third, ahead of Antoine Magain and Davide Soreca.
Andrea Verona – P2
“I can say that it’s not been the perfect race for me, but I’m pleased with this strong start to my Enduro1 championship. The event was tough, but really good. Day one went pretty well, apart from a big crash in the cross test on the second lap. Overall, I was happy with how I rode and of course it’s always nice to start the championship with a class win. It was a difficult second day for me. I didn’t start too well, I made a lot of mistakes on the first lap. I crashed on the extreme test and lost quite a lot of time there, and then on the enduro test I was one of the first riders onto the test. There was a layer of mud from the overnight rain, which made it really slippery for the earlier riders. So, all in all the opening lap wasn’t great. After that I was able to close the gap to the riders ahead and rode a good final lap. Second in Enduro1 after taking the win on day one, it’s good to make a positive start to the championship. I’m really looking to racing at home, in Italy, next weekend.”
There was a turn of fortune in Enduro Women with Mireia Badia (GASGAS) breaking through for a surprise victory. While many expected day one winner Laia Sanz (GASGAS) to pick things up where she left off, it was not the case. With the weather proving a leveller, Sanz, Badia and Britain’s Jane Daniels (Fantic) enjoyed a titanic fight for victory. In the end, the three were separated by only 14 seconds with Badia taking a two-second margin of victory over Daniels, with Sanz a further 12 seconds behind in third. Justine Martel (KTM) and Rosie Rowett (KTM) completed the top five.
Laia Sanz – P2
“It’s been a good weekend for me in Portugal, and so much fun to be racing in enduro again. After the TrialGP of Italy, I wasn’t too sure what to expect coming here, but I prepared the best I could, and things have gone so well. On day one I was a little sleepy on the first lap, I had a crash on the cross test, but then I started to feel more and more comfortable and finally I enjoyed a comfortable win. Day two was tough. I had two crashes on the cross test and lost a lot of time, around 35 seconds. It was difficult to recover that time. My second lap was better, but it was tough. The conditions were pretty challenging and I wasn’t feeling 100%. It’s been a real enduro – on the special tests and also the time controls, you had to concentrate fully and, yeah, it wasn’t easy. But I’m pleased with my riding.”
In Enduro Junior, it was Matteo Pavoni who rose to the fore. After his runner-up result on day one, the Italian found a little more speed to come out on top. In what proved to be a close battle, he edged out Finland’s Roni Kytonen (Honda) by five seconds for the win. France’s Leo Le Quere (Sherco) held off day one winner Lorenzo Macoritto (TM) for third. Spain’s Sergio Navarro (GASGAS) took fifth.
Sweden’s Albin Norrbin (Fantic) raced his way to the Enduro Youth class win. Finding an extra turn of speed, Norrbin had the measure of his teammate Harry Edmondson (Fantic) on day two to top the podium. Despite a very strong final lap, Edmondson couldn’t reel Norrbin back in and had to settle for second. Making it another clean sweep for Fantic in Enduro Youth, Kevin Cristino was third. Albert Fontova (KTM) and Riccardo Fabris (Fantic) were fourth and fifth respectively.
The 2021 BORILLI FIM EnduroGP World Championship continues with round two, the ACERBIS GP of Italy, in Edolo on June 25-27.
Robinson wins Oklahoma City OKC Mile I
Images by Scott Hunter
Brandon Robinson became the first rider to earn a second Mission SuperTwins victory this AFT season with a clutch performance in Friday evening’s Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile I at Remington Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Robinson controlled the lead and held a gap to second from the first lap onward. However, the nerves required to pull off the victory were considerably greater than that fact might suggest; Robinson was forced to overcome injury, an extremely physical racetrack, and a fast-closing Briar Bauman to emerge victorious in the end.
At one point late in the race, Robinson saw his nearly two-second advantage slashed to around a half-second. Despite that pressure, Robinson regrouped and ultimately stretched it back out to 1.744-seconds by the time he sailed past the checkered flag.
While Robinson certainly did his part by remaining calm, precise, and rapid, Bauman effectively conceded the race in the end after nearly being caught out by the extremely fast yet risky lines he had previously exploited to claw back into contention.
Robinson, meanwhile, continued to make the case that he belongs right alongside reigning Grand National Champion Bauman and multi-time series king Jared Mees when it comes to the current premier-class pecking order. Besides owning more wins than any other rider this season, Robinson also boasts his Chicago Half-Mile fall-to-fourth-place ride that was as impressive as any win, along with three out of five victories in this season’s $5000 Mission Challenge shootouts.
“This might be the most tiring track we go to all year. This was brutal, and with the bummer at Joliet and sustaining a knee injury there, I’ve been on the couch for three weeks. Fitness is huge here, so big thanks to my trainer, Dick Tibbits; he helps me out a lot with everything I’ve been going through with the injury and just trying to be as ready as we can. And a huge thank you to Mission Foods, Roof Systems, HCRR, and my crew chief Ben Evans; they had this thing dialed in from the time we unloaded. I could not be happier to be a part of this program.”
While Mees saw his three-race win streak at the OKC Mile snapped, he did keep alive his perfect podium record at the venue. A poor start pretty much eliminated any chance at victory from the very beginning, but he quickly made up multiple positions to establish himself a clear third.
Jarod Vanderkooi added a fourth-place finish to his back-to-back runner-up results, while Brandon Price overcame Kolby Carlile in their tilt for fifth. ‘Mile Master’ Bryan Smith had earlier been a part of that fight but was forced to pull out at mid-distance. Further back, Bronson Bauman, Robert Pearson, JD Beach and Davis Fisher rounded out the top ten.
After getting off to a bit of a quiet start in 2021, Henry Wiles made plenty of noise on Friday night with a blowout victory in the evening’s AFT Singles Main Event. Wiles was in a class of his own from the start, ripping out to immediate advantage and never looking back en route to a 3.157-second margin of victory.
While Wiles erased all drama for the win before any could settle in, there was still plenty of action to be found in a spirited fight for second. Estenson teammates Dallas Daniels and Mikey Rush diced it up with one another early before being joined in the fray by the always entertaining Morgen Mischler.
Contrasting lines led to a series of tight passes and unpredictable action before Daniels ultimately shook free over the race’s final two laps.
Mischler split Daniels and Rush up in the results to finish third, bringing Rush’s perfect season podium record to an end while allowing Daniels just a bit of space at the top of the championship order.
One of Wiles’ teammates, Trevor Brunner, missed the Main Event after going down in an on-track incident while leading his Semi. The other, Cole Zabala, finished in fifth, winning out in a multi-rider fight for the position with Max Whale and Brandon Kitchen.
“Right from the first practice I knew we had some real good pace. I knew my biggest competition throughout the day was going to be my teammate (Brunner), but unfortunately he got caught up coming out of a corner and had a pretty nasty crash. I hope Trevor is doing well, and hopefully he can get back out here tomorrow and we can race it up at the front. I’m really just stoked. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling. We thought we’d come out swinging from Round 1, and it’s just been a struggle. I’ve got to thank my mechanic and sponsors and all the people that help out this team. They’ve really been busting their butts, and I couldn’t be happier with the result tonight.”
Oklahoma City OKC Mile I – AFT Production Twins
Cory Texter went wire-to-wire to secure his third victory of the still-young AFT Production Twins season. The 2019 class champ took the critically important holeshot and translated it into an unchallenged victory.
While the roost of the Remington Park cushion Mile left his competitors covered in dirt and their number plates virtually unreadable, Texter shone just as bright in red, white, and blue at the checkered flag as he was on the starting line.
“It’s amazing. My plan was to go out and do half the race really hard, set a good pace, and then chill the last few laps and save energy for tomorrow. This is for my dad – it’s been eleven years and I miss him. It’s Father’s Day weekend so this is a tough one for me. So this is for my dad, Randy, and my little boy, Cruise – he makes Father’s Day a lot better than it used to be.”
Ryan Varnes suffered a mechanical DNF moments after moving into second while looking like the only rider with any chance of running down Texter.
That left Cameron Smith, Jeremiah Duffy, and Dan Bromley to sort of the remainder of the podium before Texter. Raising the stakes significantly was the fact that both Smith and Duffy were hoping to come away with their maiden Progressive AFT podiums.
That honor ultimately went to Smith, who raced from Row 2 to second place. Bromley came home just behind in third to complete an all-Pennsylvanian, all-Yamaha podium.
Duffy survived a couple major moments and a near-miss with Bromley to finish fourth, while 2019 AFT Singles champ Dalton Gauthier rounded out the top five.
A disappointed Chad Cose – who entered the weekend second in the points on the strength of a win and two runner-ups – was forced to watch from the fences after suffering a mechanical issue with his machine earlier in the evening.
Aussie Max Whale tops Singles at OKC Mile II
Images by Scott Hunter
American Flat Track legend Jared Mees returned to the top of the podium at Remington Park in an overwhelming show of force in Saturday’s Indian Motorcycle of Oklahoma City OKC Mile II.
It spoke volumes that even when utterly uncomfortable and unsatisfied on the cushion Mile the night before, Mees still managed to finish on the podium. A happier Mees proved substantially better than that in the rematch, sweeping into the lead on the opening lap of the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle Main Event and never looking back.
Mees’ path to victory was made somewhat easier when Friday victor Brandon Robinson was slowed by an ailing clutch in his Semi and was forced to start from the back row of the Main as a result. Despite that start-line handicap, he still managed to power around the outside off the line and slot into fourth position in the early going.
Robinson then overtook Jarod Vanderkooi and Briar Bauman in successive corners and set his sights on race-leader Mees, who was 1.1 seconds up the track.
The best he could do, however, was match Mees’ pace for a stint. And eventually, the multi-time Grand National Champion broke Robinson’s pursuit altogether.
Instead, the Mission Roof Systems ace found himself under assault late by Bauman, who closed on his rear wheel in the race’s late stages. No matter how close Bauman got, however, Robinson was ultimately protected by a heavy roost that blasted the double defending Grand National Champ whenever he thought to attempt a move past into second.
The victory was Mees’ fourth in five attempts at the OKC Mile and his 18th Mile win in all.
“I’m back. Last night, I just wasn’t myself. I rode real tight and tense and my arms got locked up. I just wasn’t myself. I came in today and didn’t make many adjustments to the bike – a couple adjustments to the Öhlins shock – and just let her go. I just charged into the corners harder… I felt so good out there. I have to give a huge shout out to my entire team for backing me.”
Further back, Vanderkooi put together a fourth consecutive top-four result, while Robert Pearson overcame Brandon Price to claim the final spot in the top five. Bronson Bauman, Kolby Carlile, JD Beach, and Davis Fisher completed the top ten.
Oklahoma City OKC Mile II – AFT Singles
Last season’s second- and third-ranked AFT Singles riders went head-to-head over first position in Saturday night’s 450cc thriller; Max Whale and Henry Wiles broke away from the pack from the start and proceeded to engage in a race-long duel for the win.
Friday dominator Wiles appeared to have the upper hand pretty much throughout – at least until Whale stormed in and executed a final-lap slingshot down the back straight. Both riders then desperately searched for traction while negotiating Turns 3 and 4 for the last time, their bikes bucking and weaving the entire way. Wiles came off the final turn just a bit stronger, but not quite strong enough – his attempt to draft back by failing by just 0.054 seconds at the flag.
“Henry passed me on lap 2 or lap 3 and I had his roost every lap from then on in. I was catching him a lot in Turns 1 and 2, but he had me mastered in 3 and 4 all day. I knew if I could pass him, it had to be on the back stretch coming off 1 and 2. I got it done. I made a little mistake in 4 but ended up holding Henry off. I want to give a huge shout out to my team – this is awesome!”
A four-wide dogfight for third featuring Hunter Bauer, Mikey Rush, Dallas Daniels, and Brandon Kitchen was ultimately won by the supremely consistent Daniels on his 18th birthday.
Kitchen finished fourth while quick-study Bauer rounded out the top five in what was the Canadian’s debut Mile weekend. Rush’s sixth was his worst result of 2021 and saw him slip from second to third in the points (102), as he now trails both reigning champ Daniels (112) and 2020 runner-up Whale (102).
Meanwhile, Trevor Brunner finished a rather remarkable seventh after somehow escaping both concussion and broken bones in his terrifying Friday fall.
Oklahoma City OKC Mile II – AFT Production Twins
Cory Texter assumed full control of the AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship fight with a third consecutive class win. Unlike Friday night’s blowout, Texter had to fight it out to claim the checkered flag on Saturday. Early on, he appeared in danger of watching Chad Cose run off at the front.
Powered by pent-up aggression after sitting out Friday night with a broken bike, Cose utilized an almost comically high line to overhaul Texter on a borrowed XG750R.
That line gradually went away from Cose, however, and the steady speed of Texter brought him back into contention. After a bit of back and forth, Texter retook the lead and shook free, seemingly destined to walk away to a fourth win in six races.
And that win ultimately came, but not until after surviving a late-race scrap with a charging Dalton Gauthier, who actually drafted into the lead with one minute remaining on the clock. Texter immediately countered Gauthier’s move and eked out enough of a gap to prevent a second offensive en route to a 1.594-second margin of victory.
“I’ve been through it all – I’ve won and lost – so I’ve been battle tested. Chad had incredible speed today, but I knew if I could keep him close I could find something there toward the end. But he was haulin’ – I didn’t think I’d pull this one off today. And Dalton – that’s the kind of Dalton that I know. He brought it. I didn’t know anyone was behind me, and I thought I heard a bike so I glanced over and there he was! I kicked it up another gear. It feels great. To do this on Father’s Day weekend is incredible for me as a father.”
Cose narrowly held on to the final spot on the box, edging Dan Bromley by 0.295 seconds. Veteran racer Patrick Buchanan completed the top five, finishing just over a half-second in front of Friday night’s maiden podium finisher, Cameron Smith.
Meanwhile, the luckless Ryan Varnes – who suffered a mechanical DNF while in contention for Friday night’s win – was struck down by misfortune yet again on Saturday. This time around, Varnes was forced to retire prior to the start due to another bike issue after having earned the pole position.
In 2021 Montova, Italy will play host to the year’s edition of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations (MXoN). Commencing on 26th September, Motorcycling Australia (MA) has called for all interested competitors to submit their applications to join Team Australia.
There are three classes available for riders to nominate for: MX1, MX2 and Open. Riders are advised that they can nominate for more than one class. Applications must be submitted by no later than COB Friday 16th July.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team have confirmed that reigning 450MX Champion Zach Osborne will miss the remainder of the 2021 AMA Pro Motocross Championship in order to fully recover from an ongoing back injury.
Osborne, who sustained the back injury mid-way through the 2021 AMA Supercross Championship, worked hard to get himself ready for the opening round of the outdoor season but he unfortunately re-injured himself at the second round in Colorado. Upon further review with the team, Osborne made the tough decision to sit out the rest of the season to fully recover for 2022.
“I’m bummed to say the least. This injury has been a big setback with no clear path to 100% but I feel I’m on a good path now and I just need to give my body the time to heal itself. Myself, along with the team, made the decision to pull the plug and be ready for 2022. It was a tough decision in an already-trying year but I believe I can be back to 2020 form with this time away to heal up. Thanks to my team and fans for the support through this!”
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team will return to racing this Saturday, June 19 in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania.
Sherco hotshot Jonte Reynders has completed an ideal build-up for the 2021 Hattah Desert Race by dominating the latest round of the Tasmanian enduro series at Bakers Beach, north-east of Launceston, on July 19.
The 24-year-old was a class above on his Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team 300 SE Factory two-stroke, easily winning the three-hour event ahead of great rivals Kyron Bacon and Seton Broomhall – even after an extra fuel stop!
“I’m rapt with the result on a circuit that was quite difficult, but I made it a little hard for myself – just when I had a decent lead I made a silly mistake of refuelling when I didn’t need to. So I topped up the 300 Factory three times instead of two, which obviously cost me a fair bit of time. But I was able to regroup and take a strong win to extend my lead in the series.”
Five rounds remain in the state title, but Reynders’ focus will now switch to the mainland for the Hattah Desert from July 2-4 where he will be one of the favourites in the open two-stroke class.
He’ll have some exalted guest company in the Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team: Ben Grabham – fresh from his two-stroke-winning heroics at the 2021 Finke Desert Race – on a 450 SEF Factory and Justin Carafa on a 500 SEF Factory.
Nathan Trigg, who lives just up the road from the Hattah epicentre at Ouyen, will also be looking to bounce back from his knee-twisting prologue crash at Finke, which put him out of the main game. Trigg rides a Mallee Motorcycles-backed 450 SEF Factory.
The circuit is 37km long, with the senior riders to complete eight laps.
Daniel Sanders and GasGas ready for Silk Way Rally 2021
The 11th edition of the Silk Way Rally will get underway in less than one month. Setting off from Omsk (Russia), the second town of the Urals, on 1 July, the race will feature 10 varied and technical stages. Crossing Siberia before traversing Mongolia from West to East, the event passes through the famous Gobi Desert before reaching Ulaanbaatar on 11 July.
A total of 5250 km, of which more than 2850 are against the clock, offering the perfect mix of technical difficulty, variety and scenic beauty. From the Altai Mountains to the capital of Mongolia via the Gobi Desert and the endless Mongolian steppes, the 2021 edition of the Silk Way Rally will be quite simply exceptional.
Two years after Sam Sunderland (KTM) in the bikes, who will be the new white tigers to go down in the Silk Way Rally history books at the end of this incredible journey in the land of Genghis Khan?
For its second edition with a bike category, the Silk Way Rally 2021 has once again attracted the major factory teams on what is one of the highlights of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. This second round will benefit from a 1.5 coefficient thanks to its status as a marathon event with over six days of racing.
The titleholder, the British rider Sam Sunderland, Dakar winner in 2017, will defend the colours of Red Bull Ktm Factory Racing alongside his Austrian teammate Matthias Walkner.
Their sister team Rockstar Husqvarna Factory Racing will enter the Argentinian Luciano Benavides and their latest recruit, the American Skyler Howes, one of the revelations of the last Dakar.
Another rider to make a splash in Saudi Arabia with his fourth place, the Australian Daniel Sanders will have the honour of flying the flag for GasGas Factory Racing.
Over at the Monster Yamaha Rallye Team, the Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren will be accompanied by another recent revelation, the Botswanan Ross Branch and ex-Supercross Champion, the American Andrew Short.
The Hero Motorsports team will be pinning their hopes on an eclectic trio of Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodriguez, the Argentinian Franco Caimi and the young German Sebastian Bühler.
The quad category is also back on this 11th Silk Way Rally and promises us a splendid duel between the ever young, five times world champion and ex-Dakar winner, the Pole Rafal Sonic and the Russian Alexander Maksimov, both riding Yamaha Raptor 700s.
Herlings on form at Arnhem International
Jeffrey Herlings took the two moto wins over the weekend at the Arnhem International in Holland to claim the overall from Brian Bogers and Max Nagle, with Cyril Genot finishing fourth overall, just over the podium.
The event served as training for Herlings, between GP events, who admits he’s still working on his starts, with an aim to do better than in Russia.
“I really enjoyed myself and it was a good training for the GP. Starts have to be better, but I can get a podium, and I will try and do better than I did in Russia.”
Herlings brought home 40-championship points in the MXGP opener last weekend, after finishing 4-2, and sits second overall in the standings, behind Tim Gajser, who won both races.
Dylan Ferrandis tops High Point ProMX
Images by Jeff Kardas
Following its first break of the 2021 season the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returned to action with its East Coast debut from legendary High Point Raceway. The third round of the summer campaign marked the sport’s return to the famed Pennsylvania venue for the first time since 2019 with the GEICO Motorcycle High Point National, where the threat of rain loomed over the afternoon but never really materialised.
In the 450 Class a hard-fought, consistent afternoon was enough to put Dylan Ferrandis atop the podium for the second time this season. In the 250 Class, Jalek Swoll extended the parity in the division and broke through with his first professional victory as Jett Lawrence increased his lead in the 250 Championship.
Light precipitation was present when the gate dropped on the opening 450 Class moto, where Adam Cianciarulo prevailed with the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Chase Sexton and Christian Craig, who soon gave up the position to Ken Roczen, the championship leader. As Cianciarulo sprinted out to an early lead the Honda teammates engaged in a battle for second place.
As the moto surpassed the 10-minute mark, the lead trio solidified their hold on those positions as Ferrandis gave chase from fourth. As the minutes continued to tick away the distance between the top three continued to shrink. Sexton soon closed in to within a couple bike lengths of Cianciarulo, but a mistake by Sexton not only caused the Honda rider to lose some ground, it forced Roczen into a mistake when he briefly went down and gave up third to Ferrandis.
With the threat defended, Cianciarulo gradually built a multi-second advantage over Sexton, who in turn built a comfortable margin over Ferrandis. As time ran out on the moto clock with just over three laps to go, Sexton tucked the front of his Honda and went down. As he looked to remount, both Ferrandis and Roczen were able to get by, which placed Sexton in fourth when he resumed.
Out front, Cianciarulo looked to close out his first moto win of the season with ease but was dealt with one last obstacle as a slower rider went down exiting the final corner. With nowhere to go, Cianciarulo ran over the downed motorcycle and fell over.
He kept his Kawasaki running, got up, and pushed his bike across the finish line to win in unconventional fashion. Ferrandis followed five seconds behind in second as Roczen rounded out the podium in third. Sexton recovered to finish fourth as Aaron Plessinger completed the top five.
450 Moto 2
The deciding 450 Class moto kicked off as Justin Barcia emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot out of a gaggle of bikes. He was quickly passed by Plessinger for the early lead, while Eli Tomac and Cianciarulo followed through.
Cianciarulo put the hammer down and made an aggressive push that carried him all the way around Plessinger and into the lead. He continued to ramp up the pace and established a multi-second advantage after just two laps. Behind him, Tomac’s first opportunity to run at the front of the field in 2021 saw him surge around Plessinger into second to put the Kawasaki riders at the top of the running order.
As the battle up front took shape the class’ title contenders made moves as well, as Ferrandis worked his way from fourth and Roczen from sixth. Both riders were urgent in their push and successfully moved into third and fourth, respectively. By the time they finished their early charge, the Kawasaki teammates were more than five seconds ahead. From there, Ferrandis and Roczen went head-to-head for third and traded the position before Ferrandis got the upper hand and asserted control of the spot.
Up front, Tomac closed onto Cianciarulo’s rear fender and a battle for the lead ensued. Tomac was able to get by, but Cianciarulo fought back and reclaimed the position. However, Tomac didn’t give up and kept the pressure on. The two came together, which pushed Cianciarulo out of a rut and allowed Tomac to move into the lead for the first time this season.
Once out front Tomac started to build an advantage over his teammate and was soon in control of the moto. As the moto surpassed the 20-minute mark Cianciarulo found himself under pressure from Ferrandis and Roczen in third and fourth. All three riders then duked it out for second and used every inch of the track in search of an advantage.
As the crowd cheered them on, both Ferrandis and Roczen bullied their way around Cianciarulo, who dropped from second to fourth. That thrilling sequence also changed the battle in the overall classification, as Ferrandis moved into control of the afternoon.
For Tomac it was a dominant ride indicative of his three-year championship run. He stormed to his first moto win of the season by 3.2 seconds over Ferrandis, who was able to fend off Roczen for the entirety of the moto.
Although he missed out on a moto win, Ferrandis’ consistency was enough to vault him to the second overall victory of the season and his career via 2-2 moto finishes. Cianciarulo’s drop off the podium in the final moto relegated him to the runner-up spot by a single point (1-4), while Tomac made his first appearance on the podium this summer in third (6-1), which bumped Roczen (3-3) off the podium via tie-breaker.
Dylan Ferrandis – P1
“What a race. I don’t know (what to say), I got a good start and was able to get by Ken (Roczen), which was good because he was so fast today. It was a war (after that). Ken kept pushing me and we were able to come to Adam (Cianciarulo). It was crazy how competitive it was with them. We were going so fast and the track was so difficult. It’s just amazing to get a win here today and get a hold of the red plate again.”
Adam Cianciarulo – P2
“It sure feels good to get that first moto win under my belt. I thought I had a decent sized gap in the second moto, but Eli was flying and caught me a bit off-guard. Fair play to him and the others, they rode amazing. I’m stoked with how awesome my bike has been feeling lately. I honestly believe with a little more endurance, I can be a regular winner this season. Thanks to everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki for giving me a great bike to ride and always supporting me. We have another break coming up, but I’m ready to build off of this and get back to racing.”
Eli Tomac – P3
“This was a big one for us. I’ve been in a bit of slump these last two races, so to get a win and feel like myself on the bike again is huge. After I got off the gate in Moto 2 and saw I had a good jump, I knew it was going to be a good moto. I was able to catch Adam rather quickly and once I was in the clean air, I rode my own race and started pulling away. This was an exciting race, and I can’t wait to keep this momentum rolling into RedBud. Thanks again to the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki squad for all the hard work this weekend.”
Ken Roczen – P4
“Today started off really good. I felt comfortable on the track, but we had a slightly different bike setup so in the first moto it really beat me up. I wasn’t that comfortable out there so I really couldn’t do that much. I still rode okay, but it wasn’t the best and I ended up third. In the second moto I was pinched off and had a really bad start. We did some adjustments to the bike that helped me out and I charged forward hard in the first half of the race and ended up having a good battle with Dylan [Ferrandis]. I ended up with another third place for fourth overall, which is kind of weird, but in the end, I’m okay with it because we rode really well and charged hard. That’s all we can do.”
Aaron Plessinger – P6
“This weekend had some ups and downs. I was really happy with my riding in the first moto. I got a really bad start but had a really good flow going and came back to fifth place. I went into the second moto really confident and got an awesome start, but I couldn’t really find that flow that I had in the first moto, and I dropped back to eighth. The track was really tough. There were some spots that were dry and some spots that were soft. So it was definitely weird, but we have a weekend off and will get back to work and get ready for RedBud!”
Justin Barcia – P7
“It was a little bit of a tough day. I just didn’t jive with the track that much and I never felt super comfortable. I think we’ll go back to California and work on a few things and try to be a lot better for RedBud in two weeks. All we can do is keep level-headed and be better for the next race.”
Marvin Musquin – P8
“In the first moto, the start was decent but the riding was not good enough and the feeling was not good enough so we decided to go back to some old settings on the shock and it shows, it was definitely better in the second moto. I didn’t get a good start but I was able to fight back, attack and race hard to come back to seventh place, so that was a lot better. Overall, I’m obviously not happy because we’ve been working hard and it didn’t pay off for this weekend, so we need to keep going.”
Cooper Webb – P10
“It was a bit of a struggle today. I felt like I put up a good fight in the first moto and ended up seventh. In the second moto, I got tangled on the start and I ended up crashing three times coming through the pack, so that was pretty unfortunate. Now we’ve got a weekend off and all we can do is try to improve.”
Christian Craig – P11
“I didn’t have the best day at High Point. I seemed to struggle to find good lines and had a couple of crashes, but I was able to get through with some points. We’re going to go back to work and look forward to a better RedBud.”
With the win Ferrandis also reclaimed control of the red plate as 450 Class point leader for the second time this season. He currently has a slim three-point advantage over Roczen, while Plessinger, who finished sixth on the afternoon (5-8) maintained his hold on third, 30 points out of the lead.
Jalek Swoll tops 250s – Jett Lawrence extends lead
250 Moto 1
The first 250 Class moto of the day began with some light rain as Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence started at the head of the pack with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed by Swoll. The pair battled for the top spot throughout the opening lap, which allowed them to pull away from Justin Cooper in third.
As they navigated down one of the track’s deep downhill sections Lawrence carried too much speed, pushed off the track and crashed, which dropped him to the tail end of the field. That moved Swoll into the lead, Cooper into second, and RJ Hampshire into third.
The top three sat within two seconds of one another as Hampshire started to push the pace from third. The Husqvarna rider methodically worked his way around Cooper for second and set his sights on his teammate out front. Swoll fended off several pass attempts, but Hampshire never relented and fought his way into the top spot.
Behind them, Cooper tipped over and lost two positions, which moved Colt Nichols into third and Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence, the point leader, into fourth.
The top three comfortably settled into their positions, each separated by multiple seconds, which appeared to put Hampshire on a path to his first moto win of the season. With a lead of nearly 10 seconds and less than five minutes left in the moto, the chain on Hampshire’s motorcycle broke and brought his race to an abrupt, heartbreaking conclusion.
Swoll assumed the lead with less than three minutes to go in the 30-minutes-plus-two-laps moto and carried on to secure the first moto win of his career, 3.1 seconds ahead of Nichols in second, who equaled his best career moto result. Lawrence followed in third, with Jo Shimoda fourth and Cooper in fifth.
250 Moto 2
The final 250 Class moto of the afternoon began with Nichols out front with his first MotoSport.com Holeshot of the season, just ahead of Cooper, Swoll, and the Lawrence brothers. Cooper went on the attack early and got by his teammate to seize control of the lead as Swoll also pressured Nichols and moved into second just before the completion of the opening lap.
The clear track worked into Cooper’s favor as he established a multi-second margin in the early laps and managed the advantage. Behind him, the fight continued as Jett Lawrence marched his way forward. The Australian rider worked his way around Nichols for third and kept his head down in pursuit of Swoll. Soon enough the battle for second heated up as Swoll and Lawrence swapped spots several times before Lawrence finally got the upper hand.
Cooper never looked back and dominated the entire way to earn his first moto win of the season, one round after he relied on a pair of runner-up finishes to lock up his first overall victory of the summer. He took the checkered flag 4.3 seconds ahead of Lawrence in second, while Swoll capped off his breakthrough afternoon in third.
By virtue of his 1-3 finishes Swoll became the third different overall winner through three rounds in the 250 Class and also became the 87th different rider to earn a victory in the history of the division. It also signified the first podium finish for the Florida rider, whose career best result was seventh at the previous round.
Jalek Swoll – P1
“We had someone on our team pass away earlier this week, so to honor him with this (win) feels amazing. To get a win here in front of all these fans is incredible. My tongue was in the spokes, I was so tired, but I dug deep. I knew I could do this (win). We’ve put in so much work to have the opportunity to be here. I’m at a loss for words right now.”
Lawrence kept his stellar start to the season rolling with a third straight top-two finish in second (3-2), while Cooper wrapped up his third consecutive overall podium result in third (5-1).
With his finish ahead of Cooper in the overall classification Lawrence also added one point to his lead in the 250 Class standings, which currently sits at 11 points. Hunter Lawrence moved into third after an eighth-place finish (8-11) and currently sits 42 points out of the lead.
Jett Lawrence – P2
“Today’s first moto wasn’t too bad. I was a little disappointed in myself because I made a little ‘boo-boo’ with my goggles. I thought I only had about two or three tear-offs over my roll-offs, but I ended up having seven. My vision was blurry until I figured it out and pulled some more of them off. I was able to make my way through and got pretty lucky with a few guys crashing out and ended up getting third, which is really good for one of my bad races. In the second moto I got a better start and made my way to second. I had a few goes at the leader, but was kind of in no-man’s land. It was too much to try and put an attack on, but I had heaps of room behind me, so I ended up playing it safe and gained one point this weekend, which is always good. I’m trying to make gains, so overall it was a good weekend for me in my eyes, for not having such a great day of riding. Hopefully we can just carry this onto RedBud, get a few wins and keep this train going.”
Justin Cooper – P3
“The day was really good overall. I had a small mistake in Moto 1, a tipover that just kind of took the wind out of my sails. In the second moto, I got out front early and rode aggressively to pull a good lead and then managed it from there. I enjoyed the track and had a good time racing my dirt bike today. We’re feeling good going into the break.”
Colt Nichols – P4
“We made some progress at High Point, so I can’t complain about that. I got some good starts and put myself in better positions, but I just didn’t ride and execute how I wanted to in that second moto. My bike was great, and honestly, the conditions were good, but the track is just really tough to ride when you don’t have a flow, and that was my Moto 2.”
Austin Forkner – P6
“I definitely made life hard on myself with the poor start in Moto 1 but I’m happy with the way I rode. I’m getting better and better each week; I just need to keep working hard so I can be up there battling for podiums like I know I should be. I plan on practicing starts during this off weekend and coming in better prepared for RedBud. Thank you to all the fans that showed up today, hearing you cheer was awesome, and to the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for all the hard work.”
Hunter Lawrence – P8
“Today was one of those days. Everything started off really good, except for the first-lap crashes in both motos! Starts were great, I was riding well and qualified second. I was up front in the first moto after getting the holeshot. I battled with Jalek [Swoll] in the first lap, but unfortunately, I gained a little too much speed downhill and crashed, putting me way back. My crashes ruined my overall results for the day, ending up eighth, but we’ll regroup and get ready for RedBud.”
Jo Shimoda – P11
“I’m a bit disappointed in today. I was riding well all day and after a solid Moto 1 result, I was really excited to get out there and perform during Moto 2. I never like to leave a race early, especially if it’s out of my control but the bike was too beaten up after the crash at the beginning of the second moto, so we all decided it was best to set our focus on the next round. I’ll be back stronger and ready for redemption at RedBud.”
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will take a break before a return to action on July 3 with the Twisted Tea RedBud National and American motocross’ Independence Day tradition.
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