Febvre and Herlings conquer Valkenswaard sand

Racing in the sand is a test on its own and with the addition of extreme weather conditions such a gusting winds, and heavy down pours of rain, a race which already demands a lot in terms of mental and physical strength is taken to the extreme. These factors made for some of the best racing in the world here at the third round of the FIM Motocross World Championship with the ruthless circuit of Valkenswaard proving to be a challenge that was capable of breaking both bikes and hearts while establishing legends such as the grand prix winners Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings.

The first ever grand prix to take place in Valkenswaard was back in 1991. Back then the track used to be way softer and wavier, everything you would expect from a ‘sand’ circuit. Nowadays, the historic track has packed down which makes for massive braking bumps and sharp acceleration bumps while still maintaining wave section like corners. Horrendous down pours of rain throughout the weekend saturated the sand, which softened it up slightly but nevertheless the terrain remained brutal.

MXGP Start - Valkenswaard
MXGP Start – Valkenswaard

The defending MXGP world champion Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre proved exactly why he is the holder of the crown when he won the MXGP of Europe with an epic race win in the final race of the day where he caught and passed the eight time FIM Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli. “I couldn’t find my rhythm in the first race” Febvre explained, “I crashed and I couldn’t find my lines. I was really disappointed and angry so before the second race I was hungry, I wanted to win.”

Despite a few errors in the first race, Febvre went 3 – 1 for the grand prix overall and now leads the MXGP championship by thirteen points over Honda Gariboldi’s rookie bombshell Tim Gajser.

Romain Febvre
Romain Febvre
Romain Febvre

“The race was tough and in the first moto I never really found my rhythm. The sand here is very wet, very compact and very tricky, and each lap was different with a lot of bumps and not a lot of lines. I had a small crash in the second moto and lost some time but no positions, and then I found the missing rhythm and tried to race to the finish for the lead. In the last lap I found Cairoli ahead of me and did everything I could to pass him and take the victory.”

After a slow start to the season Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl went back to the drawing board during the two-week break. He did his homework and turned it in this weekend where he passed with flying colors. The German took his first Qualifying Race win of the season yesterday, which was a good sign he had turned his ship around, and turned it into a second place finish here at the MXGP of Europe, to stand on the podium for the first time since May last year.

Max Nagl
MXGP Start - Valkenswaard - Max Nagl
MXGP Start – Valkenswaard – Max Nagl

“We had a really positive weekend and we managed to step it up to the next level. My riding was good on both days despite the rain making the track slippery and difficult. In the first heat I was fighting for third place for a long time but managed to make some passes and end up second. Then in the second heat I had a bad start putting myself in 15th position. I don’t know what happened. I really wanted to be on the overall podium, for myself and for the team, so I kept pushing hard until the end of that second race. I’m really happy I ended on the podium. If I could get another good start in moto two, I’m sure I could have fought for the overall win. We take all the positive things and move on. I’m feeling good on the bike and the track in the following round in Argentina is one of my favourites.”

Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser was nothing short of impressive this weekend. In race one, he had everyone wide eyed as he gave the cream of MXGP a riding lesson around a track he hasn’t had a lot of success at, while his undoing was in Race Two where he had the grand prix victory in the palm of his hand for more than half of the race but appeared to be at war with his bike which he confirmed in the post race interview. “I had a problem with my bike in the last race where it kept stopping, I stalled it twice but it actually wasn’t my fault. I haven’t been back to the paddock to know what the problem is yet, but anyway I am happy to be back on the podium, especially in the sand because it’s not actually my favorite dirt.”

Kevin Strijbos lost a lot of time and many positions on the first lap in the opening moto due to a small problem with his goggles, Strijbos started an impressive trawl back through the field and hit almost every mark on a swampy and slow layout that rewarded technical precision to work his way up to sixth.  In the second moto Strijbos was hampered by a poor start and couldn’t quite get the same rhythm on a terrain that was drier and faster. He trailed Evgeny Bobryshev for most of the 30-minute and two-lap distance and was suitably aggressive in the closing stages to overtake the Russian as well as Glenn Coldenhoff to earn fifth place.

Kevin Strijbos
Kevin Strijbos
Kevin Strijbos

“I was happy with my riding. In the first moto I had a decent start but I had a problem with my tear-off because it cracked and I had to ride almost half a lap slowly before I could clear it and see properly. I was way-back and came from outside of the top-20 to sixth, which I was quite happy about. The track was really difficult with all the rain and that was good for me because I like those slow, technical kind of tracks. I didn’t have any arm-pump because you had to be precise on the bike and couldn’t gas it. I was feeling good for the second moto but my start was bad – I was happier with the first race performance! In the second I was stuck behind Bobby [Evgeny Bobryshev] and couldn’t catch him on the straight. Overall it was a decent weekend and a lot better than Qatar and Thailand. We will try to work some more for Argentina. We have changed a lot but there is still room for improvement. Everybody has worked hard and I want to thank the team for listening to us, and for all their effort. I think we can be positive – perhaps we should have had the podium – but I feel quite happy.”

Valkenswaard was a difficult weekend for Ben Townley. The former World Champion came to Holland and made the short trip across the border from the team’s workshop in Lommel suffering the after-effects of a virus that left him drained and lethargic. The New Zealander could barely throw a leg over his bike on Sunday and persevered to a creditable 14th in the first moto. After consulting the team during the short break, ‘BT’ attempted the second race but pulled off the track at mid-distance without the strength to continue.

Ben Townley
Ben Townley
Ben Townley

“Just to give my best today was the plan. The illness side had gone but energy side from being in bed for four days was on the empty mark. The little I had in the tank I used up today. It was a shame but I have never experienced anything like it. I couldn’t feel my muscles and was just absolutely ruined; I feel like I have run two marathons today! Overall it was bad timing; this thing struck me on Tuesday and I was still in bed on Saturday morning. I know I will get over this in the next few days and will have to think about Argentina.”

Stefan Everts – General Manager Suzuki World MXGP
Suzuki MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales dropped into the MXGP tent and is seen here with Stefan Everts
Suzuki MotoGP rider Maverick Vinales dropped into the MXGP tent and is seen here with Stefan Everts

“We have been testing a lot these last weeks and we made some improvements on the bike and we could see the progress already yesterday. Kevin complained about arm-pump yesterday but made a fantastic first moto today. He had a bit of bad luck with his tear-offs but what he showed afterwards was really good. He again proved that he is a very talented kid and can really ride a bike when he wants to. He struggled more in the second moto and unfortunately we just missed the podium. I was quite confident after yesterday so it is a disappointment for me that we missed out. For Ben I am happy that he got out of here in one piece. He was so sick all week and I didn’t think he could race. What he did in that first moto with 14th place, I’m really happy, and also pleased that he was smart and pulled-out of that second moto if he didn’t have the feeling. His health is more important and it was just bad luck to be so sick. Everyone worked so hard so I want to thank them for that.”

Evgeny Bobryshev had a consistent weekend at the MXGP of Europe with a fourth and a sixth in the two motos, putting the Russian sixth overall, but was ultimately left wanting.

Evgeny Bobryshev
Evgeny Bobryshev
Evgeny Bobryshev

“I struggled all weekend here. It’s one of my favourite tracks and I really like the design, the layout and the ground, but all this weather has destroyed a lot of that, and my feeling. The track became more sharp bumps and bad lines with the deep ruts and no speed, so I struggled to make a time on Saturday with my feeling and confidence with the bike on this ground. We made some changes overnight for today and it was way better so big thanks to the team for their job. I was fourth in race one which was ok, but in the second race I had some big sketchy moments and made some mistakes, and in the last laps I hurt my leg so Strijbos passed me. I’m disappointed because coming to this race I was really looking for a win so I set this in my mind, but it didn’t go as planned with putting all the pieces together. It’s been a hard weekend, but we get good points for the championship and there are still so many races to go, so we must be patient.”

Has the pendulum swung? There was a real race within a race in the final moto of the day as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli went head-to-head with the defending champ Febvre in an epic must-see battle, and on the final lap it was the champ who conquered and took the race win. In the first race, the Italian rode a steady race for seventh which paired with his second in the final moto left him in fourth overall.

Tony Cairoli
MXGP Start - Valkenswaard - Tony Cairoli
MXGP Start – Valkenswaard – Tony Cairoli

“For sure I am really disappointed because I led the last race for all the laps and I got passed in the last part of the final lap. That’s not the best way to end the moto but already 2-3 laps before I was tired and I knew my condition is still not so good at the moment. Its getting better every day for but such a rough track in the sand there is still something missing. I’m not so happy because at the beginning for the first race I was a bit too careful and I finished seventh. That was the lowest point of the weekend. But it was better in the second race and the speed was there. I made a little mistake because I was tired and Febvre is really fit at the moment. For sure he deserved the victory but soon we will come back to the podium.”

Most Belgian and Dutch riders are sand savvy; after all, they grow up racing the stuff. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek was on the pace at times but like everyone else, made a few mistakes out on the pitiless circuit of Valkenswaard which dropped him off the podium and down to fifth.

Jeremy van Horebeek
Jeremy Van Horebeek
Jeremy Van Horebeek

“The first moto I had a bad start, but I worked up through the race and kept a good speed to the finish. In the wet sand it’s very heavy and difficult, and the track here is a big challenge even for riders with a lot of experience in this kind of motocross. It’s a good to start the season in Europe with this race in the Netherlands, and we have a lot more tracks and conditions ahead of us until the end of the championship in October.”

As for the native Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff, he ground out his laps today while carrying a few niggling injuries which he picked up at the MXGP of Thailand when he throw it away big time in the waves.

Glenn Coldenhoff
Glenn Coldenhoff

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 34:41.033; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:05.431; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:33.443; 4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:46.976; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:51.297; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:52.205; 7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:52.378; 8. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:00.386; 9. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +1:10.664; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +1:14.769.

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 34:55.696; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:05.156; 3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:12.437; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:14.500; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:17.253; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:25.165; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:27.558; 8. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:39.187; 9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:53.250; 10. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:10.348.

MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 45 points; 2. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 40 p.; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 38 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 36 p.; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 33 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 31 p.; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Tanel Leok (EST, KTM), 19 p.

MXGP Championship Top Ten: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 137 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 124 p.; 3. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 107 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 104 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 100 p.; 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 84 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 80 p.; 8. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 79 p.; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, KAW), 63 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 55 p.

MXGP Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 137 points; 2. Honda, 126 p.; 3. KTM, 107 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 95 p.; 5. Suzuki, 91 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 63 p

MX2
Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass
Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass

There is nothing like winning in front of your home crowd. Ask any rider and they will tell you it is one of the most hair-raising feelings in the world. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings took his first ever grand prix victory here in 2010 at the tender age of 15 years old. Since then, Herlings has won every grand prix here in Valkenswaard, a track he has cut so many laps on it may as well be in his backyard. At the 2016 MXGP of Europe, The Bullet hit yet another career milestone as he used his one of a kind sand riding finesse to claim his 50th grand prix victory in front of his nation. The Flying Dutchman went on to say, “to win 50 grand prix is something special, its’ like your first then 10, then 50, then 100.”

Jeffrey Herlings
Jeffrey Herlings
Jeffrey Herlings

“It was a really good weekend. We were fast in each practice and I had three good starts. That was important on this track especially with the heavy rain we had before the first moto. I took my time in the first moto to get into the lead and once I was there I rode my own race. The second moto I took the holeshot and checked out. I’m really pleased with my riding and happy and grateful that I won. Now I’m looking forward to the next GP.”

Finishing second to Herlings in the sand is almost as good as a win for the riders in MX2. With that in mind, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass had a brilliant day in the office as he charged hard and banked two consistent second place finishes for a convincing second overall. 

Pauls Jonass
Pauls Jonass
Pauls Jonass

“I felt really good because after Thailand we did a lot of riding hours on the bike and I felt confident coming to Valkenswaard. We had a good week of testing and we improved the bike suspension. Today Jeffrey was faster. He’s the king in the sand and I was really happy with second place. That was my goal and I though that would be the best scenario. Now I’m very excited to go to Argentina (the next GP on the calendar) because this is one of my favorite tracks so I’m looking forward to the next GP.”

Team Suzuki World MX2’s Jeremy Seewer is by no means a sand specialist but after landing on the podium, it’s safe to say the Swiss rider is working hard. As the saying goes ‘you only get out what you put in’ and today Seewer was able to reap the rewards of hard work. The Suzuki star was super pumped during the press conference, “I have been on the podium a few times now but for me this one is an emotional one. To do it in the sand as a Swiss rider was something really important to me especially after last year I was not so good here and even in years before I couldn’t even qualify in the sand in the European Championship on an 85cc. I have worked really hard and it’s starting to be alright now.”

Jeremy Seewer
Jeremy Seewer

Kemea Yamaha Official MX Team’s Brent Van doninck was absolutely hauling yesterday but was forced out of the race with a mechanical failure. Because the Belgian did not finish the Qualifying Race he had last pick of the start gate, which meant he was already at a disadvantage. Despite the work-out, Van Doninck rode like a machine today and barged his way from the back of the pack for a jaw dropping 5 – 4 finish for fourth overall.

Meanwhile Van doninck’s Kemea Yamaha Official’s teammate Benoit Paturel turned some solid laps for fifth overall while the kid representing the Dutch youth, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Davy Pootjes killed it in race one with his impressive sixth place finish but crashed in the second race which meant he would only wrap up his home grand prix in tenth.

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:12.127; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:50.896; 3. Petar Petrov (BUL, Kawasaki), +1:07.168; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:23.048; 5. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:26.054; 6. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:35.470; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:46.678; 8. Ben Watson (GBR, Husqvarna), +2:07.789; 9. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), +2:10.450; 10. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Yamaha), -1 lap(s)

Petar Petrov
Petar Petrov

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:17.872; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +1:19.911; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:25.404; 4. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:29.679; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +1:31.724; 6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:35.487; 7. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +1:54.833; 8. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +1:59.315; 9. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Kawasaki), +2:03.230; 10. Alvin Östlund (SWE, Yamaha), +2:12.493.

MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 38 p.; 4. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 34 p.; 5. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 29 p.; 6. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 23 p.; 7. Michele Cervellin (ITA, HON), 21 p.; 8. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 21 p.; 9. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 21 p.; 10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 21 p.

MX2 Championship Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 150 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 112 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 112 p.; 4. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 91 p.; 5. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 78 p.; 6. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 76 p.; 7. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 75 p.; 8. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 60 p.; 9. Alvin Östlund (SWE, YAM), 60 p.; 10. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, KAW), 59 p

MX2 Manufacturer: 1. KTM, 150 points; 2. Suzuki, 112 p.; 3. Yamaha, 108 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 103 p.; 5. Husqvarna, 74 p.; 6. TM, 60 p.; 7. Honda, 57 p.

European Championship EMX250

The first round of the European Championship EMX250 and European Championship EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing took place this weekend on the treacherous circuit of Valkenswaard, The Netherlands. Stormy skies darkened the atmosphere ever so slightly as rain came and went, and wicked winds gusted, but the real storm that is the depth of racing in the European Championship was enough to put a smile on everyone’s faces as Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s duo of Conrad Mewse and Yentel Martens reigned supreme here at the opening rounds.

Conrad Mewse
Conrad Mewse

When the gates slammed into the sloppy sand of Valkenswaard Norway’s Even Heibye was the quickest to react and took the holeshot with the two EMX250 rookies, Conrad Mewse and Maxime Renaux, in tow.

Mewse was looking right at home on the roughness of Valkenswaard as he hang right off the back of his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, keeping the front wheel light, and wheel tapped his way past Heibye on the rhythm section after the waves to take over the lead.

Yesterdays runner-up, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Hunter Lawrence didn’t do himself any favours with a mediocre start, but it didn’t bother him too much, he just got creative with his lines and put in two jaw-dropping laps to be on the heels of the leaders by the end of lap two.

Mewse started to inch away as Lawrence bashed bars with Heibye for second, eventually the Aussie made the pass and went after the race one winner Mewse. In no time at all, Lawrence, who was pinned beyond belief, blitzed past Mewse to take over the lead.

With ten minutes to go, Heibye hooked a gear and got right on Lawrence. Lawrence ended up handing the Norwegian, Heibye, the lead when he got too hard on the gas and spun out at the bottom of a hill. Mewse then took second back four seconds adrift of Heibye while Lawerence remounted in third, ten seconds back.

Lawrence was the fastest rider on the track by a full second but a race riddled with sketchy moments saw the ambitious youngster drop back to fifth with Bodo Schmidt Motorsports Thomas Kjer Olsen and Team Suzuki World MX2’s Dutchman Bas Vaessen taking third and fourth respectively.

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

In the final stages of the race Mewse regrouped and knuckled down to make a pass on Heibye for the lead and rode it home for a hard fought win over Heibye, Kjer Olsen, Vaessen and Lawrence.

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Conrad Mewse was the dominator this weekend while Even Heibye stood on the podium for the first time in his EMX career. Bodo Schmidt Motosports Thomas Kjer Olsen was sick all week and was stoked with his performance for third overall.

Hunter Lawrence

“It was good weekend. I got a good start in the first race and was happy with my second place. Today was different as I crashed twice; the first one when I came back from my twelfth position from the start, and then when I was trying to pass a lapper. I scored a top four for my first European MX250 event, which was my second ever race on a KX250F. The track was rough and became slippery for the second moto with the rain, and it was awesome to start the season with such a good result.”

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

EMX250 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Conrad Mewse (GBR, Husqvarna), 30:13.460; 2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:02.489; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:30.169; 4. Even Heibye (NOR, KTM), +0:33.440; 5. Anton Lundgren (SWE, Husqvarna), +0:50.010; 6. Kevin Wouts (BEL, KTM), +0:54.589; 7. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:57.320; 8. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, Honda), +0:59.807; 9. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:00.376; 10. Ken Bengtson (SWE, Yamaha), +1:08.529

EMX250 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Conrad Mewse (GBR, Husqvarna), 30:38.200; 2. Even Heibye (NOR, KTM), +0:03.207; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:06.589; 4. Bas Vaessen (NED, Suzuki), +0:08.435; 5. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:15.792; 6. Kevin Wouts (BEL, KTM), +0:30.054; 7. Anton Lundgren (SWE, Husqvarna), +0:38.858; 8. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, Honda), +0:57.430; 9. Ceriel Klein Kromhof (NED, Honda), +1:00.250; 10. Anton Gole (SWE, Husqvarna), +1:01.413

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

EMX250 Overall Top Ten: 1. Conrad Mewse (GBR, HUS), 50 points; 2. Even Heibye (NOR, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 40 p.; 4. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, KAW), 38 p.; 5. Kevin Wouts (BEL, KTM), 30 p.; 6. Anton Lundgren (SWE, HUS), 30 p.; 7. Nick Kouwenberg (NED, HON), 26 p.; 8. Bas Vaessen (NED, SUZ), 25 p.; 9. Darian Sanayei (USA, KAW), 23 p.; 10. Ken Bengtson (SWE, YAM), 21 p.

EMX250 Manufacturers: 1. Husqvarna, 50 points; 2. KTM, 40 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 38 p.; 4. Honda, 26 p.; 5. Suzuki, 25 p.; 6. Yamaha, 21 p.

European Championship EMX300
EMX300 Podium Valkenswaard
EMX300 Podium Valkenswaard

Forty 300cc two-strokes on a gate is music to the ears of most genuine race fans. The tinny sound is like a shot of adrenalin that pumps everyone up right before the gate falls. When the gates dropped for the final race of the weekend it was yesterday’s runner-up Yentel Martens who took the holeshot ahead of the race one winner Mike Kras who slid out on the exit.

With Kras down, Martens, who was coincidently last year’s dominator here in Valkenswaard, checked out and cruised home for an easy victory. Meanwhile, behind the leggy Belgian, GL12’s Lewis Gregory wasted no time in muscling his way forward and was in a comfortable second on lap two. Gregory’s GL12 teammate Brad Anderson was also flying in the opening stages of the race but stacked it on lap three.

Dutchman Patrick Vos soldiered his way from eighth all the way to third ahead of Belgian Mike Vanderstraeten and Kevin Van Geldorp. As for the Race One winner Mike Kras, he had a disastrous first lap where he went down in the first corner and then tangled with another rider a lap later. Despite losing his front fender the Dutchman dug deep and managed to come home in sixth.

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Yentel Martens went 2 – 1 for the overall and the first red plate of the season while GL12 Yamaha Racing’s Lewis Gregory replicated his result of last year with second overall. Dutchman Mike Kras rounded off the podium after his outstanding recovery from two crashes in the final race.

EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 30:08.630; 2. Yentel Martens (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:08.004; 3. Mike Vanderstraeten (BEL, TM), +0:33.141; 4. Lewis Gregory (GBR, Yamaha), +0:45.442; 5. Francisco Utrilla Antonio (ESP, Yamaha), +0:56.162; 6. Brad Anderson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:08.082; 7. Joshua van der Linden (NED, Yamaha), +1:25.761; 8. Joey Smet (BEL, KTM), +1:27.409; 9. Kevin Van Geldorp (NED, Yamaha), +1:50.594; 10. Thomas Marini (SMR, Husqvarna), +1:52.637

EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, Husqvarna), 29:24.719; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, Yamaha), +0:28.437; 3. Patrick Vos (NED, KTM), +0:30.782; 4. Mike Vanderstraeten (BEL, TM), +0:32.322; 5. Kevin Van Geldorp (NED, Yamaha), +1:07.049; 6. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), +1:08.861; 7. Matthew Moffat (GBR, KTM), +1:11.126; 8. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), +1:12.242; 9. Joshua van der Linden (NED, Yamaha), +1:12.497; 10. Francisco Utrilla Antonio (ESP, Yamaha), +1:13.548

EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Overall Top Ten: 1. Yentel Martens (BEL, HUS), 47 points; 2. Lewis Gregory (GBR, YAM), 40 p.; 3. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Mike Vanderstraeten (BEL, TM), 38 p.; 5. Kevin Van Geldorp (NED, YAM), 28 p.; 6. Francisco Utrilla Antonio (ESP, YAM), 27 p.; 7. Joshua van der Linden (NED, YAM), 26 p.; 8. Patrick Vos (NED, KTM), 25 p.; 9. Matthew Moffat (GBR, KTM), 24 p.; 10. Dietger Damiaens (BEL, KTM), 22 p.;

EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Manufacturers: 1. Husqvarna, 47 points; 2. KTM, 45 p.; 3. Yamaha, 40 p.; 4. TM, 38 p.

FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship

Valkenswaard is a beast of a circuit for anyone, so for the worlds fastest female motocross riders, they had their work cut out for them this weekend as they battled the rough terrain here in The Netherlands for round two of the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship where local lass Nancy Van De Ven did it for the Dutch with a 1 – 3 result that landed her on the top step of the podium. 

Race one winner Nancy Van de Ven got of to a cracking start and led the way through the ‘S’ bend first turn with the red plate holder Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan hot on her heels. Van de Ven led 99.9% of the first lap but Duncan carried more speed through the finish line section and was logged as the as the first lap leader as she made the move on the home rider over the finish line jump.

With the lead in her hands, Duncan got her head down straight away and pulled a gap of 4 seconds on the following lap. Behind the two Yamaha protagonists, the defending WMX World Champion Kiara Fontanesi had her Honda singing as she went to work in effort to catch Van de Ven.

Just as the race ticked over the half way mark, Fontanesi dropped the hammer on Van de Ven and railed an inside rut that gave her better drive through the up hill wave section which was enough to take second. A lap later Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot snuck in on the battle and almost pulled the same move on the Dutch lady but couldn’t quite make it stick.

Lancelot continued giving Van De Ven a world of grief while Fontanesi distanced herself just a smidge. Next minute, Fontanesi crashed with a lapped rider, which collected Van de Ven as well. Lancelot narrowly missed the carnage and inherited second while Fontanesi and Van De Ven had to remount and kick-start their bikes.

Meanwhile the “Kiwi Girl”, as her butt-patch reads, was in a league of her own once again and checked out for yet another massive race win, her third of the year. Twenty-five seconds later Lancelot crossed the line for second with Van de Ven salvaging third ahead of KTM Silver Action’s Amandine Verstappen and Natalie Kane.

It was an epic weekend for Nancy Van De Ven who topped the box here at her home round, two points clear of Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Courtney Duncan who bounced back from a massive spamming while leading race one yesterday, to win the final moto which was good enough for second overall. The former WMX World Champion, Team One One Four’s Livia Lancelot, made the most of an average day in the office to round off the podium in third.

Courtney Duncan holds onto the red plate with a seven-point lead over Livia Lancelot.

WMX Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), 25:47.623; 2. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, Honda), +0:16.171; 3. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:17.388; 4. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), +0:17.442; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:17.147; 6. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, Suzuki), +1:18.266; 7. Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), +1:22.104; 8. Shana van der Vlist (NED, Yamaha), +1:26.773; 9. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:29.184; 10. Frida Östlund (SWE, Honda), +1:56.481.

WMX Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, Yamaha), 26:21.232; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:25.449; 3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, Yamaha), +1:18.615; 4. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), +1:36.226; 5. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), +1:47.105; 6. Julie Dalgaard (DEN, Honda), +1:52.733; 7. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, Suzuki), +1:56.708; 8. Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), +1:57.274; 9. Shana van der Vlist (NED, Yamaha), +2:08.571; 10. Frida Östlund (SWE, Honda), +2:26.782

WMX Overall Top Ten: 1. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 45 points; 2. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 43 p.; 3. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 42 p.; 4. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Stephanie Laier (GER, KTM), 27 p.; 6. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 26 p.; 7. Julie Dalgaard (DEN, HON), 25 p.; 8. Shana van der Vlist (NED, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 23 p.; 10. Frida Östlund (SWE, HON), 22 p.

WMX Championship Top Ten: 1. Courtney Duncan (NZL, YAM), 93 points; 2. Livia Lancelot (FRA, KAW), 86 p.; 3. Nancy Van De Ven (NED, YAM), 83 p.; 4. Larissa Papenmeier (GER, SUZ), 60 p.; 5. Amandine Verstappen (BEL, KTM), 57 p.; 6. Natalie Kane (IRL, KTM), 53 p.; 7. Kiara Fontanesi (ITA, HON), 52 p.; 8. Britt Van Der Werff (NED, SUZ), 42 p.; 9. Shana van der Vlist (NED, YAM), 40 p.; 10. Anne Borchers (GER, SUZ), 39 p

WMX Manufacturer: 1. Yamaha, 100 points; 2. Kawasaki, 86 p.; 3. Honda, 67 p.; 4. KTM, 65 p.; 5. Suzuki, 63 p.; 6. Husqvarna, 16 p