With this weekend’s second round of the MXGP world championship, set for the Valkenswaard circuit in Holland, you can be sure interest from the local fans will be huge.
Dutch motocross has many riders who have had major success on the FIM Motocross World Championships. From the 1970’s until current hero Jeffrey Herlings, the Dutch fans have had something to cheer about.
From Gerrit Wolsink in the 1970’s the Dutch Motocross history began to grow. A handful of Motocross World Championships and more than a hundred GP victories have led the Dutch to the forefront of world motocross on many occasions.
Wolsink was the original Dutch hero, winning 13 GPs in one of the toughest eras of the 500cc class. Racing against names like Roger De Coster, Heikki Mikkola and Brad Lackey, Wolsink finished third in the 1975 and 1977 World 500cc championships and second in 1979. He was also known as the King of the 500cc USGP held at the Carlsbad circuit in America, winning four times at the famous circuit.
Kees Van Der Ven was the big bike rider in Holland in the 1980’s. While he never won a motocross world championship he did win 18 GPs and finished second in the 1980 250cc championship behind Georges Jobe, then backed that up with third in 1981, 1982 and 1983, he then backed that up with third in the 125cc world championship in 1984. He also finished third in the 500cc championship in 1987.
Dave Strijbos won his motocross world championship in the 125cc class in 1986, he was in fact the first Dutchman to ever win a world title and along with John Van den Berk led the golden era of motocross in Holland. He won 27 Grand Prix’s and Strijbos also finished top three on many occasions. Second in the 125cc class in 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1992 and third in 1993.
John Van Den Berk picked up two motocross world championships, taking his first in 1987 in the 125cc class, and then following that up with victory in the 250cc title in 1988. Van Den Berk also won nine GPs, seven in the 125cc class and two in the 250 class. Like his fellow countrymen he finished with consistent results in world championship battle. Second in the 125cc class in 1986, followed by first in 1987 (125cc) and 1988 (250cc), and third in the 250cc class in 1989 and 1990.
Pedro Tragter scored his 125cc world championship in 1993. The blonde-haired rider was very consistent at the start of the 1990’s, finishing third in 1991, third in 1992 and third in 1994. Tragter won seven GPs in his career.
Current king of Dutch motocross, Jeffrey Herlings, with 68 Grand Prix victories and three world MX2 championships, is very much the most successful Dutch motocross racer ever. His 2017 form and 2018 victory at the opening round of the MXGP world championship will put a lot of pressure on the home hero this weekend in Valkenswaard.
Of course, also wanting to put their best foot forward for Holland this weekend will be Glenn Coldenhoff, and Davy Pootjes, set to continue the fine record of Dutchmen in the FIM Motocross World Championships.
Words by Geoff Meyer
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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