It was a milestone event for young Dutchman Glenn Coldenhoff at round 12 of the FIM Motocross World Championships in Latvia at the weekend.
The day was a battle against the elements but, as it turned out, it may have been the combination of rain, sunshine and great soil in Kegums that encouraged the blooming of Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Coldenhoff, as well as Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki’s Max Anstie.
A new generation of future legends is starting to emerge. Coldenhoff hit a huge milestone in Kegums when he claimed his first two holeshots of the season and his first race win, which he combined with a second place finish for his first MXGP overall victory.
Amazingly, the young man known as “The Hoff” is the first MXGP round winner for Suzuki this year despite the brand tenting two of the most distinguished riders in MXGP, Kevin Strijbos and Clement Desalle.
Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin was expected to do well here after his unforgettable performance at the 2014 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations.
In race one the Frenchman made life difficult for himself with a bad start, he said: “I had a bad start in the first moto and by time I was up to the front Glenn and Kevin were gone, so I just stayed on an easy pace because the riders behind me were quite far too.”
Another average start in race two had Paulin at a handicap again, nevertheless the Frenchman managed to surge his way up into third and in doing so set the fastest lap time of the weekend for his second point in the fastest lap competition.
The speed in which Yamaha Factory Racing Yamalube’s Romain Febvre is maturing as a rider in MXGP is mind blowing. In race one it looked as though the red plate holder was down and out after being taken down at turn one.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Frenchman’s bike took forever to start, so he lost thirty seconds right off the bat. Where a lot of riders might have thrown in the towel, Febvre just put his head down and started peeling off laps as fast as he could. Despite being in traffic for the entire race, he set the fastest lap time and managed to finish in an impressive eighth. In addition to that remarkable effort, race two saw him take the lead on turn three and blitz everyone for his seventh race win and seventh consecutive podium finish of the season.
It was a mixed day for Strijbos who illustrated the importance of a good start. Strijbos got a great start in race one and chased his fellow Suzuki rider Coldenhoff home for second. Race two painted an entirely different picture for the Belgian as he had to fight his way through the pack to salvage sixth which left him one point shy of the podium.
Total respect must be given to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli, the defending MXGP world champion, who managed to finish in the top five despite the suffering he is experiencing with his broken elbow.
The weekend was a testament to Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki rider Max Anstie’s ability to ride sand.
Anstie grew up racing in the sand of The Netherlands and has always claimed he is one of the best sand riders in the world although he openly admitted that had Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings been on the line this weekend, it wouldn’t have been easy to achieve what he did.
“Jeffrey is an amazing rider, he is not the world champion for nothing,” the Brit said. At the end of the day, Herlings was not on the line this weekend and it was Anstie who stepped up to the plate and creamed everyone in all three races, qualifying and both main events for his first overall grand prix win of the season.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass had the fans booming as he led laps and put in two solid second place finishes for second overall. The hometown hero said: “Since I was small on my 85cc bike it was always my dream to stand on the podium at a grand prix in Latvia. My fans were so loud, I did feel the pressure but it was fun and I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s last minute replacement rider Harri Kullas was the dark horse and the surprise performer in MX2 this weekend. Nobody could wipe the smile off of the Finnish rider’s face when he landed on the podium for the first time in his career.
From winning the EMX250 round of Latvia here in 2013 Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Jeremy Seewer has made solid progress in his transition to the premier championship. This weekend the super fast Swiss rider finished fourth and fifth for fourth overall.
Meanwhile Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser had to make the best of a bad situation in race one after being taken down at turn one. The Slovenian managed to bounce back for sixth in that race which he followed up with a fifth in race two to round out the top five.
As for the local hero, HSF Logistic Motorsport Team’s Roberts Justs lives so close to Kegums he could go home and make a sandwich in between races if he wanted to. The Latvian struggled with nerves over the weekend, which left him finishing his home grand prix in 13th overall.
RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), 34:26.145; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:05.257; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:45.698; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +1:00.847; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +1:08.496; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:12.170; 7. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +1:18.466; 8. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +1:19.095; 9. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, Honda), +1:24.412; 10. Dean Ferris (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:27.896
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), 35:49.255; 2. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +0:02.389; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:03.218; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:24.352; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:31.334; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:42.152; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:44.601; 8. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.418; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:48.018; 10. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:49.190
MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 47 points; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 40 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 37 p.; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 36 p.; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, KAW), 28 p.; 7. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 28 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 26 p.; 9. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, HON), 22 p.; 10. Dean Ferris (AUS, HUS), 20 p.
MXGP Championship Top Ten:
1. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 457 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 416 p.; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 391 p.; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 360 p.; 5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 345 p.; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 291 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 276 p.; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 260 p.; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, SUZ), 243 p.; 10. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 242 p.
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 35:51.424; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:07.869; 3. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +0:13.274; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:14.611; 5. Harri Kullas (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:23.594; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:29.166; 7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:55.725; 8. Ben Watson (GBR, KTM), +0:57.750; 9. Roberts Justs (LAT, KTM), +0:58.728; 10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:59.584
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Max Anstie (GBR, Kawasaki), 34:44.364; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:13.123; 3. Harri Kullas (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:21.819; 4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:24.819; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:28.107; 6. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:30.405; 7. Jens Getteman (BEL, Honda), +0:33.825; 8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:36.567; 9. Thomas Covington (USA, Kawasaki), +0:44.559; 10. Julien Lieber (BEL, Yamaha), +0:47.071
MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 50 points; 2. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Harri Kullas (FIN, HUS), 36 p.; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 34 p.; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 32 p.; 6. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 28 p.; 8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 26 p.; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Thomas Covington (USA, KAW), 19 p.
MX2 Championship Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 423 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 377 p.; 3. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 352 p.; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 351 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 345 p.; 6. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 334 p.; 7. Max Anstie (GBR, KAW), 312 p.; 8. Julien Lieber (BEL, YAM), 278 p.; 9. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 256 p.; 10. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 205 p.
Photo by Ray Archer