Over the years venues such as Lierop, Assen and Valkenswaard have all hosted the Dutch Motocross Grand Prix, though this season the MXGP of the Netherlands will take place somewhere different as it will celebrate the return of a former World Championship venue of the 80’s, that is Oss.
The Dutch track, located in the south of the country and less than 50km from Eindhoven, first opened its doors in 1980 and was then better known as ‘Witte Ruysheuve’.
Five years later, in 1985 the track presented the Motocross World Championship Grand Prix, which saw home rider and former 125cc World Champion Dave Strijbos victorious.
The club then organised another two GP’s in Oss in 1989 and 1998 which were dominated by American Mike Healey and Italian Alessio Chiodi.
Now 23 years later, Oss will make a comeback to the FIM Motocross World Championship to host what is bound to be an exciting race weekend.
Alongside the usual MXGP and MX2 races, the MXGP of the Netherlands will also see rounds of the EMX250 and EMX Open Championships.
In the European 250 category Fantic Factory Team Maddii rider Nicholas Lapucci leads the championship over SM Action Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo and Cornelius Toendel from Riley Racing Yamaha.
Meanwhile in EMX Open, after an incredible performance in Maggiora two weeks ago, Filippo Zonta leads over Nicholas Dercourt and Davide De Bortoli. With both championships tight on points, it will be interesting to see who will come out on top this weekend.
As we enter the first sand race of the season, there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings. As many of us know, Herlings is very strong in the sand and has won the Dutch Grand Prix a total of 14 times since 2010, including 10 wins in MX2 and 4 in the MXGP category.
Coming off the back of a GP victory in Maggiora two weeks ago, Herlings will enter his home round with a nice confident boost after three GP’s on a hard-pack base, he will be back on a terrain he prefers a lot more and has been dominant on in the past, so a win for the ‘Bullet’ is highly likely.
A rider who could challenge him for the win is Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff.
For Coldenhoff, the races in Oss will be a true home GP as the Dutchman grew up in the area. With the confidence of a podium finish in Italy, where he was tied on points with Herlings for the GP win, as well as the support of the home crowd, Coldenhoff will be strong and a real threat.
Meanwhile Team HRC’s Tim Gajser (pictured) will be looking to claw back as many championship points as he can with a solid weekend.
In Maggiora, Gajser failed to place on the podium, though his chances of a podium this weekend are pretty high.
Last year in Valkenswaard the Slovenian put on an incredible performance to go 1-2 for second overall. He also won twice in Lommel during the Belgian triple-header so there’s no question that Gajser can ride in the sand and will be one to look out for.
There’s also Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli who has been in incredible shape lately.
After failing to score points in the second race in Orlyonok, Cairoli came back fighting in Matterley Basin to take his first GP win of the season and the followed that up with another strong performance in Maggiora going 3-3 to tie on points with Herlings and Coldenhoff. Cairoli has always been a good sand rider having won the Dutch and Belgian GPs more than a handful times, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the top step once again.
Of course, there’s also Romain Febvre of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team who managed his first race win in Maggiora, though the second heat was much tougher and cost the Frenchman a podium and championship points.
Despite that he is still third, just two points ahead of Cairoli, so of course he will be keen to pick up as many points as he can to keep his spot.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer and Ben Watson will also be looking for more this time around, with both riders getting top 10 results in Maggiora.
The pair are also known to be good in the sand so it could be another GP that we see all three factory Yamaha riders inside the top 10 again.
Last season, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis finished third overall in Valkenswaard during the Dutch Grand Prix after two solid third place finishes.
This season, Jasikonis is yet to pick up points after making his return from injury, but with the first sand race of the year taking place this weekend, we could see the Lithuanian climb up the order as he gets another race under his belt and becomes more confident.
Local riders Calvin Vlaanderen of Gebben Van Venrooy Racing and Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers will be keen to perform well during their home GP and so will wildcard riders Lars van Berkel, Rene De Jong and Sven Van der Mierden.
Photo courtesy HRC Honda
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MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
- Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 124 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 118 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 107 p.; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 105 p.; 5. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 97 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 86 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 82 p.; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, GAS), 82 p.; 9. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, KTM), 69 p.; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, BET), 60 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
- Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, KTM), 113 points; 2. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 111 p.; 3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 108 p.; 4. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, KAW), 105 p.; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, KAW), 99 p.; 6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 80 p.; 7. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 79 p.; 8. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 70 p.; 9. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 67 p.; 10. Jed Beaton (AUS, HUS), 67 p.