Round 14 of the FIM Motocross World Championship saw an incredible fight for the top step of the podium in both MXGP and MX2 classes as deep sand caused as much consternation for the riders as any human rival.
Standing Construct Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts fought the brutal conditions to respectively win the MXGP and MX2 categories at this GP of Flanders at Lommel, in Belgium.
Every year, Lommel presents one of the toughest races of the season and this year was no exception as the scorching heat added another element to the already demanding circuit that truly tests even the best sand riders in the world.
In MXGP, the Dutchies ruled the podium, but the spot for the top step was not decided until the chequered flag which made for even more intense racing as every pass was even more important and even the smallest mistake proved to be costly.
But it was Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff who joined Bogers on the box giving the Dutch fans who made the trip over the border something to cheer about.
Meanwhile, in MX2, Geerts gave his home crowd exactly what they wanted as he battled closely with Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Kay de Wolf to claim a back-to-back GP win and extended his championship lead to 23-points over Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle.
In the opening MXGP race of the MXGP of Flanders, it was Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who grabbed the holeshot as he led Team HRC’s Tim Gajser, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer and Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Brian Bogers.
Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Romain Febvre and Gebben Van Venrooy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen were just behind the leaders.
Seewer then flew by Gajser to get himself into second, as Bogers made the most of this opportunity to also get past the Slovenian.
Gajser briefly fought back, but Bogers was able to assert himself in the position.
Gajser came under further pressure, Febvre and Vlaanderen also fought each other for fifth, as eventually, the Frenchman was able to make it stick. Febvre then passed Gajser for fourth on the third lap, with Vlaanderen able to get by soon after too.
Seewer then dropped to fourth place as Bogers made his way into second place. Febvre followed in tow. Bogers then clocked the fastest lap of the race as he closed the gap to Prado.
The Dutchman took the Spaniard by surprise as he confidently dove down the inside of Prado for the lead.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff passed Gajser for sixth place on lap four, with Gajser not able to afford any more mistakes as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Maxime Renaux loomed in the background.
Prado began to fade as Febvre got by, as did Vlaanderen who went from fifth to third on lap 9. Prado dropped a few more positions as Seewer, Coldenhoff, Renaux, Gajser and Mattia Guadagnini of Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing got by.
The Spaniard finished the race in 9th.
In the closing stages of the race, Vlaanderen stalled his bike which allowed Seewer through into third.
Though the South African bounced back immediately to keep hold of the third position. In the final three laps of the opening heat, Vlaanderen caught Febvre off-guard as he took second from the Frenchman while Bogers was already more than 10 seconds ahead in the lead.
Bogers went on to win the race, with Vlaanderen second and Febvre third. Coldenhoff was fourth ahead of Renaux, while a crash for Seewer put him down in sixth ahead of Gajser.
In race two, Prado was the holeshot winner for the 15th time this season.
He led Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Ben Watson, Coldenhoff, Bogers, Seewer, Febvre and Gajser on the opening lap, as Coldenhoff quickly jumped into second.
Watson dropped back to sixth by the end of lap one, as Coldenhoff got to work on Prado.
Seewer crashed out of seventh and fell back to 10th, though was able to get going quickly, it was an uphill battle from then on for the Swiss.
On lap four, Coldenhoff was the leading rider, as Prado dropped to second while Gajser was passed by Febvre and Bogers. The Slovenian came under more pressure as also Vlaanderen went by to take away fifth.
Febvre then began to apply the pressure onto Prado who tipped over just as the Frenchman passed him for second place. The Spaniard got going ahead in seventh ahead of Watson.
Vlaanderen looked like he wanted to repeat race one as he got onto the back of Febvre, but a couple of mistakes saw him get passed by Bogers who moved into third.
Febvre set the fastest lap of the race on lap seven but was still 4.120 seconds down on Coldenhoff who looked strong despite not feeling good all week.
On lap 10, Vlaanderen found his way past Bogers and then three laps after that got around Febvre for what should have been the overall victory. But Bogers had other plans, as he too passed Febvre which shook up the top step of the podium for the third or fourth time in that race.
In the end, Coldenhoff crossed the line first and won his second race of the season ahead of Vlaanderen and Bogers. Febvre was fourth as Seewer managed to fight his way back to fifth.
A race win and a third put Bogers on the top step of the podium, with Vlaanderen second and Coldenhoff third as the Dutchies swept the podium at the Belgian GP.
Despite missing out on a podium finish and struggling all weekend, Gajser continues the lead the MXGP Championship standings and is now 122 points in front of Seewer, while Prado remains third.
Brian Bogers: “I don’t even know what to say… What can you say on the top of the podium? It’s just amazing and I can’t believe it. It was really tough, but we made it. It was a close call in the end and it’s strange because in the first race you have flow and it’s easy but the second race, you think you can do the same, it will be easy and it didn’t work out like that, but we still managed to push every lap and until the end of the race”.
In the MX2 race one, the holeshot went to Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jago Geerts, but it was his team-mate Thibault Benistant who quickly moved into the lead as the Belgian dropped back to third.
Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan van de Moosdijk found himself in second, as his teammate Kay de Wolf started fourth ahead of Simon Längenfelder of Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing.
Before the end of the first lap, van de Moosdijk was able to get alongside Benistant and move into the lead as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle was down in 8th.
The first few laps saw some changes as Geerts got back up to second, with de Wolf moving into third ahead of Benistant who dropped two positions. Vialle then crashed out 7th and was left with a lot of work to do as he got going in around 16th.
By lap three, Geerts was back in the lead as de Wolf began to show a wheel to his team-mate van de Moosdijk. The ‘74’ was able to make it stick to move into second position, where he could begin to focus on Geerts in first place.
Diga Procross KTM Racing’s Liam Everts had a good start in the opening heat and was running well inside the top five. On lap eight, Everts was able to make a pass on Benistant to move into fourth.
At the front of the field though, Geerts and de Wolf began an all-out war as they battled closely for much of the second half of the race.
At the same time, Everts was able to pass van de Moosdijk for third, but later crashed and fell back to sixth. The Belgian managed to make one pass before the chequered flag to finish fifth.
On lap eight, de Wolf took over the lead from Geerts who was looking to fight back immediately, but de Wolf did not make it easy as he was able to find some breathing room as he stretched the gap to 2.254 seconds.
Van de Moosdijk also crashed out of fifth but only lost one position, but it was de Wolf who won the race ahead of Geerts, Längenfelder, Benistant and Everts.
In race two, it was again Geerts with the holeshot, he led as Benistant struggled out of the gate and was around second to last. Jan Pancar of TEM253 got a flying start and was third just behind de Wolf and ahead of Längenfelder, van de Moosdijk and Vialle.
Pancar then dropped down to eighth, as de Wolf set the fastest lap of the race and closed the gap to just 0.805 to Geerts who was still the leading rider.
By the third lap, de Wolf was again in the driving seat of the second MX2 race, as another mistake for Geerts saw him pushed back to third as Längenfelder went by. Mistakes also began to creep in for Längenfelder and de Wolf, as Geerts got himself back into second soon after and began to challenge the leader for the win once again.
Further down the order, Everts was making good progress through the field after passing Pancar for ninth, as he started in the mid-field.
On lap seven, Geerts was the leading rider for the second time in that race, as de Wolf made a mistake and lost a bit of time to home hero. Vialle also passed van de Moosdijk for fourth as F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Kevin Horgmo looked to do the same.
Längenfelder found his way into second after catching de Wolf, but the Dutch rider was not done trying as he managed to get back past the German with two laps to go.
Längenfelder then struggled with the hot conditions as he crashed and was only able to bring it back in ninth, which knocked him off the podium.
Geerts ended up winning the race ahead of de Wolf and Horgmo who passed Vialle two laps from the end. Van de Moosdijk was fifth.
A second and a win put Geerts on the top step at his home Grand Prix, while de Wolf was forced to settle for second ahead of Vialle who made a surprise appearance onto the box after a tough opening race.
After 14 rounds, Geerts leads the MX2 Championship standings with 23-points over Vialle and Längenfelder who remains third.
Jago Geerts: “I’m really happy about today. In the first race, Kay was really strong and was a little bit faster than me. But I really wanted to win my home GP and in the second heat I felt really good after like 10 or 15 minutes and had good pace, took the lead, just kept going and won the race. It was a really nice weekend for me, really nice to be in front of the home fans, they were cheering me on the entire race, it was really nice.”
Words & photo courtesy Infront Moto Racing
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RESULTS & STANDINGS:
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1. Brian Bogers (NED, Husqvarna), 34:45.644; 2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:15.848; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:25.476; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:33.523; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:38.213; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:41.562; 7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:48.138; 8. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, GASGAS), +0:50.217; 9. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +1:00.975; 10. Ben Watson (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:05.086.
MXGP – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), 35:05.672; 2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:05.406; 3. Brian Bogers (NED, Husqvarna), +0:15.775; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:30.304; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:38.870; 6. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:46.030; 7. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +1:04.325; 8. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +1:11.577; 9. Henry Jacobi (GER, Honda), +1:18.843; 10. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +1:22.200.
MXGP – GP Top 10 Classification:
1. Brian Bogers (NED, HUS), 45 points; 2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 43 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 38 p.; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 31 p.; 6. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 31 p.; 7. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 28 p.; 8. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 23 p.; 9. Brent Van doninck (BEL, YAM), 22 p.; 10. Henry Jacobi (GER, HON), 22 p.
MXGP – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 605 points; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 483 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 465 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 442 p.; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 441 p.; 6. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 342 p.; 7. Brian Bogers (NED, HUS), 332 p.; 8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 312 p.; 9. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HUS), 287 p.; 10. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, BET), 239 p.
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification:
1. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 34:52.109; 2. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:06.133; 3. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:39.854; 4. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:50.306; 5. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:58.046; 6. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +1:14.378; 7. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +1:40.931; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +2:20.540; 9. Stephen Rubini (FRA, Honda), -1 lap(s); 10. Jakub Teresak (CZE, KTM), -1 lap(s).
MX2 – Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification:
1. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), 34:49.079; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:14.849; 3. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Kawasaki), +0:16.758; 4. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), +0:26.139; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:53.942; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GASGAS), +1:36.156; 7. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +1:51.697; 8. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +2:01.649; 9. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +2:05.070; 10. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), +2:08.245.
MX2 – GP Top 10 Classification:
1. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 47 points; 2. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 47 p.; 3. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 32 p.; 4. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 32 p.; 5. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 31 p.; 7. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 30 p.; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 28 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 20 p.; 10. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 19 p.
MX2 – World Championship Top 10 Classification:
1. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 590 points; 2. Tom Vialle (FRA, KTM), 567 p.; 3. Simon Längenfelder (GER, GAS), 469 p.; 4. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KAW), 410 p.; 5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 378 p.; 6. Andrea Adamo (ITA, GAS), 365 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, KAW), 358 p.; 8. Stephen Rubini (FRA, HON), 321 p.; 9. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 320 p.; 10. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 255 p.