Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Lommel Qualifying

FIM MX World Champs 2014

maddix park mx

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MXGP Qualifying Highlights 

MX2 Qualifying Highlights

EMX 125 race 1 Highlights

Grit was the word of the day today at round fifteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Lommel as riders gritted their teeth while bashing their way through the soft yet gritty sand. While the circuit, as expected, got gnarly and whooped out it turned out to be a playground for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and BikeIT Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie as they charged their way to pole.

With racing wrapping up today, we are officially half way through the final rounds of the European Championship’s EMX125, EMX150, EMX250 and EMX300. Team Mafi Yamaha MX Team’s Alvin Ostlund won EMX125 race one today to overtake injured Red Bull KTM Racing rider Davy Pootjes for second overall in the championship, he now trails Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Brian Hsu by twenty-one points, (Josiah Natzke was 16th) while Fin Jere Haavisto won the first race in the EMX150 and now trails Brit Albie Wilkie by five with one crucial race remaining.

After a epic race in the EMX250, KTM Bodo Schmidt Motorsport’s Calvin Vlaanderen, who is South African yet lives in Holland so is no stranger to the sand, very narrowly won the EMX250 race one while TM Racing Team’s Samuele Bernardini was the first champion to be crowned this weekend wrapping up the EMX300 championship with a win in the penultimate race of the season.

The MXGP qualifying race has already got the fans here at round fifteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship all pumped up for what tomorrow may bring. When the gates fell it was local MXGP favorite Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Kevin Strijbos who wasn’t mucking around, pinning it around turn one to claim the holeshot ahead of MXGP’s blast from the past, Marc De Reuver and Swedish young gun Fillip Bengsston.

While De Reuver is not Belgian, he is more or less local, but his years of knowledge and experience at this track did him no good when he crashed three quarters of the way into lap one. With Bengsston taking over second and Strijbos still in sight, the Swede wasted no time in embracing the ‘pin it to win it’ technique, surprisingly closing in on the Suzuki rider to keep him honest in the opening laps.

A few laps later Bengsston found himself up against a few of the toughest competitors in the class, Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM’s Shaun Simpson, who ended up nursing a slipping clutch home for seventh, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek. While the Swede was running a blistering pace in the opening laps, he struggled to maintain it the entire duration and eventually dropped back to tenth, yet he can be proud of the fact he set the fastest lap time of the race.

Around mid-race, a super fluid Cairoli started finding his groove making light work of everyone else as he moved to the front and floated his way to his sixth qualifying heat victory. Meanwhile second place turned into a battle of pride as the young grasshopper Van Horebeek started creeping up on the well-seasoned Strijbos eventually getting the job done with three laps to go.

While Strijbos had a few hairy moments in the closing stages of the race, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken De Dycker was putting in the best ride we’ve seen from him this year in fourth while Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Gautier Paulin soldiered on throughout the moto for a smooth and smart fifth.

 

It may be the turning point of the season for BikeIT Yamaha Cosworth’s Max Anstie, but only tomorrow will tell. After a season completely riddled with bouts of bad luck, Anstie managed to turn it all around today with his dominating performance after the gate drop of MX2’s qualifying race.

No one can lean back any further than KTM Silver Action’s Jose Butrón, who is known for his impressive start technique, although CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis did manage to match the Spaniards pace out of the gate this time to go neck and neck around turn one. One turn later, and the Frenchman was down, collecting Standing Construct KTM’s Valentin Guillod, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier and Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser. While Ferrandis and Tixier were able to re-mount, Guillod’s bike resembled something of a banana with snapped triple clamps and bent forks while Gajser’s bike also suffered some kind of damage.

While the carnage on turn two cleared, Butrón had pulled four bike lengths on the rest of the field, briefly, before Anstie started peeling off lap times consistently two seconds faster than everyone, blasting past Butrón and locking down first ever qualifying heat victory.

Meanwhile Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre was putting his winter of testing at this very circuit to good use, making light work of Butrón and wrapping up the race in an unchallenged second.

As for the battle for third, it was pretty surprising to say the least. At the start of the race Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Jeremy Seewer was running the pace up front before disappearing off the radar, as was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Christophe Charlier and Marchetti Racing KTM’s Pauls Jonass. While Charlier replicated Seewer and eventually retired from the race, Jonass looked solid in third for the majority of the moto before succumbing to the pressure of seasoned MX2 stars Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier and Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Aleksandr Tonkov.

Hats off to Tixier for his awe-inspiring performance, ripping all the way from outside the top twenty to bring home third just ahead of Tonkov. And also a plausible effort for Jonass who held on for his best qualifying heat result of the season in fifth.

On another note it was great to see the defending champion Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herling’s, who is nursing a broken femur which has recently been pinned, out watching his fellow competitors vie for their qualifying positions in a terrain he loves to ride. As was seeing the return of Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s Glenn Coldenhoff who got tangled with another rider early in the race yet managed to bounce back for a respectable tenth.

Grand Prix of Belgium – Results

MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Max Anstie (GBR, Yamaha), 24:07.111; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:22.107; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:32.472; 4. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:42.012; 5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:45.613; 6. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:45.961; 7. Petar Petrov (BUL, Yamaha), +0:59.319; 8. Michael Hool (NED, KTM), +1:05.533; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:08.349; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Suzuki), +1:09.540

MXGP Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 23:48.175; 2. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:03.426; 3. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:04.833; 4. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:14.753; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:16.256; 6. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:17.461; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:26.786; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:31.284; 9. Filip Bengtsson (SWE, KTM), +0:39.285; 10. Rui Goncalves (POR, Yamaha), +0:41.632.

TIMETABLE

SUNDAY: EMX300 Warm-up 08:00; EMX150 Warm-up 08:15; EMX125 Warm-up 08:30; EMX250 Warm-up 08:45; EMX300 Race 2 09:10; MX2 Warm-up 09:50; MXGP Warm-up 10:10; EMX150 Race 2 10:40; EMX125 Race 2 11:20; EMX250 Race 2 12:05; MX2 Race 1 13:15; MXGP Race 1 14:15; MX2 Race 2 16:10; MXGP Race 2 17:10.

 
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