2018 Motocross of Nations: News

Revision: MXGP of Belgium

Flick through the MXGP history books

· 3 min read

The Grand Prix of Belgium, round fifteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship, strikes fear into the hearts of most. The bottomless sand of Lommel has given some riders a lot in recent years. However, on the other hand, it has taken so much away from some. There is no doubt that will also occur when the Grand Prix contingent roll into the facility this weekend.

It is hardly surprising that Red Bull KTM have been dominant at Lommel. The Belgian circuit landed on the calendar for the first time back in 2008 and Jonathan Barragan immediately put them on the top of the podium, thanks to a victory in the second moto, and since then just one other manufacturer has beaten them to the top step in the premier class. Suzuki won with Ken De Dycker in 2009 and then Kevin Strijbos delivered another victory in 2016. Suzuki have only won a single moto at the venue though, despite that success, as De Dycker went only won a single moto that year and then Strijbos recorded a brace of thirds en route to his triumph three years ago.

Kevin Strijbos took an unlikely overall win at Lommel two seasons ago (Suzuki Racing)

Husqvarna (Max Nagl in 2016) and Honda (Marc de Reuver in 2008 and Tim Gajser in 2016) have also stole premier-class moto wins at Lommel but failed to put one of their riders on the top step of the podium. More manufacturers have enjoyed some success in the MX2 division, even though Max Anstie is the only non-KTM rider to stand atop the Belgian box in that class. Anstie won with Yamaha in 2014, Kawasaki in 2015 and Husqvarna in 2016. The impressive three-year run makes him the winningest MX2 rider at this particular Grand Prix. Jorge Prado will not be able to match that number, even if he wins this weekend, as that victory last year was his first at Lommel.

Now, most will immediately question that Max Anstie is the winningest MX2 rider at Lommel and presume that Jeffrey Herlings holds that title. It is not a crazy theory, seeing as Herlings is so great in the sand, but he has actually only raced at this track once in the last four years. The various injuries that beset him during his time as an MX2 rider always occurred around the time of Lommel and, with that in mind, he has not spent a ton of time behind a starting gate at this particular track. Last year was the first time that he had raced a Grand Prix there since 2011 and, unsurprisingly, he won.

The power-sapping sand does prompt surprises and there are two that really stand out. Gert Krestinov won the first MX2 Grand Prix at Lommel, first of all, with an eighth and a first. Had he scored thirty-eight points, which was the total that he had on that day, at Loket last weekend, then he would have been fourth overall. A scorecard like that does not typically give a rider a win! The same could be said about Kevin Strijbos, who took what will probably end up being his final victory with a brace of thirds in 2016. Consistency is rewarded in conditions such as this, as it is a trait that is particularly hard to master when the track deteriorates so rapidly with each lap that passes.

Antonio Cairoli has always been a contender at the Belgian Grand Prix (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Heading into this weekend’s Grand Prix of Belgium, most would presume that Jeffrey Herlings will claim his third overall victory at Lommel and second in the premier division. It seems that most believe Jorge Prado is the best MX2 rider in these conditions as well. It is worth noting, however, that Pauls Jonass was the first-moto winner a year ago. A crash in the first turn in moto two was what stopped him from making a serious run at the overall victory.

Previous Winners: MXGP at Lommel

2008

Jonathan Barragan

2009

Ken De Dycker

2010

Antonio Cairoli

2011

Antonio Cairoli

2014

Antonio Cairoli

2015

Shaun Simpson

2016

Kevin Strijbos

2017

Jeffrey Herlings

Manufacturer Wins: MXGP at Lommel

2008

KTM

2009

Suzuki

2010

KTM

2011

KTM

2014

KTM

2015

KTM

2016

Suzuki

2017

KTM

Jorge Prado was the MX2 winner at the Grand Prix of Belgium last year (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Previous Winners: MX2 at Lommel

2008

Gert Krestinov

2009

Marvin Musquin

2010

Ken Roczen

2011

Jeffrey Herlings

2014

Max Anstie

2015

Max Anstie

2016

Max Anstie

2017

Jorge Prado

Manufacturer Wins: MX2 at Lommel

2008

KTM

2009

KTM

2010

KTM

2011

KTM

2014

Yamaha

2015

Kawasaki

2016

Husqvarna

2017

KTM

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer

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