Max Anstie produced a thrilling performance in almost unbearable heat at the Lausitzring and the home Grand Prix for his German Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team – and came closer than ever to his first podium result on the factory-backed RM-Z250.
The Briton captured fourth place in the first moto and was part of an entertaining three-way dice for second spot in the second race until an untimely crash dropped him to ninth.
The 13th fixture of 17 in the FIM Motocross World Championship saw the paddock roll into the vast expanses of the Eurospeedway, some 160km southeast of Berlin. A temporary but fast, jumpy and technical sandy racing surface awaited the GP stars in the first of two back-to-back events with the Grand Prix of Czech Republic taking place at Loket next weekend.
Temperatures touching the mid-30s created a rough and intensely demanding stage but Anstie was able to excel and fill the role of protagonist.
Fourth place was obtained in the first outing of 35 minutes and two-lap duration with a now-customary charge back through the pack. The 20 year old recovered from a first-lap slot of 13th to reach the top four and his highest rank in eight Grands Prix. It was Anstie’s part in the battle with Jordi Tixier and Glen Coldenhoff that thrilled the 16,000 attendance later in the afternoon: He overtook the Dutchman and was making an assault for second position when he clipped his foot scaling the finish-line jump. Anstie almost saved the ‘moment’ but then ran off the track and crashed. He was able to remount and reach the chequered flag, bashed and bruised. Ninth place led to fifth overall and he holds eighth in the MX2 championship standings.
Trying to offer back-up was Jeremy Seewer. The young Swiss mounted the second RM-Z250 but the stuffy heat and longer races (two motos compared to one and 35 minutes contrasted to 25) against those found in the European EMX250 series proved a tough obstacle to supersede. Seewer posted points for 18th and 17th for 20th overall.
Julien Lieber made his first appearance at a Grand Prix since recovering from a right knee reconstruction. The young Belgian is expected to start riding his motorcycle in September.
Finally, Brian Hsu was ninth in the fourth round of the European EMX125 on his RM125 for his best finish of the season so far at the mid-point of the two-stroke feeder competition.
“I don’t think I rode any differently to how I have been doing. Take me to any track, any place, any time and I will do my best. I think the difference was just being able to get out of the gate and going from A to B. I just kept plugging away in that second moto and got up to third. I went over the finish-line jump and hit my foot on the floor. I almost went over the bars and nearly saved it, but then just crashed my brains out. So it didn’t end well. Overall it is a half-decent result but I still want better.”
“Things didn’t really go as I wanted because my fitness is not perfect. It was the same for everyone out there but that track was so tricky: sandy with many bumps. Not easy at all and in this heat 35 minutes is not my distance at the moment! My speed was OK and I think I could have easily been in the top 15 but I got tired. I just wanted to finish the race. I felt empty after just three laps of the second moto! My starts were good, and that was a positive. I know I need to work on my fitness for next year and I was a bit sick last week so I’m sure that played a part today.”