Team Honda Gariboldi Esta’s Max Anstie has steered his CRF 250R to podium success at the Grand Prix of Benelux in Lierop, The Netherlands today by taking the team’s first rostrum, and his first top three Honda finish for round 14 of the MX2 World Championship.
After many ups and downs throughout this inaugural season for the team, 19-year-old Anstie put on a fine display of pace in the challenging Lierop sand throughout the weekend, as he recovered from 14th at the end of lap one in yesterday’s qualifying to 10th position at the end of the 20-minute plus two-lap moto.
In the opening Grand Prix race of today Anstie got one of his best starts of the year and was fifth at the end of lap one. The Honda pilot made good progress throughout the moto and with a strong rhythm he managed to make a pass on fourth placed Tommy Searle in lap three, before putting tremendous pressure on Dylan Ferrandis, who crashed soon after. Anstie went on to take a top three finish as he battled the rough sand of Lierop and was determined to repeat his performance in the second heat.
In race two the British rider didn’t get such a good start as he took up eighth place, but the Honda racer put his head down and progressed through the field in the opening stages. On lap six of the 35-minute plus two-lap moto Anstie passed Searle again to take up third position, where he remained with a strong ride in incredibly tough conditions for a fantastic third overall, putting the CRF 250R on the podium for the first time since 2009. Anstie’s teammate Aleksandr Tonkov enjoyed an 11th place overall finish.
Max Anstie #6: 3rd overall
“Everyone knows the sand is really tough and we didn’t have any issues throughout the weekend, so everything was quite smooth, which helps us produce this kind of result. I believed before the race that if the pieces of the puzzle fell together, then we’d be on the podium this weekend, which is what we’ve achieved. I’m strong and I felt good, so by being smooth and not making any mistakes we made a lot of progress. I think that’s the key this weekend; in the first moto I timed the start perfectly and I was inside the top ten, which was good. I passed a load of guys and I got right in there, so I wanted to repeat that in the second moto. I knew people would be feeling it, and making mistakes, so I was happy I could ride strong and everything went well. I can’t thank the team enough; Giacomo especially, and of course Scott (Sepkovic) from ARMA Energy, who flew right over from the USA to see us. Maybe he was my good luck charm, but it’s been a good weekend and we will just keep aiming for these results, especially in Italy next week where it is the home round for the team.”
Giacomo Gariboldi: Honda Gariboldi Esta Team Owner
“I think it’s taken us many GP’s to get here, but this was always the goal of the team; for us to be on the podium with the CRF 250R. Max did a great job today riding unbelievably well, and we are all delighted because we’ve really worked so much during the season. We’ve had some problems, which can happen when everything is new, but to be here on the podium has been our main goal. Before the end of the year I’d like for us to try to take another podium because Max really deserves it with the effort he has put in. Aleksandr crashed heavily in warm-up, but he can be around top ten each race and is improving week-by-week, so going into next year he is really getting there. With regards to the Motocross of Nations we are really excited that both riders will take part. For Max today will have certainly been a big confidence boost for him mentally, although some people have doubted him, and I am sure he rode with something more here to show his capabilities.”
(Image credit Sarah Gutierrez)