The crowning of all four champions at the penultimate round in Emmen last week meant that the final Dutch Masters of Motocross round would be about carefree racing. No pressure, right? Add in the splendid high summer weather, as well a handful of guest factory riders, and you can see why the Halle crowd were in for a treat!
If there’s a blueprint for Dutch motocross venues, “de Kappenbulten” track stays pretty close to the original recipe. Swirling through the woods, the long sand circuit strings together tabletops and fast corners; it is exactly the kind of place where you’d expect Jeffrey Herlings to excel. That’s what the Dutchman did on Sunday morning, as he averaged over sixty km/h on his way to an impressive pole position in MX2. He was faster than anyone else, needless to say, including the MX1 boys.
With a handsome €7,000 bonus behind handed out to the highest championship points scorer, ‘The Bullet’ had some unfinished business. He left Max Anstie alone to the tune of more than thirty-three seconds in the first moto, with KTM factory duo Pauls Jonass and Davy Pootjes in third and fourth respectively. Five laps into the second race and Herlings was again firmly in control of proceedings, but he was thrown off the bike hard in a pretty nasty highside.
Things could have been a lot worse than the broken collarbone that he suffered. Jeffrey knows the drill though after breaking his collarbone in Teutschenthal last year, so he’ll have surgery on Monday morning. Thanks to his massive one hundred and sixty-nine-point lead in the MX2 world championship, there’s no reason to hit the panic button. Herlings still picked up a €4,000 bonus for being the second highest championship points scorer too!
Jonass beat Pootjes in race two thus handing him the overall. Given the narrow margin of just six seconds between him and his Latvian teammate, Davy was happy with his riding and his podium place. Pootjes should be fired up by Brian Bogers’ recent Mantova podium, because it’s the type of performance also within reach for the eighteen-year old from Ammerzoden. Anstie narrowly held off Bogers to claim third.
Max Anstie not only finished second on the day, but he also took the runner-up spot in the Dutch Masters of Motocross MX2 class. Husqvarna teammate Thomas Covington finished fifth, good enough for fifth overall after his seventh in moto one. Bogers just missed the podium in Halle with a fourth and sixth, but the HSF Logistics KTM star still secured his third place in the championship. With three Dutch riders firmly inside the top five, and Bas Vaessen gaining strength, it’s clear that The Netherlands has a very strong generation ready to make waves on the GP scene alongside Herlings and Glenn Coldenhoff.
The best battles of the day came from those in the MX1 class. Evgeny Bobryshev, Max Nagl and Glenn Coldenhoff were all in it to win it! Patented holeshot artist Nagl placed his FC450 in the lead exiting the first corner in moto one and never relinquished it; he led from start to finish. Bobryshev made a late mistake that gave Coldenhoff second place on a silver plate. A disappointing fourth was the best result of the day for Gautier Paulin; he’d also finish fourth overall after grabbing fifth in moto two.
Coldenhoff had a turn at the head of the field in moto two, but could not fend off Nagl and Butron for too long. True to form, the charging Spaniard cooled down thus giving way to the inspired trio of Nagl, Coldenhoff and Bobryshev. The Hoff, spurred on by a sizeable crowd, could smell victory when Nagl made a mistake, but he unfortunately failed to hold Bobryshev at bay. The newly crowned Dutch champ convincingly bagged the final moto and added a nice bonus to his bank account in the process. Fair play to Jose Butron, who recently returned to coach John Van Den Berk, for his fourth place. Christophe Charlier, victim of a first corner crash in the opening moto, finished sixth.
A long way behind Bobryshev and Coldenhoff, the consistent Rick Satink rode to an excellent third in the final championship classification. Nice job Rick! Ceriel Klein Kromhof was fourth ahead of the Belgian trio Kevin Wouts, Jeffrey Dewulf and Jens Getteman.
Business as usual for Belgian’s MX hope Jago Geerts in the 125cc class. The sixteen-year old added another double race win to his tally. Denmark’s Sander Agard-Michelsen (3-2) was second, Mickael Pichon’s boy Zachary underlined his progress in the sand with a well-deserved first podium (5-3). Dyer and Butler KTM rider Taylor Hammal, fifth today, rounded up his Dutch Masters of Motocross campaign in fourth. Taylor finished twenty-one points behind Mikkel Haarup.
Words: Jake Foster | Image: Eric Laurijssen