Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe heads back into the final throes of Europe’s winter this weekend with a chilly third round of the World MX2 series set to take place at Valkenswaard for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands.
The traditional Grand Prix venue for Dutch fans will see the famous sandy track reversed back into its original layout that was altered in 2007. Across the shifting terrain riders Max Anstie and Julien Lieber will be quietly confident of securing decent results on their factory-backed RM-Z250s and improving on their current standings of 10th and ninth in the world championship table respectively.
Anstie in particular will be a firm tip for his first podium result in ‘yellow’ with his prowess on the sand seen at the Grand Prix of Benelux last September where he lifted his sole trophy in that campaign through similar terrain 20km away at Lierop. The Brit has had the past three weeks to heal from the small injury niggles he sustained at Qatar and is now raring to go.
“I grew up racing the Dutch Championship so I feel really at home on the Valkenswaard track. I heard it’s going back the old way around so that will be a nice change,” he commented from Germany after the team’s 2013 photo-shoot. “We have made some great improvements since coming back from Thailand. Our whole package from suspension to engine is working really well now. I just want to keep what we have in a box and open it up on race day. I’m just ‘gonna go race and let things unfold as they do. “I’m ‘gonna go play in the sand!”
This Monday will represent Lieber’s third attempt at Valkenswaard and the young Belgian is ideally placed in terms of fitness and technical backing to aim for a solid top 10 overall finish with the MX1 and MX2 classes reverting back to their usual two moto format per class. The Easter holiday period should see a sizeable turnout at the ‘Eurocircuit’ south of Eindhoven and with this meeting being the first of four European events in five weeks before the series flies to South America (trips to Italy, Bulgaria and Portugal precede Brazil and Mexico) the Euro launch to the championship is an eagerly awaited one.
The forecast over the weekend shows temperatures at the bottom of the scale, with mercury unlikely to rise above 5 throughout the event. There is even the chance of snow on Sunday afternoon.