Markelo, in the North-Eastern part of The Netherlands, was the setting for round three of the Dutch Masters of MX. With four classes we were in for four times the fun, thankfully, because as long as the combination Jeffrey Herlings, MX2 and domestic racing pop up in the same sentence surprises are as unlikely as Jeremy Clarkson claiming the award for best-dressed man of the year.
Herlings was once again über dominant in MX2, claiming both motos by a big margin. Typical for the ever-driven Dutchman was his explosive reaction to a lapped rider in his last corners of the opening moto. I guess Jeffrey really wanted that minute gap over Max Anstie!
Speaking of Anstie, the pace and consistency of the popular Britton was something we haven’t seen too much from him lately. He finished runner-up to Herlings twice on Sunday. Moreover Max tried to stay with Herlings for as long as he could and he did a more than solid job, especially in the second moto.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team boss Jacky Martens had two more reasons to be happy. American Thomas Covington came to Markelo to improve his race fitness, but unexpectedly walked away with a podium finish (3-4). While Conrad Mewse, also Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, has had a baptism of fire in GPs he made a big step in the right direction in France and continued to do so today. Mewse finished fifth overall (5-6).
HSF Logistics KTM rider Brian Bogers is growing more confidently in the world championship too and this was reflected in his performance on Sunday. He finished fourth overall (6-3). Without a small injury in the middle of the week Brian may have even been on the box. With Aleksandr Tonkov and Petar Petrov absent, Anstie, Bogers and Mewse considerably strengthened their positions in the championship. On his return to racing from a double collarbone fracture Davy Pootjes finished seventh (4-9). Plenty of speed there, Davy just needs to stay out of trouble and get more time on the bike.
The Dutch crowd nearly got what they wanted, or rather hoped for. Good old Jeffrey Herlings delivered as always in MX2 and Glenn Coldenhoff put in a strong effort in MX1 too. Evgeny Bobryshev continued the impressive form he has displayed all-season long though and just edged the Dutchman out. Coldenhoff rode an impressive comeback race in the first moto after a spill in the first corner; he remounted in dead last and got to second!
Almost as impressive was Damon Graulus. The recent 450F graduate got stuck behind Coldenhoff in the start and, while he didn’t fall, he had a lot of work on his plate. The Dutch MX2 champion steered his 24MX Lucas Oil Honda to fifth from second but last. He’d run out of time to catch Latvian Tom Macuks in fourth and Yentel Martens in third. Without a doubt the most unfortunate rider of the race was Kevin Wouts, as the EMX250 revelation had been comfortably sitting in third until the last lap when his bike gave up on him. Wouts tried to make the finish ‘Ryno-style’ but got disqualified.
After the dry conditions in the first motos, the second MX1 moto especially was affected by the rain. The track was extremely slippery in some places. An early mistake by holeshot-man Coldenhoff handed Bobryshev the lead. When the Russian slid off himself a couple of laps later, the Red Bull KTM rider seemed to have victory within reach. “I was just making too many mistakes and never felt completely at home in the second race,” reflected Coldenhoff honestly.
Bobryshev kept his cool and quickly bounced back to produce the perfect scorecard for the day. “I was having fun here today! Racing in Holland is always cool for me because it’s my second home. I feel really good for the moment so I want to keep the momentum in the world championship to close the gap to third there,” he said.
A remarkably mature performance handed Graulus third. Damon didn’t have the best of starts in the second sprint, but he gradually made his way to the front. He also joined Bobryshev and Coldenhoff on the overall podium. This time Wouts finished fourth, but had missed the perfect opportunity to claim his first Dutch MX1 podium.
In his return to 450 racing Belgium’s Jens Getteman claimed a creditable sixth overall (10-6). The former Belgian MX2 champion thus underlined his intention to finish the world championship in the MXGP class after a disappointing MX2 campaign with Silver Action KTM. A name to watch emerging from Markelo is Micha Boy de Waal. The 20-year old left Eggens Racing Yamaha behind to fill the vacated-450 seat Marc De Reuver left behind at BT Motorsport. De Waal has guts and speed, so his fifth place could be an indication of much more to come.
No surprises in the 125 class. EMX125 series leader Jago Geerts (Sakhar-KTM) won both motos with Denmark’s Mikkel Haarup second in the first race (second overall) and Dutchman Marcel Conijn second in race two and third overall. Flying Kiwi Wyatt Chase made a name for himself with a remarkable recovery to fourth in the opening moto.
The 85cc class racing provided more suspense, but Swedish young gun Emil Jonrup recorded two more victories. Jonrup previously won three motos. He was joined on the podium by Mack Bouwense (2-3) and Kay De Wolf (3-4). Danish dynamite Rasmus Pedersen seemed to be set for his first Dutch Masters of MX moto win, but Jonrup proved just a little too strong. For round four of the series, the championship will head to Emmen on the third of July.
Words: Jake Foster | Image: Eric Laurijssen