Clear blue skies masked a chilly wind as the riders and mechanics rose early on Saturday morning in anticipation of tough Dutch GP. The first practice of the day began at 8am with the young EMX150 riders getting their first taste of GP tracks in 2014.
By the time the MX2 class was out for free practice the track was already cutting up after EMX150, two groups of EMX125 and the WMX free practice.
Rick Elzinga won in scintillating style in the EMX150 division with only Jere Haavisto on the same level. These two are name to watch for the future.
Chiara Fontanesi took the lead from holeshot girl Natalie Kane and controlled the race to get her red plate back after Kane slipped to third behind Aussie Rutledge. Kane came back on the Aussie late in the race and both began to close on the leader but it was too late to mount any real challenge on the Italian.
Davy Pootjes made it three Dutch winners on the day with a resounding win in the EMX125 after pushing his way into the lead early one. I don’t know what they are doing with the young mx kids in Holland, but they are producing a serious amount of talent!
Herlings took pole in MX2 but Van Horebeek raised a few eyebrows by beating Cairoli to pole in MXGP
The races went to script though.
Herlings started outside the top six but was third by the end of the first lap with only Guillod and Tonus ahead of him. Herlings was soon second and despite a spirited fight by Tonus, Herlings took the lead and began to pull away.
Eventually Tonus became more concerned with Guillod behind him who was having a stormer. Tim Gajser wasn’t far away either and seems to be becoming a regular top five contender. Jordi Tixier rounded out the top five after passing Ferrandis and Tonkov.
In MX GP Cairoli holeshot and put on a master class controlling the race out front. Paulin was an impressive second for a long time before Van Horebeek made his move. Strijbos kept the pair of them honest in fourth.
Clement Desalle hit the ground while battling with Bobreyshev and had to pass Rattray and then Bobreyhev again for fifth. The Russian was sixth with Rattray a sold seventh although both Roelants and Frossard were closing at the end on by then, a very rough track.
Cairoli: It feels good, I like this kind of track. I made some very good laps in the beginning and then I was controlling the race. I have to make some changes on the bike but we are happy. I think tomorrow will be good the track is already very rough.
Herlings: We had a really good day. We have a good set up on the bike. I know this track like it’s my back garden. We pulled a big gap and the riding was really good, I hope to have a good day tomorrow. I didn’t push 110%, the only thing I hope for tomorrow is to get a good start and win both motos to get the red plate. I will try to win five GPs in a row here in Valkenswaard. I was off the bike a long time in the winter. I am on the bike 4-5 times a week in the last four weeks so I am getting my condition back.
Tommy Searle: The day has been good, there is no pressure on me luckily. I have to get throught it this weekend as good as I can. It is about getting some laps in. I have been on the bike five times now. It’s nice to be back and I just want to get round safely. It was a bad break and a bad crash so I have to be thankful I am here racing.
In other news the Belgian GP will be in Lommel this year and Eric Geboers has signed a five year contract to keep the race their for the near future.
Regarding replacing the Ukrainian GP the Youthstream president, Giuseppe Loungo, said he had an opportunity for another GP in Italy but he didn’t want three GPs there and the overseas option is not possible either due to the cost.
Ukraine wanted to still have the GP but in a location closer to Europe but it is still not a satisfactory solution. “It is 99% sure it will be cancelled.” said Loungo.
Words: Jonathan McCready
Picture: KTM Images/Ray Archer