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Valkenswaard Grand Prix proves to be steep learning curve for Evotech Stevens KTM

After some preparation on the best sand tracks that Belgium has to offer, Evotech Stevens KTM made their way to Valkenswaard, the home of the Eurocircuit, and the home to one of the toughest Dutch sand tracks, for the first European round of the motocross world championship. But little did anyone know that this year’s round would be anything but ordinary. With a changed track and frozen dirt, Valkenswaard was unlike any track ridden so far.

For team rider Steven Lenoir, the race weekend got off to a rough start. After pre-qualifying practice on Sunday morning didn’t go according to plan, the qualifying race in the afternoon improved things a little with Lenoir qualifying in twenty-ninth. After more work overnight, the warm-up session on race day on Easter Monday yielded big improvements, Lenoir ending the session sixteenth-fastest. The first race went to the line just after high noon. Although off the start in mid-pack, an early crash set Lenoir back sufficiently to have to work his way through the back of the pack to return to his starting point with just minutes on the clock. Riding with bent handle bars, a last-lap move on British championship rival James Dunn gave him another spot to end in twenty-sixth. The second race was marginally better, although once again his start was marred by a pileup that he could not avoid. He gathered himself up and battled his way forward for a finish in twenty-second, with points just seconds away.

Matt Hutchins, team principal, commented: “It’s been a big learning curve for us, this being our first Grand Prix. We struggled a bit with the set-up on the frozen track on Sunday, but we made some good improvements for Monday, which showed in his morning warm-up session. Unfortunately Steven was involved in pile-ups in both races which set us back in the results. The riding’s been good enough and plenty of good practice for the next British round at Lyng. As always, we’d like to thank our sponsors who continue to support our efforts for this year!”

Steven Lenoir (#685): Saturday was really bad, I was off the pace, struggled with everything, the riding and the bike setup. I wasn’t really prepared for the track, it was really slippery. On Monday we made some changes so it was better. In the first race someone crashed in front of me and I couldn’t avoid them. It’s a shame because I had a good pace to maybe get a top twenty, but this is the way it goes. In the second race I didn’t get a good start and couldn’t avoid the crash at the beginning. I gave everything I had but it wasn’t good enough. I leave Valkenswaard not very happy but I look forward to improve and get more comfortable. Hopefully I can race another GP and it’ll be different from this weekend, because twenty-two or twenty-six is not where I want to be.

MX Vice Editor || 25

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