Matterley Basin is a track that aspiring racers dream of riding. It hosts only one event per year, the FIM Motocross World Championship, and since the addition of the European Championship to the paddock of MXGP, young guns from all over the world have been able to take advantage of the unique opportunity to race on this world-class circuit.
Why is it so great? The track has an awesome flow, it has great dirt, it also has plenty of cool obstacles such as perfectly sculpted jumps, which for the youngsters are awesome to throw greasy whips over, and it also has a big selection of ruts to lay into and sweeping turns to power slide around.
The fans love it just as much as the riders because they can see the entire track from almost anywhere, which was extra awesome for the British fans today with British riders winning two of the three European Championship classes.
The seventh round of the European Championship EMX250 was won by British wild card, Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke, while the fourth round of the European Championship EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing was won by GL12 Yamaha Racing’s Brit, Brad Anderson.
Meanwhile, KTM Silver Action Stephen Rubini topped the box for the second time on the bounce here at the fifth round of the European Championship EMX125 presented by FMF Racing.
No one had anything for KTM Factory Junior’s hot starter Jorge Prado who took yet another holeshot ahead of the local hero Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke and the most recent round winner, Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei. The championship leader Bodo Scmidt Motorsport’s Thomas Kjer Olsen was also up front in fourth with Suzuki World MX2 star Bas Vaessen hot on his heels.
Sanayei was quick to make a move on Clarke. He pinned it up the inside, but Clarke shut the door, so he switched his lines and threw Clarkey off with a move around the outside. Sanayei got really hard on the brakes heading into the next turn, which saw Clarke run into him. Both riders stayed up and continued to battle hard, but it was Sanayei who crossed the line on lap two with the advantage of second place.
Sanayei won a race here at Matterley Basin last year, on his EMX250 debut, and looked to be feeling it again today as he took massive chunks out of the lead of Prado and nailed it up the inside of the Spaniard on lap four. Although Sanayei was running a fierce pace, the rookie, Prado, looked hungry for a win and remounted an attack. A mistake by the young KTM rider dropped him back and he failed to regain the lost ground.
Meanwhile, Vaessen started hammering it until his bike started cutting out, which forced him to pull into pit-lane.
With two laps to go, Clarke tipped some of the energy from the British fans in his fuel tank and charged past Prado for second despite catching his foot peg on the top of a jump while scrubbing. It looked a bit sketchy but the Brit was able to style it out.
Upping the intensity on the last lap, Thomas Kjer Olsen remembered what his right wrist is good for and started to twist it. The strong Dane caught Prado and Clarke. He managed to get Prado for third but Clarke held on tight for second. Sanayei, on the other hand, took his third consecutive race win while Prado was fourth with Nicolas Dercourt rounding out the top five.
In Race 2, Darian Sanayei got off to an ideal start with a massive holeshot but it wasn’t as smooth sailing as he would have hoped for with Steven Clarke not in the mood for games.
Clarke wasn’t taking any prisoners on his way to the front and went into a turn so hot he made the sun feel cold. It was with that corner speed he took the lead and went on to win the race and his home round of the European Championship.
Meanwhile Jorge Prado was dealing with pressure from Bas Vaessen for half of a lap before the Suzuki rider hucked the quad massively and set the Spaniard up around the next turn to make the pass for third. The next rider to give Prado some grief was the championship leader, Thomas Kjer Olsen, who used his race smarts to take over fourth.
Up front, the fans were bought to their feet as Clarke struggled to shake Sanayei who was holding onto him while Kjer Olsen connected with Vaessen in a battle for third. Vaessen went down but only lost a spot and managed to finish the lap in fifth.
The battle for the lead went down to the wire. At the checkers it was the wild card rider, Apico Husqvarna’s Steven Clarke, who got the job done for the race and overall win here in front of his home crowd. Bud Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Darian Sanayei crossed the line in second for second overall with Bodo Schmidt KTM’s Thomas Kjer Olsen finishing third for third. Nicolas Dercourt finished fourth in the final race ahead of Bas Vaessen.
EMX250 Overall Top Ten: 1. Steven Clarke (GBR, HUS), 47 points; 2. Darian Sanayei (USA, KAW), 47 p.; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 40 p.; 4. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, KTM), 34 p.; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, KAW), 27 p.; 6. Anton Gole (SWE, HUS), 27 p.; 7. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 26 p.; 8. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, YAM), 25 p.; 9. Kevin Wouts (BEL, KTM), 19 p.; 10. Mike Stender (GER, SUZ), 18 p.
With Great Britain being the home of motocross, they are one of the most pro-2-stroke nations in the world so it was wicked for them to witness two Brits, Brad Anderson and Lewis Gregory, own the class here at Matterley Basin in Race 1 yesterday afternoon.
In Race 2 this morning, Kras took a massive holeshot on his FMF powered KTM 300 and used his brash attitude to knuckle down and air out a lead right off the bat. Meanwhile, the red plate holder, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Yentel Martens, was in third around turn one and didn’t waste any time in launching past Phil Mercer for second.
Mercer started dropping spots as the likes of Antonio Utrilla and yesterday’s British dominators, Lewis Gregory and Brad Anderson, emerged. Gregory was the fastest in Qualifying and was looking solid again today as he charged past the Spaniard, Utrilla. While Utrilla was dropped back to fourth, it was only the start of the carnage he was about to be faced with as yesterday’s race one winner, Anderson, came-a-knockin’.
Anderson was on a mission to win for his rowdy British fans, and put an aggressive move up the inside of Utrilla. Utrilla tried to respond and put a wheel on Anderson over the next jump. Ando whipped it out, as did Utrilla, but the Spaniard still clipped the Brit and went down like a ton of bricks.
Next on Ando’s hit list was his GL12 Yamaha teammate, Gregory. It was completely obvious there are no team instructions in that team as he threw an elbow at his teammate on the way past. Gregory tried to fight back but didn’t quite have the goods.
Both riders had charged hard from outside the top ten and both blitzed past Martens like he was standing still but couldn’t catch the leader, Kras, who had completely checked out.
Mike Kras took his fourth race win of the season, which was enough for second overall and the championship lead. GL12 Yamaha’s Brad Anderson came home in second to take the overall win here at his home round of the EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing championship. Anderson’s GL12 Yamaha teammate Lewis Gregory came home in third, which was enough for third overall.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Yentel Martens relinquished the red plate after only banking a pair of fourths this weekend. It now belongs to Mike Kras.
EMX300 Presented by FMF Racing Overall Top Ten: 1. Brad Anderson (GBR, YAM), 47 points; 2. Mike Kras (NED, KTM), 45 p.; 3. Lewis Gregory (GBR, YAM), 42 p.; 4. Yentel Martens (BEL, HUS), 36 p.; 5. Nicolas Bender (SUI, HUS), 30 p.; 6. Jamie Skuse (GBR, YAM), 22 p.; 7. Mike Vanderstraeten (BEL, TM), 20 p.; 8. Patrick Vos (NED, KTM), 20 p.; 9. Aaron Pipon (GBR, YAM), 19 p.; 10. Matthew Moffat (GBR, KTM), 18 p.
Words and image by MXGP