It’s a wrap! The sixteenth round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship offered some amazing action and battles on the typical Dutch sand track of Arnhem.
The great weather and track conditions meant that riders could express themselves to the fullest. The typical tough Dutch sand track still offered many challenges for the riders who could not lose focus for a second.
In MXGP, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre won his 6th Grand Prix of the season in front of Red Plate Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado who keeps winning races to maintain his large points lead on Febvre. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer confirmed after his win in Sweden with a back-to-back podium asserting a bit more the 3rd place in the Championship.
In MX2, the solid and consistent Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Everts won his 2nd Grand Prix of the season in a last lap thriller that saw Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Lucas Coenen finish second overall thanks to his win in race two and fighting spirit in the first race. Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder completed the podium with another race win to keep his podium streak going.
The MXGP of The Netherlands attracted many fans who were eager to cheer on every home rider and created an amazing atmosphere around the track to the delight of all riders. The crowd made itself known under the hot and sunny day at Arnhem.
In Race 1 Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado clinched his 11th FOX Holeshot of the season, levelling with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer
in the competition. Seewer was just behind Prado but Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre quickly overtook the Swiss in the opening lap to go 2nd. Prado led the race but then got threatened by a fast Febvre who seemed to enjoy this tough track. On lap 9 of 18, Febvre made a great move to overtake the Red Plate and took the lead.
We thought that Febvre was going for the win after pulling away quickly but on lap 11, unfortunately a stone got stuck into his rear brake to put it a stop in his flow. The Frenchman struggled to switch back the bike and saw Prado and Seewer overtaking him. Febvre eventually got back to it and managed to get back to 2nd on lap 17 after passing Seewer again. Febvre pushed for the win but was too short and Prado got another important race win while Febvre settled for 2nd and Seewer 3rd.
Behind the first trio, Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Pauls Jonass started very well in 4th on the turn of lap 1 in front of Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Maxime Renaux but they both got overtaken by Renaux’s teammate Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff who jumped to 4th place. Coldenhoff kept that place until the end. Jonass couldn’t keep his position as Renaux, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser and SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato overtook him between lap 5 and 7. Jonass moved down to 8th and finished in that position.
Renaux was 5th until lap 9 when he made a mistake and moved down to 7th. Both Gajser and Forato took that opportunity to finish 5th and 6th respectively. Earlier, Forato passed Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen for 8th and unwilling forced him wide. Vlaanderen went off track and crash and had to retire from the race on lap 6.
Unfortunately, De Baets Yamaha MX-Team’s Benoit Paturel and Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández crashed on the first corner. Fenandez went to the pitlane for a goggle change and managed to move up to 17th which was really good considering how far back he was after that incident. Paturel could not go back on track after a bike issue.
In Race 2, Febvre took the best start to clinch the FOX Holeshot and took the lead. This time the French rider would not do the same mistakes and raced superbly to keep a good cushion at the lead. Febvre finally got the race win to go 2-1 and win his 6th Grand Prix of the season.
Behind him, Seewer got a great start once again to place himself 2nd. The Swiss managed to stay solid but got into a battle of the teammate with the home rider Coldenhoff with 2 laps to go. Coldenhoff showed great determination as he rode past Prado earlier in the race to go 3rd and kept charging forward as he was supported hugely by the home crowd. Seewer’s podium was in jeopardy if Coldenhoff passed him. In the end Seewer managed to keep his cool and battle off Coldenhoff to stay 2nd and clinch the 3rd spot on the podium and get a back-to-back podium after his win in Sweden. Coldenhoff who got tantalisingly close to the podium on his home GP had to settle for the 3rd place and the 4th overall.
Prado managed a pretty quiet race as he rode for most of the race in 4th place to get another podium with the 2nd overall. The only test for the Red Plate was to keep Gajser at bay for a couple of laps. Gajser in the end threw the towel with a couple of laps to go knowing it would be hard to chase after Prado and settled for another good 5th place and the 5th overall.
Renaux got a good start and placed himself in 3rd position but made a mistake on lap 4 to move down to 6th. The French rider kept the 6th spot until the end to go 6th overall. Forato and Fernandez battled it out for the 7th place which Forato grasped on lap 6 and never gave it up again to go 6-7 for 7th overall while Fernandes showed that without a crash, he was well worthy of the top 10 as he finished 8th. Jonass rode pretty much the whole race in 9th place to finish 8th overall.
Rounding the overall top 10 were Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Brian Bogers who went 9-10 for 9th overall, and MRT Racing Team Beta’s Ben Watson who went 11-11 for 10th overall.
Romain Febvre: “The second race was so much better. I pulled the FOX Holeshot and rode my own race. I was feeling good, the track was heavy but I could make the difference. It’s a shame for the first race that I could not win because I got a stone stuck in the rear brake but anyway, win number 6 so I am really happy about it.”
Jorge Prado: “I didn’t get the best start in the second race and it took the first lap to get my position. I came into the weekend sick and I felt a bit worse this morning but this track today was really tough plus the sun came out to make it even harder. I gave my all, second overall, my points lead in the Championship look good and next round is in Turkiye which I am really excited to race go and race there!”
Jeremy Seewer: “It’s never easy to keep the local hero (Glenn Coldenhoff) behind in the second race on his home GP but I did it. We had quite a lot of fights this season for the third place on the podium and I had the better of him this time luckily. I struggled yesterday and we had to change the bike overnight and I felt a bit nervous but I’m thankful to the team that we could turn it around as I felt better today and had a good flow. To do a podium in the sand is always special for me and I’m super happy. Now off to Turkiye.”
In race 1, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder took the FOX Holeshot and flew with the lead. No one could catch the German and he went on to win race one comfortably continuing on his impressive showings.
Behind him was a battle that we are now used to see between the top two in the Championship and teammates at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Andrea Adamo and Liam Everts. Everts started the best of the two in 2nd position while Adamo followed closely in 3rd. Everts felt comfortable until Adamo got closer which made the Belgian gets a bit untidy and got a close call on a turn. The riders went wheel to wheel but Everts kept his 2nd place while Adamo also made a mistake, costing him some time. On lap 10 of 18, Everts made a mistake and nearly got off his bike but salvaged it very well although Adamo capitalised on that mistake to move up to 2nd.
From then on Adamo pulled away to put pressure on Laengenfelder but made a mistake that made him having to throw his goggles. Adamo kept riding very strongly goggle-less and was going to threaten Laengenfelder over the last lap but made another mistake that kept him in 2nd place until the end. Adamo got an excellent 2nd place while Everts settled for 3rd.
To mark his comeback after his broken collarbone, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Jago Geerts displayed an impressive performance as he went 6th after the turn of lap 1 and took his time to get into his usual flow but then found his tempo and overtook a very good F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo for 5th on lap 13 and then capitalised on the unfortunate crash of his teammate and also great performer Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Rick Elzinga to move up to 4th. Horgmo stayed solid once again to finish 5th while Elzinga who was riding at home picked himself up in 9th position to finish there.
The most impressive performance of the race was definitely from Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Lucas Coenen who crashed in the first corners to find himself at the back of the group. However, we know that L.Coenen never gives up and pulled an incredible comeback on this tough track to salvage the 6th place in the end.
In Race 2, The FOX Holeshot went to Everts who took the lead in front of L.Coenen. The Nestaan Husqvarna rider was very fast and pushed hard behind Everts from the opening lap. L.Coenen made a successful move on lap 2 of 17 to pass Everts for the leads although he nearly completely fell off his bike but somehow saved it superbly. L.Coenen pulled away and kept pushing, setting the fastest lap but entered into a wild rodeo and lost control to fall off the bike this time. Everts and Horgmo passed the young Belgian. However, it only took a bit more than a lap for L.Coenen to overtake once more Horgmo first and Everts with a sublime pass full of confidence on the outside.
L.Coenen this time did not give his lead away and flew to victory in great manner to go 6-1 for 2nd overall. L.Coenen could have also win the overall due to the immense and intense battle between Everts and Geerts over the last couple of laps. Geerts once again impressively showed up in race two as he found himself 5th on lap 1. The Belgian overtook Horgmo on lap 7 for 3rd and kept going to fight for the 2nd spot with Everts over the last lap. Geerts momentarily passed Everts on the last lap which would have put him on the podium and would have denied Everts a GP victory. However, Everts’ willpower made him fight until the very last corners to pass Geerts back on the penultimate corner on a jump and clinched the 2nd place and the Grand Prix victory with it.
Everts won his 2nd Grand Prix with a 3-2 while Geerts finished 4th overall which is impressive. Horgmo settled for the 4th place and the 6th overall.
Adamo rode strongly and fought with Laengenfelder over the 5th place. Adamo made a mistake which allowed Laengenfelder to go 5th on lap 7. Adamo didn’t give up and came back to put pressure on Laengenfelder and overtook him on lap 12 to show that he can perform very well also on sand. Adamo finished 5th to go 2-5 and 5th overall while Laengenfeler, thanks to his win in race 1, went 1-6 for 3rd overall, extending his podium streak to 6.
JM Honda Racing’s Camden Mc Lellan keeps showing up and performing well as he went 7-7 for 7th overall while Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk could be satisfied to go back into the top 10 after his injury and scored an 8-8 for 8 overall on his home GP. The other home rider Elzinga unfortunately crashed in race two and had to retire from the race. VHR Racing Team’s Isak Gifting got a back-to-back top 10 with his 9th overall while WZ Racing Team’s Oriol Oliver finished 10th overall.
Liam Everts: “I lost it for a moment at the end of the race (the GP win) as I went a bit too defensive but I managed to get Jago (Geerts) back. The move was on the limit but it was for the overall which I had no clue about. I’m super happy and big thanks to the team”
Lucas Coenen:”I crashed in the first race in a corner and costed me a lot of energy so it got me really hungry for the second race. I rode very well in that second one as I passed Liam (Everts) quite quickly and I made a good gap and I control my race so it was good.”
Simon Längenfelder: “For sure I know that I can ride on sand for a long time now but unfortunately in that second race I could not find my flow and I tried to push but made a mistake. The track was really difficult so congrats to the other guys as they did a great job. Sometimes it cannot go always perfect but we’re ready to bounce back for the next few races.”
Words: MXGP – Photo Credit: MXGP