What a first day racing on the sand track of Arnhem for the RAM Qualifying Races of the MXGP of The Netherlands. Riders acclimated quickly to the new track and showed great speed along with an amazing show
In MXGP, it was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre who showed lot of control and good speed to win while Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Lucas Coenen emphatically won the MX2 RAM Qualifying Race.
Along with the MXGP and MX2 classes, the first races of EMX250 and WMX took place on Saturday and were won respectively by VRT KTM Factory Juniors’ Ferruccio Zanchi and Lotte Van Drunen.
The Paddock Show followed the RAM Qualifying Races with the winners of the RAM Qualification Races and the MX2 Red Plate Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo Dutch Heroes also came on stage making the home crowd excited with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Rick Elzinga and 2022 WMX World Champion Ceres 71 Racing’s Nancy Van De Ven, Lotte Van Drunen and Fantic Maddii Factory Racing’s Lynn Valk
The MXGP RAM Qualifying Race started intensely right from the gate drop with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer taking the best start in front of his teammate Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff. Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado and Romain Febvre followed them closely while battling between each other. Prado got the best of Febvre on lap 1 of 12 but between lap 2 and 3 they exchanged position a couple of times showing great skills on this demanding track of Arnhem. Finally, Febvre who was 3rd, pulled away from Prado on lap 3.
In the meantime, Coldenhoff who pushed hard to keep Febvre at bay, managed to charge Seewer and took the lead on lap 3. The Swiss got threatened again but this time by the Frenchman who made a strong move to go 2nd on lap 4. The race got even better for Febvre who was looking comfortable as he made a decisive pass a lap later on Coldenhoff to take the lead, and set the fastest lap of the race along the way. From then on, no one could match Febvre’s pace and he flew to victory.
Prado overtook Seewer on lap 5 to go 3rd and kept racing smoothly until he decided to go the 2nd place and Coldenhoff. Coldenhoff had to deal with a late charge from Prado over the last couple of laps but in the end the Dutch rider stayed 2nd to start his Home Grand Prix very well. Prado settled for the 3rd place while Seewer who started the race perfectly had to concede few places and finished 4th.
Behind the front four riders, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser started well in 6th position and move past Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Pauls Jonass in the opening lap to go 5th. Gajser showed good riding all way through and even got close to Seewer at the end although he had to settle for 5th. Jonass crashed in lap 4 and picked himself in 13th where he finished in the end.
SM Action Racing Team Yuasa Battery MXGP’s Alberto Forato did very well to climb up the ranks after finding himself in 9th after the first lap. Forato showed that he got the skills to fight as he quickly passed Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Brian Bogers and Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández to move up to 7th on lap 3. He then capitalised on Jonass’ misfortune to finish 6th in the end. Fernandez rode solidly as usual to get to 7th. Bogers found himself 8th on lap 4 and probably thought that he would get a promising 8th place on his home Grand Prix until De Baets Yamaha MX-Team’s Benoit Paturel who was behind him for most of the race found the way to get a successful manoeuvre to pass Bogers on lap 11. Paturel finished 8th in the end while Bogers ended at the 9th place.
Still riding to get back to his best, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Maxime Renaux had to battle from the 12th place on lap 1 to enter into the points. Renaux managed to get 10th in the end in front Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP’s Mitch Evans who had a positive race going from starting 15th to finish 11th.
Home rider and fans favourite, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings unfortunately injured himself in Free Practice and will have to sit out his home GP.
The other home rider Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen started well as he was riding within the top 10 in the opening lap until his bike failed him and had to retire from the race.
Romain Febvre: “I’m super happy because the day didn’t start as planned. I was training this morning and I knew if I would get a good start I would be in the flow with the other ones and that’s exactly what I did. I was third on the start and played with Prado a bit and made the pass until the lead. I was feeling comfortable so let’s go for tomorrow.”
The MX2 RAM Qualifying Race began from the best of manner for home rider Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Rick Elzinga who took the lead. Lucas Coenen rapidly placed himself in 2nd place in the opening lap after overtaking his twin brother, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Sacha Coenen. L.Coenen showed amazing control throughout the whole race and got close to Elzinga. The Belgian then went for the high line in a turn while Elzinga got the commanding line in the middle. L.Coenen went off track momentarily and avoided to crash. However, L.Coenen never gives up and came back on the charge a few laps later on lap 6 of 12 to make this time the pass stick and take the lead. L.Coenen kept going without looking back and won the RAM Qualifying Race.
S.Coenen who was 3rd crashed on lap 3 and retired from the race. For Elzinga, his 2nd spot got under threat by the ever-present Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder who overtook the good performer WZ Racing Team’s Oriol Oliver earlier in the race. Laengenfelder went full gas to powerfully overtake Elzinga on the straight and close him magnificently in the next turn. Laengenfelder finished the race at an excellent 2nd place. Unfortunately for the rookie Elzinga, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Liam Evertsfelt good on this track as he kept pushing until the end while he was 4th. Everts got dangerously close and both riders nearly collided in a turn but fortunately narrowly avoided each other. On lap 11, Elzinga made two mistakes on two jumps and struggled to keep his balance which was a golden opportunity for Everts to pass him and finish 3rd. Elzinga still managed a very good 4th place.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 Team’s Jago Geerts who were coming back from injury that he sustained in Finland showed all his fighting spirit and great talent. Geerts first overtook Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Andrea Adamo on the opening lap to go 8th and then pass for 7th, another returning rider on lap 2, Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk. Geerts was cruising in 6th place behind Oliver (following S.Coenen’s crash) and kept riding smoothly to find a way past the young Spanish on lap 10 and finish at an encouraging 5th place. Oliver finished 7th in the end.
MX2 Red Plate Adamo didn’t find his usual flow as he hovered around the 8th spot throughout the race but capitalised on the unfortunate crash of JM Honda Racing’s Camden Mc Lellan who was riding very well in 7th place until lap 10. Adamo salvaged a 7th place and 4 points in the Championship while Mc Lellan finished outside the top 10 in 13th place.
Riding at home Van De Moosdijk stayed consistently within the top 10 and managed a good performance for his return with the 8th place in front of a good Team Ship To Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Emil Weckman who got the 9th place. F&H Kawasaki Racing Team’s Kevin Horgmo rounded the top 10 in the end gaining a couple of position during the race.
Lucas Coenen: “The race was quite tough because the track was really rough, even more than Lommel so it was going to be a technical and physical. It was not easy to pass Elzinga and I tried once but he run me wide but the second pass was good. First race done and tomorrow will be racing day!”
Words & Photo Credit – MXGP