Highlights video and Ray Archer photos below.
A PAIR OF PODIUM SECONDS FOR RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING IN BELGIUM
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team came away from the MX GPs of Belgium on Sunday with a pair of podium seconds in MX1 and MX2 thanks to factory riders Tony Cairoli and Jordi Tixier. The result sees Cairoli carry forward the battle for the MX1 title through to the next round at the GP of Britain at the popular Matterley basin circuit.
With 2013 MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings sidelined with a dislocated shoulder after a crash in qualifying Saturday, the opening MX2 moto Bastogne was a free-for-all for riders who had been used to the dominance of KTM’s Dutch rider.
Tixier was third at the start among a group of five riders out to take advantage of a Herlings-free track. Then things got more complicated as light rain started to fall on the technically challenging Belgium circuit making visibility and issue. By lap 15 Tixier was tucked in behind the leader Australian Dean Ferris when he had to make a massive save after almost loosing the back end of his KTM 250 SX-F coming out of turn one. The French rider made an impressive recovery and went on to finish in second behind Ferris, saying later that broken goggles had held him back for much of the race.
Tixier missed the start in the second moto and to compound his problems he again had to ride without goggles in a race that was dampened with heavy rain. He fought against flying debris in his eyes and later said it had been one of the toughest races of his career.
Tixier did race into fifth in the second moto to pick up enough points to claim overall second behind Ferris. Dutch KTM rider Glenn Coldenhoff rode behind Ferris for the entire second race and closed right down on the Australian in the closing stages to claim a well-deserved third podium place.
“I had problems with my goggles in both races,” Tixier said. “It wasn’t so bad in the first race and I could leave them on but in the second race after about five minutes I knew the only solution was to ride without them. It was pretty tough because there were many stones.”
Coldenhoff celebrated his second podium of the season and said he has gained in confidence. But he added that he didn’t like the track so much and went into the weekend aiming for a top ten in both motos. “I am super happy with the second moto when I took the holeshot and finished second. That was really good for me,’ he said.
Focus on Cairoli in MX1
In MX1 the focus was firmly on Red Bull KTM’s Tony Cairoli who went into his opening moto knowing he had a mathematical chance of claiming his seventh world title if he could steal a 10-point advantage over Clement Desalle.
Cairoli took the holeshot but he was shadowed throughout the race by the equally determined Desalle, riding in front of his home crowd. Desalle stuck on Cairoli’s rear wheel almost the entire moto and never slipped more than 1.7 seconds behind. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ken de Dycker worked his way up from tenth at the start into the top five but eventually finished sixth.
The moto ended in high drama with little between Cairoli and Desalle coming into the final lap when Desalle crashed and the race went to Cairoli. Desalle scrambled back on his bike to stay at second leaving the championship open.
Cairoli headed into his second moto knowing he still had to fight for seven clear points to become the 2013 World Champion but it was not to be. He made another good start but Desalle, inspired by massive crowd backing made an early pass and held onto the lead for the rest of the race. The net result was a reverse of the first moto with Desalle claiming the win and Cairoli in second. Cairoli’s factory teammate Ken de Dycker, who was hampered by an ankle injury finished sixth overall and remains third in the championship standings.
Cairoli said after the race that it was important to try to win the GP but admitted that he faced a very motivated Desalle. “I tried in the first moto and we made a big gap to the rest of the field. Then I got a good start again in the second moto but he passed me in the second corner when I made a little mistake. I tried to stay close but I knew even if I passed him it was not enough to win the championship. I didn’t want to take any risks and I tried to stay focused and to wait one more week for the title.”
De Dycker said he had been looking forward to his home GP but given the problems with his ankle he felt he had done the best he could. “My starts were okay but everyone was passing me because I was scared to put my leg down and put pressure on my ankle. I think with the ankle problems I did the best I could this weekend.”
Cairoli has a 90-point lead but with two round to go there are still 100 points up for grabs.
The venue at Bastogne, Belgium also hosted Round six of the EMX 125, which saw another victory for KTM’s Pauls Jonass. He now leads the championship by 37 points and said he needs to stay motivated to maintain the points lead when the competition resumes in Matterley Basin next weekend.
GP of Belgium at Bastogne – Round 15 of the World Championship
1, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki [2 – 1]
2, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM [1 – 2]
3, Evgeny Bobryshev, Russia, Honda [4 – 3]
4, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, Suzuki [7 – 4]
5, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, Kawasaki, [5 – 5]
6, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM [6 – 8]
15, Jonathan Barragan, Spain, KTM [16 – 14]
16, Matiss Karro, Latvia, KTM [15 – 15]
1, Cairoli, 690
2, Desalle, 600
3, de Dycker, 542
4, Paulin, 485
5, Strijbos, 469
MX1 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 705
2, Suzuki, 628
3, Kawasaki, 583
1, Dean Ferris, Australia, Yamaha [1 – 1]
2, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM [2 – 5]
3, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM [8 -2]
4, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM [7 -3]
5, Romain Febvre, France, KTM [5 -4]
8, Jake Nicholls, Great Britain, KTM [11 – 6]
12, Tim Gajser, Slovenia, KTM [6 – 35]
14, Pascal Rauchenecker, Austria, KTM [15 – 14]
16, Elliott Banks-Browne, Great Britain, KTM [13 – 17]
1, Herlings, 692 (already World Champion)
2, Tixier, 553
3, Butron, 470
4, Charlier, 439
5, Coldenhoff, 412
7, Nicholls, 370
MX2 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 741
2, Yamaha, 556
3, Kawasaki, 425
Motocross European Championship at Bastogne, Belgium
EMX 125 Results of Round 6
1, Pauls Jonass, Latvia, KTM, 29:14.725
2, Brian Hsu, Germany, Suzuki, 29:17.813
3, Nicolas Dercourt, France, Yamaha, 29:19.487
4, Davy Pootjes, Netherlands, KTM, 29:37.982
5, Henry Jacobi, Germany, KTM, 29:52.831
EMX 125 Championship Standings after Round 6
1, Jonass, 168
2, Dercourt, 131
2, Vlaanderen, 129
4, Lundgren, 119
5, van der Vlist, 108
EMX 125 Manufacturers Standings after Round 6
1, KTM, 172
2, Yamaha, 141
3, Suzuki, 89