We didn’t expect a summery MXGP of Sweden, but it turned out to be nice and toasty, blanketed with blue skies and a handful of clouds.
With multiple changes to the track which has taken on a change of direction so the circuit now runs ‘backwards’, compared to recent years, a few new sections of rollers and a different position for the start and finish lines, round twelve of the FIM Motocross World Championship commenced with Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s Clement Desalle and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings heading into tomorrow on pole.
Meanwhile rounds five of the European Championships EMX250 and EMX300 also let it rip here around Uddevalla with race one glory going, for the first time this season, to Wilvo Forkrent KTM’s Adam Sterry in the EMX250 while TM Racing Team’s Samuele Bernardini cleared out for a convincing win in the EMX300.
As for the FIM Veterans Motocross World Cup, the 2012 VMX World Cup victor Darryll King edged out Martin Zerava and Mats Nilsson for the win in race one.
Lining up for the MXGP qualifying heat, the riders were faced with what appeared to be a wide sweeping first turn, yet a tricky one as the surface doesn’t hold a lot of traction and the turn gets narrower on the exit. Anyway, the gates dropped and the throttles were wound open, all with hopes of getting there and making it through safe and up front.
Leading the way Rockstar Energy Suzuki World’s duo of Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos went one-two around turn one with Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Steven Frossard, Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Dean Ferris and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli all up in the mix, too.
While Desalle put his diesel style of riding to good use, remaining steady and consistent to take his second pole position of the year, his teammate Strijbos looked eager for the win. While Strijbos charged hard, coming in on Desalle from all angles, it wasn’t enough at the checkers and he had to settle for second.
Meanwhile, Frossard pushed hard the entire race, too, eating roost off the rear wheels of the two Suzuki’s that led. Also within striking distance Cairoli looked content with fourth pick of the gate not doing anything drastic to move into the top three, eventually finishing fourth behind the Frenchman Frossard.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Van Horebeek didn’t quite come to grips with the surface during the race and finished in a distant fifth, while Ferris, who was initially racing up front, made a few mistakes and lost his rhythm to come home in tenth.
MXGP Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), 24:26.947; 2. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:00.821; 3. Steven Frossard (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:03.824; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:11.713; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:24.809; 6. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:28.079; 7. Ken de Dycker (BEL, KTM), +0:28.791; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Honda), +0:29.349; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:31.296; 10. Dean Ferris (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:39.493.
It appears MXGP of Sweden just kick started ‘silly-season’ with loads of riders in talks with possible teams for next year. All were looking hungry, riding with a ton of aggression in attempt to make a statement that they could be the next big challenger in 2015.
When the gates dropped for the MX2 qualifying heat race, many people had to squint as they tried to decipher the number of the rider that led. To the surprise of most it was Sahkar Racing’s Harri Kullas who took a massive holeshot and went on to lead the best part of the first few laps.
Chasing Kullas around turn one, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe’s young star Jeremy Seewer, followed by the classes normal hot starter KTM Silver Actions Jose Butron and the champ Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings.
With Kullas up front, the young Fin had the weight of the world on his shoulders and actually did a stellar job at holding off the train of stars that followed and even went as far as to pass Herlings back a couple of times while struggling to maintain the lead. Despite the enormous display of heart and effort, Kullas eventually dropped back but still rode amazing to come home in sixth.
Meanwhile when Herlings took over the lead on lap four, it was goodnight nurse to the rest of the competition, leaving the crowd hooked on the battle for second which not only welcomed a feud for second pick at the gate but also a fight of pride as three of MX2’s fastest Frenchmen duked it out.
It was a nail biting race as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier only just managed to hold off CLS Kawasaki Monster Energy’s Dylan Ferrandis who was pushing mega hard all the way to the finish. Meanwhile, Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre was also in the mix and came home in a close fourth.
Rounding out the top five with a very impressive performance, the promising young Swiss rider Jeremy Seewer wrapped up his best qualifying race finish of the season.
MX2 Qualifying Race top ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:29.561; 2. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:12.183; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:13.259; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:24.296; 5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:28.335; 6. Harri Kullas (FIN, KTM), +0:34.067; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:35.253; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:42.675; 9. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:43.163; 10. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:46.046.