The Grand Prix of Czech Republic was both a satisfying and frustrating FIM Motocross World Championship appointment for Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team Kawasaki as Max Anstie took his KX250F to seventh position overall at the hilly Loket circuit.
The 13th round of 18 in the MX2 series took place under blue skies and across slick, stony hard-pack where Anstie was able to claim victory in the first moto but crashed out while leading the second.
24,000 spectators scaled the steep slopes at the age-old flowing track chocked with off-cambers, drops and climbs and with a single fast racing line that complicated any overtaking.
Anstie was quick to credit the work done with the team during pre-season and weeks of riding and testing on Spanish hard-pack as one of the factors behind a confident performance to Pole Position – his second in a row and second of 2015 – on Saturday.
The British pilot was supreme in the first moto. Surprisingly it was Samuele Bernardini who earned the holeshot but Anstie soon worked his way around the Italian and then set his own pace through the rest of the sprint to keep ahead of Jordi Tixier and the charging Valentin Guillod. The chequered flag marked his third consecutive win and meant significant points in his recent ‘rally’ up the championship standings.
In the second race Anstie took the holeshot and was able to deal with Tim Gajser after five laps and then seemed to start making a comfortable gap at the front, leading the way for another four circulations until he lost control through the jumps adjacent to the start straight and crashed heavily. Max was not injured but the race was over.
Anstie, who now leads the British Championship by 23 points with two rounds remaining, is also in the still in the fight for the MX2 crown after the season-ending injury to Jeffrey Herlings on Saturday. After the motos at Loket #99 holds seventh position in the table but is only 62 points away from Tim Gajser.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki will move onto Lommel this week. The heaviest sand course on the calendar holds good memories for the crew and Anstie as the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix was conquered last August and a repeat showing has to be on the cards next weekend as they chase their second chequered flag of 2015.
“To be honest it is still a positive weekend for us,” said a positive Anstie. “Here on the hard-pack we’ve made leaps and bounds. I felt really good in the second one, really comfortable and in control. I wasn’t pushing too hard but my hand fell off [the bars] going through the rollers. It probably wasn’t the best idea: forgetting to hold on. I’m a little bit stiff but we’re going step-by-step and should be alright for Lommel. It was my mistake but proves that I’m human and I’ll want to do better next week.”
“Nearly was. It was a perfect day yesterday and today was nearly awesome: fastest in warm-up, ideal first race and holeshot in the second,” commented Team Principal, Steve Dixon. “He had a nice lead and was comfortable with his times but it was a freak thing when he crashed. Luckily Max was okay.
“We’re not blind to the situation with the points and we are doing what we can do. Exactly what happened today is what motocross is about. As we saw in the WMX championship, it is a tough sport. Everything has to come together to get the points. The fastest guy is sitting in hospital again but you have to be in it to win it and unfortunately Max hit the ground as well today.”