Max Anstie stormed to a resounding two moto sweep for Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki in the Latvian round of the FIM World MX2 Motocross Championship at the rugged Kegums track to close dramatically on the series leaders.
The British rider was dominant all weekend, winning both the Qualifying race and both GP motos.
Even when he failed to holeshot in the muddy first GP moto he had the confidence and skill to pick off his rivals one-by-one to take the lead at two-thirds race distance and control the race to the chequered flag.
A start-to-finish victory in race two gave Max his second career GP win, and the first with a maximum points score. Although he remains seventh in the series points standings with six GPs still to run, he now trails third place by just 40 points and expects to carry the momentum of his Latvian success into the final third of the series.
“A perfect weekend, winning the Qualifying race and both GP motos,” says a delighted Max Anstie. “I was confident from the word go, but I still had to make it happen.
“The start was really heavy in the first race after the rain last night, but I was soon fourth and just picked off the riders ahead of me one by one. As I waited for the start of the second race it went through my head that I had never gone 1-1 before, but I got the holeshot and was on my way.
“The whole team has worked hard for this win and it proves that we are headed in the right direction and looking for more wins before the season is over.”
Jordi Tixier of the Monster Energy Kawasaki MX2 Racing Team faced a difficult GP after crashing in Qualification. Despite the disadvantage of an outside gate for the GP motos the Frenchman managed to take an eighth placed start in the first race and quickly moved forward to sixth but was then confronted with the difficulty which faced all competitors after overnight rain had restricted line choice and he could not advance further.
He finished eighth in race two after a less satisfactory start and a crash to finish seventh overall in the GP and maintain his sixth place in the series standings.
Jordi Tixier said: “Yesterday we struggled too much with the suspension, and made many changes before the Qualifying race. I didn’t have time to test the new settings but had a good start, then after three corners there was a strange reaction of the bike and I crashed; one rider hit me and I broke my knee brace in the crash so I had a bad gate for the GP motos.
“My first start was not so bad but it took me too much time to find my confidence and take a good rhythm. My second start was not good, then I crashed one time and could only recover to finish eighth. We need to work again on the suspension before the next GP; I feel that I can’t go faster at the moment even though we have a very good engine.”
Teenage team-mate Thomas Covington was 10th overall in the GP after a difficult first moto ride from an initial 17th to finish 14th. After gating eighth in race two he dropped just one position to hard-charging colleague Tixier and now holds fourteenth place in the series standings.
“I finished 10th overall this weekend, so that’s a lot better than the previous rounds,” commented Thomas Covington. “It was not a great weekend, but it was not too bad. In the first moto I got a bad start, came back in the pack and had another crash, and finally finished 14th.
“I got a better start in the second moto and felt pretty strong; the only person to pass me all race was my team-mate Jordi. They did a really good job to prepare the track this weekend; we had a meeting with the FIM on Friday to talk about the tracks, and even with the rain in the night and the morning the track here was okay.”