Our top 10 things we learnt from the 2018 MXGP of Spain, Redsand.
1: There’s going to be an extra MXGP this year (it’s more interesting than you think)
The original calendar had 20 events but the MXGP in Sweden was cancelled before the season began when the organisers lost their funding from the local government and could no longer afford the sanctioning fee charged by Youthstream. Most of the teams were secretly happy, not because they don’t like Sweden but because it meant a bonus week off and less travelling and expense. On Thursday Youthstream announced a new MXGP had been added, in Bulgaria on the 25th and 26th of August. The teams hadn’t been consulted and for some, the additional cost of a long trip across Europe wasn’t in their budget. There was also the small matter of the new MXGP clashing with the British championship round at Hawkstone Park. Presumably the teams will find the funding for a trip to Bulgaria, and the ACU have moved Hawkstone to August 12, the date vacated by cancelling the Swedish MXGP.
2: The MXGP riders like to go large
I don’t mean with fries and coke, of course. No, I’m talking jumps! Saturday’s timed practice looked like a ‘Best Whip’ contest over the three huge Monster Energy table-tops with some serious styling by all the factory riders. The winner (in my opinion) was Arminas Jasikonis, getting his Honda flat and backwards while I’ll give Shaun Simpson honourable mention for a rather cool heel clicker.
3: The two-stroke challenge is alive and well
There was another full gate this week that includes a lot of privateer entries, and bikes from KTM, Husqvarna, Yamaha, TM and Gas Gas. The racing is intense at the front, with a three-way tie for third overall this week.
4: GL12’s first Red Plate
GL12 owner Bob Buchanan is a passionate supporter of two-stroke racing, spending his own money to fund the team. This is their fifth season in the EMX300 championship where they’ve won nine EMX Grand Prix, finished second in the championship twice and finished third in the championship twice but unbelievably never had the red plate…until this weekend. Mike Kras’ double race win gave him the championship lead and leader’s Red Plate. What a great day for the little team from Gloucester, consistently punching above their weight.
5: Dawn Mercer is superwife
Husband Factory Phil blew up his race bike in Valkenswward last week but was staying away and travelling straight to Spain. Mrs. Factory was flying home in the week for work, so she picked up a new piston kit, graphics kit, nut and bolt set and washed two sets of riding gear, then brought them down to Spain as hand luggage on Friday. I get stopped for having too much toothpaste in my hand luggage, but apparently, a spares kit is okay. Good work Mrs Mercer!
6: Ben Watson is a new man
The move to Belgium and the Kemea Yamaha team has done wonders for Ben. He seems more mature and confident and is really enjoying the new environment. Hopefully we will see him blossom this year. His results have already improved, and he currently sits in sixth place, tied on points with fellow fast Brit, Conrad Mewse who moved to Ben’s old team, Hitachi ASA KTM.
7: Is Pauls Jonass the new Jeffrey Herlings?
Same Alpinestars gear, same bike and undefeated this year in six motos. Okay, he doesn’t win by huge margins like Herlings did in MX2, but he seems able to remain cool when he’s under attack and do enough to stay in front. The current MX2 World Champion already has a 30-point lead and while it’s much too early to give him the title, he certainly looks favourite at the moment.
8: REVO have team spirit
REVO Husqvarna had a great weekend with Mel Pocock and Martin Barr taking a race win apiece and finishing third and fourth overall in the EMX250 championship. But what really impressed me was their team spirit. Third man on the team, Dylan Woodcock, was in the LCQ and the whole team was in the pit box supporting him. He didn’t manage to qualify but with great team support like that, it won’t be long. Kudos to Mark and Sam Yates, the team owners.
9: Jet Lawrence
Jet Lawrence was out in the EMX250 class making a huge step from an 85. He and brother Hunter are off to America next year so he’s using this year to get used to racing a 250, rather than the normal progression to a 125. Riding Zach Pichon’s 2017 Suzuki, he looked good but unfortunately didn’t make the cut through timed practice and pulled out of the LCQ. Expect him to make an impact once he’s had more time on the big bike.
10: Ken DeDyker is back
After retiring last year, he apparently got bored and bought a KTM. He’s now riding the unbadged KTM for BOS until Jordi Tixier is fit. His weekend didn’t go well with throttle problems in race one causing him to pit three times and no points in race two.
Did you know all these or perhaps we missed your favourite little-known story? Let us know below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter.