The second quarter of the FIM World Motocross Championship kicked off on Sunday in Belgium with the Grand Prix of Flanders. The Lommel circuit may be one of the toughest courses anywhere on the planet, and for certain is the roughest sand track. With schedule changes affecting the imminent event dates, this round is now the penultimate before a nearly month-long break. A great thing for Jeffrey Herlings, who raced just weeks removed from a shoulder fracture at MXGP Oss. For the top end of the GP class points hierarchy, it would be a chance to grab momentum to take into this upcoming weekend in Latvia.
It would be a rough day for former points leader Mattia Guadagnini of Red Bull KTM. A wreck on the start was the precursor to a day finishing outside of the top 10 in the overall standings. Meanwhile his teammate Tom Vialle had a short stint out in front after a holeshot, falling just afterwards. Fortunately, he was not hurt here, was just a small tip over.
Taking the lead away here was Maxime Renaux on his YZ-250 ride, but he would also throw away the lead. In this case, the benficiary was his teammate Jago Geerts, and it led to the Belgian picking up a moto win on home soil. Renaux was still be able to secure a 1-2 for Monster/Wilvo Yamaha. Kay De Wolf of Rockstar Husqvarna rounded out the podium, getting by Vialle for third in the second half.
Related: Could Kay De Wolf be named to the Des Nations team?
De Wolf would take his first holeshot of the season over Moto 1 winner Geerts by a little over a bike length. The main pair of Red Bull KTM riders, Vialle and Guadagnini, both would once again hit the deck in separate incidents in this second Moto. They would go on to finish seventh and twelfth here respectively. A very off day for the orange brand on the 250 side of things.
In the end, it would be the 16-year-old Dutchman De Wolf picking up his first career race win. A wire-to-wire win at that age, especially at Lommel of all places, is massively impressive. Unfortunately, though, he would just miss out on the Overall win. That was due to a strong second-place run by home country favorite Geerts, who ended on the day with 47 points to De Wolf’s 45. Reneaux, who finished third both in Moto 2 and in the Overall standings, retains the points lead in the MX2 class. Now nearly 30 points clear of Guadagnini, and Ruben Fernandez in second and third.
Top 10 Overall in MX2 Class
No. 93 Jago Geerts 1-2
No. 74 Kay De Wolf 3-1
No. 959 Maxime Reneaux 2-3
No. 198 Thibault Benistant 4-5
No. 14 Jed Beaton 8-5
No. 70 Ruben Fernandez 6-7
No. 28 Tom Vialle 4-11
No. 172 Mathys Borisame 7-8
No. 516 Simon Laengenfelder 10-9
No. 711 Rene Hofer 11-12
Romain Febvre would pull off his fourth holeshot of the year from a middle gate, barely beating out Herlings for the honors. Behind them, a couple of title contenders would hit the deck on the opening lap. Those would be points leader Tim Gajser, along with Jorge Prado. Both riders would luckily mitigate any major points losses, as both ended up just outside the top five here. There would also be a decent bit of rain that hit right around this point, in what was the second race of four on the day.
With around six minutes left, Herlings had run down Febvre for first, and would absolutely check out to a nearly 30-second moto win. Keep in mind this is the same rider who is two weeks clear of a shoulder fracture. Herlings however did get some help with that gap as Febvre went down after surrendering the lead. Luckily the Frenchman did not lose any spots. Antonio Cairoli would round out the podium, after getting by GasGas’ Pauls Jonass with two to go.
Monster Energy Kawasaki would go two for two on holeshots on the weekend in the Gp Class. Italian Ivo Monticelli would get his first of the year, before going down just seconds later, surrendering the point to Febvre. What was poised to be a fantastic day for Herlings, would take a turn for the worse in the early stages in this Moto. He collided with his Des Nations teammate for the Dutch Glenn Coldenhoff, putting both riders behind the eight-ball. Luckily Herlings was able to manage a fifth, Coldenhoff meanwhile would settle for a 13th. Febvre would soon after surrender the point on the back half of the track to Jonass after a fall, going to fourth in the process. Gajser who got by would also fall a couple of laps later from second, luckily he only lost two spots.
Febvre down the stretch was able to march back up to the front to get back by Jonass for first. In what was ultimately the Moto and Overall winning move. Jonass would end up third in the Overall standings and second in the Moto. Herlings despite a 1-5 day secured second on the day. With a slightly off day, Gasjer’s points lead to second, and third is now only single digits. Febvre is now only five points back, Cairoli nine back. Also, don’t look now, but Herlings is only 42 points back despite missing three Motos.
Top 10 Overall in MXGP Class
No. 3 Romain Febvre 2-1
No. 84 Jeffery Herlings 1-5
No. 41 Pauls Jonass 4-2
No. 61 Jorge Prado 6-3
No. 222 Antonio Cairoli 3-7
No. 243 Tim Gajser 7-4
No. 91 Jeremy Seewer 5-8
No. 10 Calvin Vlaanderen 10-10
No. 919 Ben Watson 12-9
No. 189 Brian Bogers 11-11
With close to being a month away from this year’s Motocross Des Nations, expect a slew of team announcements from the European powerhouses in short order. Also will be interesting to see if the FIM decides to count this year’s event for MXGP points, as that has been a rumor for a little bit now.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images