Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen put in a pair of 10th place finishes to help the Netherlands win their first ever Motocross of Nations, while Tim Gajser rounded off his amazing season with one-two moto results in his two races, taking a convincing MXGP class victory for yet another award in 2019. The Slovenian rider also took a pair of holeshots as his Honda CRF450RW once again showed its power in the deep, wet, sandy conditions of the Assen motor-racing circuit.
Torrential rain hit the facility overnight and it continued throughout the whole day, adding an extra layer of difficulty to what is already a tough track. The organisers trucked in 26,000m³ of sand to lay on top of the tarmac racing circuit and despite the horrendous weather, the track held together really well for all three motos.
For an ecstatic Vlaanderen, even the large quantities of rain couldn’t dampen his mood as the Netherlands were called up on the podium to collect the Chamberlain Trophy. As the MX2 rider, he rode the first two races up against 450cc machines but despite the displacement disadvantage, he was still able to put in a pair of 10th place results, which was good enough for second in the class. Those results also helped the Dutch win by almost 30 points as they ran out convincing victors in front of their home crowd. It was a sweet redemption for Vlaanderen who got injured in last year’s MXoN, and also confirmation that the Dutch Federation made the right decision when choosing the Honda CRF250RW rider.
While Vlaanderen was helping the Netherlands make history, Gajser also made a bit of history for Slovenia as his race win in the MXGP + MX2 moto was the first ever for their nation in this event. The HRC rider grabbed the holeshot but was pushed out in the second corner and had to spend the first half of the moto looking for a way to get back into the lead. Eventually he made the pass and despite some late pressure, he won the moto and proved once again that he is fastest 450cc rider in 2019. In the third moto, his second, he once again grabbed the holeshot and led for the first three laps before a small tip-over dropped him two places. He regrouped quickly though and set about trying to regain the lead, and although he had the fastest lap of the race, he couldn’t make the pass he needed to go one-one. However, his three points were still half as many as the next rider in the MXGP class and that meant he added another award to an already packed trophy cabinet.
Next up for the 2019 MXGP world champion is a trip stateside as he looks to take on the best supercross riders in the world at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas on October 19th.
Behind the Dutch were neighbours Belgium who were led by Honda rider Jeremy van Horebeek who recorded a pair of sixth place finishes in his two motos. His 12 points were a great help as Belgium got on the podium for the first time since 2015.
Also benefiting from a strong Honda presence were Team Estonia, who came in fourth, just six points off the podium. Harri Kullas and Priit Ratsep were both riding red and they helped the Baltic nation to another good finish, with Kullas especially impressive with a fourth place in one of his motos. Switzerland and Australia weren’t quite able to match their qualification results but they still rode well with Valentin Guillod and Kyle Webster doing well for their countries.
Unfortunately Team Japan were unable to make it out of the B-Final as Akira Narita sat out of the race due to the incident in yesterday’s qualification race. That meant it was just down to Gota Otsuka and Toshiki Tomita and despite them trying their best, they just weren’t able to take the win they needed to make it into the A-Final.
Bold denotes a team with at least one Honda rider