FIM MX GP; Valkenswaard, The Netherlands

Round two of the MX GP series had all factory teams and a crowd of 19,500 come to Valkenswaard for a battle in the Dutch sand, and with the 125cc, MX GP, and 650cc class all present in one place, the paddock was full. Among them, two “American-Italians,” Jeff Dement, and Trampas Parker, who seem to want to stay in Europe to finish off their careers where others see the GP series as a stepping stone for racing in the USA (e.g. youngster Ben Townley from New Zealand). With Dorna out for 2004 and Giuseppe Luongo back in, the format of GP motocross might once again change back to two motos, but for now it’s an all-or-nothing 35 minute + two laps race for each class.

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650cc

The 650 class is supposed to be the least interesting class. That is, until Trampas Parker was mixing it up with the best of them in the front. After three laps in fourth place the explosive KTM rider was slowly fading back to 9th, but because Frenchman Yves Demaria did not finish his last lap, Trampas ended up with 8th place points and 2300 Euros in his pocket. The race was won by KTM’s Joel Smets, who lead the race from start to finish and pulled away from Javier Garcia Vico (Spain) by more than 35 seconds at one point.

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125cc

The Italian Yamaha four-strokes of GP veterans Andrea Bartolini and Alessio Chiodi got the holeshot, followed by a bunch of favorite Champ-KTM riders. Belgian Steve Ramon had passed Chiodi by lap two, and Erik Eggens moved to second by lap three. Third team member Marc de Reuver had more problems passing the Italians and made it to third place in lap five while Ramon and Eggens had built up a lead of several seconds. Ben Townley (the fourth member of the Champ-KTM team in the 125cc final) did not let his sore wrist and little practice time hinder his move forward from eighth place to fourth in five laps.

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It was a KTM choo-choo train from then on. Nobody made mistakes, nobody took a team member out, a maximum team sweep was the result. Chiodi settled for fifth on the sandy track and Bartolini picked up 15 points for sixth. Dement you ask? He rode a consistent race. With a start at around 13th place the Yamaha rider stayed right there for the rest of the Dutch GP and finished right after Factory Husqvarna’s Rodrig Thain. World Champion Mickael Maschio, who recently won the opening round, proved again that he is not a sand lover and remained pointless (21st.)

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MXGP

With a temperature of 25 degrees (Celsius), a humidity of 27% and a wind speed of 7 km/h, the premier MXGP class got on its way. Factory Yamaha’s Marnicq Bervoets stalled his four-stroke at the gate and had to catch up. In the first turn it was over for Gordon Crockard who left the track grabbing his right shoulder.

Up front it was Stefan Everts who took the lead followed by the Suzuki factory riders Kevin Strijbos and Mickael Pichon. Pit Beirer was sitting in fourth followed by Federici, Atsuta, Jorgensen, Gunderson, Smets, McFarlane and Dobb. The battle for first soon started as Pichon had passed Belgian Strijbos for second and was railing in Everts. Stefan wasn’t giving up and lead the race for 13 laps. In lap 14 the battle was so close that the two touched.

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The result was a broken front wheel for Stefan so he had to do a quick pit stop. With only the top 20 riders getting points it made good sense for Stefan to get back in there. He re-entered the track in 14th position and had 7 laps to make up positions. While Pichon was building up a lead it was Joel Smets (who was riding in both the 650 and MX GP classes) who had moved up to second place. Strijbos still in third followed by a charging Kenneth Gundersen. The Everts supporters screamed their boy to a 9th place finish and 12 points. With a 3rrd place for Kawasaki rider Gunderson, TM Jan de Groot at least had one positive note to report to Japan. Sylvain Geboers had better news with a 4th for rookie Strijbos and a second GP win of the year by Pichon.

Results: FIM MX GP; Valkenswaard, The Netherlands

125cc

  1. Steve Ramon BEL (KTM)
  2. Erik Eggens NEL (KTM)
  3. Marc De Reuver NEL (KTM)
  4. Ben Townley NZL (KTM)
  5. Alessio Chiodi ITA (YAM)
  6. Andrea Bartolini ITA (YAM)
  7. David Philippaerts ITA (KTM)
  8. Rui Goncalves POR (YAM)
  9. Marvin Van Daele BEL (KTM)
  10. Tyla Rattray RSA (KTM)
  11. Tom Church GBR (KTM)
  12. Rodrig Thain FRA (HUS)
  13. Jeff Dement USA (YAM)
  14. Tanel Leok EST (KTM)
  15. Stephen Sword GBR (KTM)
  16. Joan Barreda SPA (TM)
  17. Aigar Leok EST (KTM)
  18. Christian Stevanini ITA (HUS)
  19. Kristof Salaets BEL (KTM)

MX GP (250cc two-strokes + up to 450cc four-strokes)

  1. Mickael Pichon FRA (SUZ)
  2. Joà«l Smets BEL (KTM)
  3. Kenneth Gundersen NOR (KAW)
  4. Kevin Strijbos BEL (SUZ)
  5. Brian Jorgensen DEN (HON)
  6. Claudio Federici ITA (YAM)
  7. Christian Burnham GBR (HON)
  8. Carl Nunn GBR (KAW)
  9. Stefan Everts BEL (YAM)
  10. Andrew MacFarlane AUS (KAW)
  11. Sven Breugelmans BEL (SUZ)
  12. Johnny Aubert FRA (YAM)
  13. Antoine Meo FRA (KAW)
  14. Yoshitaka Atsuta JPN (HON)
  15. Marcel van Drunen NEL (YAM)
  16. James Noble GBR (HON)
  17. James Dobb GBR (KTM)
  18. Marco Dorsch GER (SUZ)
  19. Collin Dugmore RSA (SUZ)
  20. Stuart Flockhart GBR (HON)

650cc

  1. Joà«l Smets BEL (KTM)
  2. Javier Garcia Vico SPA (KTM)
  3. Cédric Melotte BEL (HON)
  4. Danny Theybers BEL (HUSA)
  5. Avo Leok EST (HON)
  6. Antti Pyrhonen FIN (YAM)
  7. Manuel Priem BEL (KTM)
  8. Trampas Parker USA (KTM)
  9. Mark Eastwood GBR (HON)
  10. Bernd Eckenbach GER (KTM)
  11. Juss Laansoo EST (YAM)
  12. Fabrizio Dini ITA (HON)
  13. Roman Jelen SLO (HON)
  14. Jukka Pirinen FIN (HON)
  15. Stuart Flockhart GBR (HON)
  16. Martin Zerava CZE (KTM)
  17. Bo Vang Jensen DEN (KTM)
  18. Alessandro Zanni ITA (HON)
  19. Daniele Bricca ITA (HON)
  20. Erwin Robins NEL (KTM)

Next round: May 4th in Teutschenthal, Germany.