TWMX Race Report: GP of the Benelux ’04

The GP of the Benelux took place in Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands yesterday. The track had a sand part in the arena and a semi-hard pack when the riders entered the woods. This made it tricky to set up the bikes. Soft sand settings didn’t work in the woods and the hard settings didn’t fare well on the Dutch beach sand. The track had multiple two-lane sections to try to create more than one (fast) line. The jumps at hand varied from tabletops, step-downs, a rhythm section and doubles, quite exciting for a GP track.

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At 12:05pm the first Powerseal girl raised the 15-second sign for start of the MX2 class (125cc). With his start skills, the #222 plate of Antonio Cairoli has become a familiar site up front. The young Italian showed his skills again and dove into the first corner with Ben Townley (BT) next to him. Antonio wasn’t ready to let go either as he battled with BT 30 in the second corner for first place. The YZF rider, who has been living in Belgium since January, finished third in both motos and is becoming a familiar face in the MX2 class. With Italian YZ250F riders Chiodi and Bartolini getting older it is good to see some new Italian talent shining through.

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Tyla Rattray’s start in moto one wasn’t very good but the South African made his way through to field to 6th after a couple of turns. After 4 laps the Champ KTM rider started chasing Ben Townley on his 2 stroke and actually arrived on his tail. Tyla finished second, only 2.513 seconds behind team mate Townley. Moto two saw #16 chase hard after Townley and Cairoli. Once the Italian got passed, Rattray crashed and Cairoli got into second again. At the finish Tyla had got back into second finishing on the two spot overall.

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It was Stephen Sword who started the Benelux GP with the red leader number plate but Ben Townley was ready to take it back. Living in Belgium the Kiwi has plenty of training facilities around to practice on sand tracks. The rhythm section and the number of jumps were in favor of the Champ/KTM rider as well. He knows how to handle technical sections on the track. Rattray kept BT honest in moto one but no one could follow Ben in the second moto. A 1-1 score and a red leadership plate back on the SX four-stroke .

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Factory Kawasaki’s Stephen Sword (Great Britain) fought hard to get a fifth and sixth behind Patrick Caps who had a great weekend winning his qualifying heat and getting two fourth places.

Former world champion Alessio Chiodi returned from an injury and ended up sixth overall. “Considering the conditions I had quite a good day. I crashed very hard on Saturday and missed my qualifying race. I was second in the last chance qualifying session, but my position on the start gate was not so good because of it. I made two very good starts and rode two decent races. The conditions weren’t only sandy here today, when the track went into the trees it was more hard packed which made it very difficult.”

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RTT’s Carl Nunn became a daddy last week of a healthy daughter named Mia. Carl had no time changing diapers in Lichtenvoorde and finished tenth in both heats. Congratulations to the Nunn family.

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MX2. Joel Smets had shown great results in the recent races he’d entered and clocked the fastest time in practice to get gate-pick number one. The Suzuki four-stroke pilot chose the inside but it was teammate Kevin Strijbos who got the holeshot. The 18-year-old Belgian has been riding great but the reliability of the new 450 RM four-stoke has not been all that great as he DNF’d more often than he liked. Kevin battled up there with the likes of Ramon, Smets, Everts, Melotte and Pichon and gave the crowd a great race. The modest youngster couldn’t hold on to third place in moto one when a lapped rider got in his way and Melotte passed him at the end of the last lap. The shy Belgian was waiting for the lapper on the tabletopp finish to teach him a lesson. No fist fight or anything but the message was clear. Moto two had Kevin in third to grab his first-ever podium. Smets finished fifth in moto one and DNF’d in the second heat.

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It was a Yamaha party out there again with Stefan Everts winning both motos for his 75th GP victory. YZ teammate Cedric Melotte finished second overall with a third and a second. It was KTM’s Steve Ramon who finished second in moto one after a great race but the current 125cc world champ blew up his engine in heat two and did not finish the race. He was fuming. Ramon is still sitting in third in the FIM Motocross world championship standings with 184 points, 46 points behind Melotte and 84 behind leader Stefan Everts.

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It has been a while since Michael Pichon dominated an MX1 race. At the GP of the Benelux the Frenchman was still suffering from injuries but controlled the damage by finishing sixth and fourth behind a bunch of fast Belgians. In fact, he was the first non-Belgian. First non-four-stroke award went to Tanel Leok on his RM on spot seven.

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The next GP round will take place in the UK in two weeks. It’s home advantage for Sword, Dobb, Nunn, Church, Noble, Burnham, Hucklebridge and Flockard. Time to “Get Aggro” as Flockard’s mechanic Matix would say.

Results GP06 Lichtenvoorde, The Netherlands

MX2 /1st moto:

  1. Ben Townley N-Z KTM
  2. Tyla Rattray Z-A KTM
  3. Antonio Caroili I YAMAHA
  4. Patrick Caps B YAMAHA
  5. Stephen Sword GB Kawasaki

MX2 / 2nd moto:

  1. Ben Townley N-Z KTM
  2. Tyla Rattray Z-A KTM
  3. Antonio Cairoli I YAMAHA
  4. Patrick Caps B YAMAHA
  5. Alessio Chiodi I YAMAHA

MX1 / 1st moto:

  1. Stefan Everts B YAMAHA
  2. Steve Ramon B KTM
  3. Cedric Melotte B YAMAHA
  4. Kevin Strijbos B Suzuki
  5. Joel Smets B Suzuki

MX1 / 2nd moto:

  1. Stefan Everts B YAMAHA
  2. Cedric Melotte B YAMAHA
  3. Kevin Strijbos B Suzuki
  4. Mickael Pichon F Honda
  5. Joshua Coppins N-Z Honda

Saturday:

MX2 qualification Race 1:

  1. Ben Townley N-Z KTM
  2. Jonathan Barragan E KTM
  3. Antonio Cairoli I YAMAHA
  4. Davide Phillipaerts I KTM
  5. Aigar Leok Est KTM

MX2 qualification Race 2:

  1. Patrick Caps B YAMAHA
  2. Andrew McFarlane Aus YAMAHA
  3. Tyla Rattray Z-A KTM
  4. Carl Nunn GB Honda
  5. Mickael Maschio F Kawasaki

MX2 Last chance (by time):

  1. Rui Goncalves Por YAMAHA 2.07,761
  2. Alessio Chiodi I YAMAHA 2.08,292
  3. Manuel Monni I YAMAHA 2.08,388
  4. Claudio Federici IYAMAHA 2.08,397
  5. Tom de Belder B Honda 2.08,740
  6. Garth Swanepoel Z-A KTM 2.08,782

R1 Anthony Boissiere F YAMAHA 2.08,902
R2 Wayne Smith GB KTM 2.09,278

MX1 time qualification results:

  1. Joel Smets B Suzuki 2.01,285
  2. Mickael Pichon F Honda 2.01,723
  3. Stefan Everts B YAMAHA 2.02,048
  4. Steve Ramon B KTM 2.02,301
  5. Cedric Melotte B YAMAHA 2.02,417