Round 15 of Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship returned to the mile high city of Denver for the first time since 1996. Home-state hero, Monster Energy® Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo both captured victories at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in their respective classes, each earning their fifth win of the 2019 season.

With frigid temperatures and snow flurries throughout the day, Tomac kicked the day off by pushing through the snow and qualifying with the fastest lap time while his teammate Joey Savatgy was close behind in third. The Kawasaki teammates came out in front of the pack in 450SX Heat 2 with Savatgy in second and Tomac in fourth. Tomac challenged his title contender as they raced side-by-side for multiple laps until finally the No. 3 KX™450 of Tomac made a clean pass and continued making his move to the front. By Lap 7, Tomac was able to catch Savatgy and pass him for second, where he would go on to cross the finish line. Savatgy fell back to finish fourth.

As the gate dropped on the 450SX Main Event, Savatgy launched out of the gate to another second position start, while Tomac was not far behind in fifth. Similar to the heat race, there were great battles going on up front where Savatgy held a top-3 position before being passed by his teammate and two others, but still earning another impressive top-5 finish. Meanwhile, the crowd came to life as the Colorado native was riding with confidence, resulting in a dominant performance; nearly three minutes into the race, Tomac had blasted by each rider in front of him and began checking out from the rest of the field. Tomac went on to lead the remaining 23 laps and crossed the finish line with nearly an eight-second margin of victory.

Despite the roller coaster weather, over 50,000 Colorado fans filled the stadium and made sure to extend their warm welcome back to the city as they stood on their feet all night chanting “Tomac!” With the encouragement from the crowd, Tomac was able to gain some valuable points and now sits in second place, 18 points out of the top spot in the 450SX Rider Point Standings with two rounds remaining.

Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Kawasaki

“Wow, tonight was like something I dreamed of; this was the loudest crowd I have ever heard and it was so special for me to kind of repay them with this win. It has been such a great weekend and I mean, it wouldn’t be Colorado without some snow! I’m thankful for my entire Monster Energy Kawasaki crew and proud of all the progress we’ve made throughout the season. We’ll continue to work hard and keep pushing to close the gap on the title for the next two rounds, it’s not over yet!”

Joey Savatgy – Monster Energy Kawasaki

“I wasn’t sure how this weekend was going to go after hurting my shoulder last weekend, but I was determined to get back out there and give it my all. It wasn’t easy, but overall I’m proud to put Kawasaki up front again and thankful for my team’s support. I got more experience running up front with the top contenders and I’m still shooting for a podium finish, but another top-5 is good, especially given the circumstances. I’m looking forward to a weekend off and allowing myself to rest up and get ready for New Jersey.”

In the 250SX class, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders also rode great in qualifying with Cianciarulo clocking the fastest lap time and Garrett Marchbanks with eighth position. Cianciarulo carried that speed into Heat 2 as he started in third, quickly took over the lead by Lap 4 and then went on to take the checkers.

The 250SX Main Event saw Cianciarulo running in second, stalking the leader and strategically maneuvering his KX250 to find his way around. He played cat and mouse for a few laps before making the pass stick and going on to lead the remaining 15 laps. Cianciarulo secured his fifth win of the season and extending his lead in the 250SX Western Region Rider Point Standings with only the East/West Shootout in Las Vegas remaining in the series.

Marchbanks struggled throughout the night and was forced to compete in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) after not being able to finish his heat race. He went on to lead every lap and get the job done in the LCQ. Despite a poor gate pick for the Main Event, Marchbanks rocketed off the start and nearly grabbed the holeshot, but unfortunately collided with another rider mid-air before the first lap was complete causing an early end to his night.

Cianciarulo and Tomac’s win in both 250SX and 450SX classes in Denver give Kawasaki their fifth event sweep of the season.

Adam Cianciarulo – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

“I am so pumped to get this win! I felt so good all day and just synced with my KX250 perfectly tonight, so it ended up being such a good race. Plus, the energy of this crowd here in Denver was incredible throughout the race. I love this type of racing where we’re all throwing it out on the line and the crowd is going crazy, especially since we’re close in points. Now I just have to get the job done in Vegas.”

Garrett Marchbanks – Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki

“I’m thankful I’m not badly injured and I’ve got a great team that will help me get back to where I need to be. I know where I belong out there and we’ve made a lot of progress this season. I’ve learned a lot, so I’m looking forward to finishing out the season in Las Vegas in a few weeks.”

Words and Photos: Kawasaki Racing

Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou will be one of the two riders taking part for the Spanish team in the X-Trial des Nations. This will be Bou’s eighth participation in the competition, having scooped a clean sweep of victories in every edition he has entered.

Bou, the Repsol Honda Team rider has been chosen by the Real Federación Española de Motociclismo as one of the duo of riders to represent Spain in the X-Trial des Nations which gets underway this weekend in the French town of Vendée.

Bou will line up in the Federación Española squad alongside Jaime Busto. In addition to Spain, four other countries will compete in the team competition: France, Great Britain, Italy and Norway.

Toni Bou has seven X-Trial des Nations titles already under belt; on one previous occasion in Pau in 2017, there was a full podium of Repsol Honda Team riders, which also featured former team-mate Jaime Busto. Bou won in 2006, 2007, 2008 with three-member teams as well as in the revamped championship in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018, which had the chosen national teams represented by just two riders apiece.

Toni Bou 

The X-Trial des Nations is a different race and I like to compete in it because it is a very tactical competition. It forces you to have to empathize very well with your partner and, in this case, I think it can work as we know each so well. However, the sections tend to be easy and it will be difficult to mark any differences.

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

After injuring his right ankle and fibula at last weekend’s MXGP of Trentino, Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen underwent surgery to repair the damage, with the procedure going extremely well.

During the timed practice on Saturday afternoon, Vlaanderen twisted his ankle whilst on his hotlap and even though he was still able to set the fastest lap of the session, he had to retire immediately back to the truck. After attempting to race the qualifying race it was apparent after one lap, the pain was too much and he sought on-site medical advice at the track. Scans showed he had a fractured fibula and a severe ankle sprain, with the advice being to go and get the surgery done straight away.

On Monday morning, Vlaanderen had the successful operation performed by the highly-regarded Dr Claes and is now already in the initial signs of recovery. With a cast on right now to protect the area, Vlaanderen will hope to start physio in a couple of weeks, with the goal of making a comeback at the next round of the championship on May 11-12 at the Mantova track in Italy.

Calvin Vlaanderen   10

Obviously I’m extremely disappointed to have this happen to me at the weekend. I was feeling really good on the bike and was in the process of setting the fastest lap when I just twisted my ankle. I didn’t crash or anything so it was a real shock to see the x-ray show that I fractured my fibula.
Thankfully, with the support of the team and the excellent Dr Claes, I have since had the surgery which went extremely well. I hope to have the cast off in less than a couple of weeks and begin physio and cycling shortly after that, with the goal of being fit and ready to go for the fifth round of the MX2 championship in Mantova on May 11-12.
Thanks for all the support I have received since the news broke, it is really nice to see so many fans reach out with their messages and it gives me even greater motivation to comeback stronger than ever. I also wish to say congratulations to my Team HRC teammate Tim Gajser for his amazing performance in winning the MXGP of Trentino. He rode really well and he fully deserved that victory.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

It was a real shame for Calvin to injure himself last weekend, but we are extremely happy with the news that the surgery went well and that he hopes to be ready for the next round of the MX2 series. That event takes place in five weeks’ time and everyone at Team HRC will do everything to support Calvin with his recovery and make sure he is fully prepared and feeling back to his best when the next gate drops.

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

A see-saw battle has begun to develop in this year’s New Zealand Enduro Championships, with two men now sharing the top spot in the premier grade.

Helensville’s Tom Buxton won the first of seven rounds in the Yamaha and Mitas Tyres-backed series near Whangamata last month, with Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury finishing runner-up, but those positions swapped around at round two near Porirua on Saturday.

Yearbury ruled the roost on the steep forestry course off Moonshine Road, Kapiti, edging out Buxton by just 16 seconds on the timing clocks. 

That means, with both riders hogging the top two spots thus far, they share the bragging rights, although there is still a long way to go.

Third overall on the premier AA course on Saturday was Wainuiomata’s Jake Whitaker, with Stratford’s Josh Hunger and Whanganui’s Seth Reardon completing the top five.

In terms of the championship, Yearbury and Buxton jointly lead by 14 points from Whangamata’s Jason Davis, who finished eighth on Saturday, with Reardon just one point further back and Whitaker another point back in fifth overall. 

“I was feeling good on the bike and enjoyed the special tests at Moonshine,” said the 24-year-old Yearbury afterwards. “I had no problems today and quite enjoyed the track. It was tight in places and hard work, but I liked it.”

Meanwhile, in the A course battle, it was Tokoroa’s Nick Wightman who led the way at Moonshine, crossing the finish line 46 seconds ahead of runner-up rider Ethan McBreen, from Omihi, while Thames rider Natasha Cairns was third overall on the day.

With back-to-back wins in the series thus far, Wightman leads the trophy chase for the A course riders, with Cairns and Masterton’s Philip Bly second and third overall respectively after two rounds.

Bly finished the day fourth overall at Whangamata and at Moonshine too.

“It was interesting to note that, in the junior support class, 13-year-old Wil Yeoman, from Taupo, opted to ride the full A course rather than the shortened junior course,” said Motorcycling New Zealand enduro commissioner Justin Stevenson. “If he was eligible for the senior grades, he would have finished third overall in the A competition, and beating (Kiwi international moto trials rider) Dylan Ball by a considerable margin. He is one to watch for the future.”

The Yamaha New Zealand Enduro Championships next takes riders to the South Waikato region for round three in two weeks’ time, on Saturday, April 20. 

The 2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Championships are supported by Mitas tyres, Macaulay Metals, Best Build Construction, Silver-bullet, Kiwi Rider magazine, Dirt Rider Downunder magazine and Moto Events NZ.

2019 Yamaha NZ Enduro Champs calendar:
Round 1 – Saturday, March 16 – Thames
Round 2 – Saturday, April 6 – Kapiti
Round 3 – Saturday, April 20 – South Waikato
Round 4 – Sunday, June 9 – Martinborough
Round 5 – Saturday, June 29 – Bideford, Masterton
Round 6 – Friday, July 19 – Hokitika, Westland
Round 7 – Saturday, July 20 – Hokitika, Westland

Words and Photo by Andy McGechan

Cambridge rider Dylan Yearbury, now equal first in the 2019 New Zealand Enduro Championships after two of seven rounds.

Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team rider Adrien Van Beveren has won the motorcycle class at the Merzouga Rally 2019. Posting the fastest time on the fifth and final day of competition, the Frenchman rode his WR450F Rally to his third stage win of the event, securing an impressive eventual winning margin of close to 25 minutes.

Putting the finishing touches to a highly-positive week in Morocco, Van Beveren took to the final day of competition knowing that victory was well within his grasp. After four full, long and demanding days of desert racing, mathematically simply finishing the final day’s Grand Prix des Dunes would have secured him the overall event win. In completing the event as he started it, with a stage victory, Van Beveren wrapped up a memorable Merzouga Rally for Yamaha as he headed home a final day one-two finish, with Dragon Yamaha’s rally rookie Jamie McCanney claiming the second fastest time.

Focused on using the 10th running of the Merzouga Rally as the start of his preparation towards the Dakar Rally 2020, arguably more important than Van Beveren’s winning result was the navigational experience gained from opening several long and challenging stages.

Starting the six-day event with a fourth-place result on the opening prologue Adrien topped the opening full day of competition by five minutes. Opening the track on day two he placed third, perfectly navigating his was throughout the stage. Day three again saw Van Beveren claim the win, extending his overall motorcycle class lead. Runner-up on the penultimate stage of the event, he topped the final day’s Grand Prix des Dunes to complete a near-perfect week and claim an important overall motorcycle class win.

Competing in his first ever rally event and racing on a Dragon Yamaha Rally Team prepared WR450F Rally, Jamie McCanney successfully completed the event. Constantly improving throughout the Moroccan competition, once past the opening few days the Manxman settled into the event to earn a well-deserved 11th place final result.

Adrien Van Beveren and the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team will next compete in the Silk Way Rally, which takes place in Russia, Mongolia, and China from July 6.

Adrien Van Beveren

Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team

“Today was a really cool day – it was so much fun to have a mass-start and race together through the dunes. Also, getting to race with Jamie was super nice. Of course, it’s great also to end the event with another stage victory, but that is just an added bonus. I’ve had a great feeling with my bike throughout the week and I have to say a huge thanks to all the team, who have worked so hard to support me. The Merzouga Rally was all about improving. Improving my navigational skills, and generally starting our preparations ahead of Dakar 2020. We came here focused on improving and I absolutely feel that we did that. The navigation here is very tricky, so to be opening the tracks as much as I did, that gives me a lot of confidence. This is a great team result. Next, we have the Silk Way Rally, but before then there’s more testing and training to do. We keep working…”

Jamie McCanney

Dragon Yamaha Rally Team

“The Merzouga Rally has been a great experience for me. I came here with one goal – to experience a rally for the first time and to learn. It’s been a steep learning curve, but a hugely positive experience. I feel that I progressed as the days went on. Missing one waypoint on day one cost me a lot of time, but I guess it’s good to learn from that mistake. Riding alone for 150-kilometres in competition is something I will remember for a long time. It’s been a great week here in Morocco and to have the support of such a positive, strong team has made it all the more enjoyable.” 

Merzouga Rally 2019

Provisional Overall Final Classification

1. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 15:28:02
2. Ross Branch (BWA), KTM, 15:52:39 +24:37
3. Oriol Mena (ESP), Hero, 16:01:03 +33:01
4. Joaquim Rodrigues (PRT), Hero, 16:02:23 +34:21
5. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 16:15:43 +46:41
6. Maurizio Gerini (ITA), Husqvarna, 16:23:53 +55:51

Words and Photos: Yamaha Racing