At the sixth round of the 2019 MXGP world championships, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser won the MXGP of Portugal with two impressive moto victories. After his triumph in Trentino, this is now Gajser’s second overall and a great way to rebound after last weekend’s race in Lombardia. Unfortunately team mate Brian Bogers wasn’t able to match his Mantova effort, struggling to challenge the top 10 after having an outside gate pick which really hindered his chances of doing well.

Gajser, put in two really impressive rides to show once again that when the conditions are good, he and his Honda CRF450RW are a tough combination to beat. After getting second gate pick for today’s races, the Slovenian rider got off to two decent starts which allowed him to start in the top five and pressure those riders in front of him. Rather than chase the victory, he showed good maturity to let the race come to him and when the opportunity arose in both races, he made the necessary passes before reeling off the fastest laps in each moto.

It was a great way to put the disappointment of Mantova behind him and showed that he is still very much in this championship hunt that has 12 more rounds left to race. Having also won four of the last six motos, his confidence is high and he is knows that on this hard-packed tracks, very few can match his speed.

Next weekend in France is another track that should suit him, with the St Jean D’Angely circuit being a stoney surface, on a naturally hilly landscape, very similar to the Pietramurata track which he won at earlier in the year.

The French GP will also give Bogers a chance to bounce back quickly after what was a disappointing pair of results in Portugal. Having an outside gate pick after Saturday’s qualification race, things were always going to be difficult and while his laptimes weren’t too far outside of those in the top 10, he wasn’t able to make the necessary passes to really challenge for those positions.

After France, the series takes a weekend off before three races in three weekends, taking place in Russia, Latvia and then Germany as the championship heads into its middle third of the season.

Tim Gajser  243

It was really great to come away with two wins and the overall here in Portugal. I put last weekend behind me and I knew that if I focused and rode like I know how to ride, I could do well at this Agueda track. Still, to get both moto victories is a great confidence booster and backs up my win in Trentino very nicely. I now have the fastest laps in the last four motos so my speed is good and I know I am feeling strong too. These back to back races are tough but I head to France really happy with my riding and confident that the bike and I are working well together. A big thanks to the team for working so hard to help make this happen, and let’s keep up the effort!

Brian Bogers  189

The riding wasn’t so bad, with my laptimes not too far away from those inside the top 10. However my starts were a problem and that was a result of my qualification race yesterday. I didn’t have a good race then and that I meant I started from the outside today and that was really difficult at a track like this. I’m now really motivated for next weekend when I will try and do a lot better on both days and that should help me get back inside the top 10.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

It was a great to see Tim riding so well again this weekend. He was fast in every session and he showed really good race-craft to take the victories in both races. The track wasn’t an easy one and everyone seemed to be fast so passing wasn’t straight forward, but Tim rode confidently and made the passes when he needed to. He thoroughly deserves this win and it gives everyone a lot of confidence for next weekend and for the rest of the season.
Unfortunately for Brian, he wasn’t able to get a good start in either race and as I mentioned, passing was tough here. We know that he is capable of doing a lot better, as we saw in Mantova, so we are going to try and make sure he gets back to that level next weekend in France.
Everyone in the team also wishes to give their best to Calvin who missed this weekend after having to have an operation to remove an infection in right leg. It was a shame he wasn’t able to ride because we really felt we had made progress during the week and this track looked like it would have suited him well.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 285 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 251 Team HRC – MXGP
3 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 197 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 175 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
5 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 166 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
6 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 153 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
7 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 137 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
8 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 136 Honda SR Motoblouz
9 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 122 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
10 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 120 Standing Construct KTM
11 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 116 RFX KTM Racing
12 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 114 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
13 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 85 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
14 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 80 Standing Construct KTM
15 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 78 iFly JK Racing
16 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 71 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
17 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 56 Team HRC – MXGP
18 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 51 A1M Husqvarna
19 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 47 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
20 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 40 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
21 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 36 Team VHR KTM Racing
22 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 31 JWR Yamaha Racing
23 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
24 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 15 JWR Yamaha Racing
25 BERNARDINI Samuele 321 ITA 14 Ghidinelli Racing Team
26 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 14 Team Honda Red Moto
27 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 13 iFly JK Racing
28 KULLAS Harri 151 FIN 10 Wildcard Rider
29 VAN DER MIERDEN Sven 94 NDL 8 Wildcard Rider
30 FERRIS Dean 111 AUS 6 Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

New Zealand’s Courtney Duncan is back where she belongs, on top of the world.

 

The 23-year-old from Otago rider from Palmerston, near Dunedin, was in scintillating form at the weekend’s second of five rounds for the 2019 Women’s World Motocross Championships in Portugal, taking her Kawasaki KX250F to convincingly win both her races and snatch the championship points lead.

Riding for the British-based Bike It DRT Kawasaki racing team, Duncan has been the dominant rider of the series thus far. She won the opening race of the World Championships in The Netherlands last month, but then crashed heavily while leading race two and fought back to finish the race in seventh. Unfortunately,  she was forced to settle for fourth overall that weekend.

But now, with back-to-back wins in Portugal, it means she has won three of the four races run this season and enjoys a four-point lead over Dutch rider Nancy van de Ven as they prepare for round three in the Czech Republic on July 27-28.

In her first race on Saturday, Duncan exited turn one in second position, but needed just half a lap to sweep into the lead. She immediately opened up a two-second lead by the end of the opening lap. The flying Kiwi increased her lead to a comfortable 10 seconds by mid-race and she eventually swept to victory by more than 12 seconds over German rider Larissa Papenmeier. In race two on Sunday, Duncan took the lead on lap two and quickly opened up a gap on her pursuers. In the end, Duncan finished more than 30 seconds ahead of runner-up rider van de Ven.

“I got blocked in at the first turn in that second race, but I didn’t panic, sorted out a good place to make a clean pass and could race away. I’m just taking it race by race at the moment and not really thinking about the championship. It was a great weekend – from qualifying on pole, then two race wins and taking the red (championship leader’s) plate… I really can’t ask for much more,” Duncan said. “Now it’s a big break again (before the next round in the series in the Czech Republic), but I’ll use this opportunity to continue to build. I’m very excited to get back to work and get better. Thanks to the whole DRT Kawasaki team for all the effort and everyone for the support and also to Kawasaki Motors Europe, Kawasaki New Zealand and Monster Energy for showing their faith and giving me this opportunity. The amount of messages I’ve received from back home has been crazy really. I appreciate it. I’ll be going back to New Zealand to keep doing the work and come out swinging at Loket (in the Czech Republic).”

This season is Duncan’s first on the Kawasaki bike and she is well on target now to emulate the Women’s World Cup successes achieved by fellow Kiwi Katherine Prumm when she took her Kawasaki KX250F to finish top in the world in 2006 and again in 2007. Duncan has come close to winning the Women’s Motocross World Championships in three previous seasons, but has frustratingly fallen short each time. Twice she was denied the world title through injury and then lost the title by just two points on the other occasion. More determined than ever to finally achieve her goal, Duncan made the decision to join the highly-experienced British Kawasaki squad run by Steve Dixon.

“They’ve given me an awesome opportunity and I’m very motivated to put them on top in 2019. A fresh start was what I needed and I couldn’t be more excited than to do that with Kawasaki. Kawasaki New Zealand have also come on board to support me at home, for which I am also very thankful.”

WMX Championship Top Five:

  1. Courtney Duncan (NZ, Kawasaki) 89 points; 2. Nancy van de Ven (Netherlands) 85; 3. Larissa Papenmeier (Germany) 82; 4. Amandine Verstappen (Belgium) 67; 5. Lynn Valk (Netherlands) 63.

Words by Andy McGechan, Photo by Pascal Haudiquert

The sixth round of the 2019 motocross world championship sees Team HRC head to Agueda, Portugal for what should be another different challenge in this testing season. After the mud of Lombardia, the red clay surface of Agueda can provide a lot of grip if it has moisture but without the necessary water it can be quite hard-pack and dusty. This makes it a real challenge, but one that Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers, and Calvin Vlaanderen are highly motivated to overcome.

For Gajser, he’ll be looking to bounce back and put his Honda CRF450RW on the podium again, like he achieved at the first four rounds. The title challenger showed his pace in the motos, posting both fastest lap times, but he just struggled to stay consistent in the extremely muddy conditions. Portugal should offer a much different surface though, with nowhere near as much rain forecasted to fall on the area. If that remains the case, the natural layout and nice jumps should allow the Slovenian rider a good chance to match the victory that he achieved at the MXGP of Trentino.

Calvin Vlaanderen

His MXGP teammate Bogers heads to Portugal buoyed with confidence after his second-place finish in the second moto in Lombardia. After a good start, the Dutch rider rode solidly all moto long, holding off any threats behind while maintaining a good speed and minimising any mistakes. It was a great reward for the work he’s been putting in during the break and he’ll be looking to follow up that result with two more strong finishes in Agueda.

While Bogers was training hard in the five-week break, Vlaanderen was recovering from his fractured fibula and that meant the MX2 rider had very limited practice before the MXGP of Lombardia last weekend. The CRF250RW rider still rode well in the difficult conditions, picking up points in both races, but he’ll be hoping to do even better after another week of recovery and testing.

Brian Bogers

The MXGP and MX2 classes are joined by the WMX and EMX2t series this weekend with the first Team HRC bike hitting the track at 12:30 (MX2 free practice) local time on Saturday 18th May. The MXGP class follows on from them, with qualifying races starting at 16:55 and 17:40 respectively. The first gate drop for the motos then happens at 13:15 on Sunday 19th May in what should be another excellent weekend of action in the world championship series.

Tim Gajser  243

I’m going to train hard this week to make sure that I am ready for Portugal. I like the track at Agueda, it is really natural, with the uphills and downhills. Some nice jumps and red clay that can get really grippy. Sometimes it can be a bit too dry but I know they know how to prep the track so I am definitely looking forward to it. Lombardia is behind us and now I’m focusing on Portugal.

Brian Bogers  189

Obviously it was great to get that second place result in Mantova, but I can’t afford to stop working now. I need to keep building and keep improving and making sure that last week happens again and again. The races are coming up very quickly now so there isn’t much chance to change too much, so it’s all about those little things that can help keeping me moving forward.

Calvin Vlaanderen  10

Portugal is a really nice track. Last year they had a lot of rain and it became really rutted and I didn’t have my best result there but I’ve had a podium before in the EMX125 series so I really enjoy the track and racing there. I’m actually going to stay in Italy for a couple of days to test, before flying home to Holland quickly and then it’s off to Portugal. Not much time and my foot does need some rest so that is as important as the testing but I aim to allow that to happen this week so I can hopefully come out a little bit more prepared than this weekend.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

First off, it was great to see Brian ride so well in Lombardia last weekend, so we are really excited to see what he can do in Portugal this weekend. He got a ninth in Trentino and then a second in Mantova so we really hope he can start to consistently find the top 10 now. Portugal is a different track again but he really improved in the break and this weekend is another chance to show it.
Unfortunately Tim didn’t have his best weekend but we know he is a champion and having a race so quickly afterwards gives him the perfect opportunity to bounce back and prove his race-winning speed again. He was fastest in both motos last weekend, he just didn’t have things go his way, so we are hoping that things will go smoother in Portugal.
As for Calvin, he is another week further into his recovery and every day is a step closer to being back to being 100%. The conditions in Mantova didn’t really allow him to show his capabilities but he kept fighting and we know that he’ll get better at these next few rounds.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 241 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 201 Team HRC – MXGP
3 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 175 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
4 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 146 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
5 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 142 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
6 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 124 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
7 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 118 Honda SR Motoblouz
8 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 109 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
9 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 100 RFX KTM Racing
10 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 94 Standing Construct KTM
11 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 86 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
12 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 82 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
13 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 80 Standing Construct KTM
14 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 67 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
15 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 66 iFly JK Racing
16 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 66 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
17 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 55 Team HRC – MXGP
18 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 45 A1M Husqvarna
19 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 36 Team VHR KTM Racing
20 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 32 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
21 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 25 JWR Yamaha Racing
22 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 20 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
23 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team
24 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 15 JWR Yamaha Racing
25 BERNARDINI Samuele 321 ITA 14 Ghidinelli Racing Team
26 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 12 iFly JK Racing
27 KULLAS Harri 151 FIN 10 Wildcard Rider
28 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 10 Team Honda Red Moto
29 VAN DER MIERDEN Sven 94 NDL 8 Wildcard Rider
30 FERRIS Dean 111 AUS 6 Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing

Tim Gajser

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Team HRC returns to Italy for the fifth round of the 2019 motocross world championships with Tim Gajser, Brian Bogers, and Calvin Vlaanderen all raring to go after what has been an extended break in the series. With the last round on the hard-packed Trentino circuit in Italy, five weeks ago, the schedule now heads to Mantova in the Lombardia for what is a sandier surface for the riders to compete on.

Like the last round, a large number of Slovenian fans are expected to cross the border and cheer on the Honda #243 and after his win in Trentino, Gajser is looking to reward that support with a win at a track that he won on previously in 2016, the last time they held a GP on this circuit. Confidence is certainly high that he can close the gap even further in the championship race and with the Trentino victory under his belt, the plan is to maintain that high level in this next series of events that sees the riders’ race six times in seven weekends.

Brian Bogers is also excited to get back to racing after this break, especially given that it will be at a Mantova track that saw him get his first ever MX2 podium back in 2016. This result, plus his top 10 finish in Trentino at the last round has meant that there is real hope that Bogers can start putting in good finishes in the MXGP class on a regular basis, something that he wasn’t able to do previously due to his injury problems of 2018.

For MX2 rider Calvin Vlaanderen, the break came at a good time as he looked to recover from his fractured fibula which he sustained in timed practice at the MXGP of Trentino. After missing that race, he got the surgery done right away and has used this break to recover as best he could, eventually getting the green light from his doctor to ride yesterday. With just a few days to get back into race shape, Mantova will be a tough assignment, but it is one that Vlaanderen is relishing as he looks to get back the points he missed out on in Trentino.

With races in Portugal and France up next after Mantova, and then Russia, Latvia and Germany following on quickly after them, this is the beginning of a tough stretch for all the riders. However, the Team HRC trio are all coming out of this break with a point to prove and are highly motivated to get their best results possible on their Honda CRF machines. Their timetable starts at 12:30 local time (MX2) and 13:00 (MXGP) on Saturday 11th May, in what seem to be changeable weather conditions in Mantova.

Tim Gajser  243

In this break, I did two Slovenian championship races just to keep me in race shape. I also kept training hard as I know this is important in order to maintain my speed and fitness. I’m just excited to get back to the MXGPs because it feels like a long time since my win in Trentino. However I like the track in Mantova because in the past, I have won the event so it’s nice to go back there and I’m really looking forward to showing what I can do there this year.

Brian Bogers  189

It was good to have a little time away from the races because it is a long and tough season but I still kept working very hard to keep building up my level of fitness and speed. After my second race in Trentino when I got my first top 10, it gave me motivation to continue with what we’ve been doing because I saw that the effort was paying off and we were heading in the right direction. Unfortunately, I had a small crash last week which meant I had to miss the Dutch Championship but everything is fine now and we are back on the bike and I’m really looking forward to racing in Mantova. It was at this track that I had my first podium in 250s so I like the track and I like riding there and I can’t wait for the gate to drop this weekend!

Calvin Vlaanderen  10

It has been a difficult period of time but I am happy to be back on a bike and riding again before this weekend. Obviously, I would have preferred to have a bit more time to get ready but I am glad to have only missed the Trentino round and I am still confident in my ability to ride well in Mantova. Before the injury, my fitness was at a good level and I did as much as I could to maintain that during the break so I just have to do my best to compete for these next few weeks. I want to thank all the members of Team HRC for the support they gave me during this break and I can’t wait to get this next part of the championship underway.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

I am extremely excited to get back to the MXGP races after this break. We left the action on such a high with Tim winning in Trentino, so this provided great motivation to everyone to keep that going. Brian also got his first top 10 of the season so he wanted to maintain that level. It was also good for Calvin because this gap in the races meant that he is recovered from his leg injury that he sustained at Trentino and he should be able to compete in Mantova. It’ll be hard work for him because he hasn’t ridden much but he had good fitness before the injury so we are confident he should still be able to pick up points. Of course for Tim, who has previously won here and for Brian, we have high hopes that they can continue their form, and put both Honda’s inside the top 10 and potentially on the podium.

Words and Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

As reported yesterday, Tony Smith from Palmerston North and Gary Smith formerly from Fielding have been competing at The Don Matthews CZ World Championships in Marysville, California, and have successfully concluded the event with a World Title and two class wins between them! Gary won the World CZ 500cc class title in the expert under-50’s class, and Tony won the intermediate class.

Gary, who was riding in two classes, also won the pre-1970 250cc expert class, and also ‘accidentally’ competed in a Legends Race, finishing in a very respectable second place against John Desoto and Gary Jones, to name a few.

The event was a fantastic experience, with the Kiwi boys rubbing shoulders with Jaroslav Falta, Brad Lackey, Mary Tripes, Jim Wilson… and banging bars with some of the best riders in the world. Both Gary and Tony enjoyed the event so much they are already planning return visits to defend their titles! Out of a field of 361 riders, the two Kiwi lads definitely left a lasting impression. Congratulations on the wins from the team here at DRD, you’ve made the whole country very proud.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by JD Art Wrk, and Gary Smith