2021 MXGP of Belgium – Lommel Round 6 Report
The 2021 MXGP of Belgium, in Lommel, took place over the weekend and witnessed Romain Febvre claiming his first ever GP victory at the circuit, while in the MX2 class it was Jago Geerts who claimed the overall win at his home track.
The conditions tested even the best sand riders, with heavy rainfall during parts of the day which made the deep sand of Lommel even heavier and harder to manoeuvre around. Though this did not stop the MXGP and MX2 stars from treating the Belgian fans to some intense race action.
MXGP Race 1
The first MXGP race saw Febvre secure the first Fox Holeshot as he led the race from early on. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jeremy Seewer followed in second, with Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings right there in third and fourth.
Seewer dropped a couple of positions as Herlings took second from Jonass. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado got a good start in the race but dropped down to 14th, as Team HRC’s Tim Gajser struggled as he crashed out of fifth place.
Febvre led Herlings by 3.045 seconds, as Gajser got himself back into the top 10 but was then passed by Prado as the pair continued to fight up the order.
After taking his time, Herlings started to close in on Febvre for the win and it was game on. By lap 11 Herlings was the new race leader with Febvre keen to fight back, though the Kawasaki rider ended up making a costly mistake and crashing. He did however hold on to that second place because both him and Herlings were so far ahead of Jonass who continued to have a fantastic race in third.
With two laps to go, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli managed to get around Jonass for third as the Latvian dropped to fourth where he eventually finished the race.
Meanwhile, Herlings took an impressive race win just a couple of weeks after breaking his shoulder blade while Febvre was second and Cairoli third. Championship leader, Gajser, finished the race seventh.
MXGP Race 2
In race two it was another Kawasaki who took the Fox Holeshot, this time Ivo Monticelli was the rider who led very briefly before Febvre jumped into the lead. Monticelli crashed and looked hurt, while Jonass jumped into second with Prado just behind.
In the second lap of the race, Febvre crashed out, meaning that Jonass was the new race leader with Gajser just 1.590 seconds behind as Febvre re-joined in fourth.
Gajser crashed out of second, while Herlings was making his way back up the order after going down with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Glenn Coldenhoff on the opening lap of the race.
Febvre closed in on Prado who was ahead in second and by lap eight, the Kawasaki rider managed to find a way around the Spaniard. Jonass continued to lead by 4.319 at that point.
Herlings went off track as he chased Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis who was having a strong race in fifth place. But by lap 9 Herlings was able to get around the Lithuanian to making an incredible come back from last to fifth where he finished the race.
Meanwhile at the front, Febvre brought the gap down to 1.532 seconds to Jonass who needed to be careful as it was obvious that Febvre only had one thing on his mind – the win.
The Frenchman caught onto the back wheel of the Latvian and by lap 11 was back in the lead. Gajser then put on a late charge of his own as he got around Prado for third and was the looking to get Jonass too but crashed once again. The Honda rider finished fourth.
Febvre was the race winner, with Jonass taking second and Prado crossing the line third. With a 2-1 result, Romain Febvre secured his first GP win in Lommel, while Jeffrey Herlings win and fifth in race two put him on the second step of the podium as Pauls Jonass enjoyed his first podium of 2021 with third overall.
Tim Gajser continues to lead the championship as Febvre moves into second place just five appoints adrift, while Cairoli drops to third.
Romain Febvre – P1
“Good day, good start, I worked to improve the start this week, so that’s a good point. Both races I was leading. First race, I had a bad lap and Jeffrey caught me and passed me. I tried to stay focused and to analyse where he or I was a little faster. I did not let him go, but after two laps I tipped over and crashed. So yeah, I was a little bit alone in second place, so I settled for second. Second race I knew it could be my day. So again, I took a good start. I made a really fast lap at the beginning to be alone. It’s what I did but still made a few mistakes and crashed then I was about 4th or 5th. Took me some laps to regroup and then I passed the guys in front of me. To win here in Lommel means a lot to me. I feel clean and thanks a lot for my team. I don’t think about the championship at the moment. It’s a long season. I mean it’s always good to be in that position for sure. It was a good day for us but yeah still many races to go. So let’s see the future.”
Jeffrey Herlings – P2
“Everything was going good so far. First race, I think I was third at the start and then moved into second. Romain was having a really good race and at one point I just decided to stay behind. Running at a good pace and on good lines. I wanted to save energy, and also for my shoulder. I broke my shoulder blade so it’s not really normal to ride a bike within 13-14 days after. I did not know if I was going to fade with my shoulder because the track was rough and demanding on your body, especially on your shoulders as well. At one point, I felt I could run at a faster pace and I managed to pass Romain and make a gap. Obviously, Romain went down and then it was just a walking part from there. Second race turned out good. At the start I was around 4th or 5th I believe and then me and Glenn came together, he took my rear wheel and we both went down. We were both last, so it was a shame. Then I fought my way back to 5th place within 15 minutes I think but then I just faded. I did not want to make a big error and go down. I think it’s been a good day to go 1-5 because 1 week ago I thought the championship was game over. Now, obviously, I know I need to hunt the boys down but 42 points is not too bad. There is still a lot of races to go, so there’s a lot of options. I think I lost a championship 5 or 6 times due to injuries. It’s pretty frustrating at times, but I think right now I am still in a good place. I don’t want to give up the championship so quick, so I think we’re still in a good place once again. We just have to keep fighting.”
Pauls Jonass – P3
“I am super happy. It’s nice to do it at let’s say Belgium is my second home GP, a home GP for my team… This week, we worked quite a lot for the start. I think we saw at the first GP that the speed was there. Everything was there. I just needed the start because the class is so tough. If you don’t get a good start, it’s really difficult to move forward and to get a podium. I’ve been slowly building, just getting consistent results. Unfortunately, we had some DNFs this season, but so far, I am happy. I think it’s almost been 2 years since my last podium because I missed all of last year due to injury. So, it is nice to be back at the podium and it is especially nice to do it for the whole Standing Construct GasGas Factory Racing Team because they’ve believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be back at the top level; everyone is working so hard in the team, that I just give that podium to them. It’s a nice confidence boost going to the home GP (Latvia). I think all of the guys here know that home GP is always tougher than the other GPs, but I am really looking forward to that. I’ve never won there, even in 250’s. I’ve been a few times in the podium there so I hope there will be many fans this year and that I can be at the box next weekend.”
Jorge Prado – P4
“I’m very happy about today. I feel that we progressed a lot on the physical side. We raced on a track that was not typically what we find here. It was very bumpy from the support races yesterday and, already from Timed Practice, it was so rough. We just had to survive out there. I would have liked to have been ‘on the box’ but a small crash in the second moto did not make it easy. I made a few small mistakes and had to re-group to catch people. I could not make it happen but I’m happy.”
Tony Cairoli – P5
“I didn’t have a good feeling on the track during practice and was struggling to find a rhythm and the lines. I was patient in the first moto and waited a little bit because I could see that Jeffrey and [Romain] Febvre had gone. It started raining very heavily so I decided to try and see if I could make 3rd place. I was riding smart, and 3rd was OK. The track was getting very wet in the second moto and I always struggle a bit in the sand in these types of conditions. It gets very heavy, and you need to ride with a lot of power and strength, which is not really my style. I didn’t really find the flow and had a bad start so had to work through the pack. I finished my roll-off behind [Arminas] Jasikonis. and just had to take 7th. The championship is very close. The result was OK today – even if we didn’t make the podium – but I’m not happy with my riding. It should have been better for this surface. We rode defensive today and not really what I enjoy on these types of tracks.”
Tim Gajser – P6
“Yeah, obviously too many mistakes today. I was feeling good in the morning. Also speed in the race was okay. First race I had an early crash, so I was kind of struggling, finishing 7th or something like that. Second race I felt better, also I was behind Pauls, second in the beginning of the race. Then, I made a crash, so I lost places and went back to fourth and again came really close to the guys, had another crash then came again really close, I was third then I crashed again. So too many mistakes, definitely we have to work on it. I need to reset myself and go to Kegums next week.”
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Olympics: Singapore sailors Cecilia Low, Kimberly Lim rejoice at ‘unreal’ achievement
TOKYO - After six years of hard work since their partnership began in 2015, Singapore sailors Cecilia Low and Kimberly Lim can finally claim to be on top of the world, even if it was for just 33 minutes and 47 seconds.
In the 11th of 12 races of the Olympic women’s 49er FX regatta at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour on Saturday (July 31), the duo topped the 21-country fleet, the first time any Singaporean sailor has done so at the Games.
The superb result helped them finish ninth overall with 97 net points, which means after a rest day on Sunday, they will compete in the medal race on Monday, another first for Singapore sailing.
However, with points from the preliminaries carrying over into the medal race, they will not be able to overhaul the top three teams for a shot at glory. Holland and defending champions Brazil are tied for the lead on 70 points. Germany are third on 73.
Still, they have the distinction of finishing as Asia’s top pair. Japan and China were 18th and 19th respectively.
There had been a bit of uncertainty as to whether Low and Lim had made the top 10 because they had dropped to 13th in their final race on Saturday. However, the Race 11 disqualification of Americans Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea worked in the Singaporeans’ favour.
In an interview on Saturday, the 2018 Asian Games champions’ chemistry was clear as they finished each other’s sentences excitedly, and Low, 28, said: “We didn’t know (about the achievements) and we didn’t expect it.”
Lim, 24, added: “Only when (Singapore chef de mission and former Singapore Sailing president) Ben Tan told us, then we knew for sure. It’s pretty unreal.
“That’s our first win at the Olympics, we’ll keep that forever. Winning a race is always challenging in these kinds of fleets. It’s always special. We haven’t won many races in our careers in the FX actually, so this is a special one.”
In the 49erFX, catching speed and position are key. Singapore Sailing general manager Chung Pei Ming said: “A lot of effort is put into testing equipment, settings and sailing techniques in various conditions.
“If we are able to go faster than others by even 1 per cent, it gives us the advantage and freedom to manoeuvre at the front of the fleet.”
This they did to perfection in the 11th race, with Low adding: “We knew we got it right, we got the speed, all we needed to do was just to protect (our position).”
The duo had clinched their Tokyo 2020 ticket by placing 15th at the World Championships in New Zealand in 2019, and the relatively early qualification allowed them to focus on their sailing development.
But there were still sacrifices to be made. Low delayed her entry to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Asia while Lim took time off from her Singapore Management University accountancy degree course, as they spent eight months training in Portugal before flying to Japan. They could not return home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They had finished no higher than 11th in six races on Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Friday and Saturday, they were third, second, seventh, eighth, first and 13th.
Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low compete in the women’s skiff 49er race at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour in Fujisawa, Japan, on July 30, 2021. PHOTO: AFP
Low said: “It’s been so intense. The other teams in the top 10 are super experienced and super good. We just want to recover as much as possible and be fresh for the medal race and enjoy the race.”
Lim added: “It’s just 10 boats, so it’s a small race. It’s all about protecting your position rather than opening and looking for a strategy.”
The other Singaporean sailors in Tokyo were Ryan Lo (men’s Laser) and Amanda Ng (windsurfing). Lo finished 21st out of 35 after 10 races. Ng was 26th out of 27 after 12 races in the women’s RS:X class which was eventually won by China’s Lu Yunxiu.
SSF president Lincoln Chee was encouraged by their performances as they work towards a better showing at Paris 2024.
Noting Low and Lim’s coach Fernando Kuo’s contributions, he said: “We are so happy for Kimberly and Cecilia… this was in part our strategic decision to adopt this highly technical class early in its cycle, selecting the best sailor profiles for the boat and sending them to spar and compete with the best in Europe for the better part of the last four years.
“Of course, much of the credit goes to the awesome twosome who showed great commitment, talent, hard work and sacrifice.
“Ryan and his coach Nenad Viali also deserve a shout-out as Ryan finished among the top 10 in two races in one of the most competitive classes in sailing.”
AMA Amateur MX
GYTR YJR success continues in Tasmania, WA and Queensland
Despite the various state and regional lock downs, racing has continued in some area and when there is a race, you know that the GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing Team will be there flying the Yamaha flag. With New South Wales holed-up at home, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland in snap lock downs, its been left to the Western Australian and Tasmanian riders to head line the team at their recent state championship events.
The Apple Isle has been able to sneak in a couple of state rounds to keep their racing going and have now just one more state title round remaining for the 2021 season. The duo of Angus Pearce and Jay Jennings are in the box seat, leading their respective championships after recent good form.
Pearce is looking good for victory in the 13-16 years Lites class after dominating the last two rounds. Pearce took three from three at Smithton and backed that up with identical results from Cambridge, meaning he has won six races on the trot and has extended his lead out to 41 points over his nearest rival.
Jay Jennings is also in a good position after the Cambridge round and leads both the 10-12 years 65cc class and the 9-11 years 85cc class. Jennings dominated the day at Smithton, winning all his races and cement his position at the top of the championship chase. Any consistent round at Cambridge on the weekend saw him consolidate that position despite not feeling 100%.
Jay now holds down a 35-point lead on his YZ65 and a 36-point lead on his YZ85.
“The last two rounds have been good for both the riders, and we are now really well placed in all classes with just one round to go,” said Team Manager, Brody Jennings. “Each track provided a different challenge for the riders with Smithton being wet and technical while Cambridge was dry and fast. We just need to finish the last round as strongly as we have contested the previous two rounds and we should be able to secure some more state championships for YJR.”
The WA guys have also been in action with plenty of local racing over there to keep the team of Jake Rumens and Deegan Fort motivated. The weekend just gone saw the running of round four of the Western Australian Motocross Championship and the riders again showed good speed and skill on a wet track.
Jake Rumens come out swinging on his YZ85 to take the round victory with 1-1-2 results and close in on the 12-14 years 85cc class lead. Rumens came into the round in second place but needing to win races to claw his way back to the top and he was able to make that happen and now just sits one point from the class lead.
He was also able to put some consistent races together in the 13-15 years 125cc class, finishing fifth in all three races and now moves to fourth in the championship.
Deegan Fort also double up on the weekend contesting both the 10-12 years 65cc and the 9-11 years 85cc class. Across the six races he contested, he finished with five, second place finishes and one fourth, giving him second place in both divisions. But the battle for the state championship is far from over with three riders duking it out for 85 class honours, while Fort sits in second on the 65cc, 24 points from the championship leader.
“Another good weekend for both riders and families in cold and damp conditions. It was far from perfect out there, but they battled away and finished up with some good results that has them looking pretty good in the championship. The boys and the team will keep on it for the remainder of the year and make the most of the racing we have in WA as we can see how fast things can change in other states.”
The opening round of the Queensland Motocross Championship got underway at the Coolum circuit recently, but no sooner had it started, it was shut down when South East Queensland went into a snap lock down. Practice was completed but no racing held. Mackay is the next round on the schedule while MQ look at a new date for the Coolum round.
But, a round of the Queensland Off Road Championship was able to be ran recently and the young guns of Harley and Drake Hutton contested the event. Harley took the class win in the 85cc J1 category while younger brother, Drake, finished second on his 65. Old man Kirk also took the win in the Masters Over 45 class.
Harley leads the 85cc class by 28 points over his nearest rival while Drake hangs onto a narrow seven-point lead in the 65cc division.
Sebastian Bühler wins Hungarian Baja 2021
The Hungarian Baja was staged in the Lake Balaton region around the small town of Várpalota, with the overall victory falling to Sebastian Bühler (Hero) in the motorcycle category despite two special stages being cancelled. Other standouts were Junior rider Konrad Dabrowski (KTM) who was classified in seventh and, in the female category, Mirjam Pol (Husqvarna) 11th ahead of Margot Lloberat (KTM) the second Junior – and Sarah Khuraibet (KTM).
The first day of the fourth round of the 2021 FIM Bajas World Cup was somewhat epic… just like the second. Event organisers decided to start the motorcycles after the cars and riders duly encountered unusual difficulties over the damaged and rutted terrain, with banners and signs torn off and cars being delayed. They also had the added hazard of overtaking the slowest of the four-wheel entrants in the dust.
Used to getting up at dawn on Saturday morning, riders were able to sleep in because their departure was at 11.45hrs! Torrential rain had fallen in the area the day before the race began, so riders encountered very damaged ground after the passage of the cars. Riders incurred numerous penalties because, despite the road book, they found themselves racing on bad tracks.
The FIM jury decided to cancel the last special on Saturday for safety reasons as cars had become lost in SS5 and the departure of the motorcycles had been delayed with some riders running the risk of not arriving at nightfall.
A similar decision was taken on Sunday to cancel the last stage (SS7) for safety reasons and to avoid cars and motorcycles overtaking in the dust. Victory, therefore, fell to Sebastian Bühler (Hero).
“This morning, the track was broken after the cars passed twice yesterday. We still had to manage the banners but I managed to stay focused and gain a little time, despite destroying my rear tyre in 86 km. I’m happy with this performance because I was able to improve at each stage.”
Stefan Svitko (KTM) climbed on to the second step of the podium and Joachim Rodrigues (Hero) was third.
“I didn’t feel comfortable attacking on increasingly destroyed ground. So I managed to finish. Our goal was to train and ride the bike for miles for the next rally.”
After entering the Baja at the last minute, Mathieu Doveze (KTM) finished fourth.
“This is my second Baja. I’m here to learn and store as much information as possible. With the rally bike, it was complicated on this broken ground, you had to stay focused but it was a good exercise.”
Graham Jarvis undergoes successful knee surgery
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Graham Jarvis is recovering well following knee surgery, required after he injured himself on day two at Romaniacs. Breaking the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his left leg, Jarvis travelled to Madrid in Spain where he underwent an ACL reconstruction and is now resting at home awaiting a green light so he can proceed with his rehabilitation.
Topping the first full day of offroad competition in Romania, Jarvis looked set to battle it out for the overall win as he chased an incredible seventh Romaniacs victory. With just 40 minutes of racing to go before the finish of the second day, and having successfully navigated through the toughest part of the course, Graham twisted his knee on a high-speed section, forcing him out of the event and requiring him to undergo the needed surgery.
“I guess there are always positives and negatives with injuries like this, but I’m doing all I can do at this time. I managed to get surgery pretty quickly – in Madrid, Spain, on the Tuesday after Romaniacs – so that’s a real positive. Thankfully, there wasn’t much swelling, so I didn’t have to wait for things to settle down before visiting the surgeon. Now I’m just resting and keeping my leg elevated as much as possible. It’s a little uncomfortable, but as soon as I can I’ll start the rehab. It’s going to be a long time before I’m back racing – but it is what it is. I’ll be doing all I can to make sure when I do return, I’m as strong and fit as I can be. Right now I’m just taking things day-by-day. It goes without saying that I’m hugely disappointed, it was one of those silly little accidents. The support I’ve received has been incredible. From the team, from Husqvarna, and from fans all around the world – it’s been amazing. Thanks to everyone, and I look forward to being back racing as soon as I can.”
Red Bull Romaniacs 2021 Recap
Round four of this year’s FIM Hard Enduro World Championship at Red Bull Romaniacs was one to behold. A full week of pure Hard Enduro action and passion, it will be one to remember for a long time to come. With so much happening in such a relatively short space of time, here is a quick look back at some of the bits you may have missed…
Reading through the results sheet of the Gold class and it’s clear to see the growing number of manufacturers present with KTM, Beta, GASGAS, Sherco, and Husqvarna all in the mix. KTM topped the class thanks to Manuel Lettenbichler’s win, but Sherco were arguably team of the week with both Wade Young and Mario Roman second and third, respectively. A fourth from Jonny Walker was also Beta’s best ever result at Red Bull Romaniacs.
Making it two Gold class finishes in a row, Sandra Gomez (GASGAS) continues to push the limits for women in Hard Enduro. Last October she became the first female competitor to complete Gold at Red Bull Romaniacs, and this time she smashed it. Finishing an incredible 29th overall, she also stayed clean on penalties.
The much-anticipated marathon stage proved a hit during this year’s race. Between Offroad Day 2 and Offroad Day 3, competitors got back to basics by spending a night in the forest at a makeshift campsite. With no outside assistance from their teams and support crews allowed, they had to take care of all mechanical maintenance, while recharging body and mind for the following day.
Another little piece of history was made when Pol Tarres powered his adventure bike to a Bronze class finish. It was captivating, to say the least, watching Pol wrestle his 200kg twin-cylinder Yamaha Tenere 700 through the Carpathian Mountains.
While the top stars of Hard Enduro ultimately filled the top placings, they were pushed all the way by some rising stars of the sport. Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev (Husqvarna) took it to them throughout the week. Placing second in Tuesday’s Time Trial qualification was a sign of things to come. Never outside of the top 10 all week, third on Offroad Day 3 secured him an eventual eighth overall. With Michael Walkner (GASGAS) and Dominik Olszowy (KTM) ninth and 10th, the young guns are closing in.
One of the week’s most impressive rides came from Canada’s Trystan Hart (KTM). Making his Red Bull Romaniacs debut, he quietly chipped away at things. Settling into the race and adapting to the incredibly long and steep, descents and climbs, Hart placed seventh. As the 2020 winner of Red Bull TKO in the USA, expect him to be a rider to beat when we visit there on August 13-15 for round five.
The FIM Hard Enduro World Championship continues with round five at Red Bull TKO in the USA on August 13-15.