Guillod thrills British Grand Prix for second MX2 success
An amazing spectacle of racing took place at Matterley Basin for the British Grand Prix and the seventh round of eighteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship today. 35,000 fans were treated to two fantastic exhibitions in the MX2 class as Valentin Guillod, Jeffrey Herlings and Max Anstie put on a gripping display through the motos run across the fast, wide course and over the big jumps near England's south coast. Guillod would run out the winner for the second time in as many weeks and Grands Prix. The event was also memorable for Kemea Yamaha duo Maxime Renaux's overall victory in the third round of the EMX125 European Championship and Damon Graulus' second moto triumph and third place overall in EMX250.
Matterley was well prepared for a six category programme for Grand Prix number seven of 2015. The track was hosting the British MXGP appointment for the fifth season in a row and provided a contrast of conditions compared to the tight and limited hard-pack found recently in Italy and Spain.
Standing Construct Yamaha's Guillod transferred his speed and confidence on the YZ250F from debut Grand Prix spoils two weeks ago at Talavera in Spain to the English mud. The first moto saw a thrilling chase with top native rider Max Anstie and had the immense crowd leaning over the fences in support and also creating a tense atmosphere. Guillod continued to push but both leaders were unaware of the closing Jeffrey Herlings and when the Swiss finally relegated Anstie to second then Herlings struck at the same moment and pulled away to win on the penultimate lap with Guillod in close attendance.
Anstie started badly in the second race so it was left to Guillod to set the pace. Herlings kept the Yamaha man close company and briefly hit the front only for '92' to immediately retaliate. The duel went down to a grandstand finale but Guillod's courage and proactivity with his lines and speed meant he earned the chequered flag by less than a second. His victory lifted the Standing Construct representative to second place in the MX2 championship.
Team-mate Julien Lieber was eleventh overall with two twelfth positions and just couldn't find the feeling or starts at Matterley.
There were bittersweet emotions under the Kemea truck awning. Benoit Paturel had a positive weekend of improvement, bettering his classification every time he took to the track from a thirteenth in the opening practice session on Saturday all the way to a ninth and eighth in the two motos (in spite of a left index fingernail almost split in two) for what was his first overall top ten in just his rookie Grand Prix season.
Disaster struck for team-mate Brent Van Doninck. The young Belgian crashed on the first lap of the Qualification Heat on Saturday and injured his right knee. BVD tried to stand while trackside but struggled to do so. Scans and checks will be made in Belgium early this week to determine the extent of the damage but Sunday evening '172' was already feeling more optimistic.
Also in action were the EMX125 and EMX250 classes. Kemea's Maxime Renaux scored a brilliant first race victory in EMX125 by beating home favourite Conrad Mewse on his YZ125 and by weathering a lot of pressure by the Brit. On Sunday morning and in the second outing the French teenager didn't get the best of starts but raced to third and was later awarded the overall win after Mewse was alleged to have jumped while yellow flags were waved. Renaux is now second in the championship standings and just five points from the lead.
Damon Graulus was third overall on his Kemea YZ250F in EMX250. The Belgian ran away with the second moto late Sunday afternoon - for his first '25 points' of the year - but a crash earlier on in the first race meant that he was not in contention for the overall triumph. Damon has made good ground in the title chase though and is third in the list; ten points from the red plate and is one of three YZ250F riders in the top six.
EMX250 was also notable for Spaniard Ander Valentin taking his Auscio Yamaha YZ250 into an intense battle for third place in the second moto from which he emerged with fifth and his best classification since making the podium at Arco di Trento for the opening meeting of the series last month.
Matterley Basin was home to the third round of six in the FIM Women's Motocross World Championship and defending number one Kiara Fontanesi took a best result of second place in the second moto. The Italian crashed in the opening sprint and could only recover her YZ250F to sixteenth. Brand-mate Nancy Van de Ven was third overall with a 3-4 but Fontanesi was left ruing her spill which means she trails principal rival for her crown, Livia Lancelot, by 23 points at the midpoint stage of the campaign.
MXGP heads straight onto Villars sout Ecot for the Grand Prix of France next weekend and the final event in the month of May. Trips to Italy and Germany lay ahead in June.
2nd and 1st for 1st overall, Championship position: 2nd
"It was a great weekend and started well from Saturday. I felt good on the bike straightaway. I was aiming for a good result and make points but the race with Max was very nice and clean. I finished second when Jeffrey came up to our rear wheel so that was OK. I made a good start in the second moto, took the lead and didn't make a mistake. It was my best race and it was really cool to fight with Jeffrey. I had fun and I think my team and all the fans had fun; it was motocross and a nice show."
9th and 8th for 8th overall, Championship position: 13th
"I'm really happy with this weekend and progressed step-by-step. I was thirteenth and then twelfth in the practices, eleventh in qualification and then ninth in the first moto. I was eighth in the second moto! I've worked hard every day for improvement like that. Today is my first top ten and I'm pleased to have done that for the team. I want to thank them, my sponsors, my mechanic next week is my home GP and I'm happy to go to Villars sout Ecot; it is a good track. I'm learning so much every GP in my first season."
1st and 3rd for 1st overall, EMX125 Championship position: 2nd
"The first moto was fantastic! I got off to a good start and had a nice battle when Conrad [Mewse] made a mistake I got some breathing room and at first I didn't know where he was. Near the end I could hear the crowd cheering him on and luckily managed to hold him off. The second moto I was outside the top ten after the first corners and I used a lot of energy to get forward as soon as possible. Once in third I tried to push to close the gap to second but I was tired and had to rush instead to keep third. After the penalty from Mewse I won the race, which is extra nice, especially for the championship. I was 19 points behind at one stage and now I'm heading into my home race five points behind the leader. I really look forward going to Villars, I like the track and the extra support from the fans will give me extra motivation."
11th and 1st for 3rd overall, EMX250 Championship position: 3rd
"In the end it was a disappointing weekend. I came here to win the overall but that didn't happen. At the start of the first moto I tangled up with a couple of riders and crashed. It took a while to get going again and I got back to 11th. In the second moto I had a good start. When Kouwenberg made an error I got in the lead and tried to open a gap. I could not push as hard as I wanted as my wrist hurt pretty bad from the first moto crash. Luckily it was enough to get some breathing space and to get the win. I didn't expect to be on the podium but in a way I'm happy to have ended the weekend on a positive note. I'm now ten points behind in the championship, so that's still open too."