Home Coming as Lommel Looms for MXGP & MX2 Riders
This weekend Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek and Kemea Yamaha Official MX2's Jago Geerts will race in front of their home fans at the fifteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship that is set to take place in the sea deep, rough and treacherous sand of Lommel, Belgium. In fact, the MXGP of Belgium is almost a home race for all of the riders that make up the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP, Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP and Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 teams with all seven athletes residing in Belgium less than one-hour from the circuit.
After returning to the top-five at the most recent Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek is feeling confident and eager to carry that same momentum into his home Grand Prix this weekend.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Romain Febvre has been a solid contender for the final spot on the podium at every single round this season. The hungry Frenchman is determined to stand on the box a few more times before the end of the year and has been doing countless laps around tough and testing sand tracks, in hot weather, to prepare for this weekends grueling Grand Prix. He is currently fifth in the MXGP Championship Standings and needs 18-points on Tim Gajser to move up into fourth.
Having dealt with an unfortunate string of injuries and illness this season, Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Shaun Simpson is looking forward to racing in the unforgiving and sapping sand of Lommel, the same track that has seen some of his best work which includes a MXGP Grand Prix victory in 2015. While his luckless run so far has put him on the back foot, the Czech Grand Prix was already a step in the right direction and the thirty year-old hopes he can breathe more life into his 2018 MXGP campaign with a good result on Sunday.
Also up for the challenge, Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Jeremy Seewer is doing his best to soak up the experience of competing in the premier class for the first time in his career. This means that every race is a learning curve where he finds new settings and learns more about his YZ450F with every lap turned. The twenty-four-year-old has shown some good speed already, and has every chance of achieving his short-term goal of finishing the Grand Prix inside the top-five.
The Belgian Grand Prix is always an extra special occasion for the Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 outfit as a team that is based in Belgium and owned and operated by Belgian Hans Corvers. This weekend, Kemea will be under the spotlight as the proud sponsors of Belgium's most promising up-and-comer Jago Geerts, as well as talented sand rider from the United Kingdom, Ben Watson and Venezuelan star Anthony Rodriguez.
As a kid that has spent his whole life in Balen - a small village in which he still resides, only 15-minutes from the Lommel circuit - Geerts tends to favour a rough and rugged sand track. Both Geerts and Watson have people picking them for a place on the podium, while the third of the Kemea trio, Rodriguez might just be a dark-horse bet this weekend especially with the added confidence of winning the most recent race in the sand at the Open Dutch Championship a few weeks ago.
The European EMX125 and EMX250 Championships will also resume in the sapping sand this weekend where MJC Yamaha Official EMX125's Thibault Benistant has a good chance of taking the red plate and the championship lead onboard his GYTR kitted YZ125 inside the EMX125 class, while ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250's Roan van de Moosdijk will line-up fresh off of his first ever EMX250 round victory.
Lommel is situated in the Limburg province of Belgium, not far from the Dutch border of Luyksgestel and Valkenswaard. It hosted its first round of the FIM Motocross World Championship back in 1990 where Finland's Pekka Vehkonen won onboard a Yamaha YZ250. This weekend will be the thirteenth time that the venue will host a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship where the weather forecast looks scorching hot with temperatures expected to rise above 30 degrees Celsius.
5th MXGP Championship Standings, 432-points
I have been training in the sand for quite some time, so I am used to riding in the sand. I do it quite a lot. But since Loket, we have been testing in the sand and at Lommel. Recently, I have been working on my starts because they haven't been so good lately, and I really need to be up front of the start. I feel like we have made some improvement, and that is what we will find out in Lommel because even though my starts are better on my own, you never really know until you try it against the other riders. Over the past few weeks I feel like I have been able to improve my speed in the sand. I am confident and looking forward to racing in Lommel.
8th MXGP Championship Standings, 319-points
My feeling is pretty good in the sand, for some reason. I did a couple of really tough sessions at Lommel last week where the track was the toughest of the year, really bumpy and hot, and I am feeling pretty good. Everything is going well for me at the moment, the bike-set up is good and the feeling is good. I hope that I can battle with the top guys in the sand, I have really good memories from Ottobiano which is also a really sandy GP, so I will try and do something similar this weekend and fight for some top-five spots.
Jeremy Van Horebeek
9th MXGP Championship Standings, 312-points
Lommel is a tough track and I have been training my butt off in the last two weeks, doing everything I can to take the next step in terms of my physical condition. Anyway, I am going to enjoy the weekend, it's only 15-minutes from my house, so it will be a nice weekend.
16th MXGP Championship Standings, 126-points
Going into this weekend I have been working on everything I can over the last two-weeks. It has been handy to have that weekend free, and use that to my advantage, so it's been pretty hot and heavy in Belgium over the last couple of weeks so I have been knuckling down and making sure I have had plenty of time on the bike. My physical training is also on point. I actually in a strange way feel quite fresh and rejuvenated after such a period of hard graft. Going into this weekend I just think I need to go into it with no real expectations, give it everything I have, leave nothing on the table and see where I come out. I believe my speed, riding and fitness can get me somewhere inside the top-ten, so I am really looking forward to this weekend, I have a lot of good feelings at Lommel and hopefully the jigsaw will come together for me this weekend.