Geerts & Strijbos Put Belgium Back on the Box at MXoN
In front of an enormous and highly animated crowd at the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations in Assen, The Netherlands, Monster Energy Kemea Yamaha MX2's Jago Geerts and fellow Yamaha rider Kevin Strijbos celebrated Team Belgium's highly anticipated return to the MXoN podium from the second step. Riding for Team Switzerland, the recently dubbed vice MXGP World Champion Jeremy Seewer finished third overall in the individual classification.
Battered by relentless rainfall, the 63rd edition of the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations wrote a dramatic end to what has been an action packed 2019 motocross season. The prestigious event was made up of three races, of which, each rider raced two. The first two races of the day lined 20 of the worlds best 250cc riders up against 20 of the world's fastest 450cc riders for two back-to-back 30 minute plus 2-lap races.
Representing their respective countries Belgium and France, MX2 riders Jago Geerts and SM Action M.C. Migliori's Maxime Renaux had to put the YZ250F through its paces.
Recognized as one of the best 250cc sand riders in the world, Geerts was unphased by his 450cc racing competitors as he charged from a mid-pack start up into 11th. Unfortunately, the rain ruined, deep and treacherous circuit of Assen was a brutal test of both man and machine, and the 19-year-old Belgian was unable to finish the opening race due to a technical issue, while Renaux finished 18th for Team France after two pit-stops for new goggles.
Fired up and out for redemption in his final race of the weekend, MX2/Open, Geerts put in a ride to remember as he stormed from outside of the top-20 to finish as the best placed 250cc rider. He was seventh in the combined 250cc and 450cc classification, while Renaux was unable to finish due to a technical issue.
Jeremy Seewer concluded what has been a sensational 2019 season with yet another career milestone. The 25-year-old Swiss sensation won his first ever MXGP qualifying race and verified his overall speed and consistency with two solid top-five results. He was fourth in the MXGP/MX2 race, just in front of Monster Energy Wilvo Yamaha MXGP's Gautier Paulin who put in an impressive charge from outside of the top-10 for Team France.
The final race of the weekend, MXGP/Open, was the most evenly matched. All of the riders on the line were on 450cc motorcycles and ready to go head-to-head for the final time this season. It was a high stakes game when the gates dropped, particularly for Paulin and Team Belgium's Kevin Strijbos who had the weight of their nations on their shoulders. Despite putting in a sensational performance in the opening race, the power sapping sand of Assen caused heart-break for Paulin and Team France with the French ace unable to finish after running out of fuel on the final lap. Strijbos' bettered his 17th place finish in the first race with a solid 11th in the final race, which was enough to put Team Belgium back on the box for the first time since 2015. Belgium finished second in the 'Nations classification while France and USA tied on 68-points for fifth.
Team USA's Justin Cooper put his nation in a strong position yesterday after he placed his YZ250F inside the 'victorYZone' with an emphatic win in the MX2 qualifying race. Unfortunately, the young American fell and injured his hand in the opening race and only managed to brave results that do not reflect his true potential. He was 25th in Race 1 and 29th in Race 2.
Team Belgium - 2nd MXoN Classification
"It feels really good to be on the podium with Team Belgium after we've missed it for a couple of years. We were on the second step so that was really nice, and we achieved our goal. Our goal was always to get on the podium, but after my first heat we were unsure if we would make it. Luckily, we did well in the second and third heats and we made it."
Team France - 5th MXoN Classification
"We have won five times in a row, this was a big highlight of the Motocross of Nations for Team France, but all good things come to an end and today we have to accept the fail. For myself, I was very happy with my teammates, we put in a good amount of effort to be on the podium and on the second to last lap, I run out of fuel. It's tough to accept, but I had a great experience this weekend. The track was gnarly, the atmosphere and fans were incredible. Thanks to the public, and congratulations to The Netherlands on the win. It was a wet and gnarly weekend, but as always, it was a weekend we all enjoyed and it will give us a lot of memories."
Team Switzerland - 11th MXoN Classification
"I had a really positive weekend. I have always struggled in Assen in the past. I didn't have any expectations coming in and now I am coming away with a MXGP Qualifying Race win and two really solid moto's in the mud. I didn't crash once all weekend, which I am really proud of. It is a solid end to the season."