MXGP Of USA Race Report

The last race of the FIM Motocross World Championship

It’s always cool to see our European Counterparts come race on American soil and this past weekend at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California was the second and last stop of the MXGP series stateside. Last weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina Cooper Webb took the overall in the MX2 class and Eli Tomac won the MXGP class.

Jeremy Martin
GEICO Honda's Jeremy Martin was close to peak form. He rode a 2-2 for second overall.Photo By Preston Jordon

MX2

Last week’s MX2 winner, Cooper Webb, was not present at the Glen Helen race for reasons unknown. But, there were quite a few Yanks representing the red, white, and blue in the small bike class. Notably, newly announced GEICO Honda rider Jeremy Martin as well has Monster energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner and Chris Alldredge, Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Mitchell Harrison, and Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill, Justin Hoeft, and Mitch Oldenberg. There were also American privateers Vann Martin, Blake Lilly, and Darian Sanayei. One last American in the MX2 class was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Thomas Covington who’s normal gig for the last few years has been the MX2 class.

Race one (or as we call it, moto one) wasn’t super exciting right at the front. That is because MX2 Champion Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings lead each and every lap. As a taller rider, he has a smooth, hanging-off-the-back kind of style that isn’t super aggressive, just consistently fast. He finished almost 10 seconds front of second place, which was occupied by Jeremy Martin who had that position since lap four when he took it from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Anstie.

There was a slow, meticulous battle going on behind Herlings and Martin with Austin Forkner getting around Anstie on lap five and Harrison battling with Anstie and Covington to end up fith and Covington ended up fourth. It was interesting to see the different riding styles of the top five riders as they diced up and down the big hills that make up Glen Helen’s track. Forkner is quickly gaining much needed experience and looks very comfortable and aggressive on his KX250F. None of the Troy Lee riders had much of a moto to remember. Oldenburg started dead last and only made it to 18th right at the end of the race and Justin Hill didn’t start the race because of a crash in the warm up race earlier in the day.

Jeffrey Herlings
Red Bull KTM's Jeffrey Herlings already had the MX2 Championship wrapped up yet he wasn't just cruising. The Bullet had a clean sweep on the day to finish the season.Photo By Preston Jordan

Race two was, again, a clinic put on by Herlings. He had just a little bit more trouble passing Anstie at the beginning but by lap two he was in command of the lead and didn’t give it up. J-Marts race was also very similar to race one – he started third, made his way to second at about the halfway point and stayed there. Where the real action was was back in 19th position. Fokner made a costly mistake on lap one, going down in the under-the-bridge turn right before the hill. It took him a little while to get the Kawi lit yet once he was going again he was a man possessed. He made multiple passes nearly every lap, ending up in 11th on lap nine position before going down again. This time it was hard enough to merit a ride on the Alpinestars (not Asterisk any more) Medical vehicle. He seemed mostly OK and it was probably more of a precaution more than anything.

The main takeaway leading into the last few one-off races of the year and next year’s Supercross series is that Jeremy Martin was looking very good on his new ride and with the inevitable testing that will be taking place between now and January, he will be even stronger. Forkner was also showed a flash of mature speed and he will be one to watch at A1. Lastly Mitch Harrison had a good showing going 5-5 for third overall on the day.

Austin Forkner
Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's rookie Austin Forkner was way faster than his 3-DNF denotes. In the second race, he was almost dead last after a first-lap tip over yet managed to climb to 11th before crashing again, ending his day.Photo By Preston Jordan

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:43.854
2. Jeremy Martin (USA, Honda), +0:10.160
3. Austin Forkner (USA, Kawasaki), +0:16.613
4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:28.544
5. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:31.308
6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:36.274
7. Chris Alldredge (USA, Kawasaki), +0:48.628
8. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:55.383
9. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +0:55.761
10. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:58.166

MX2 Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:33.376
2. Jeremy Martin (USA, Honda), +0:07.571
3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:11.139
4. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:31.811
5. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:34.253
6. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Yamaha), +0:55.261
7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:00.631
8. Justin Hoeft (USA, KTM), +1:02.893
9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +1:08.677
10. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +1:13.292

MX2 Overall Top Ten:
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
2. Jeremy Martin (USA, HON), 44 p.
3. Mitchell Harrison (USA, YAM), 32 p.
4. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 31 p.
5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 30 p.
6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 27 p.
7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 26 p.
8. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 25 p.
9. Chris Alldredge (USA, KAW), 24 p.
10. Austin Forkner (USA, KAW), 23 p.

Cairoli and Coldenhoff
There was a great battle in race two between Red Bull KTM teammates. Veteran Toni Cairoli chased down the newcomer Glenn Coldenhoff, both to be passed by Eli Tomac.Photo By Preston Jordan

MXGP

There were about the same amount of American racer’s in the MXGP class as were in MX2 with only one factory-backed racer, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac. Well, maybe two if you count Red Bull KTM’s Dean Wilson. Even though he isn’t technically American, he is from our series and we like him enough to count him on our side. The other American riders where Colton Aeck, Austin Kouba, Nathon LaPort, Keith Night, Johnnie Buller, Cody Johnston, and David Pulley.

Race one had everyone on their feet since the top ten across the finish line on lap one were capable of winning the race. It was the relative newcomer Read Bull KTM’s Glenn Coldenhoff who had the early lead and had a fierce battle with the second place rider, teammate and multi-time World Champion Antonio Cairoli. Behind Toni were many MXGP race winners and the current champion Honda Gariboldi’s Tim Gajser in sixth with Tomac right in front of the Slovenian. Once Toni got clear of his teammate on lap three, he created a little gap between him and the field, but in the same time that Cairoli passed one rider, Tomac passed three riders and by lap four, the battle was on! Toni was riding with skill and precision that only experience can give you but Tomac was on a mission. By doing a triple triple rhythm through one part of the track and by staying super low on all of the big jumps, Tomac reeled in and passed Cairoli on lap seven. Eli was definitely in a groove and hitting his marks, finishing 15.6 seconds in front of Cairoli. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Nagl was third and Gajser was fourth.

Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac went 1-1 for the overall.Photo By Preston Jordan

Race two was almost the same as race one, but even more exciting. Cairoli was again second after the first lap but made quick work of Nagl, yet was getting pressure from Gajser who was third, yet followed suit and also passed Nagl. Where was Tomac? Going up the first of the many hills on the track, the Kawi rider got shuffled back and even clipped by other rider but didn’t go down. This left him in eighth on lap two but he put his head down and made a charge for the front of the track. As Cairoli was occupied by Gajser, and vice versa, Tomac was getting back into the groove and blasting past the racers between himself and the front of the pack. On lap eight Tomac made the move and it stuck. No one could match his speed and he would go 1-1 for the win.

In the press conference Toni explained that he was quite sick in Charlotte and was feeling better at Glen Helen, but still not one hundred percent. Even though Tomac dominated both races, he was still humble and showed a lot of respect to the European racers. When asked by a reporter how it felt to pass the other riders “like they were standing still,” Tomac quickly responded with, “These guys were not standing still, they were flying.” It’s nice to racers give credit to their fellow racers even when they are fierce competitors.

Colton Aeck
Colton Aeck held is own earning a 22nd overall on the day. He is a true privateer and a DR Tester as well!Photo By Preston Jordan

Last but not least, the top finishing privateer American racer was none other than Dirt Rider Tester Colton Aeck. Well, he is a racer first, tester second. He went 23-21 for 22nd overall. Way to go, Colton!

MXGP Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), 36:36.218
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:15.622
3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:28.537
4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.082
5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:36.509
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:38.664
7. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:43.174
8. Dean Wilson (GBR, KTM), +0:46.822
9. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:50.421
10. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:54.314

MXGP Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), 34:58.974
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:16.031
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:19.041
4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:25.660
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:27.302
6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:33.516
7. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +1:01.351
8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:04.094
9. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +1:04.386
10. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:07.854

MXGP Overall Top Ten:
1. Eli Tomac (USA, KAW), 50 points
2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44 p.
3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 38 p.
4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 38 p.
5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 27 p.
6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 24 p.
7. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 23 p.
8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 23 p.
9. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 22 p.
10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 21 p.

MXGP Podium
MXGP PodiumPhoto By Preston Jordan