fim sidecar motocross world championship

Bax/Cermak just retain red plate, as Hermans and Veldman take wins in Loket

22/05/2022

Bax/Cermak just retain red plate, as Hermans and Veldman take wins in Loket

 The spectacular Loket track, with its steep climbs and drops, its massive jumps and dauntingly tight hairpin turns was guaranteed to bring out the best from the teams on race-day. We had seen throughout qualifying what they were capable of, and the bar was raised even higher when points were at stake. One or two encountered problems, with Jake Brown/Paul Horton having a massive crash in timed practice resulting in a dislocated shoulder.

The gritty Brown strapped himself up and gave qualifying his best shot. The two GP races would be the ultimate test. After a windy and cold Saturday, the sun was back with a vengeance for the riders’ presentation and build up. This looked like being a big event for the local fans.

Race One – A significant crowd had built up ahead of this opener, and the atmosphere was palpable as the gate dropped.

Amazingly, Daniel Willemsen flew from the gate to head the pack up the hill to the first turn. It was a gold-plated hole-shot again for the ten times champion, followed by Etienne Bax/Ondrej Cermak from Marvin Vanluchene/Robbie Bax and Marco Heinzer/Reudi Betschart. The Swiss pair were physically strong and proved to be a thorn in the side of the front runners for many laps. Gert van Werven and Ben Van Den Bogaart slotted third and set after Willemsen and Bax. It was not long before Bax took over at the front, just as both Vanluchene and Veldman hit mechanical problems. It appeared something had failed on the rear end of Vanluchene’s bike, but Veldman managed to recover, albeit one lap adrift. He and Glenn Janssens battled on, and were eventually able to un-lap themselves to claim twelfth place and valuable points. All this time, Koen Hermans and Nicolas Musset had been battling for supremacy, fighting with Van Werven and the Prunier boys in the early stages of the race. Once past both Willemsen and Gert, had Etienne in their sights. This was enough to spur them on, and they caught and passed the series leader at two thirds distance. Brett Wilkinson/Joe Millard also made great ground from the word go and looked strong. They were fighting hard to get the better of Heinzer/Betschart. Well in the hunt for fourth place, they hit trouble on a hill and stopped. Also caught up in this incident were Stuart Brown/Josh Chamberlain. They made it through to eighth place, with Wilkinson recovering for points in seventeenth.

Bax was happy with second place but had a fuelling issue which meant he had to nurse it home. Killian and Evan Prunier did themselves and France proud with an amazing race, claiming fourth place in class company. Equally, Justin Keuben/Johnny Badaire should be hugely proud of fifth ahead of Heinzer and Willemsen.

Result – 1/ Hermans/Musset, 2/ Bax/Cermak, 3/ Van Werven/Van Den Bogaart, 4/ Prunier/Prunier, 5/ Keuben/Badaire, 6/ Heinzer/Betschart,

7/ Willemsen/Lebreton, 8/ Brown/Chamberlain, 9/ Leferink/Beleckas,

10/ Varik/Kunnas.

Race Two – Once more the start positions were repeated by the key men, with Daniel Willemsen/Rodolphe Lebreton almost getting a triple hole-shot. Veldman and Bax had other ideas and were looking too threatening on Willemsens’s injured left side. Sensibly he pulled out of the turn and rode up the banking. That move alone cost him dear, as through went Veldman, Bax Vanluchene and Hermans. Next to benefit was Gert van Werven, pulling several others with him.

The race was then well and truly on at the front as Etienne Bax powered past Veldman on lap two. The Mega versus Husqvarna battle was fascinating, with Veldman never more than two seconds in arrears of the Dutch/Czech pairing.

Behind them a similar race-long scrap unfolded between Vanluchene and Hermans, their persistence was to reap rewards in an unexpected way.

Further down, Brett Wilkinson/Joe Millard made steady ground through the field, eventually catching and passing Brown/Chamberlain.

The two top British crews were to finish fifth and sixth respectively, with Dan Foden and Nathan Cooper also completing a brilliant weekend emerging with twenty-one points from their two rides and ninth place overall.

Deep into the race disaster struck Bax, as his Husqvarna decided to replay its electrical or fuel problem, causing him to retire on the penultimate lap. He was out of it, and the others made to most of his absence.

Hermans had already closed down Vanluchene but still had work to do, and Veldman assumed control at the front, never to look back, He had overtaken Bax with a spirited leap uphill and into a right-hander.

Vanluchene had a big gap, but his injured knee was agony, and he rode for a finish. Lack of time on the bike ahead of the season took its toll.

Varik and Kunnas salvaged a fourth place after fighting through, rewarding them with second place in the standings.

Result – 1/ Veldman/Janssens, 2/ Hermans/Musset, 3/ Vanluchene/Bax,

4/ Varik/Kunnas, 5/ Wilkinson/Millard, 6/ Brown/Chamberlain,

7/ Van Werven/Van den Bogaart, 8/ Keuben/Badaire, 9/ Prunier/Prunier,

10/ Foden/Cooper.

Standings – Bax 74, Varik 71, Van Werven 67, Veldman 66, Wilkinson 55,

Keuben 49, Hermans 47, Prunier 41, Heinzer 41, Brown 39, Vanluchene 36,

Wijers 34, Foden 34.

 

The TV highlights show will be available shortly on www.fimsidecarcross.com along with all other news as it happens.

Round Three comes from Lommel in Belgium 25-26 June. Join us there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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