Vanluchene/Bax defend the Red plate as Bax/Musset take double victory in Lange Sunday
With two more races and two sets of points on the table, the Lange Motokeskus complex was set for some fierce racing on day two of the Estonian GP.
The day dawned much brighter, and the weather looked to be holding well for the many spectators arriving to take their places. There was a stiff, cool breeze, so many people wore thick coats and woolly hats. The soft track did indeed cut up on Saturday causing all manner of issues for many teams. That certainly made life interesting and provided great entertainment.
Marvin Vanluchene/Robbie Bax went into the two races as series leaders from Julian Veldman/Ondrej Cermak, with the reigning champion Etienne Bax holding a slender single point advantage over Kert Varik.
Race Two – The charge to the first turn took Etienne Bax/Nicolas Musset to a rare holeshot. Julian Veldman/Ondre Cermak and Gert Van Werven/Ben Van Den Bogaart had a great start too. Kert Varik was also in the hunt for a top four place, but the same was not true of Saturday’s race winners Vanluchene/Bax. They were in the thick of the pack around eighth on lap one.
Revelation in this race came in the form of seventeen-year-old Tim Leferink, who with the experienced Kostas Beleckas alongside, rode well beyond his years and experience. They were to finish seventh against fierce opposition.
Koen Hermans/Glenn Janssens quickly established themselves at the sharp end, and as the race unfolded ten minutes in, Bax/Musset led, from a brilliant Veldman/Cermak.
Van Werven/Van Den Bogaart had a massive crash off one of the jumps, effectively putting them out of the running. That moved Hermans and Varik up the order, as Vanluchene made steady progress to move into fourth.
Incidents came thick and fast as several top crews wrestled with the increasingly difficult track. Lukas Cerny tipped over, Kops/Horton nosedived off a jump, Brown/Millard got stuck and so it went on.
The crews at the front however, stayed out of trouble, and Bax/Musset tasted the glorious feeling of victory. Vanluchene stayed fourth protecting his series lead by just two points.
Bax/Musset moved to within twenty points of the leader Vanluchene with Veldman/Cermak in a strong second.
Result – 1/ Etienne Bax/Nicolas Musset, 2/ Julian Veldman/Ondrej Cermak,
3/ Koen Hermans/Glenn Janssens, 4/ Marvin Vanluchene/ Robbie Bax,
5/ Kert Varik/Lari Kunnas, 6/ Justin Keuben/Niki Debruyne, 7/ Tim Leferink/ Kostas Beleckas, 8/ Daniel Willemsen/Rodolf Lebreton,
9/ Markus Normak/Karl-Albert Kasesalu, 10/ Gert Gordejev/Kaspars Stupelis
Race Three – If there was any doubt about the determination of Etienne Bax and Nicolas Musset to retain the title, those doubts were blown away in the Estonian wind today.
Another immaculate holeshot put the reigning champions in the pound seats from the word go and they quickly built that advantage into a solid lead. Vanluchene/Bax slotted into second place, with Varik/Kunnas in third with Julian Veldman breathing down his neck.
Jake Brown/Joe Millard were dead last away, but having made the long journey here, wanted to do the best they could to make it worthwhile. That they did as you will see.
At half distance, the young British crew were up to fourteenth and going like a train.
The track was soft and sandy, making passing difficult as the ruts deepened still further.
This was a stellar performance up front from Etienne Bax, and one he needed to give in this short season of twelve races.
At half distance, Veldman moved third past Varik, but with Vanluchene twelve seconds up the road, there was no chance of improving further. However, the Dutch/Czech duo had continued their run of good form and put themselves in a strong place for the title fight half-way through the season. By now, Bax was into the tailenders with young Tim Leferink once again doing himself proud running in a top ten spot.
In fifth were Koen Hermans/Glenn Janssens after some difficult early laps. The terrain suited them though, and they looked good over the jumps. They were to hold onto fifth place at the finish. Jake Brown had levered himself into eleventh place in passing Lukas Cerny, which was a remarkable effort given his first lap position.
At the flag, an exhausted Etienne Bax/Nicolas Musset celebrated maximum points and a great weekend in Estonia. They had proved to be just too good. Vanluchene continued his run of strong rides with second, and Veldman/Cermak stayed very much in touch with third.
This is shaping up to be a very competitive and entertaining season, albeit a short one. It is almost as if there is a new-found urgency to race and win after all the time away.
Result – 1/ Bax/Musset, 2/ Vanluchene/Van Den Bogaart, 3/ Veldman/Cermak,
4/ Varik/Kunnas, 5/ Hermans/Janssens, 6/ Keuben/Debruyne, 7/ Willemsen/Lebreton,
8/ Normak/Kasesalu, 9/ Leferink/Beleckas, 10/ Kops/Horton.
Full results and standings are listed in the results/standings section on this website
Round three comes from Kramolin, Czech Republic 9/10th October
From Barry Nutley