Bax and Stupelis take joint series lead to Oldebroek for round three
To do battle in the third Grand Prix in as many weeks, the WSC Circus will make the long trek from mid-Spain, to within one hundred kilometres of Amsterdam the Dutch capital. Former Champions Etienne Bax and Kaspars Stupelis head north as joint leaders of the 2019 title race after two rounds.
They share this position with the defending champions Marvin Vanluchene and Ben van den Bogaart who have yet to win a race in the new season.
The closeness of this year's competition is underlined by the fact we have seen four different race winners thus far.
Bax and Julian Veldman each took a win in the deep sand of Lommel, whilst the hard going in Spain saw Valentin Giraud and Koen Hermans emerge victorious.
Frenchman Valentin Giraud, who certainly seems to have clicked with his “stand-in” German passenger Andres Haller, was very unlucky not to have brought more away from the Iberian Peninsula. Despite his move to two-stroke Mega power, he had a mechanical problem in the dying moments of race two.
Generally speaking, we have seen more technical problems than one would expect this early in the season. Daniel Willemsen had a wheel collapse, Arne Dierckens almost lost his radiator, and both Julian Veldman and Giraud have had issues. Several other teams have joined that list with early season mechanical gremlins.
There was also a big crash for Dierckens in Spain which sent his passenger Robbie Bax to hospital. Given these crews are a tough breed, and Holland is almost home ground, we fully expect the number ten crew to be back in the thick of the action.
Spain also delivered a special week for lady racer Kelly Debruyne from Belgium. She and Jens Mans collected their first points of the season, and I have a sneaking feeling they will not be her last. Make no mistake, in this incredibly tough and physical sport, she deserves the utmost respect for her efforts.
With the exception of Brett Wilkinson and Ryan Humphrey who had that big one in the opening round, all the top teams are raring to go, so Oldeboek promises to be yet another fantastic weekend of action.
Etienne Bax took double victory, and the overall win here two years ago. Any takers to bet he won't repeat that?? There are plenty of on-form crews to stop that happening, and believe me they will be trying as always.
We will be across the weekend in Oldebroek with bulletins and newsfeeds from both days, with the one hour high-lights show close behind.
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From Barry Nutley