Two Hundred not out for Daniel Willlemsen in Race Two

30/07/2017

There is a standard minimum time under FIM regulations between races, so the race one delay spilled over into race two, which got under way about thirty minutes behind schedule.

The crews needed every spare minute to recuperate, with Vanluchene's passenger Kurpnieks needing medical attention for exhaustion after race one. He would take no further part in events in Austria.

The sun had gone in and it was slightly cooler, but humidity was high this time around.

 Talking of atmosphere – the massive crowd had stayed put to watch this one, and the classical music was playing its part getting everyone fired up.

The first turn is a left-hander, so it was crucial to grab a good start-line slot and the shortest distance.

Willemsen again chose wisely and made a flyer. His experience in getting off the line is second to none, and he headed Etienne Bax on the first lap with first race winner Giraud in fourth behind Davy Sanders/Eduard Soenens.

The Cermaks were fifth, and a much better start from the centre of the grid put Brown/Millard tenth.

At the front it was incredibly close, with just five seconds covering the top five crews.

Giraud/Mucenieks were really pushing to grab third from Sanders, and Etienne Bax was breathing down the neck of Willemsen.

 Willemsen needed to hold him off and take that historic two-hundredth win, but even this momentous statistic would not make him reckless. He is too old, too wise and too experienced to lose his head.

Lap five and Giraud/Mucenieks were third just three seconds behind Bax/Musset, as Willemsen opened a slight gap.

Almost immediately the Czech brothers were up to fourth having squeezed past Hermans/Van Gaalen, they then began to build a safety net of several seconds.

Stuart Brown/Joe Millard were having a stupendous ride to sixth place, whilst at the front it was just unbelievably close with the top three all bumper to bumper.

 Willensen/Bax were under pressure like never before, but seemed to be coping and keeping Bax/Musset at arm's length. Both Bax and Giraud were posting laps sub 1.53, such was the blistering pace at the front.

Brown was by now on Hermans and looked menacing with six minutes left on the clock.

Behind Brown, two Swiss crews in the shape of Heinzer and Cuche were having a tough tussle.

The closing stages would be about whether Willemsen could keep Bax at bay and claim that memorable victory. You could just sense he wanted it with every fibre of his body.

 Brown passed Hermans to fifth after an exhausting chase, and that would be as far as he could progress, with the Cermaks too far ahead. Willemsen was holding the one second lead until the two lap board came out, and then suddenly, Bax was on him again.

Suddenly, a slip on the hill by Etienne Bax dropped him out of contention almost into the clutches of the Cermaks, and Giraud claimed second place. That really would close the points up.

But Willemsen had taken win number two-hundred. What a day for the supremo!

 

From Barry Nutley