The GP of Europe represents the first motocross world championship round on European soil after the spectacular Argentinian opener. Held in Valkenswaard, Holland it’s also the first home race and first GP of the season for returning Jumbo No Fear Vamo Honda rider Micha Boy De Waal.
Both De Waal and his American team mate Marshal Weltin are familiar with the classic GP track just over the Belgian border, only 30 minutes from the Jumbo No Fear Vamo Honda workshop. The 1550m long sand circuit features soil that’s not as soft and deep as Lommel or Assen but the Eurocircuit is guaranteed to become physically punishing. Rain in the area during the week and a packed race schedule will make the track only more rough and rutted.
Last year De Waal picked up points in Valkenswaard in what was his first MX2 Grand Prix in a long time. The determined Dutchman has a productive winter behind him and showed impressive speed last weekend at the highly regarded Dutch Masters of Motocross in Markelo. Micha rode his Honda CRF250R to 5th in the 2nd moto while Weltin scored a credible 9th overall and finished 7th in the final moto. Although far from a sand specialist Marshal has made significant headway in his racecraft on soft soil in the last few months.
Micha Boy De Waal: “I felt immediately well last weekend in Markelo and posted the 6th fastest time in qualifying. Overall it was a great day, apart from the big crash I had in the first moto! Although many GP riders lined up for the Dutch Masters the field is not as strong as we have in the World championship so it’s hard to say what we can expect. For sure I’ll give it everything I have. At least I want to score points again, but even more than that I want to show what I’m made of!”
Marshal Weltin: “I’m going into the Valkenswaard weekend with a weird feeling to be honest. The Dutch Masters went great for me. I loved the Markelo track, the weather conditions were nice too. My riding felt good and everything gelled. I have to take my hat of to the team because the Jumbo No Fear Vamo Honda was a great machine. Hopefully that will carry over to the GP.
This week we did more training and testing in wet sand and that’s hard for me to get comfortable in and to relax on the bike. Hopefully it won’t get too gnarly but the forecast says it will be freezing so it’s going to be challenging anyway! A nice thing about a home GP is that I can just go home, sleep in my own bed and have my usual routine. It will definitely be an exciting weekend!”
Pic: Shot by Bavo