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Quick thoughts: Hawkstone Park International

Quick thoughts: Hawkstone Park International

If you weren’t excited for the start of the MXGP world championship season, you will be now if you attended Hawkstone Park!

The crowd was huge and the first MX2 moto had to be delayed because of the ques to get in with a dry but cold day attracting the fans for the British motocross season kick off at a gnarly, soft and rutted Hawkstone. They weren’t disappointed.

The MX1 class was stacked with intense racing at the front, it was basically a mini GP – and that was without Prado, Fernandez, Geerts, Renaux, Vlaanderen and more!

Romain Febvre won race one and Jeffrey Herlings won the next two races but they weren’t the only riders to impress.

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Pauls Jonass was FLYING all day and looking back to the rider who won the MX2 world title. Jonass was quickest in qualifying then led early in moto one looking comfortable with only Febvre able to run his pace – until he hit the deck. But even then, despite no peak, Jonass held off Herlings third. He was on pace again in race two taking another third and despite having the worst start of the big five, Jonass was at one point maybe the fastest on track early in the Superfinal, but he couldn’t find a way past Seewer and settled for fifth – Jonass is back on form after some tough injuries and it’s great to see!

Romain Febvre was fast all day but it was also a rollercoaster! A great win in race one, but a DNF in race two was followed by a curious moto three.

Febvre was ALL OVER Herlings searching for a way by into the lead, then it looked like he was making his move, as he leapt further than Herlings on the dutchman’s left hand side as they disappeared from view before coming back round to the bombhole. But suddenly, when they reappeared over the bomb hole it was Febvre who was being passed by Coldenhoff! For the next lap and a half Febvre seemed to totally lose his rhythm, the front two got away and Seewer and Jonass smelt blood but then Febvre gathered himself again, it was too late to go after the win, but he did secure third – and had the fastest lap of the race.

Jeffrey Herlings was in much better form at Hawkstone than he was a year ago at the same venue. The first race looked like Herlings was just getting the rust off with a fourth and didn’t take any risks. It was his first race in about six months

But then the bullet fired and took two holeshots and two wins holding off Coldenhoff both motos right down to the last lap. It took Herlings just one moto to figure out how to win in his return to racing! But the rest are right there and Herlings did well to make no mistakes and take the chequered flag under pressure. Expect Herlings to be up and running closer to his real level at the start of the MXGP season that he was last season, he looks ready and his starts are finally good!

Glenn Coldenhoff was a joy to watch all day and his aggression was there too! He just refused to let Herlings settle in the last two motos, pushing the Dutchman right until the last turn, over jumping when he needed, putting a wheel in there when he wanted and looking extremely comfortable on the Fantic. He deserved that overall win for his performances.

Isak Gifting wasn’t scared of the big names and he put the 450 Yamaha in the mix at times showing his potential on the big machine. In fact, he looked totally comfortable but still had that aggression making him an exciting watch. The Swede has speed!

Jeremy Seewer looks good in green but he had to battle through the field in the opening couple of motos, however he got away at the tail end of the main men in the superfinal and showed he had the pace in the sand – and we saw what he did on the hard pack in France last week. The Renen gear looks cool too!

In MX2 it was the Andrea Adamo show and he won both motos then showed some great speed in the superfinal leading the 450 freight train for a couple of laps then tucking in behind the top five to learn their pace. The class suffered a bit from the Everts injury but Osterhagen was the one rider to give Adamo a battle in a great moto one ride that saw the JM Honda rider lead for a long time then stay with Adamo for most of the moto. After some tough injuries Osterhagen might just be about to fulfil his talent. This kid is good!

Cas Valk also did his best to keep Adamo in sight in moto two to show his potential, he’s a big kid, but he has great technique and a lot of potential. If he can get out of the gate, keep an eye on his progress this season.

One of the best races of the day was the opening 125 moto with Cole McCullough holding off Kasmir Hindersson despite Hindersson making contact with the Northern Irishman at the end of the last lap but McCullough refused to give in and shut the door and kept it pinned even when contact was made.

The battle looked ready to commence again in race two but McCullough’s chain broke while he led and then he crashed out of race three while leading after Hindersson went down. Hindersson then went to take the chequered flag as the third moto winner only to crash literally five inches from the flag and losing the win! Both riders should be contenders in EMX125 this season.

The eight races went off like clockwork even with a red flag in MX2 forcing a restart, so a big well down the organisers with everything wrapped up before 5pm. A great day to kick-off the British season and the perfect way to wet the appetite for MXGP round one in less than two weeks time!

Article: Jonathan McCready