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Race report: SMX Cup – Dungey wins!

Race report: SMX Cup – Dungey wins!
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After two 15-minute practice sessions, riders were sent out in the order they finished in the second practice. Suzuki were first up with their fastest rider, Jake Weimer. Weimer laid down a relatively good lap although there were certain spots that had be groomed, which may have effected his overall time with no line carved, so the best he could do was a 51.573. Former MX2 World Champion Jordi Tixier followed on behalf of Team Kawasaki, and managed to beat Weimer’s time with a 50.833. Next up was Yamaha’s Romain Febvre, last year’s MXGP World Champion. Febvre was a little too eager on his lap and over cooked the first triple in, which screwed up his rhythm completely. The former champed bounced it out and still managed to top both Tixier and Weimer with a 50.766. Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne probably put in the tidiest and smoothest lap of all for third, 49.721, while the real eye-opener was the speed of Honda’s Tim Gajser and KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings. MXGP-TV presenters Paul Malin and Lisa Leyland asked Ryan Dungey on the LIVE Studio Show who was going to be riding the Superpole for KTM, in which Dungey replied, “we all decided that whoever was fastest in the practice sessions would ride, and that was Jeffrey.” Gajser was up first, and in typical ‘Tiga’ style, he was all whips and scrubs on his way to the top of the table, despite massively over cooking the ski jump into the sand waves. Gajser is such an animal though, he just soaked it all up, and kept the throttle wide open to go pole with a 49.390, which was a time Herlings fell slightly short of with his 49.418. Most people take longer to blink.
Monster Energy SMX Riders’ Cup Race One

There was such an intense vibe at the start of race one as the best riders in the world, from both sides of the ditch, the USA and Europe, lined up next to each other. After winning the Superpole, Honda’s Tim Gajser went to the line first ahead of KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings, Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne, Yamaha’s Romain Febvre, Kawasaki’s Jordi Tixier and Suzuki’s Jake Weimer.

When the gate dropped it was Gajser who led the way into turn one, although KTM’s Ryan Dungey had a lightening quick getaway and out of nowhere almost railed around the outside of everyone for the Fox Holeshot. Herlings was on the inside of Gajser, but the Honda rider slammed that door before drifting wide to cut off Dungey as well.

Osborne was the filling in a world champion sandwich when he chose to start in between Gajser and Herlings. Both riders got out of the gate quicker and squeezed him out, but somehow he managed to keep a tight line and emerged in fifth.

KTM’s Marvin Musquin overshot the turn as the reigning MXGP world champion, Gajser, tried to gap the field. Dungey had company in the form of Febvre and Herlings, but those two made life a whole lot easier when they decided to haggle over the same piece of real estate, locked bars, lost balance and both toppled over.
Introducing the electric start! There aren’t many Yamaha YZ450F’s with electric starts, but one of the few that there are is plastered up ‘461’, and that worked in Febvre’s favor. He only lost one spot to Osborne while Herlings lost two spots, one to Osborne and one to Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle.

A little flustered, Herlings didn’t waste any time in hammering the throttle around the outside of Searle, who thought he’d throw a solid move back for old-times sake. That battle didn’t last very long though as Herlings made it clear he didn’t line up to play games when he got the job done and gapped it.

Gajser put in a classic ‘holeshot and win’ performance ahead of the two supercross stars Dungey and Osborne while Febvre and Herlings rounded out the top five.

Monster Energy SMX Riders’ Cup Race Two

Race two was the craziest race of the night. It started with Gajser pulling his second Fox Holeshot ahead of Herlings who bobbled and went down, and almost collected his KTM teammate Ryan Dungey.

Gajser looked cool, calm and collective out front, on the gas early and braking late, until he left his braking a little too late and locked up the rear wheel into an edge which pitched him over the bars. Febvre took over the lead after he had found his way around Team Honda’s Evgeny Bobryshev, who was trying to ride through the pain of an injured wrist.

Osborne showed Gajser a wheel or two in the battle for fourth, before Gajser spammed himself again and hurt his shoulder. While it should have been smooth sailing from there for Osborne, he seemed to tire and Team Kawasaki’s Jordi Tixier passed him with ease to finish fourth behind fellow Frenchmen Febvre and Musquin, and American, Dungey, who all finished in that order.  

Hats off to Jeffrey Herlings who diced his way through the pack from dead last for fifth.

Monster Energy SMX Riders’ Cup Race Three

Razor sharp bumps and limited traction made from a very technically challenging final race of the evening. Ryan Dungey got off to a ripper of a start and with clear track ahead it seemed like the supercross champ was set for 16 laps.

Gajser, who would have been feeling secondhand after body slamming the ground a couple of times in the race prior, seemed content in second ahead of two Frenchmen, Marvin Musquin and Jordi Tixier, but eventually faded back to fifth.
Meanwhile, Herlings was on the move after starting at the blunt end of the top ten. The Bullet was passing everyone like they were standing still and eventually found himself in second, taking chunks out of Dungey’s lead. With six laps to go, Dungey swapped out in the sand section, and Herlings took full advantage.

Simultaneously, the third of KTM’s hotshots, Musquin, squared up on Gajser and passed the Honda ace for third.
While the Monster Energy SMX Cup is a team event as well, it became a battle of pride between Herlings and Dungey. Dungey tried to up his game, but a mistake riddled lap after seeing the two lap board saw the American back off and let Herlings have it. Dungey came home in second ahead of Musquin, Tixier and Gajser.

Monster Energy SMX Riders’ Cup Overall

KTM were the clear-cut winners of the first ever Monster Energy SMX Manufacturers’ trophy with all three of their riders finishing on the box in the ‘Riders’ classification too. Ryan Dungey, who is so often referred to as ‘The Diesel’, remained true to that name with three consistent results, 2 – 3 – 2 for the win ahead of ‘The Bullet’, Jeffrey Herlings, who binned it in the first two races, but bounced back with a win in the third moto to tie on points with Marvin Musquin. Herlings went 5 – 5 – 1 for second overall, while Musquin went 6 – 2 – 3 for third.

KTM dominated the manufacturer's cup. Pic: Youthstream

KTM dominated the manufacturer’s cup. Pic: Youthstream

Article: Youthstream

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