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Thrilling Zwarte Cross performance by Kjell Verbruggen

Thrilling Zwarte Cross performance by Kjell Verbruggen
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The traditional Zwarte Cross final race of the Dutch Masters of Motocross series is always a special occasion. F4E Racing’s Kjell Verbruggen made his visit to Lichtenvoorde even more memorable courtesy of a standout performance that earned him second overall. Only three points separated Verbruggen and event winner Rick Elzinga.

It’s not the first time that Kjell Verbruggen has made a name for himself in his 125 rookie season. However the young Dutchman caught more than a few people by surprise at the 2018 Zwarte Cross. Kjell qualified eighth on Friday, while team mate Mario Lucas had to settle for 16th.

The infamous Loco Arena was atypical desolate and quiet on Saturday morning. Due to the dusty track conditions the 125cc opening moto had been postponed from Friday to early morning on Saturday. Verbruggen was seemingly unfazed by the change in the schedule. Not only did he take the holeshot, he ran up front for 4 laps before Emil Weckman, one of the leading EMX125 riders, passed him for the lead. Eventually Kjell came home second. Mario suffered a mediocre start in the opening race, but things took a turn for the worst when he hit the deck in the second lap. Tenth place was all the Spanish 125 champion could muster.

In stark contrast with the first moto a massive and excited crowd lined the track for the final race. Once again Kjell catapulted his KTM 125SX to the holeshot. Although Kjell was soon ousted from the lead by Elzinga, he did control second for most of the 25 minute plus one lap sprint. Title contender Raivo Dankers relegated the #442 F4E Racing rider to third at the finish line. Yet Verbruggen had been one of the fastest guys on the track all day long. In the ultimate championship moto Kjell recorded the second fastest lap of the race.

After a terrible start Lucas managed to recover well in his final moto. On a track where it was particularly hard to overtake the likable Spaniard remounted to 11th, handing him 10th overall. While Wannes van de Voorde was sidelined in Lichtenvoorde due to a collarbone fracture sustained just before the race another Belgian racer gave the team something to cheer about. Support rider Baptiste Beernaert came home sixth twice and thus placed fifth overall equal on points. The 12-year old had to face much more experienced riders in Lichtenvoorde but ended up the highest ranked Belgian 85cc rider for the day.

Kjell Verbruggen: “This last Dutch Masters of Motocross race went a lot better than expected. In both motos I managed to grab a clean holeshot and I was able to lead on both occasions. It was also nice to keep the tow with Emil Weckman until the finish line. Overall Zwarte Cross was an awesome experience! I’d like to thank the entire team, Jimmy (Verburgh) and all the sponsors. After tasting a result like this you always want more of course!”

Mario Lucas: “To participate in such a race staged at big festival was a pretty unique experience in its own right! It was difficult for me to adapt to the track in time practice, which meant I didn’t have a good time. In the opening moto I was able to make a lot of passes in the first lap but a crash in the second lap ruined a good final result! The start was super important in Lichtenvoorde and I certainly experienced that in the second heat… Which is a shame, because I definitely felt I could’ve done more than tenth overall.”

Jimmy Verburgh, manager F4E Racing: “To end the Dutch Masters of Motocros like this was the icing on the cakes for us. Kjell put in a great performance in Lichtenvoorde, so that was great to see. This is the best motivation to work hard now in preparation of the following EMX125 rounds in Lommel and later in Assen! Mario did not have luck at his side, but he kept on fighting. We are also pleasantly surprised by Baptiste. He had two very good starts and rode well in a field with a lot of international experience.”

125cc Dutch Masters of Motocross Lichtenvoorde Race 1
1. Emil Weckman, 2. Kjell Verbruggen, 3. Rick Elzinga, 4. Emil Jonrup, 5. Cameron Durow, 6. Boyd van der Voorn, 7. Raivo Dankers, 8. Arno Menting, 9. Loeka Thonies, 10. Mario Lucas

125cc Dutch Masters of Motocross Lichtenvoorde Race 2
1. Rick Elzinga, 2. Raivo Dankers, 3. Kjell Verbruggen, 4. Boyd vander Voorn, 5. Cameron Durow, 6. Emil Jonrup,  7. Emil Weckman, 8. Arno Menting, 9. Loeka Thonies, 10. Dean Schellen, 11. Mario Lucas, 12. Twan Wagenaar, 13. James Scott, 14. Brian van der Klij, 15. Rob van de Veerdonk, 16. Lars Derboven, 17. Mack Bouwense, 18. Adam Collings, 19. Dylan Kroon, 20. Rick Wennekes

Overall standings Lichtenvoorde Race
1. Rick Elzinga 45, 2. Kjell Verbruggen 42, 3. Emil Weckman 39, 4. Raivo Dankers 36, 5. Boyd van der Voorn 33,  6. Emil Jonrup 33,  7. Cameron Durow 32, 8. Arno Menting 26, 9. Loeka Thonies 24, 10. Mario Lucas 21

Final championship standings Dutch Masters of Motocross after 4 rounds
1. Emil Weckman 154, 2. Raivo Dankers 148, 3. Filip Olsson 110, 4. Raf Meuwisssen 110, 5. Emil Jonrup 98, 6. Boyd van der Voorn 93, 7. Brian van der Klij 85, 8. Cameon Durow 76,  9. Peter Polak 64, 10. Loeka Thonies 60, 11. Arno Menting 59, 12. Kjell Verbruggen 58, 13. Mario Lucas 49, 14. Rene Hofer 47, 15. Rick Elzinga 45, 17. Adam Collings 38, 18. Dean Schellen 36, 19. Alessandro Facca, 20. James Scott 33, 21. Lion Florian 26, 22. Wannes van de Voorde 23, 23. Jörgen-Mathias Talviku 23, 24. Joel Rizzi 22, 25. Rick Wennekens 22, 26. Rob Van de Veerdonk 21, 27. Leopold Ambjornsson 20, 28. Liam-Nils Hanstrom 18, 20. Oliver Vilar 17, 30. Magnus Smith 17

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