The following release is from the promoters of the World Motocross Championship...
After Flanders and the Netherlands, Benelux met this week-end the third sandy GP of the season and once more the Belgium riders in MX1 and New Zealander Ben Townley in MX2 were the strongest men on the track. Both Townley and Everts got another double win (the second one for both of them), and are now strong leaders of their championships.
The first MX1 race was probably the more exciting of the season. Kevin Strijbos got the holeshot on his Suzuki and led the first part of the race, followed by his team-mate Joel Smets, Stefan Everts, Steve Ramon, Mickael Pichon and Cedric Melotte. Ramon passed Everts and Smets in the second lap, but in the third one Smets crashs and lost some positions. On this rough track it was easy to crash, and Ramon lost his advantage on Everts when he did a mistake in the fifth lap. Strijbos was till in the lead, but behind him Ramon, Everts and Smets were battling and pushing hard to close the gap; they made the junction with the leader in the seventh lap, and Ramon got the lead. He kept it during seven laps, but in the last minutes Everts took a stronger rhythm and came closer.
The battle was exciting and finally Everts passed the leader in the fifteenth lap; the action was not finished, as Melotte took over Strijbos in one of the last corners for the third position. Despite two crashes Smets finished fifth, followed by Pichon who had a strong race with his damaged shoulder. The second race was not as exciting, as Everts got a prompt lead; Strijbos took another holeshot while his team-mate crashed in the first corner, and Everts was leading the race before the end of the first lap. Melotte and Strijbos shared the second position during a couple of laps but Melotte was stronger and with Pichon fourth the race was over as Ramon (suffering technical problems, he was only ninth after a crash) and Smets (who crashed another time) both retired. Pichon did another strong race, finishing only four seconds behind Strijbos who got the first podium of his young career.
In both MX2 heats Townley led the race since the opening lap, but the motos were not similar for him. In the first one he got a strong opposition from his team-mate Tyla Rattray, who recovered really fast from a mid-pack start. Rattray came back only two seconds behind the leader, but Townley was taking care and won the race. He got the holeshot in the second one and never worried; Rattray was not as strong in this heat, and had to fight with surprising Italian Cairoli for the second position. Finally Rattray and Cairoli finished respectively twice second and third, followed by Patrick Caps (fourth in both races) and Stephen Sword (fifth and sixth) who lost the lead of the serie but will be the favourite of the fans in two weeks at home, for the return of a Grand Prix in England.
Stefan Everts. “I’m in a really good position now in the championship, so I can control the races. At the moment my main contender is Cedric and in the races today I was in front of him so I could really look at him and slowly come to my rhythm. I really did a good pace in the first race, in the second one I had a better start and could control the race, stay focus on the track and choose the best lines. The first race was good, especially for the public as I fight with Joel, then passed Kevin and Steve to win it; the first race was more nice for the fans, but I preferred the second one for my ridding. Yesterday I didn’t really enjoyed the track, but today it became more bumpy and technical."
Ben Townley “I’m really happy to win two races in Holland again, except the first Dutch championship I didn’t lost any race here since the beginning of season. I’m pretty happy to get the points lead now. I didn’t had a so good feeling this week-end, it was not easy to find the good rhythm on this track and it came better in the second race. I found some really good lines, it came rougher and with a better start I was able to make the gap with my rivals.”