ALL JOY FOR HERLINGS AND SACHA COENEN AS THEY DOMINATE IN LATVIA

KEGUMS (Latvia) 9 June 2024 – The battle turned brutal near the Baltic this weekend for the MXGP of Latvia, held once again at the Zelta Zirgs Motocenter near Kegums, and the sandy circuit served up a tough challenge which resulted in some nail-biting racing!

An opening ceremony welcomed the public and teams to the event before MX2 Race 1, with speeches from Infront Moto Racing CEO David Luongo, FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela plus Latvia Motorcycle Federation President Mārtiņš Lazdovskis, Ogre Region Deputy Chairman Gints Sivins and MXGP of Latvia Organizer Kristers Serģis. Following the speeches, the Latvian National Anthem was sung by a young Latvian on the podium to kick-off the Grand Prix from the best of manners.

Another important and emotional moment was the one-minute of silence observed before MXGP Race 1, in memory of Former FIM-Europe President and FIM Motocross Commission President Dr Wolfgang SRB, who sadly passed away in the week leading up to the race.

The day started dry, but once more the rain came for the Championships as a deluge hit the area at the end of MX2 race one, making the circuit very wet for the start of MXGP race one!  However, due to some amazing work from the track crews, the venue was in near perfect condition for the second races of both classes.

In MXGP, it was at last the time for five-time World Champion Jeffrey Herlings to break the twelve-month-and-five-day drought since his last Grand Prix victory for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, which was at this very same circuit last year. A stirring win in race one’s soggy conditions and a charging third in race two gave “The Bullet” his 104th Grand Prix win, extending his record total and collecting his 197th individual race win in the process.

For the fifth straight Grand Prix, the red plate in MXGP changes hands after the results from Latvia, as Jorge Prado’s second race win for Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing couldn’t prevent Team HRC’s Tim Gajser from moving four points ahead after solid second places in both of the very different MXGP races.

Just before his senior teammate added to his record tally, the one rider on the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team that had yet to even reach a podium, 17-year-old Belgian Sacha Coenen, broke his series by not only taking his first top three finish in race one, but also his first race win and the overall Grand Prix honours in a brilliant display of controlled riding.  With his twin brother Lucas Coenen taking second overall, it was the first time in 27 years that a pair of brothers had finished 1st and 2nd in a Motocross Grand Prix, dating back to Darryl and Shayne King at the French 500cc Grand Prix in 1997!


RAM Qualifying Race winner Tim Gajser took to the starting line first as the rain poured down, and all of the leading contenders knew the start would be more vital than ever with the amount of water on the circuit, and just one point separating the Championship leaders!

The Fox Holeshot Award was fiercely contested, just taken by Prado for the tenth time this season, but Herlings had started with him and was on the case immediately! Making an aggressive pass around the corner after the finish line, he wrestled the early lead from the defending Champion! Gajser had been beaten into third by Glenn Coldenhoff of Fantic Factory Racing, but the Slovenian didn’t wait around, and knowing that Prado has only had issues this year in wet weather, he fired back into third and instantly attacked the Spaniard to take second place!

Brian Bogers also moved up past his teammate Coldenhoff into third by the end of the first full lap, and actually started to pressure Prado.  It paid off, as on lap three the GASGAS man again had problems in the rain and slid to the floor on the face of a jump! He dropped to eighth position behind the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP machine of Calvin Vlaanderen.

Coldenhoff got back past Bogers for good on lap five for third spot, and the two Fantic men stayed there until the chequered flag. Despite a few mistakes by Herlings, Gajser couldn’t get near The Bullet, who took his third race win of the season and hacked a few points off of his deficit to the leaders.

With  a lap 11 fall for Schmicker Racing KTM’s Cornelius Toendel, Prado managed to get into seventh ahead of the Norwegian, nearly gaining a further position when Vlaanderen fell with two laps to go!  However, as Kevin Horgmo held on to a season-best fifth for Team Ship to Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR, the Champ had to console himself with 14 points, meaning that Gajser led the Championship again heading into race two!

The holeshot once more went the way of the #1 plate holder, but again Herlings was right with him, until Gajser dived up the inside of the Dutchman into the second corner! Desperate to prevent Prado from escaping at the front, the Slovenian gave chase and Herlings was unable to match the pace of the leading two in the first ten minutes.

Again the Factory Fantics packed out the top five, especially as Vlaanderen dropped the bike in a tight left-hand corner and eventually came home in seventh.  He will have to console himself with climbing to fifth in the Championship ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jeremy Seewer and the unfortunately absent Pauls Jonass.  Seewer was to take sixth in race two after a crash-affected fourteenth in race one.  Coldenhoff held on to fourth, and Bogers fifth, which was also their final positions for the overall GP.

The gaps between the leading three riders got tantalisingly close on occasions, but Herlings got the closest to making a move as he caught Gajser with four laps to go, but again the Slovenian turned the screw.  Ultimately, Prado held on to win by 1.6 seconds from Gajser, with Herlings just another 1.7 seconds further back.

It was enough for Herlings to register Grand Prix win number 104, and move to within 68 points of the series leader, which is now Gajser by just four points from Prado!  They head to Maggiora, where Prado will have sweet memories of becoming Champion last year, and his competition will most likely be praying for rain again!

 

Jeffrey Herlings: “I’m definitely super happy. Yesterday I drove to my hotel and I thought.. what am I doing, I need to do more! But today I came back to show that I can still do it you know. So, already a podium was good but to get the win is really really amazing! I did two good starts too, with the first race where I was the fastest, second race I couldn’t get the pace to overtake them (Prado and Gajser) but I kept them within my sight and in the end close them down but couldn’t pass as they were very fast too. I’m very happy with the win and looking forward to the next one”

Tim Gajser: “I’m very happy and it’s nice to have the red plate back! Also with both races, the speed was there but maybe my starts were not the best. I would definitely wish to start like yesterday in Quali race with a FOX Holeshot because it wasn’t easy after that. Second race I was a bit in between, pushing for Jorge and got some pressure from Jeffrey. I was searching for the lines but couldn’t open the door for Jeffrey so it was a good race in the end and very happy. Huge thank you to all the team because they work very hard and everybody around me. I’m already looking forward to the next one!”

Jorge Prado: “It was a pity because today I was feeling super good on the bike but just could’t make the pass on Tim (Gajser) in Ram Quali Race. Today in the first race, I actually got a good start and I was feeling very good behind Tim and then I got in the face of the jump and went off the line and yeah..crashed so not the best to finish 7th. In second race, in dryer conditions I took the FOX Holeshot and lead until the end. I’m happy with riding, and hopefully we can get that red plate back as soon as possible! ”

 

     

Main Photo: Jeffrey Herlings

Top Photo: Minute of silence in memory of Wolfgang SRB with Infront Moto Racing CEO David Luongo and FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela

Bottom Photos: 1. Tim Gajser; 2. Jorge Prado

 

MXGP - Grand Prix Race 1 - Top 10 Classification:  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 36:13.461; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:14.806; 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +0:23.809; 4. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +0:28.396; 5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Honda), +0:33.427; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:50.478; 7. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:56.234; 8. Cornelius Toendel (NOR, KTM), +1:01.587; 9. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, Yamaha), +1:15.559; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +1:30.619

MXGP - Grand Prix Race 2 - Top 10 Classification :  1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 35:31.669; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:01.665; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:03.403; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Fantic), +0:51.510; 5. Brian Bogers (NED, Fantic), +0:53.356; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:55.082; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:57.615; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +1:28.335; 9. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +1:28.814; 10. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, Honda), +1:29.866;

MXGP Overall - Top 10 Classification:  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 44 p.; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 39 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 38 p.; 5. Brian Bogers (NED, FAN), 34 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 27 p.; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 24 p.; 9. Cornelius Toendel (NOR, KTM), 23 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 22 p

MXGP - World Championship - Top 10 Classification: 1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 454 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 450 p.; 3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 386 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 327 p.; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 299 p.; 6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, KAW), 289 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, FAN), 277 p.; 8. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 274 p.; 9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, HON), 188 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 175 p

MXGP - Manufacturers Classification: 1. Honda, 471 points; 2. GASGAS, 450 p.; 3. KTM, 398 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 389 p.; 5. Yamaha, 337 p.; 6. Fantic, 287 p.; 7. Beta, 130 p.; 8. Husqvarna, 108 p.

 


The MX2 class continues to deliver incredible racing that is far more unpredictable than the points table would have you believe.  Although it seemed inevitable that the winner’s trophy would leave Latvia in the Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing transporter, as series leader Kay de Wolf and second-placed Lucas Coenen looked to be the fastest two throughout Saturday, it was Sacha Coenen who again rocketed into the lead of race one!

Nothing new about that, we all thought, and as De Wolf burst into second on the opening lap, and Lucas Coenen got past Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Simon Laengenfelder for third, it looked likely to be a Husky 1-2 very soon.  However, it took six laps of De Wolf trying to break Sacha Coenen’s advantage before something gave way, and that something was De Wolf’s patience as he lunged for a line that Sacha was already heading towards, sending the Dutchman briefly off the circuit in a wild ride that he somehow survived to bring back on track!

Temporarily back to third, De Wolf took just a lap to recover enough to pass Lucas for second, then within two more corners he was alongside Sacha and into the lead! Lucas followed through almost instantly, and that was finally the order we expected. De Wolf simply had too much pace for the Belgian, and took the race win, his first on a Sunday since back in round four, by 2.8 seconds at the flag.  Sacha kept his solid third position, his best to date in MX2, 15 seconds clear of Laengenfelder in fourth, with Sacha’s teammate Liam Everts in fifth and WZ Racing rising star Oriol Oliver with his own career best in sixth!

Race two started in the same vein, with De Wolf tucking up the inside to claim his second Fox Holeshot Award of the year, with Sacha Coenen right behind him, followed by Lucas.  Just coming to the end of the first full lap, De Wolf lost control and hit the ground, gifting the lead to Sacha, and then dropped it again after only a few more corners!  Halfway around the second lap, it was Lucas’ turn to hit the deck!  Suddenly, Quentin Prugnieres was second for F & H Racing, with Laengenfelder third and Everts in fourth.  However, it was soon Everts who also hit the ground, after which he would recover to finish in fourth to claim fifth overall. Liam’s teammate Andrea Adamo suffered a desperate 13-8 scoreline, and can only look forward to his home GP next week to start the recovery of his title defence.

Lucas recovered to get back to third on lap five, then Prugnieres crashed out of fourth on lap eight, ultimately finishing in twelfth.  Rick Elzinga brought the lone Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 bike up into a solid fifth from a start outside of the top ten!  De Wolf, meanwhile, suffered a further crash and could only claim ninth at the flag, while Mikkel Haarup also bailed out from his Monster Energy Triumph Racing machine to finish sixth ahead of Oliver. 

Lucas Coenen also crashed again, but kept hold of third behind Laengenfelder, the German’s best result since before his Portuguese injury.  All eyes were on Sacha Coenen, however, who finally held it all together to bring home a dream first Grand Prix victory, despite a real moment over the final jump before the finish line, on the final lap!  He revved his KTM in exultation and was swiftly joined by his brother as they made it a historic 1-2 overall, with Laengenfelder in third overall.  It was a stunning weekend from Sacha, and well deserved after the heartbreaking races he has suffered this year!  It brings him up to eighth in the Championship standings as well.

De Wolf’s Championship lead shrunk a little to 55 points over his teammate, with Laengenfelder holding fast in third just another seven further back.  He will welcome the return to hard pack at Maggiora next weekend, and MXGP fans will hold their breath at the prospect of more amazing action to come around the mythical slopes of magical Maggiora!  The fight is still on!

 

Sacha Coenen: “I was feeling good out there and after the first race I wasmt the happiest but I had good speed and felt good on the track. I knew I could do it. The second race Kay (de Wolf) crashed and I took the lead and managed to bring it home. I was so happy on the finish line to get this first win. It’s such a nice feeling!”

Lucas Coenen: “I’m super pumped for my brother! All of this hard moment and now he finally gets the win which is super cool for him. Regarding myself, we need to work more and on everything as I struggled a bit all weekend and then we will see how it is going in the next GP”

Simon Laengenfelder.: “I wasn’t happy with my riding in the first race but we made some changes and I felt much better in the second one. So I take some notes and go for the next one! Also the mistake I made in the end of the second race was because I tried to give it all but congrats to Sacha (Coenen) for his GP win!”

 

     

Main Photo: Sacha Coenen

Bottom Photos: 1. Lucas Coenen; 2. Simon Laengenfelder

 

MX2 - Grand Prix Race 1 - Top 10 Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), 35:07.196; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:02.853; 3. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), +0:20.027; 4. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:35.495; 5. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:47.451; 6. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +1:04.675; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +1:11.179; 8. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +1:21.322; 9. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:22.884; 10. Julius Mikula (CZE, KTM), +1:30.275

MX2 - Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification :  1. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 34:26.176; 2. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GASGAS), +0:15.755; 3. Lucas Coenen (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:25.504; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:26.304; 5. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:27.044; 6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, Triumph), +0:35.945; 7. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +0:37.074; 8. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), +0:50.356; 9. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +1:09.782; 10. Jens Walvoort (NED, KTM), +1:11.423

MX2 Overall – Top 10 Classification:  1. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 45 points; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 42 p.; 3. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 40 p.; 4. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 37 p.; 5. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 34 p.; 6. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 29 p.; 7. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 29 p.; 8. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 29 p.; 9. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 21 p.; 10. Jens Walvoort (NED, KTM), 21 p

MX2 - World Championship Classification: 1. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 443 points; 2. Lucas Coenen (BEL, HUS), 388 p.; 3. Simon Laengenfelder (GER, GAS), 381 p.; 4. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 341 p.; 5. Andrea Adamo (ITA, KTM), 327 p.; 6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, TRI), 287 p.; 7. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 278 p.; 8. Sacha Coenen (BEL, KTM), 228 p.; 9. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 226 p.; 10. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, KAW), 174 p

MX2 - Manufacturers Classification: 1. Husqvarna, 487 points; 2. KTM, 439 p.; 3. GASGAS, 388 p.; 4. Yamaha, 336 p.; 5. Triumph, 312 p.; 6. Kawasaki, 198 p.; 7. Honda, 176 p.; 8. Fantic, 128 p.; 9. TM, 30 p.

 

 

WATCH MXGP/MX2 RACES HIGHLIGHTS HERE 

 

MXGP OF LATVIA QUICK FACTS:

Crow Attendance: 21,000

Circuit length: 1800m

Type of ground: Sand

Temperature: 18°

Weather conditions: Cloudy

 

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