Team Holland of Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff and Calvin Vlaanderen lead the Nations Qualifying at a wet Red Bud and it’s good news for Team GB and Team Ireland as both are through directly to the main event. Team USA and Team Belgium scraped in after both looked set to go to the B final after the first two motos. The motos were won by Italian Tony Cairoli in the MXGP class, Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis in MX2 and Glenn Coldenhoff in the open. Holland had the best score and therefore get first gate pick from Italy, France, Germany, Australia and Spain with GB seventh. Ireland were 19th – the last team automatically in.
Briton Tommy Searle took a fine fifth place as fellow Kawasaki riders Eli Tomac and Clement Desalle went out with bike issues in the opening MXGP qualification race at Red Bud. Searle had held off Tomac for most of the race until the American champ’s bike ground to a halt. Desalle, who went down in turn one and crashed hard later, was holding a top ten place when his bike stopped in the sticky conditions.
It was Tony Cairoli that took the holeshot and pulled a huge lead over Honda’s Ken Roczen, Jeffrey Herlings and Gautier Paulin in the MXGP qualifying race. Cairoli, who didn’t race last weekend at Imola after a crash in qualifying, admitted he wasn’t in top form and was taking pain killers – but he loved the technical track.
Star of the race was world champ Herlings who went down in turn one, made a pit stop, but came back through the pack to third. But he Herlings finished looking at his left hand, so he may have hurt it in the spill.
Irishman Gary Gibson took a fine 14th place while Kevin Windham was 21st for team Puerto Rico.
In the second moto for MX2 bikes, it looked like Team USA and Belgium could be headed to the B final after crashes ruined their chances. Both Nations sat lower than 20th after the second moto as Aaron Plessinger crashed out of the lead, and finished 11th. He was unhurt and his 11th was a crucial result for the home nation. Belgian Jago Geerts also went down and retired – as fellow countryman Desalle had in the opener.
Dylan Ferrandis, who was chasing Plessinger when he fell, took the win despite attacks from Honda’s Hunter Lawrence. Henri Jacobi, who took the holeshot and led, held on for third as Briton Ben Watson took a fine seventh. Martin Barr was 15th, one place behind Puerto Rico’s Ryan Sipes.
In the final race for Open class bikes, Holland topped Nations qualifying as Glenn Coldenhoff took the win from Justin Barcia who helped the USA to qualify. Belgium also scraped through as Jeremy Van Horebeek was third.
Briton Max Anstie went down in turn one, stopped for goggles, ran off the track but still finished ninth to take Team GB through in seventh spot. Richard Bird took 23rd for Ireland, to help them to 19th and the last place directly through to the main event.
Travis Pastrana was 12th but pitted for goggles then fell, so team Puerto Rico must contest the B Final.