Our Motocross of Nations teams gave the huge crowd something to cheer for in all the qualifying races at Matterley on Saturday, with the trio from Team GB all well inside the top ten and Ireland making it straight through to the main A final.
Team GB’s Max Anstie was the star performer in the MXGP class, pushing for second place on the last lap until a backmarker wiped him out over a jump. He remounted to finish fourth, behind winner Tim Gajser, Gautier Paulin and Tony Cairoli.
Anstie had the crowd on their feet as he challenged the top men, although HRC ace Gajser was always uncatchable. Irishman Stuart Edmonds took the TM to 19th.
In the MX2 race, Tommy Searle took seventh spot on the Dixon Kawasaki 250 after fading slightly in the moto. He admitted he was uncomfortable on the bike, and is going to make some changes before tomorrow’s race. He did set one of the fastest sector times though, showing he has the speed to run at the front.
The race was won by US champ Zach Osborne who came through from a mediocre start to overtake Hunter Lawrence for the win. Suzuki man Lawrence had what looked like an unsurmountable lead after taking the holeshot. But Osborne was in no mood for second place and caught then passed the Aussie ace. Third was Dutchman Brian Bogers from Jorge Prado. Ulsterman Martin Barr was 14th.
The Open class was a demonstration ride by Jeffrey Herlings who shrugged off the early challenge of Romain Febvre to take the win with Swiss Jeremy Seewer third then Aussie Kirk Gibbs. Briton Dean Wilson was pushing for third place and had the crowd going wild until he was slowed by a backmarker and had to back off over a jump, leaving him fifth.
The overall from the day saw France lead with four points thanks to runner-up spots from Paulin and Febvre, with Holland also on four thanks to Herlings and Bogers. Australia were third on six points, with USA fourth thanks to Osborne’s win and Thomas Covington taking seventh. HRC man Cole Seely was ninth.
Team GB were a strong fifth place on nine points, two better than Switzerland and Belgium.
Team Ireland took 13th thanks to eighth from British champion Graeme Irwin with Barr 14th in MX2 and Edmonds 19th in the MXGP class.