Fast Britons Ben Watson and Shaun Simpson are aiming to take to the podium as the world championship hits Holland this weekend. Watson may have missed out on the podium at the opening Argentina MX2 GP but is keen to go one better as the series reaches the sand of Holland this weekend – one of Watson’s favourite tracks. The Yamaha ace, who grew up riding sand tracks near his Nottinghamshire home, is a master of the soft stuff.
“I really like Valkenswaard, it is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar,” he said. “I feel confident for this weekend. Before the event in Argentina, if anyone would have said I would finish fourth, I probably wouldn’t have believed them, so it’s given me a confidence boost knowing I was only 1-point off the podium. I am over the moon with how the first round went, and really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
In the MXGP class, Shaun Simpson is one name that resounds in the minds of those that admire riders with serious skill in the sand. The Brit, who turned 30 years old on Tuesday, has won two Grands Prix on Dutch soil inside the MXGP class. He will be looking to add some solid points to the 24 his gained in Argentina, and improve on his 7th place finish.
As for his Swiss teammate, Jeremy Seewer will be bouncing back from a hard fall in Race 2 two weeks ago. Fortunately, the 23-year-old was shaken, but unharmed and will be back on the gate and ready to build on his experience inside the premier class this weekend.
Fellow Yamaha riders Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre, are also aiming to take on the mighty KTM team of Jeffrey Herlings and Shaun Simpson in the Dutch sand.
Van Horebeek is currently 4th in the MXGP Championship Standings tied on 34 points with his Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Teammate Romain Febvre.
“I’ve been on the podium in Valkenswaard last year, so I feel like it’s a track that suits me well,” said Van Horebeek. “It will depend on the weather, it’s forecast to be frozen and that will affect the track. But it doesn’t matter too much. It’s the same for everyone and I will just enjoy every race this year because I know I have worked hard for it. Anything is possible.”
Febvre, who has spent the best part of five years based in Belgium, has proven his ability to navigate his way around a choppy sand track on a number of occasions. He stood on the second step of the podium at the MX2 Grand Prix of The Netherlands in Valkenswaard back in 2014, and then went on to win the MXGP of Europe at the same track inside the premier class in 2016.
“I like the track in Valkenswaard. I hope it won’t be too cold, but they are saying it’s supposed to snow, so hopefully they prepare the track really well and that the weather is not too bad. Then it should be okay. I like to ride in the sand, and I am really looking forward to it,” he said.