A cloudy and damp circuit in the Parque Metropolitan area of Leon hosted the very first ‘Grand Prix of Leon’ in Mexico and the final round of the FIM Motocross World Championship with Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe closing their international racing campaign with some sturdy top-10 results.
Around 30,000 fans found a spot around the flat and tree-lined layout that featured some big jumps and dirt that formed into hard and tricky ruts and bumps. Glenn Coldenhoff emerged from his final Grand Prix in the MX2 category with seventh overall. The 23 year old Dutchman is bound by the regulations to transfer to the premier MXGP class in 2015 and will do so with his current team and a factory-backed RM-Z450. Jeremy Seewer classified eighth and confirmed 10th position in the championship standings in what has been his first year as a Pro and at the top level of off-road racing.
The location of Leon at 1800m above sea level meant that the MX2 runners were sometimes struggling to clear some of the bigger jumps and obstacles around the layout. Minor modifications and other adjustments were made on Saturday to squeeze every last drop of performance from the RM-Z250s to cope with the conditions.
In the opening moto of 30 minutes and two laps Seewer got the better jump off the line but the youngster made a mistake on the third circulation and lost five positions. He profited from problems to Christophe Charlier and Max Anstie (the latter in particular for the championship rankings) to be able to claim ninth at the finish. Coldenhoff made a bad start and from that point was fighting the odds to reach the top ten; he achieved 12th.
Race two and Coldenhoff benefitted from some re-grouping during the break and a much brighter launch from the gate. He was fourth for over half of the moto and until charging title-contender and eventual champion Jordi Tixier came through. He finished fifth for a best moto result since returning from injury. Seewer nudged into the top-10 and although he hit the ground briefly by sliding out in the closing stages of the moto made another ninth.
The team celebrated three podium finishes (their first since 2010), two moto victories and one pole position while Coldenhoff led the world in both Brazil and Italy earlier this year. The ‘#259’ ended the competition with 13th and after missing most of the season due to a knee injury sustained while practicing before round six. Seewer rested in 10th and with points in every single moto of the 34 motos run in 2014. He also broke into the top-five on two occasions. The Swiss is a leading contender for the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award and will ride the works RM-Z250 next year.
As with the Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP team and Kevin Strijbos, the MX2 faction of the factory set-up cannot down tools just yet. Both Coldenhoff and Seewer were natural choices to represent their countries for the 68th Motocross of Nations at the sandy Kegums circuit in Latvia and the team will head across the European continent after the final round of the ADAC MX Masters Championship in Germany, at Teutschenthal, next weekend.
“The first moto was terrible. I had an awful start and just didn’t ‘feel it’ all moto. I crashed also. It was a hard race. We talked together afterwards and the team really gave me some good support. The second moto was much better and it was a real team effort. We made a change and I was back fighting near the front. It was good to end the season like this and on the MX2 bike. It was pretty crazy in the second race. I saw some of those crashes. Everyone was fighting very hard for the podium. I pushed myself hard to come back for these races so I now I will have an easy week and then start training with the Dutch team for the Nations.”
“I was distracted by somebody on my right in the gate who wanted to go too early and I mistimed my reaction. I had a good fight with guys like Charlier and Guillod and it got pretty aggressive. Charlier block passed me quite hard. To finish ninth after being one of the last regular GP riders at the start wasn't bad. I found it hard to make time and also to pass on this track. The second start was also not great because we are used to starting in second gear but we had to use first here because of the altitude. A lot of guys were crashing around me left and right. Ferrandis went over the bars and it was horrible. My rhythm was good until I made a mistake and lost the rear wheel. To finish ninth again and recover from two crashes meant it was not a disaster today. I’m 10th in the world and ready to make steps and improve. I achieved my goal this year and making points in every moto without any DNFs was also important for me.”
1. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 34:58.342; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:02.607; 3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:04.721; 4. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:14.118; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:14.653; 6. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:15.999; 7. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:25.354; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, Husqvarna), +0:40.218; 9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), +0:51.118; 10. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:57.231; 12. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), +1:21.962;
1. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), 35:32.350; 2. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), +0:06.292; 3. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), +0:07.614; 4. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), +0:08.616; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), +0:09.615; 6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, Kawasaki), +0:10.445; 7. Romain Febvre (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:27.735; 8. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Yamaha), +0:29.789; 9. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), +0:33.058; 10. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +1:05.672;
MX2 Overall result:
1. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 45 points; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 41 p.; 3. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 37 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 36 p.; 5. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 33 p.; 6. Julien Lieber (BEL, KTM), 32 p.; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 25 p.; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 24 p.; 9. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 22 p.; 10. Kei Yamamoto (JPN, HON), 20 p.;
MX2 Final World Championship Standings (after 17 rounds):
1. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KTM), 616 points; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 612 p.; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, HUS), 570 p.; 4. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 533 p.; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 528 p.; 6. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, KAW), 455 p.; 7. Valentin Guillod (SUI, KTM), 449 p.; 8. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, HUS), 397 p.; 9. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), 359 p.; 10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 352 p.; 13. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe), 248 p.;