An agonising day for Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team Kawasaki’s Max Anstie at the Grand Prix of Europe at Valkenswaard in the Netherlands for the fifth round of eighteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship. The 22 year old rode to a promising second position in the opening MX2 moto but had his chances of a maiden trophy this season wrecked by a mechanical problem that forced ‘99’ back to the pits.
Heading into the sand for the first time since claiming his first Grand Prix victory at Lommel in Belgium last August Anstie was in a confident mood after posting his best overall finish of the season the previous weekend in Trentino, Italy.
On Saturday his options in the Qualification Heat were restricted by a mediocre start and Anstie ran to fifth position. It was a decent enough gate pick for the brace of thirty minute and two lap motos on Sunday. The rain and dark skies had dissipated to be replaced by the occasional sunny spell for raceday as 32,600 spectators filled the largely flat – but demanding and rough – sandy venue south of Eindhoven.
In the first race Anstie launched off the line strongly and set about moving to the rear wheel of world champion Jordi Tixier in second place. The Cosworth-powered KX250F motor was a useful foil for the fast lines and Max went about building a fifteen second lead over his brand-mate. 22 points in the bag Anstie then couldn’t get away so effectively in the second race. He was hunting a way into the top ten when he encountered an engine problem on lap four of seventeen. It was his second non-score in the eight motos he has contested in 2015.
Some valuable points in two Grands Prix over the last seven days means that Anstie holds eleventh position in the MX2 standings and with the sixth and seventh stops on the calendar set for Talavera de la Reina in Spain and the squad’s home fixture at Matterley Basin near Winchester ahead in the coming weeks. Round three of the Maxxis British Championship waits in store this coming weekend at the Swanley venue of Canada Heights. Anstie swept the second meeting of the year at Lyng in Norfolk.
Qualifying – 5th
MX2 Race 1 – 2nd
MX2 Race 2 – DNF
MX2 Overall – 10th
Max Anstie: “We had a solid day yesterday and we were building very well. The first race was brilliant. We kept plugging away and I just raced my laps. I feel that we have a very good set-up with the bike. We were unfortunate in the second one and we still don’t know what went wrong. Canada Heights next and then Spain so a few on the trot and we need to start being consistent. I know that the guys in the team are putting in 100%.”
Steve Dixon, Team Manager: “We have been close to the podium each race this year and it’s always been something stopping us, whether it’s a start gate or a crash and this time – unfortunately – it is a technical issue. It is our first real sand race at GP level with the bike so we are finding new steps. I don’t think it is anything major so we will learn and build from this.”