45,000 fans made plenty of noise around the tree-lined inclines of Villars sous Ecot in western France
for the second atmospheric Grand Prix in a row for the FIM Motocross World Championship, and Monster Energy Dixon Racing Team Kawasaki’s Max Anstie salvaged fifth place in the second moto from a testing weekend.
Hard-pack and hills combined with a tight layout and a short lap; Villars was a very different challenge to Matterley Basin the previous week and with some ill-advised watering before the start of the MX2 motos created a difficult racing surface.
The team headed to western France with Anstie the sole representative and endured a few unexpected and unusual technical problems on Saturday that meant the Brit entered the gate down in 36th position for the motos on Sunday. Max was wary of the conditions in the first moto and was unable to make gains on the opening laps. At one stage he was a low down as twentieth before finding some speed and passing opportunities to rise to eleventh by the chequered flag.
Anstie was more lively and reactive at the start of the second moto: a period in which the French soil was at its roughest and most technical for the MX2 brigade. ‘99’ found a top ten slot and began cutting ground to Jeremy Seewer, actually passing the Swiss to breach the top five and bag sixteen points and sit ninth overall for the Grand Prix.
Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki will make the short trip up through France and across the Channel back to their UK base this week. There are only a few days before the rig has to push up to Shropshire and to Hawkstone Park for the fourth round of the Maxxis British Championship.
Qualifying – 36th
MX2 Race 1 – 11th
MX2 Race 2 – 5th
MX2 Overall – 9th
Max Anstie : “From that gate position it makes it difficult to be consistent on the starts. I did make it happen in the second one and barged my way around there. I was a bit lucky on the first lap because there were some really big crashes. They had watered the track and it was so slippery on the first lap. Everyone was still trying to do the jumps and were hitting each other in the air; it wasn’t so nice! It was nice to have a solid ride in the second one. We were struggling all weekend because I didn’t get the lap-time I wanted in practice. I was on the back foot but we have been in that situation before and I feel like I have learnt a lot. Today didn’t go my way but I think we are still in a good position and we’ll go to Hawkstone next weekend and then to Italy.”
Steve Dixon, Team Principal : “The weekend was so-so on Saturday; we had a technical problem. On Sunday Max turned it around. He was a little bit timid in the first race. The track can ‘bite’ and I think he just wanted to get around safely. In the second one – after watching the MXGP guys and some video he put it together. It is nice to come away with a good second race that he fought hard for and made some good passes. It was nice to see him battling all the way. We still have another twenty motos left and will push for more championship positions.”