The second round of the FIM Motocross World Championship at Matterley Basin in the Winchester district of Great Britain produced some close and intense racing as Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Jeremy Seewer, Glenn Coldenhoff and Ben Watson raced to top-10 finishes. Only 1-point split Seewer and Coldenhoff in the Grand Prix classification. The duo were seventh and eighth respectively. Watson was ninth.
Qualifying through lap times often does not suit riders that are ‘pure-bred racers’ – this meaning that they thrive on the pressure of racing and can often push harder when championship points are what they are riding for as opposed to doing a single fast-lap at a speed and level of intensity that cannot be sustained for a 30 minute plus 2-lap race duration. All three MXGP riders prefer racing as opposed to a single fast lap. Seewer ended the Qualifying Practice session as the best-placed Yamaha rider in eighth, 1-second quicker than Coldenhoff in 14th and Watson in 22nd.
Matterley Basin this year was a lot firmer and slicker than in previous years. The hardpacked, rough and bumpy base didn’t develop the deep ruts it usually does, which meant the speed of the venue was high and the riders felt the track lacked technical demand. Regardless, Coldenhoff and Seewer shined as they powered their YZ450FMs to the front of the field in the opening race of the day.
Seewer took the holeshot but was quickly shuffled back to sixth after a frantic first lap. One of the riders that passed the Swiss rider was his teammate Coldenhoff who forced his way up into third to challenge the early race leaders Antonio Cairoli and Jorge Prado.
As the dark clouds crept in, Coldenhoff lost positions to Jeffrey Herlings and the reigning World Champion Tim Gajser but managed to hold on to fifth, while Seewer was relegated to eighth at the flag.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, 4000 spectators were permitted to attend the British Grand Prix this year. Thriving on the energy propelling from his home crowd, Watson managed to finish on the cusp of the top-10 in 11th.
Rainfall made for a challenging end to the weekend, with rain on the goggle lenses affecting the riders’ vision. In combination with the sheer speed of the Matterley Basin circuit and lack of ruts, the racing was incredibly intense. Seewer made some positive changes to his YZ450FM ahead of Race 2 and pushed hard for a top-five finish, while Coldenhoff had to bounce back from a small crash to finish ninth.
Watson battled back from a mid-pack start to claim his first top-10 finish of 2021.
Seewer is now sixth position in the MXGP Championship Standings, while Coldenhoff has moved up into 10th. Watson also made a significant improvement on his place in the championship and is now 15th.
The next round of the FIM Motocross World Championship will take place next weekend in Maggiora, Italy, on July 4th.
7th MXGP of Great Britain, 29-points
6th MXGP World Championship Standings, 60-points
“The weekend was solid. We were really lucky with the weather! We managed to get two dry motos even though we expected a lot of rain. The racing was not as good as usual because normally, this track is so technical and fun, but today it was pretty much road-racing. I do understand why it was like this because the track crew was waiting for the rain. For the racing side, I am happy, I battled for the holeshot but struggled to find my rhythm. We also need time on the GP tracks now to find the set-up, but I am happy I could make a huge change between races ahead of the second moto. I had a solid race with no crashes and no mistakes to put some good points in the bag. We are moving in a good direction. We will get there step-by-step.”
8th MXGP of Great Britain, 28-points
10th MXGP World Championship Standings, 42-points
“The day was alright. I struggled a little bit in Timed Practice for 14th gate-pick, which is okay here. My feeling was good, which is always the most important. I had a really good start in the first moto and on the first lap, I managed to go to third place. I felt confident, but I had a little surprise from Jeffrey (Herlings), who came up the inside. A mistake on one corner can make it difficult to regain the speed for the next few turns, so (Tim) Gajser got me too. I finished fifth, which was my first solid result of this season. After the second moto, my feeling was good, but I made a small crash which cost me some places. I finished ninth for eighth overall, which is not where we want to be, but still an improvement on Russia and from here, we will keep building.”
9th MXGP of Great Britain, 21-points
15th MXGP World Championship Standings, 22-points
“I had a mixed day. I struggled in qualifying, but I know this is not my forte. It is something I need to work on big time because it’s affecting my gate position which therefore affects my starts and nowadays the start is absolutely everything. I was happy with my races, though. I got some mediocre starts, but I came through the field and kept plugging away. I was consistent and didn’t make many mistakes. My speed is there and I was consistent, and ninth overall is a solid day.”