The 2017 MXGP of Belgium once again provided a bucket load of great racing, as riders struggled to navigate the treacherous Lommel terrain. Running a completely new layout from previous years, the track still proved an extremely tough test for both man and machine on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny day of racing.
In the MXGP class, all the talk pre-race was about who would be crowned ‘King of the Sand’; Antonio Cairoli or Jeffrey Herlings. Cairoli had won their only previous encounter at the 2012 MXoN, but this time around it would be Herlings’ turn for glory after two epic battles. In both races, the Dutch rider needed to pass his teammate but after some cat-and-mouse encounters, he finally did enough to see off the wily Italian, who can still be satisfied that his MXGP championship lead is at 99pts with just five rounds left. Behind them, fellow Red Bull Factory KTM rider rounded off the podium, in what was his first appearance on the box since Indonesia.
KTM also had a 1-2-3 result in the MX2 class, making it the first time ever that a manufacturer has swept both the MXGP and MX2 podiums. Their successful 250 riders were the Red Bull Factory pairing of Jorge Prado, winning his second GP and Pauls Jonass while privateer KTM rider Julien Lieber come home in third. For Prado it was a great performance, pushing Jonass all the way in moto one, before grabbing the holeshot and checking out in race two. Jonass put in a great ride in the second moto to claim his spot, crashing in the first corner and starting dead last before working his way up into fifth position. It was a championship-winning ride and actually meant he extended his lead at the top to 50pts over Jeremy Seewer who was unable to take advantage, himself only managing to go 3-4.
The riders now head to Switzerland next weekend, where Frauenfeld will play host to the 15th round of the 2017 MXGP World Championships, in what is an extremely busy end-of-season run for everyone.
MXGP Overall: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 44 p. 3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 38 p. 4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 31 p. 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 29 p. 6. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 28 p. 7. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 27 p. 8. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 27 p. 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 26 p.
10. Arnaud Tonus (SUI, YAM), 24 p.