Red Bull KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings came into the Lommel MXGP weekend focused on winning on the sand and as race one started he found himself second on the first lap sandwiched between his teammates, Glen Coldenhoff, and Antonio Cairoli.
Coldenhoff led the his fellow countryman while Cairoli gave chase to the two dutch riders. Coldenhoff managed to hold his own against the man know as the sand master, Herlings, for the first laps. It was on lap 6 that Herlings found his way by and looked to check out from Cairoli and the rest.
While Herlings led, Coldenhoff responded to the charges of Cairoli well for the next 5 laps at which point Cairoli went by. The battle for the position wasn’t over though and thanks to a mistake from Cairoli, Coldenhoff slid back by for another lap before Cairoli reclaimed the spot and took second and 27 seconds behind Herlings.
As Coldenhoff took third it looked as if Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Romain Febvre would take fourth but the french rider fell on the last lap which gave his teammate Jeremy Van Horebeek the position. Finishing out the race 1 top 5 was Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl.
Race two started with another FOX Holeshot from Cairoli but Herlings was second across the chalk and he went to work quickly making a pass on the Italian before even reaching the green flag. From there the two newly found rivals went all out in a brilliant race.
Behind the battle for the lead and ultimately the race win was 2nd in the MXGP championship Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing’s Clement Desalle. The Belgian soon made a mistake which opened the door for Team Suzuki World MXGP’s Arminas Jasikonis and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Anstie.
Desalle picked himself up behind Anstie but then Jasikonis crashed out of the race moving Anstie to third and Desalle to 4th ahead of Coldenhoff. Confidence from his race 1 podium pushed Coldenhoff to pass Desalle for the position and two more overall points.
Back at the front Herlings and Cairoli were having the battle that fans had been dreaming of. Cairoli showed aggression in a pass for the lead pushing the #84 out wide. Half a lap later Herlings dove to the inside of Cairoli but it was answered immediately by the Sicilian. Banging bars for several laps Herlings again passed Cairoli in the same corner but this time brake checked the #222 machine. Herlings antics provided him with the lead as he sprinted away from Cairoli.
Cairoli backed off from his charge and settled for second in the race and overall dropping his pace the final laps. Cairoli in the press conference: “I’m really happy for sure, fighting against Jeffrey, he is one of the fastest in the world in this kind of soil, and we had good racing, also with Glenn in the first race he was very fast so it was fun.”
Herlings not only took double race wins and the overall but he leapt past Desalle for second in the championship chase. “I had a really good weekend, I won yesterday, won both motos today, and I had a pretty good start last race, I’m happy with that. It was clean racing and I enjoyed it, I’m happy a got the better of Cairoli this weekend,” said Herlings.