Australia Sneak In to MXoN Finals As Reigning Champs Claim Pole

Author: Aaryn Minerds


Team Australia has advanced to the 2014 Monster Energy MX of Nations final races by the barest of margins after a drama filled qualifying day held at Kegums, Latvia last night.

The first Australian on the line was team leader and Aussie MXoN stalwart Chad Reed in the MXGP class.

When the gate fell for the first race of the weekend getting off to a cracker of a start after nailing the fastest lap in timed practice in the morning was, 350cc rookie, Team Russia‰Ûªs rider Aleksandr Tonkov with Sweden‰Ûªs Filip Bengtsson following him around turn one.

While Bengtsson wasted no time in taking over the lead, Reed was left just outside the top ten during the early stages of lap one, before being punted off track at the end of the lap, eventually crossing the line to end the opening lap down in 24th position.

Bengtsson was absolutely hauling out front as he dominated the first half of the race, Tonkov was doing an impressive job at holding off Team USA‰Ûªs Ryan Dungey who was pushing hard for second.

Meanwhile, Team France‰Ûªs Gautier Paulin started outside of the top five but was quick to get creative and move forward. After using the pin-it up the inside and cut across technique on Team Great Britain‰Ûªs Shaun Simpson for fourth, Paulin started rattling off hot laps until he was hot on the heels of the three-way battle for the lead between Bengtsson, Tonkov and Dungey.

At the half way mark, the early race leader Bengtsson began to crumble and within a matter of moments had gone from first to fourth. Paulin, known to his fans as GP21, was putting his one of a kind technique to good use, timing the waves and keeping the bike low to create an advantage on Dungey and make a pass stick for second.

While the young Russian continued to hold his own against the seasoned pros as he kept Paulin at bay for a further two laps before bobbling and dropping back to fourth, the crouching tiger, Team Belgium‰Ûªs Jeremy Van Horebeek, had quietly snuck up on ‰Û÷The Dunge‰Ûª to challenge for second.

After a lap of applying pressure, the American over jumped a small tabletop slightly and ran too hot into the next turn and off the track, allowing Jerre to take an easy second.

Twenty minutes in and the two-lap board was up. Paulin had taken control and was carrying some serious speed up front while Van Horebeek looked content in second. Dungey started to dig a little deeper with a couple of laps to go, taking a few final stabs at Van Horebeek before being forced to settle for third.

Reed by race end had worked his way up to 14th place but with only the top 19 teams going directly through to the A final, things were sitting in a precarious positioning for Team Australia.
The MX2 race was a battle from the start with Cairoli racing through the pack to take the win
The second gate drop of the day saw Team Estonia‰Ûªs Harri Kullas gun it for the FOX Holeshot but couldn‰Ûªt get the same drive through the waves as Team Switzerland‰Ûªs Jeremy Seewer and dropped back to second right away.

Chasing the youngsters‰Ûª Seewer and Kullas, the former MX2 vice world champion, Team Great Britains Tommy Searle and Peurto Rico‰Ûªs Alex Martin, with Australia's Luke Clout just inside the top ten.

Right off the bat, Team The Netherlands' Glenn Coldenhoff was taking no prisoners, going inside on Searle and running him wide. Coldenhoff‰Ûªs move seem to of caught Searle off guard and as he tried to re-group and get comfortable, Martin and Team France‰Ûªs Dylan Ferrandis went right on by too.

A mistake by American Jeremy Martin would see him slip back in the field and become engaged in a bar banging back and forth battle with Clout, while Italian Antonio Carioli who stepped down to the small bike joined the party. After some more back and forth action, Cairoli made the move past both riders, with Martin also making a small gap on Clout who was left in 9th position and looking comfortable.

Clout then lost the front end of his Yamaha momentarily, dropping the Aussie back to 11th position.

Coming all the way from outside the top ten, Cairoli rode like an animal on the smaller bike, carving through the field rather effortlessly to take the lead with three laps to go.

After some serious bar banging action all race long, Cairoli put on a breath taking performance for the win, carving his way throught he field, with Coldenhoff chasing him home in second.

Meanwhile, there was no rest for Seewer on the final laps with Ferrandis prying hard but not coming up with the goods. With Seewer taking third, Ferrandis took fourth and Searle ended up finding his legs late in the race to round out the top five.

Team USA‰Ûªs qualifying result took a turn for the worse when Martin had a late race crash that all but took him out of the race. Despite the huge get off, Martin was able to re-join the race and finish, though two laps down.

Australia suffered a similar fate, with Clout crashing into the track barriers on the second to last lap, dropping him from 10th all the way back to 27th by the time he was able to re mount his bike and finish the race.

After two races, Australia was languishing well down the order and well out of qualifying contention.
Matt Moss dragged Australia across the line to qualify for Sunday's finals with a gutsy come from behind ride into 12th - Credit: Suzuki Racing
Just when things looked as though they could not get any worse for team Australia and team U.S.A for that matter, a first turn crash for Aussie MX-Open rider Matt Moss and U.S.A's Eli Tomac, in a separate first turn crash, left both riders at the back of the field and their teams qualifying chances looking slim.

It was Team Great Britain‰Ûªs Dean Wilson who got around turn one clean to take the holeshot ahead of Team Belgium‰Ûªs Kevin Strijbos and Team Estonia‰Ûªs Tanel Leok. Before the end of lap one, the Belgian had stolen the lead from Wilson and checked out to win with a comfortable thirteen-second buffer.

Meanwhile Wilson was putting in the work in second, while Leok was keeping him on his toes in third. Impressively, the youngest rider in the class and typically a MX2 bike rider, Team Slovenia‰Ûªs Tim Gajser was looking very at home on the bigger 450 beast in fourth.

At the back of the field Moss put in the charge of his life to work from 24th at the end of lap one all the way up to 11th by the 15 minute mark of the race, while Tomac came from even further back to close onto Moss's rear wheel.

Moss was able to make up another couple of positions before losing a spot to Arnaud Tonus late in the race, eventually finishing in a team best 12th position and doing enough to see Australia qualify through in 17th position.

Tomac worked his way to 8th to give the U.S.A the 8th qualifying spot for Sunday's final.

Out front it was Strijbos riding silky smooth to take a victory for the defending champions Team Belgium and in the process giving his team the number one gate selection for the finals.

Wilson narrowly held on for second with Gajser putting in an amazing ride in third to help Great Britain qualify into third spot just ahead of team France with Steven Frossard finishing the MX-Open race in 5th just behind Leok.

Qualifying Results
1. Belgium - 3 Pts
2. France - 5 Pts
3. Great Britain - 7 Pts
4. The Netherlands - 9 Pts
5. Italy - 10 Pts
6. Estonia - 10 Pts
7. Germany - 10 Pts
8. USA - 11 Pts
9. Switzerland - 13 Pts
10. Russia - 18 Pts
11. Slovenia - 19 Pts
12. Latvia - 21 Pts
13. Sweden - 22 Pts
14. Canada - 23 Pts
15. Denmark - 24 Pts
16. Portugal - 25 Pts
17. Australia - 26 Pts
18. Puerto Rico - 26 Pts
19. Finland - 29 Pts

B Final (Winner Through To Finals)
20. Ireland - 29 Pts
21. Czech Republi - 33 Pts
22. Lithuania - 35 Pts
23. Poland - 35 Pts
24. Spain - 36 Pts
25. New Zealand - 42 Pts
26. Japan - 43 Pts
27. Brazil - 49 Pts
28. Greece - 52 Pts
29. Ukraine - 53 Pts
30. Hungary - 53 Pts
31. Croatia - 54 Pts
32. Slovakia - 55 Pts
1. Gautier Paulin - FRA
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek - BEL
3. Ryan Dungey - USA
4. Max Nagl - GER
5. Shaun Simpson - GBR
6. Rui Goncalves - POR
7. Aleksandr Tonkov - RUS
8. Matiss Karro - LAT
9. Filip Bengtsson - SWE
10. Davide Guarneri - ITA
11. Valentin Guillod - SUI
12. Gert Krestinov - EST
13. Colton Facciotti - CAN
14. Chad Reed - AUS
15. Kromhof Klein - NED
16. Klemen Gercar - SLO
17. Jose Butron - ESP
18. Lukasz Lonka - POL
19. Ben Lamay - PUR
20. Kim Sorensen - DEN
21. Hamish Dobbyn - NZL

1. Antonio Cairoli - ITA
2. Glenn Coldenhoff - NED
3. Jeremy Seewer - SUI
4. Dylan Ferrandis - FRA
5. Tommy Searle - GBR
6. Harri Kullas - EST
7. Alex Martin - PUR
8. Olsen Kjer - DEN
9. Martin Barr - IRL
10. Kaven Benoit - CAN
11. Vsevolod Brylyakov - RUS
12. Arminas Jasikonis - LTU
13. Ken Bengtsson - SWE
14. Henry Jacobi - GER
15. Ludvig Șderberg - FIN
16. Pauls Jonass - LAT
17. Tomaz Wysocki - POL
18. Jernej Irt - SLO
19. Jorge Zaragoza - ESP
20. Paulo Alberto - POR
21. Hamish Harwood - NZL
27. Luke Clout - AUS

1. Kevin Strijbos - BEL
2. Dean Wilson - GBR
3. Tim Gajser - SLO
4. Tanel Leok - EST
5. Steven Frossard - FRA
6. Dennis Ullrich - GER
7. Marc de Reuver - NED
8. Eli Tomac - USA
9. David Philippaerts - ITA
10. Arnaud Tonus - SUI
11. Martin Michek - CZE
12. Matt Moss - AUS
13. Justs Justs - LAT
14. Santtu Tiainen - FIN
15. Tyler Medaglia - CAN
16. Stefan Kjer Olsen - DEN
17. Evgeniy Mikhailov - RUS
18. Fredrik Noren - SWE
19. Hugo Basaula - POR
20. Stuart Edmonds - IRL
23. Scott Columb - NZL

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