Jeffrey Herlings leads a KTM podium sweep at 2016 Red Bull Knock Out
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing‰Ûªs Jeffrey Herlings delivered a superb master class in sand racing on the Dutch beach of Scheveningen (The Hague) in the Netherlands on Saturday to be the clear winner of the 2016 Red Bull Knock Out.
The popular Dutch rider led home a three-way victory for KTM factory riders with Nathan Watson (GBR) finishing second and Glenn Coldenhoff (NED) in third place.
The KTM riders finished the grueling 20-lap beach race that this year featured a series of challenging obstacles in just under two hours and were the only three of the field to be in the winning lap. Fourth place went to veteran racer Steve Ramon of Belgium and Axel Van de Sande, winner of the last edition, completed the top five.
Glenn Coldenhoff & Jeffrey Herlings KTM 450 SX-F Start Red Bull Knock Out 2016. Credit: Jarno Schurgers
Jeffrey Herlings the 2016 MX2 world champion won on his KTM 450 SX-F by an impressive 2.29.889 minute margin with Nathan Watson, from the KTM Enduro Factory Racing Team having a spirited battle with Glenn Coldenhoff (factory MXGP rider) in the final stages of the race.
"I‰Ûªm super pleased with the race," Herlings beamed, "We all came here with a big question mark because we don‰Ûªt have much experience bike-wise and as riders with beach races, and we did very well. I won the heat by two minutes and the final by two minutes plus. We did a great job and I‰Ûªm very happy for the team. We put it all together and we dominated. This kind of race is nothing like motocross. It‰Ûªs something different and I‰Ûªm very happy how it all worked out.‰Û
Nathan Watson, Jeffrey Herlings & Glenn Coldenhoff Podium Red Bull Knock Out 2016. Credit. Marcel van Hoorn
Nathan Watson repeated his feat last year where he was also a runner-up.
‰ÛÏI love the beach races. I did this one last year and I was second. I just missed out on the win so I really wanted to come here again and do well," Watson said. "Then I heard Jeffrey and Glenn were riding and I know it would be pretty difficult.
"The race went very well I was fighting with Glenn and ended up second so I‰Ûªm very happy and I enjoyed the race," Watson continued. "It‰Ûªs just such a challenge. So much goes into it. All the tactics, how many times you have to take the pits, all the other riders. It‰Ûªs a challenge not to crash. You really have to be smart and use your head.‰Û
Jeffrey Herlings crosses the line as a winner at the Red Bull Knock Out 2016.Credit: Bavo Swijgers
Glenn Coldenhoff said he knew it was going to be tough because he had taken three weeks off after the Motocross of Nations and only had two weeks back on the bike to prepare.
‰ÛÏI noticed it in the final part when I was battling with Watson and I came up short a bit," Coldenhoff explained. "Also the sun was going down quickly and we had the sun in our face in the long straight, so it was a bit dangerous. But I saw on the pit board that I was safe in third. The goal was to come here, to stay healthy and finish on the box and that‰Ûªs what I did. Watson took a bit more risk with one pit stop and I took two. We just played it safe. We had a lot of meetings with the team to discuss tactics and it was a fun race.‰Û
Glenn Coldenhoff on his KTM 450 SX-F at the Red Bull Knock Out 2016. Credit: Bavo Swijgers Red Bull Content Pool
Both Herlings and Coldenhoff were very much at home over the whoops and rhythm section and were blisteringly fast down the beach straight that skimmed the water‰Ûªs edge. But Watson gained the advantage over Coldenhoff in the last hour of the race when the notorious X-Loop was opened.
The so-called ‰Û÷minefield‰Ûª and ‰Û÷forest‰Ûª sections, the latter over a series of logs, was ideal for Watson‰Ûªs Enduro skills. The British rider also came to the event after recently taking victory in the Skegness Beach Race in the UK.
More than 70,000 spectators lined the beach and the famous pier for the fifth edition of the race.
A mass of competitors Red Bull Knock Out 2016. Credit: Marcel van Hoorn
Results Red Bull Knock Out 2016
1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED), KTM, 1:52:58.954 h
2. Nathan Watson (GBR), KTM, +2.29.889 min
3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED), KTM, +4.27.972
4. Steve Ramon (BEL), Suzuki, +1 lap
5. Axel Van de Sande (BEL), Yamaha, +1 lap