Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos made an emphatic first statement for his country at Kegums in Latvia today by winning the MX Open Qualification heat of the 68th Motocross of Nations on his works RM-Z450.
The 28 year old started brightly in the sand located a short distance outside of Riga and ploughed a course at the front of a field of riders from 33-other countries to earn victory and assist towards Team Belgium’s Pole Position for the three motos tomorrow.
After adjusting his front suspension in the wake of the first practice session, Strijbos was a renewed forced on the soft terrain but with a hard-base and soon left Team Great Britain’s Dean Wilson adrift. It is Strijbos’ fifth appearance in his country’s colours and comes off-the-back of a decent MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship in which he finished third in the standings.
Belgium will be aiming to defend its Nations title tomorrow by fending-off expected stiff resistance from France, Great Britain and the USA amongst others.
In the MX2 qualification heat Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe was encouraged by the excellent speed of Jeremy Seewer (leading the first half of the race for Team Switzerland) and Glenn Coldenhoff. The Dutchman also set the pace until being passed by MXGP World Champion Tony Cairoli and finished second; his speed helping the Netherlands to fifth for the day. Seewer was third on the RM-Z250.
“I struggled in the morning but had a good start and got into the lead on the first lap of the qualification heat. I didn't want to take any risks, so slowed it down a bit at the end but Pole was the goal and we made it. Julien [Lieber] and Jeremy [Van Horebeek] were riding good so we are right there. We just need to focus on our potential and what we can do.”
Final Motocross of Nations Qualifying (courtesy of Youthstream): CLICK HERE FOR START LIST
Motocross of Nations Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
Middle photo: Team Suzuki Global riders (from left): Jeremy Seewer (Switzerland), Yoshitaka Atsuta (Japan), Kevin Strijbos (Belgium), Matt Moss (Australia).