In spite of minimal preparation, he rode the MX2 bike only twice before the weekend, Micha Boy De Waal was able to show his potential in the smaller capacity GP class. De Waal, who replaced Lars Van Berkel, came ever so close to scoring points in both motos. In the end the current runner-up of the Dutch ONK MX1 series recorded two points in Valkenswaard. Micael Ivanov gained valuable experience in the sand and established a good baseline for the coming races.
The Vamo Honda team went into the first Dutch Grand Prix of the season sporting the spectacular No Fear Energy drink graphics. Both Micha Boy De Waal and Micael Ivanov paid their dues to the No Fear philosophy and rode to the best of their abilities.
Saturday’s free practice session uncovered a new aspect to the gnarly sand circuit. Modifications to the track had made the layout faster than ever. However throughout the day more bumps and ruts showed up slowing the riders down. Day one was one of re-introduction to the category for Micha-Boy. Not able to gel immediately with the track he qualified 25th. With a full gate of 40 riders every position gained had to be earned the hard way. Micael recoverd from the penultimate position at the start to finish 32nd in the qualifying race.
True to form De Waal put his head down and went to work on Sunday. The 21-year old Dutchman posted the 15th time in the warmup session. De Waal maintained a solid pace in both motos. In the first moto he climbed up from 35th to 24th. Micha Boy’s speed was up to par with those circulating in the top-20 but two crashes ruined his chances. In the end he crossed the line 21st. The second moto followed a similar scenario only now De Waal put in a more composed performance. Until the final stages of the race Micha Boy held three World Championship points within his grasp but he was unable to fence off the charging Henri Jacobi.
After an eventful first race Micael Ivanov came home 26th. The second moto was by far Micael’s best effort of the weekend. Starting in the middle of the pack he rode consistently and more confidently. The multiple Bulgarian champion thus secured 24th in his final race of the day.
Micha Boy De Waal:
“I only rode the bike twice ahead of Valkenswaard so the weekend was still about adapting to the bike as well. My riding on Saturday was terrible to be honest. We turned things around the day after and I had a good warmup session in the morning. My first moto was quite okay. It’s a pity I went down twice, if not a better result was definitely possible. Things improved each session and race after race. In the final moto my riding was good. Again I had to make my way up from way back by I suffered a problem with the rear brake. All things considering it was a reasonable way to start and I’m looking forward to next GP in Latvia.”
“Keeping in mind I’m not a sand specialist I’m happy with my speed here and with how the GP went. Too many things happened in the first moto to get a good result: I was hit by another rider in the first lap, than I stalled the bike and had to remount from almost dead last! The second moto my riding was quite good. Unfortunately I didn’t score any points. But compared to my performance in the Dutch Masters of Motocross this was much better. We keep on working an I know that with this kind of riding and my fitness there’s more to come when we go to a hard pack track again.”