Route77energy MVR-D Honda made the trip to Mill in the middle of the Holland countryside this past weekend to partake in the first Red Bull Pro National to be held outside the United Kingdom, and the team soon found itself in the heat of the action. On Saturday, the schedule featured several changes, amongst them two practice sessions as well as a qualifying race to determine the starting lineup for Sunday morning.
Temperatures soared in the late Saturday afternoon as the qualifying race got underway with both team riders in the top ten. With Jason Dougan settled into a rhythm in sixth, Gert Krestinov had to fend off several domestic rivals before moving up into fourth place.
On Sunday, with the track changed slightly, the first race got off to a slightly slower start. With the top ten stacked with world championship regulars, Dougan found his feet quickly at the blistering pace set by the leader, Max Nagl. Briefly challenging Yentel Martens before yielding to team-mate Krestinov, Dougan raced consistently, crossing the finish line in eighth. In the second race, Dougan continued where he’d left off. Eighth off the start, he started his ascent up the pack when a slightly botched landing tweaked his back. Although Dougan opted to go back out, with this event not counting towards the Pro Nationals championship, it was decided that it would be best not to aggravate the injury. DNF notwithstanding, Dougan ended the day in fifteenth overall.
In the first race, Krestinov also found himself getting off the gate slightly off-pace, but he immediately made amends by pushing hard to move up the pack. At half time, Krestinov pushed aside Latvian Davis Livs and moved into sixth, but was not able to progress much further, finishing in sixth. The second race was much improved. After successfully passing former world champion Steve Ramon for his runner-up place, Krestinov rode a lonely race for the remainder, not able to challenge Nagl for his lead. Nonetheless, the result was a second overall, putting the team back on the podium again.
“Overall we are pretty happy with how things went,” commented team principal Mark Chamberlain, “We had a good week riding, and we learned a few more things as a team about bike setup in these kinds of conditions because we don’t usually ride this kind of surface. Gert rode well, he had a solid weekend really. The first race was a bit below par, but in the second one he made up for that, that was a good ride. Jason in the first and second race looked good until he put his back out. Because this is not a championship round, there’s no point in going crazy and making things worse. We’re still happy with the way they both rode, it’s been really positive.”
Gert Krestinov (#37): The weekend’s been good. Saturday was really good, I ended fourth, and carried the momentum over to today. My lap times are good which I am really happy about. The first race was the worst, I was sixth, and then in the second race, I got a few fast laps in in the beginning and passed guys into second, and then just kept the speed up. There’s some more training I can do and it will be even better. I really want to end my season on a high note.
Jason Dougan (#17): Overall I’m happy, my speed was good, still working on getting back to being 100%. The track was probably one of the roughest tracks I’ve ever ridden. Overall it was pretty decent, a bit unlucky in the second race when I put my back out in the first lap. I pulled in, threw it back in, went back out but it was just too stiff and sore, so I called it a day.