One of the most anticipated races of the year took place last weekend, gathering motocross fanatics from all around the world in the sandy man-made circuit of Assen, the Netherlands. Team Latvia, led by the national hero and one of the most promising athletes of the MXGP class Pauls Jonass, placed 8th amongst 34 other nations.
After having been allotted the 10th gate pick for qualification race, Team Latvia riders, Pauls included, felt pumped for the upcoming races. After a decent performance by both of his teammates, Pauls decided to take the matters in his own hands during the 3rd quali race of the rainy day. Placing 2nd straight after the gate drop, he swiftly managed to overtake Kevin Strijbos for the race lead, maintaining the position for the rest of the moto. When asked about his performance, Pauls admitted to “feeling very happy and excited for the races on Sunday, especially due to the fact that a Latvian had never before won a qualification race at the MXoN event”.
Sunday did not spoil neither the fans nor the riders – it was pouring the whole time, making the preparation of the track a nightmare for even the experienced of organisers; however, the organising team in Assen managed to, even despite the conditions, come thorough and deliver.
After watching both of his teammates compete during the first moto, Pauls was ready to face the best racers in the world. The MX2 and Open race started off quite well, Jonass already being upfront amongst the leaders. He spent most of the race in the 2nd position, sporadically catching up to Glenn Coldenhoff who led the whole moto. The Latvian crossed the finish line just after the leader, delivering the best ever MXoN result for Team Latvia.
It was time to wrap up the biggest motocross event of the year, and MXGP and Open riders were lining up. The 3rd moto started off similarly to the previous one, and the young athlete once again managed to be amongst the frontrunners of the pack. Pauls was switching between 3rd and 4th position for a while, yet in the end concluded that a higher position would probably benefit his team a bit more. Finishing 2-3 for a 2nd place overall amongst the Open riders, Jonass showed everyone present and behind the TV screens around the world that he is a force to be reckoned with, both now and definitely in the future.
“Wow, what a crazy race,” said Pauls. “Just like everyone else, I knew this was going to be a really tough day, but I like these conditions and was really looking forward to it. Also, I wanted to end my season with good results. I did that, and Team Latvia finished 8th overall, our best ever result.” Asked about the track conditions, Jonass admitted that “the sand was so, so deep in places – it was so easy to make a mistake.”
“I got a good start in the first race, which was really important. Being close to the front of the pack makes a big, big difference. I made some passes and felt good in the 2nd heat. I pushed to try and close the gap between Glenn [Coldenhoff] and I, but got stuck with a lapper and dropped back. Also, I got a decent start in the second race and just tried to keep pushing forwards. The conditions were really bad, so to finish the Nations with a 2-3 result is fantastic. Everyone in the team has worked so hard this weekend, it’s an amazing way to finish the season,” he concluded cheerfully.
Even though the season of 2019 has officially ended, there’s no downtime when it comes to being prepared for the next year, so stay tuned for updates from Pauls on his social media and here as well. See you in 2020, folks!
Written by Nikola Serge
Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo