O Lab at MX Grand Prix Valkenswaard | The Netherlands
Valkenswaard is small, peaceful town in the southern Netherlands whose name comes from its history of falconers (valk=falcon) serving at various royal courts throughout Europe. The Rolling O Lab went to Valkenswaard to participate in the MX GP, the third Motocross event of the season after the Grand Prix of Qatar and Thailand. To mix things up a bit in the 7th year of the event’s existence, the organisers changed the starting point and had the race run in inversed directions.
With our Oakley heritage deeply rooted in MX racing (the first ever product developed by founder Jim Jannard was a motorcycle handgrip with a unique shape and grip, followed by the very first and madly successful MX O Frame® goggles) we decided to seize the opportunity and introduce the all new Airbrake MX with interchangeable lenses, which before only existed for snow sports and is now available in a specific motocross version. We trained 20 invited dealers and countless end consumers, organised a special MX buying day and signing sessions with our pros.
For Jeffrey Herlings, a young, up-and-coming Oakley athlete and current FIM Motocross MX2 World Champion, the O Lab became his go-to place and second home during the event. The same was true for the other Oakley riders – we just had the coolest crew hang out with us in true Oakley family style!
The qualifying races started under cold conditions; nevertheless the riders gave everything.
It was in qualifying that Jeffrey Herlings set the stage for what was to become the most dramatic race of the weekend:
After a poor start Herlings crashed and spectators helped him to get back on his bike – which resulted in a disqualification for outside assistance and thus in an “outside the gate”-start position for next day’s race.
On race day, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider Jordi Tixier lead the first part of the race until his team mate Herlings – who had started at the back of the field on the 21st position – rode a furious chase and made his way all the way to the front!
In race two Tixier put on yet another super performance leading the majority of the race. But with only some laps to go, Tixier found himself again under attack by “The Bullet” Herlings, who managed to pass and claim the lead again! What a thriller!
Congrats to Jeffrey Herlings for his crazy, incredible performance (we already have our bets on you for joining the ranks of the sport’s legends!)