March 29th, 2018.

Former champion Mike van Grinsven dominated the opening round of the 2018 European QX Championship in his native Holland on Sunday, where Harry Walker, the sole British competitor, put in some impressive top ten rides.

Honda-mounted van Grinsven topped every practice session at Oss, won Saturday’s qualifying race and dominated both Championship races on Sunday, with his most impressive performance coming in the final moto, which he won by over a minute.

Walker’s best ride of the weekend came in Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying race where he took fifth place against a quality field of 28, which included Italian star, Andrea Cesari Jnr.

In Sunday’s opening moto things looked even brighter when Walker almost beat gate-to-flag winner, van Grinsven, into turn one, before settling into a battling group well inside the top ten. However, snapped foot peg bolts with four laps to go dropped him from sixth to an eventual eighth place finish.

Walker’s hopes of a strong overall finish were dashed though after a late switch to his number two quad for race two saw him inadvertently head to the gate without his transponder. Last-minute efforts to get it to him fell foul of strict FIM championship rules forcing him to be eliminated.

Two other British riders were entered – Oli Sansom and Liam Garbett – however both were eventually non-starters. Sansom had made the trip to Holland but was struck down with a virus that left him feeling as “weak as a kitten” on the Saturday, so he opted not to ride on safety grounds.

The series now moves to Castelnau de Levis in France on the 8th of April, a fast, steep-sided valley track, which is likely to suit the likes of Cesari and reigning champion, Kevin Saar from Estonia, more than the deep sand of Oss.

Qualifying race: 1 Mike van Grinsven, Holland (CRQF), 2 Ricardo Phoelich, Holland (WSP) 3 Joe Maessen, Holland (Yamaha). British: 5 Harry Walker (Yamaha).

Race 1: 1 van Grinsven, 2 Maessen, 3 Davy de Cuyper, Belgium (Yamaha). British: 8 Walker.

Race 2: 1 van Grinsven, 2 de Cuyper, 3 Jan Vlaeymans, Belgium (Yamaha).

Overall: 1 van Grinsven 50 points, 2 de Cuyper 42, 3 Maessen 37. British: 15 Walker 13.