The two shared the wins once more, with the German taking victory in Race 1 before finding defeat to Phommara in Race 2
The sun was shining, and a cool breeze brought the scent of summer to the beautiful Oschersleben as riders prepared for battle at Round 3. But it was the roar of motorcycle engines and smell of burned rubber that carried the promise of incredible racing, and Northern Europe’s brightest young talent did not disappoint.
Observers of free practice on Friday would have had their bets firmly on Rocco Sessler (MCA Racing) as riders and fans alike got ready for qualifying on Friday and Saturday, but things didn’t go quite as planned as a red flag in Q2 ended proceedings prematurely and prevented Sessler from doing a late time attack. And so, it was Sessler’s teammate Julius Frellsen (MCA Racing) who would start on pole on Saturday afternoon, ahead of the cool-headed Lenoxx Phommara (Team Phommara) and Italian virtuoso Matteo Masili (Fairium Next Generation Riders Team). Rocco Sessler was forced to start in fourth, but was he concerned? Not in the slightest! The German was oozing confidence and so certain of victory that he made some changes to his bike setup in expectation of leading from the front.
After the lights went out, Frellsen took the holeshot ahead of Lenoxx Phommara and Masili. After a few laps a lead group formed consisting of Lenoxx Phommara, Sessler, Frellsen, Martin Vinzce (VM Racing Team), Matteo Masili (Fairium Next Generation Riders Team), and Filip Novotny (DG Corse), with rookie wonder boy Antoine Nativi a touch further back in seventh.
Positions were swapped, and exchanges were made, and around half-race distance, the mighty Sessler secured his place at the front, and he never looked back, never stopped pushing. Never again would he make the mistake from Race 2 in the Sachsenring.
And then he was gone, and despite appeals from Lenoxx Phommara for Frellsen to fall in behind him and chase the leader, the two battled between themselves, allowing Sessler to take a comfortable lead unchallenged from behind. As the race approached its end, it looked like Lenoxx Phommara had P2 in the bag, but as they approached the last turn on the last lap the hungry and opportunistic Frellsen made an incisive lunge up the inside to claim second. A notably frustrated Lenoxx Phommara could be seen mulling over the race afterward, but not for long, because the Swiss is a consummate professional and racer who does his talking on the track—no doubt he would have something to say in Race 2 on Sunday.
Rocco’s victory, his second of the season, saw him take the top spot in the standings five points ahead of Lenoxx Phommara, with Frellsen a further 24 points down in third.
Notable performances from the weekend include Matteo Masili who was forced to retire with a broken gear shifter. The talented Martin Vincze finished in fourth, Filip Novotny (DG Corse) took an impressive fifth ahead of French rookie Antoine Nativi (CTM 83 Junior Team) and the excellent Anakin Zelenak (JRP Academy Racing Team) in seventh.
On Saturday evening after Race 1, as the sun set, the warm orangey glow slowly receding over the circuit of Oschersleben, Lenoxx Phommara’s disappointment went with it, and in its place, a steely determination for victory rose, not unlike the full moon that could be seen from his hotel window.
Come Sunday afternoon it was lights out, and boom, the lightning-fast starter Matteo Masili (Fairium Next Generation Riders Team) claimed the holeshot from third on the grid, only to relinquish the lead to Rocco Sessler (MCA Racing) on the exit of Turn 2. By the end of the first lap, it was the now familiar sight of Sessler, Julius Frellsen (MCA Racing), and Lenoxx Phommara (Team Phommara) leading the way. But, who would it be, who would emerge victorious? It was anyone’s guess as the three were swapping positions every lap, though with Rocco notably faster through the chicane.
By lap 3 that lead trident of Sessler, Frellsen and Lenoxx Phommara had pulled a 3-second gap over the second group, and it would stay this way for the rest of the race. Behind them was the battling duo of Masili and Vincze (VM Racing Team), who, dancing to a similar tune, were exchanging overtakes, corner after corner, lap after lap. A further 3 seconds back, it was the chasing pack of Antoine Nativi (CTM 83 Junior Team), Filip Novotny (DG Corse), Anakin Zelenak (JRP Academy Racing Team), Maxime Schmid (Team Schmid).
It was this third group that saw the most movement. Martin Vincze ultimately faded from his battle with Masili, with Levin Phommara (Team Phommara) taking his place, having produced a stunning ride. The Dutch rookie, Kyano Schoo (KS Racing), made it as high as eighth, but a long-lap penalty for a jump start, twice ignored meant he was black-flagged. The immensely talented youngster is softly spoken off-track, but with the visor down, a rider with a champion’s mentality emerges. Watch this space!
As for the lead three, on the final lap, it was Frellsen, Lenoxx Phommara & Sessler, in that order. And perhaps Frellsen would come to regret as he chased his first win in the category because at T12 a superb move from Lenoxx Phommara saw him fly into the lead with Sessler also taking advantage of the unsettled Frellsen. And it was like this that the race finished, and how Lenoxx Phommara authored his comeback story to take his place at the top of the standings, tied with Sessler, the smiling but surely disappointed Frellsen now 33 points adrift of the leaders. In fourth, it was Masili, ahead of Levin Phommara and Antoine Nativi in sixth. Vincze, Novotny, and Maxime Schmid, and Daniel Krabacher (Kini Bikeworld) completed the top 10.
A shout out to Dutchman Delano Greven (DG Motorsport by Brouwer Motors) for an excellent performance that saw him claim 12th.
As we mark the halfway point of the NTC season there is certainly a pattern emerging, but nothing is settled, and everything remains in play. Next up is the mighty Sachsenring on 17-18 June alongside MotoGP™. Be sure to tune in!