With the EMX250 championship getting underway this weekend at Matterley Basin we will take a look at the potential championship challenger heading into the season.
One of the heavy favourites for the title heading into the season has to be young Dutch talent, Roan Van de Moosdijk who has switched from the SDM-Corse Yamaha team to the F&H Kawasaki Racing team. Van de Moosdijk finished third in the series last year and was tipped to move up to the MX2 World Championship but he’s decided to stay in the EMX250 series one more year to try and grab that title. He’s been working with Marc de Reuver so he’ll be hoping that’s done the trick to improve even further. The one thing about Van de Moosdijk is he is good in all surfaces which could help him in a title chase.
The young Dutch talent is enjoying his green machine so far. “The bike is very easy to handle, I absolutely love it and I already feel confident on the bike. It’s a good bike and I can’t wait for the start of the season to race it”.
The Assomotor Honda team have a strong squad to take on the 2019 EMX250 Championship. Young French talent, Pierre Goupillon has made the switch from Kawasaki. Last season, Goupillon had a good campaign as he won the first round and won a moto as well but DNF’s cost him a better finish than ninth in the championship. The French rider will be hoping to be more consistent in 2019 and if he is then he shouldn’t be far away.
Joining Goupillon under the Assomotor Honda team is Stephen Rubini who’s dropped down from the MX2 World Championship after failing to find a ride in that class. Motivation won’t be a problem for Rubini as he’ll be eager to show the MX2 teams that he warranted a ride in 2019. Speed shouldn’t be a problem either as he’s very fast but sand is the one area that he’ll need to improve to become champion.
The SDM-Corse Yamaha team have a strong rider line up for 2019. Ruben Fernandez who’s had a lot of success in the EMX250 series before (finished third in 2017) has dropped down from MX2 for the year ahead. Fernandez similarly to Rubini won’t have problem finding motivation as he’ll want an MX2 ride in 2020. The Spaniard has showed flashes of what he can do in the past but will be hoping this is the year he can put it all together and go for the title.
Young Italian, Gianluca Fachetti is highly rated and has bags of talent but his rookie season didn’t go according to plan. He only managed to finish twentieth – he’d have been expecting much much better! Joining the SDM-Corse Yamaha he’ll be hoping to be much better this season and to battle for race wins and podiums.
Towards the end of 2018, Caleb Grothues got the opportunity to fill in at the SDM-Corse Yamaha team and he impressed them so much they’ve decided to keep him around for 2019. Grothues seemed to adapt to the Yamaha quickly so with a full winter’s preparation on the blue machine he’ll be looking for even better results.
The Aussie is excited for the season to start. “I can’t express how grateful and excited I am about this and I’m more than ready for the season to start. A big thank you to everyone that has supported me from the beginning to now”.
At the start of last season, Giuseppe Tropepe was looking really good as he was sitting fourth in the series after the first three rounds before injury ruined his season. Tropepe will be hoping to stay fit this year so he can show his full potential on the Ghidinelli Yamaha.
Young Norwegian talent, Kevin Horgmo was a rookie in 2018 and really did improve lots over the course of the season. He ended up tenth in the series but he showed at times that he had race winning speed. The CreyMert KTM rider shouldn’t be under estimated heading into the 2019 season and will look to keep improving. His future should be in the MX2 World Championship.
Horgmo is heading into the season feeling good. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend, I have had a lot of good training in the off season, and I’m feeling quite good at the moment. It will be fun to be behind the gate again, and see where we are. I’m feeling quite confident that we can fight in the top, but we will see when the gate drops”.
One rider that has lots of EMX250 experience is Alberto Forato. The Italian still hasn’t moved up to the MX2 World Championship despite showing good speed in the past. Unfortunately last season he was hammered by injury but he’s moved to the Maddi Husqvarna team and is looking fast heading into the season. The problem Forato has is he’s a huge guy – starts are a problem so despite having the speed to win, getting out of the gate might let him down.
Another rider that’s looking fast in pre-season is Karlis Sabulis as he’s made the switch to KTM from Yamaha after signing with the WZ KTM team. Sabulis is one of the older and more experienced riders in the class so he’ll be looking to show the young guns he still has it.
“I’m ready to go for my best season ever this year. I feel mentally and physically strong and I can’t thank enough the team owner Waldemar. As I said it wouldn’t be possible without MX Moduls team help”, Sabulis commented.
Joining Sabulis under the WZ KTM team is young Dane, Bastian Bøgh Damm who showed flashes of what he could do last year. With another winter behind him he should be even stronger in 2019.
After having a really good 2018 season, Josh Gilbert has the opportunity to contest the entire EMX250 series thanks to Dave Thorpe’s Buildbase Honda team. Gilbert finished second in the Maxxis British Championship last year as well as impressing in a few wildcard MX2 World Championship rounds so he’ll be eager to run at the front in the EMX250 series.
Young German rider, Jeremy Sydow signed some real signs of progress during his rookie season last year. Sydow has now switched to the DIGA-Procross Husqvarna team and will be hoping to really push on and keep improving. The young German is really stylish to watch so keep an eye out for him.
Sydow is ready for the season to get underway this weekend. “Everything is going well with the new team and the new bike. I feel very confident with everything. I think I had the best winter prep in my career this off season. So I’m feeling really good and can’t wait till the first gate drop this weekend. My goal is to ride consistent in every race and score as much points as possible. That’s what I messed up a little bit last year. We worked really hard this winter and I have a good feeling that the hard work will pay off”.
Despite missing the entire 2018 season, Jere Haavisto still managed to secure a ride for 2019 after inking a deal with the I-Fly JK Yamaha team. After a season without being at the races, the Finn is motivated to show everyone what he can do and wants podium results – which he’s capable of getting. ““We decided to ride the EMX250 series because MX2 is already full and I want to be top three rider in EMX250 before moving up to MX2”.
Young Swede, Isak Gifting has bags and bags of talent but injuries are a problem. It feels like every season he’s picking up an injury and there’s only so many times you can do that without it affecting a riders performance. If Gifting can stay fit though he could be a big surprise in 2019.
Last and by no means least, Sander Agard-Michelsen who didn’t have a great first half of the season last year but really improved during the second half. The Norwegian was really good in sand towards the end of the year but will look to make the same strides in hard pack. He’s also made the switch to the 2BI Kawasaki machine which he hopes will help him make the next big step.
Josh Gilbert isn’t the only fast Brit who will be eager to show what they can do. Liam Kight, Alexander Brown and Lewis Hall should be fast and could surprise.
There’s also a number of fast rookies who could challenge in 2019 but we’ll have a closer look at them in another article coming later in the week.
Article: Andy McKinstry