We take a look at some of the riders that could surprise us during the EMX250 season which gets underway this weekend.
One of the underdogs to look out for is Finnish rider Jere Haavisto who finished twelfth in the EMX250 series last year. Haavisto picked up a few too many DNF’s during the course of the season which cost him a top ten place in the championship.
Haavisto has made the switch to the WZ KTM for the season ahead and will hope this is the year he can be a consistent top five rider in the class.
Joining Haavisto under the WZ KTM awning is Latvian, Thomas Sileika who has some EMX250 experience. However, Sileika decided to focus on the ADAC German Championship last year to get back on track. Sileika ended up second in the ADAC MX Youngsters Cup which was a solid season so he will give the EMX250 series another go this year!
Young sixteen year old, Bastian Boegh Damm got his season off to an impressive start at the first round of the Dutch Masters series at Markelo. The Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki rider ended up twelfth overall and was the third EMX250 rider on the day.
The Danish talent will know he’s had a good winter behind him and should go into Redsand feeling good so if he can get good starts he might just surprise.
French rider, Pierre Goupillon should be much stronger for the season ahead now he has his rookie year behind him. Goupillon finished tenth in the EMX250 series last year as a rookie which was a good season for him.
Goupillon has switched from KTM machinery to Kawasaki as he’s inked a deal with the BUD Kawasaki racing team. He will be hoping to improve on his tenth from last year and will have been putting in plenty of laps with team mate, Brian Hsu over the winter which should help his speed.
Last year Sahkar KTM rider, Hardi Roosiorg was focusing on the MX2 World Championship but he will drop down to the EMX250 series for 2018. Roosiorg will be hoping the switch of classes can make him a better rider and that he will be a front runner in the EMX250 series.
During the MXGP of Valkenswaard, the I-Fly JK Yamaha team drafted in Sander Agard-Michelsen to replace the injured Anton Gole. Agard-Michelsen would have learnt a lot riding in his first MX2 Grand Prix and rode pretty well, he secured a point in the first moto which he will have been happy with. He has also decided to ditch the TM and will receive good support from Yamaha for the season ahead.
The Diga Procross Husqvarna team have three riders in the form of Adrien Malaval, Dylan Walsh and Caleb Grouthues. Adrien Malaval is strong in the hard pack conditions being from France and could put in some good rides but sand is an area he needs to work on. Dylan Walsh made the move from New Zealand to Europe last year and managed to grab himself a podium last year in Russia. He will be hoping to be much stronger than his rookie year and get back on the box during the 2018 season. Grouthues showed a lot of promise on the 125cc but the Aussie hasn’t been able to show that promise on the 250cc just yet. He’ll be hoping this could be the year things fall into place for him.
The LRT KTM team decided to stay in the paddock for the 2018 season even though Julien Lieber secured a factory ride. They’ve even decided to expand the team as they’ve signed French rider, Nataneal Bres to contest the EMX250 series. Bres could put in some strong rides in hard pack but it’s hard to know what to expect from him in the sand.
Simeo Ubach from Spain is always very fast in his home country but hasn’t been able to show that sort out speed outside Spain yet. He’ll be hoping this is the year he can adapt to racing all around the world and show us what he’s capable off. With the first round in Spain he should be comfortable this weekend.
Remember Frederic Vialle who was a successful GP rider? Well, he’s now got a son he’s trying to develop into a top GP rider in the future. For Tom Vialle it won’t be easy to follow in his Dad’s footsteps and possibly has more pressure to deliver due to his Dad having a lot of success. Frederic won one GP and eight moto’s during his time as a GP rider.
However, the CAP Husqvarna rider has good potential and got his season underway at the first round of the French Elite Championship. Vialle ended up sixth overall on the day which was a solid result but it should have been better as he crashed out of third position in the first moto. Expect Vialle to be fast in hard pack but it’s hard to know what his speed will be like in the sand.
This time last year the Maggiora KTM team had the EMX250 Champion in the form of Morgan Lesiardo. He impressed so much that Factory Kawasaki came knocking on the door and they couldn’t keep hold on him. This year the Italian KTM team will contest the EMX250 series with Lorenzo Ravera who’s been looking good in pre-season. It wouldn’t be fair to expect the same from him but he’s capable of some good results nonetheless.
Martin Racing Technology Honda rider, Filippo Zonta started to get comfortable on the 250cc machine last year and put in some good rides. However, Zonta has picked up an injury which means he’ll miss the first round of the series at Redsand which is a shame. Zonta has recently just got back on the bike though so will be hoping to be back for round two.
Last season, Nichlas Bjerregaard was a privateer but unfortunately got his season cut short due to injury. This year he’s inked a deal with the Filten Yamaha racing team so with their support behind him he’ll be looking for even better results.
Another Danish talent, Glen Meier showed a lot of talent in the EMX125 class and even won moto’s but since moving up to the EMX250 series he hasn’t shown his full potential. The Kosak KTM rider will be hoping to show the results he’s capable of the year.
Michael Sandner didn’t contest the full series last year but showed some decent pace at the rounds he did do and was knocking on the door of the top ten at times. Sander has had a good winter behind him and will be hoping to be a regular visitor in the top ten this year.
Pic: Niek Kamper
Thanks to Kemco Motorsport Archives.