In spite of a good winter prep and strong finishes in the Dutch ONK races, Wannes van de Voorde didn’t get the results he’d been working for lately. The Belgian 125 Schoolboy champion turned his fate around this weekend at the GP of Trentino where he had two strong starts and finished one moto in ninth. Mario Lucas and Kjell Verbruggen both showed flashes of guyspeed but were unlucky.

No fewer than 80(!) riders attended the second European EMX125 round. With 40 riders allowed to race the F4E Racing riders had to earn their right to line up in the motos. In contrast to Valkenswaard all three riders not only managed to qualify but Mario Lucas even rode to a creditable 6th place in his group.

Racing conditions for the the first moto of the weekend were surprisinly rough. Spills of rain leading up to the Grand Prix of Trentino had created a rutted and demanding track. Wannes van de Voorde grabbed the best getaway of the F4E Racing trio. Starting just outside the top-5 put van de Voorde immediately to the test. With the unusual pressure of running near the front straight away Wannes quckly developed painful forearms. Unable to control his bike properly and continue his normal pace the #65 came home a frustrating 27th .

Verbruggen and Lucas each encountered their own obstacles. Both had to remount after bad starts. Mario, who made the podium in the season opener at Valkenswaard, managed to salvage a championship point in the end. Rookie Kjell Verbruggen had to settle for a disappointing 33rd place. In free practice Kjell fell victim to a light muscle injury in his calve. True to form the young Dutchman did all he could to line up as fit as possible on Sunday morning.

After some introspection Van de Voorde made a giant leap forward during the final moto. Once again the KTM 125SX mounted Belgian got off to an excellent start. Circulating 7th early on the 15-year old from Sint-Katelijne Waver came home a solid 9th eventually. Lucas gated less than optimal. Even when his moto was further complicated by an early crash the young Spaniard clearly demonstrated an improved pace compared to Saturday. Mario would go on to come home 11th, less than 2 second behind team mate van de Voorde. Small race incidents plagued Verbruggen’s race again. Yet he showed insiders his potential by posting consistent top-5 lap times in the last 8 minutes of the affair. Unfortunately this didn’t suffice to add points to his championship tally.

The EMX125 series continues next month in Kegums, Latvia.

Wannes Van de Voorde: “To my own surprise I had an awesome start in the first moto. It was not so much the pace as it was my own mindset that got to me. I just cramped up and started to ride forced. That immediately started to affect my arms, it got pretty ugly because there was nothing I could do…. Even when I had to start from the outside on Sunday I still managed a good getaway. That was the foundation of my race really. After that I just took it easy and rode my own race without getting distracted by others. I’m happy that I managed to turn things around. We keep on learning!”

Kjell Verbruggen: In free practice a rider in front of my suddenly stopped on a jump so I had to brake so hard that I completely cramped up my calve! All things considered my 13th place in time practice was not so bad. My calve really hurt in the first moto and my lap times were too far off to get any significant result. I touched another rider at the start of the second moto and I was forced to go around crashed riders in the second corner. After that I started to improve my pace but went down when I was inside the top 20. That costed my quite a lot of postions. On a more positive note, I could run a decent pace near the end. At least that shows that the speed is there.”

Mario Lucas: “Things went well in time practice, even when I could’ve been a bit faster still. I was 6th in my group. I suffered a terrible start in the first race. Although I climbed up from 25th to 20th I never had a good feeling with the track and gradually lost ground. On Sunday I had a bad start again, but my riding was better. After coming back into the top-15 I tried to go with Benistant and Hofer, unfortunately I made a msitake and hit the deck which put me back to 18th. I climbed up once more to finish 11th. Especially in the second moto the result could’ve been a lot better with these errors.”

Words: Tom Jacobs

Pic: Eric Laurijssen

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