American Avrie Berry opened her WMX World championship bank account in Agueda by scoring points in both motos. Miro Sihvonen, the sole KTM Diga Junior Racing EMX250 entrant in Portugal, failed to score points on the rutted and tricky track. Yet his pace marked a considerable improvement compared to the opening round of the series.

Although the historic Agueda track had suffered a lot due to the relentless rain before the Grand Prix weekend, things turned out much better than expected. Praised for their great work the local organizer and Youthstream’s crew performed miracles to make track conditions as good as possible. Admittedly the riders in the support classes had to deal with very demanding circumstances on both days.

True to form an improved Miro Sihvonen showed a lot better speed than he did in Redsand for the first round of the EMX250 series. After qualifying 15th in his group the Finnish ace immediately entered the double main event.

A crash in the first moto relegated Miro to a comeback race. The 19-year old KTM Diga Junior Racing was running inside the top-20 when he started to suffer from arm pump. In the end he crossed the line 22nd. Sihvonen had an average start in the second moto but he put in some solid laps straightaway. Gradually it became clear that he was having an issue with his knee and decided to pull out of the race.

Entering her fourth career event in the highly regarded FIM WMX series Avrie once again had to deal with very intimidating track conditions. After a bad start Berry put in a consistent opening race. She was circulating in 21st for most of the affair but the very end of the final lap she managed to pip Janina Lehmann to claim the final world championship point. Overnight rain had made the saturated soil even softer. After another weak start Avrie went to work and quickly bounced back to 16th.

The KTM Diga Junior Racing team will return to European action at the third round of the 2018 EMX250 series in Orlyonok, Russia on April 31 and May 1.

Miro Sihvonen: “ì have mixed feelings of course. On one hand I’m not really happy with the results. On the other hand Agueda was a big step in the right direction compared to Redsand. Before the second moto I became aware of a stiffness in my knee because I had a hard time bending it. That just became worse throughout the race so that’s something we need to sort out. With some time before the Russian EMX250 round in Orlyonok I know we gan get more improvement in my performance.”

Avrie Berry: “Portugal was definitely better than last weekend. I managed to get points in both motos which was my goal for the race in Agueda! Actually I was a bit excited for this race when I learned there was a big chance of riding in the mud. I’m quite used to race in the mud because at home it rains often too! The track was completely different from Saturday to Sunday. For the second race it was really muddy, you just had to stay up and had to keep the throttle wide open to avoid coming to a complete stop. I’m really happy with my first points though, we’ll continue to work on my starts to get better opportunities early on in the race.”

Words: Tom Jacobs

Pic: Eric Laurijssen

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