After strong performances in the ADAC MX Masters round of Tensfeld, Emil Weckman and Miro Sihvonen headed to Lommel with confidence. Weckman definitely grabbed the limelight in KTM Diga Junior Racing’s home race but unfortunately his second moto was cut short due to an early fall resulting in a collarbone fracture. Luckily James Scott provided the Belgian team with a much-needed morale boost by finishing a shared 10th overall.
Elite sports remains hard to predict and Lommel, AKA the world’s toughest motocross track, provided ample proof once again. Given his excellent form Emil Weckman was not only tipped as an EMX125 rostrum finisher, he was also a solid contender for the overall win on the “Heeserbergen” circuit. To add some more intrigue to the weekend a top result would have allowed the double EMX150 champion to revive his title dream. Going into the weekend Emil trailed virtual leader Thibault Benistant by 26 points.
Weckman qualified well, he placed third time in his group. Emil suffered a mediocre start but recovered from 12th to 2nd after three laps. Leader Mattia Guadagnini, however, defended his position fiercely. When the KTM Diga Junior Racing rider was finally able to make the pass stick his luck was about to turn. With three rounds to go Weckman ran into a hiccup on a deep berm and dropped down to 7th in the end.
Things went from bad to worse on Sunday for the likeable Finn. Emil remounted quickly after a fairly poor start but he was thrown off the bike when he hit a treacherous bump. Not only was Weckman forced to retire, he also disclocated his shoulder and fractured his collarbone in the crash.
For James Scott, Lommel was expected to be a tough ordeal. After all, the young New Zealander is anything but a sand specialist. Nevertheless James made his own luck, and saw his commitment rewarded with two solid results. Especially the second moto in which James crossed the line less than four seconds from the seventh, provided a great deal of satisfaction. Scott’s tenth place also puts him on the edge of the top-20 in the EMX125 overall standings.
Miro Sihvonen got off inside the top-5 in the first EMX250 round. Due to his lack of race rhythm, his 10th place finish -in what was effectively his first European event since Portugal- was more than up to par. On Sunday, the former EMX250 winner was deserted by Lady Luck. Miro was first hit by another rider and than got ran over by some other riders. Although Sihvonen again moved forward, he had to pull out of the race with a few laps to go after a second lap.
On 18 and 19 August the KTM Diga Junior Racing riders will compete in the Swiss EMX125 and EMX250 rounds
Dirk Saelen, team owner: “After a strong come from behind performance Emil had victory within his grasp on Saturday. It was frustrating to lose the race after a silly crash like that! That made Weckman only more fired up for the second moto but his crash had nothing to do with being overley eager, it was just bad luck. No one can be blamed either, that’s just motocross. Fortunately, Emil’s shoulder was quickly put back in place and he already underwent surgery to fix his collarbone on Sunday afternoon. Because of this injury, the season has prematurely ended for Weckman. From now on he can focus on the preparations for 2019 and his switch to the EMX250 class. On a more positive note, we’ve been both surprised and impressed by James Scott’s results in Lommel. It’s obvious he’s made a great deal of progress physically and in his sand riding skills.”
Miro Sihvonen: “It was a weekend with ups and downs. In terms of speed, I was quite satisfied actually. My lap times also confirmed that my pace was okay. I felt that I could have been even faster if I was in better shape physically! On the other hand, It’s only what you can expect on such a track, in the heat we had and for the duration of the motos. After all, I have been sidelined for abaout a year, completely without any bike time. There ain’t no substitute for track time!”
James Scott: “A pretty good weekend for me. That I could qualify directly, without having to pass the LCQ, was a positive begin! I did not have such a good start in the first moto because I was around 20th place, then I climbed up to15th. My start in the second moto was a lot better. I sat eighth for a while but ended up tenth. The track was really brutal. Lommel was in no way comparable to any other track I’ve ridden before!
Words: Tom Jacobs
Pic: Eric Laurijssen