Andy McKinstry: I have no problem with the U23 age rule in the EMX250 class, at the end of the day it’s known to be the development class for the younger riders so it completely makes sense to have the age rule in that class. However, to make the announcement in October, that’s very unfair on the teams and puts them in a difficult situation with signed riders for the series that might now be too old.
Simone Furlotti, Marshal Weltin, Mel Pocock and Samuele Bernardini all have contracts for the EMX250 championship next year but what will they do now they’re too old? I don’t believe the new two stroke class is the answer and teams are in an awkward situation. Not to mention Josh Spinks, Martin Barr and Steven Clarke all rode the EMX250 series this year and could have perhaps secured rides in the class but now that’s not an option – it looks like only national championships for them in 2019. But like I said the EMX250 is a development class so I understand and back the age rule in most ways, it makes sense.
The real issue for me is that the age rule in both the EMX250 championship and the MX2 World Championship is exactly the same. In other words, if a 22 year old wins the EMX250 series, the next step for them should be to race the MX2 World Championship if you’re going to force them out of EMX250. That will not be the case and the 22 year old will either have to go to MXGP or just focus on national championships – good luck to them getting an MXGP ride coming from EMX250. I’m a little bit frustrated because they are so close to having the perfect format – in my opinion all they need to do it make the MX2 World Championship U25 and it would be perfect.
If they did make the MX2 World Championship U25 then Weltin, Furlotti, Bernardini, Brylyakov and maybe even Rodriguez could all secure rides for 2019. Sure, all five riders might not get rides but that’s potentially five good riders and it would make the MX2 class deeper for 2019.
A lot of people want the age rule completely gone and whilst not much might change for 2019 if they done that, I feel Youthstream would lose their long term vision if they did that. In 3-6 years time we would probably just see riders staying MX2 their entire career but I enjoy them making the move. Without the age rule would riders like Van Horebeek, Febvre, Coldenhoff and Lieber made the move to the MXGP? Who knows but it has worked the better for their careers in my opinion.
All I want is an U25 age rule and I’d be more than happy but unfortunately that’s not the case. I wouldn’t want to be one of the team managers trying to sort out a rider with an EMX250 contract who’s now too old for the class – not ideal to say the least.
Jonathan McCready: In isolation the rule is fine, but why make the change so late when teams are already signing riders based on no age rule? That doesn’t seem that fair to the teams, it might have been better giving teams a year’s notice.
Also, it’s seems pointless to have two classes that are U23 now, yet nowhere for good riders in their mid 20s and older if they aren’t yet quite at the elite level for the MXGP class. The EMX250 class was a nice mixture of youth and experience.
If EMX2 is going to have an age-limit then surely MX2 needs to move up to at least U25 or, as many feel, have no age limit. That will allow the EMX2 class to still be a well-exposed stepping stone class for the young riders and a place that top teams can find the elite talent to graduate into the MX2 world championship. MX2 will then logically be the next step up and a much more prestigious title than EMX2.
As it stands now the new ruling hinders the depth of the MX2 world championship because the class is effectively split into two series that are essentially doing the same thing, developing talent of the same age.
Also, instead of a two-stroke class for the older riders that limits the amount of manufacturers, would it not be better to have an EMX450 championship that is a big bike series that allows riders and teams to compete for a 450 European title and show their speed to MXGP teams who may give them a chance in the premier motocross class the year after?
There are a lot of good riders in the French, British, Dutch and Belgian championships alone that could benefit from the exposure and a European title and then keep the same bike for their national championships too.
Paul McCready: Obviously, the EMX250 is a stepping stone class so why let a 22-23 year old race if mx2 is the same age limit? If they win they can’t step up to MX2 anyway. The EMX 2t series is a bit pointless cause riders like Barr aren’t going to jump back and forth to 4t for national champs.
So, you have a situation were 2 classes for U23, 2t for riders not taking things entirely seriously and a vets for over 40’s. The 24-39 age bracket isn’t catered for just when guys are at their peak. I think it should be EMX250 U23, MX2 U25 and have an EMX open class for riders unable to get mxgp rider.