Let’s start with the story of the weekend as Mel Pocock got that winning feeling back this weekend in Spain. After nearly losing his hand but losing his thumb, most riders would walk away from the sport and call it a day. Not Mel Pocock though as he’s clearly put in the hard work required to get back to this level, it’s not easy riding with with no thumb and only four fingers.
The Brit won the first moto and put himself in a great position for the second moto. However, in the second moto he suffered from a terrible start. At the end of the first lap Pocock was in thirteenth, with the overall win looking very unlikely, Pocock stayed calm and started putting in passes. He ended up ninth and with that meant he ended up third in the podium which he very much deserved.
Speaking to us, Pocock was happy with how round one went and unsurprisingly so, “Sometimes it just feels impossible. Racing without a thumb and having to hold on with 4 fingers all the time on a GP spec track, it’s not the easiest thing, and with the all the youngsters. There are a lot of trainers about so there is a lot of effort going into that EMX class. I’m over the moon with it, to get third overall is like another win.”
With regards to Martin Barr racing the EMX250 series it really is experience versus the young guns to look out for in the future. In the past we’ve saw experience come out on top with the likes of Steven Clarke and Nick Kouwenberg clinching the title’s.
Barr didn’t disappoint on his EMX250 debut as he was the quickest rider in the class all weekend. The crash out of the gate during the first moto meant he couldn’t go 1-1 but had he have got a good start in the first moto it would have been on the cards. Perhaps he can be disappointing about the fourth overall but there’s no issues about his speed. The Revo Husqvarna is working really well for Barr and he looks as good as ever! With Agueda up next that should be another track that suits Barr, he’ll want at least a podium at round two.
Last year, Pierre Goupillon finished tenth as a rookie in the EMX250 championship which was a solid season for the French rider. However, Goupillon looks to have had a very productive winter behind him. Also, it’s worth mentioning he’s moved to the BUD Kawasaki outfit which looks to be a good move.
Goupillon got a bad start in the first moto as he was sixteenth on the first lap. He rode well to come all the way up to third and he’d have been hoping for another few laps as he was catching the front two as well. In the second moto, he took the holeshot and for a while it looked like he’d win but he just didn’t have enough to keep Martin Barr behind him. The French rider still won the overall and takes the red plate to round two, it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of holding the championship lead.
Goupillon wasn’t the only French rider to impress as there’s another talented French rider on the block. Tom Vialle had a solid day during the first round of the EMX250 series. With Tom’s father, Frederic having a GP victory to his name, Tom has big shoes to fill!
Vialle didn’t contest the full series last year but when he did he had top ten speed. He looks much taller and stronger heading into the new season and has had a good winter preparation. Vialle has a lovely style and will hope to build on his second overall from round one.
Italian, Giuseppe Tropepe has new expectations for this season as he’s stepped down from the MX2 World Championship to the EMX250 series in the hopes he can become a better rider and challenge for the title.
The Ghidinelli Yamaha rider had a solid weekend finishing fifth overall. You can certainly lose the championship during the first round but you can’t win it and with a fifth overall that will keep him in contention. Tropepe could be one to watch in the hard pack conditions as he seems to favour them.
The weekend nearly started off as a disaster for the ex EMX250 champion, Steven Clarke. A mechanical problem during the free practice wasn’t ideal and meant he wasn’t totally prepared to put in a super quick lap for timed practice.
Clarke just sneaked into the main event as he put the eighteenth quickest lap time in his group, the last spot to qualify! Unfortunately, Clarke had a terrible gate pick which wasn’t ideal but despite bad starts he fought his way through the pack. A fourth and an eighth position on his Carglass Honda debut meant he ended up sixth overall. Expect the Brit to keep his consistency but he will want a stronger timed qualifying at the second round to make his weekend less complicated from the start.
One rider that’s put in the hard work is Aussie rider, Caleb Grothues. The DIGA-Procross Husqvarna rider didn’t score a single point in 2017 but not only did he qualify during the first round this year he ended up ninth overall. Grothues is already seventeen points better off than last season so he can be satisfied with his winter preparation.
Grothues’ team mate, Dylan Walsh also had a good weekend and deserves a mention as he ending up seventh overall. After a podium last year he might expect more from himself but a seventh is a solid start to the season. It’s something he can build on throughout the course of the season.
Pics: Niek Kamper