2022 EMX250 Preview: Kicks off at Mantova this weekend!

With last years EMX250 champion, Nicholas Lapucci making the move up to the MXGP World Championship, the EMX250 series is wide open heading into the 2022 season and we’ll take a look at who to keep an eye on over the course of the season.

The Fantic’s: Last year the Maddii Fantic team lifted the title and just like last year they have an exciting rider line up for the EMX250 series for 2022 in the form of two top Norwegian talents. Making the move up from the EMX125 class, Haakon Osterhagen who looked like winning that title until injury but he’ll be back with a bang this year in what will be his rookie EMX250 season. Joining Osterhagen under the awning is  Cornelius Toendel who has a lot more experience than his younger teammate. Last year Toendel had a break out year and was most the improved riders in the paddock finishing sixth in the championship and even winning a round. In the off-season Toendel looks to have made another step as he was running with L√§ngenfelder at the International Italian series and he just won the MX2 World Championship season opener – if you needed any indication at how fast the front of EMX250 is!

Pic: OffRoadProRacing

Having won the title in the past with Thibault Benistant, the Hutten Metaal Yamaha team are eager to clinch the title once again after the disappointment of missing out in 2021. Last year, Andrea Bonacorsi was a rookie and he had a great season finishing fourth in the championship but going into 2022 he’ll now be targeting the title, there’s no doubt the Italian has a bright future.

After a good season last year finishing third in the series, Rick Elzinga has inked a deal with the Hutten Metaal Yamaha team and he’ll want to repay them with the title – it won’t be easy but he’ll certainly be one of the main protagonists.

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The youngster on the team is Dave Kooiker who has showed glimpses of what he can do throughout his EMX250 career but he’ll hope to be a more consistent top ten rider this year.

Last year was a season Valerio Lata won’t forget as he clinched the EMX125 championship. The young Italian will now enjoy his rookie season in the EMX250 class so he won’t be under big pressure which could make him very dangerous.

Pic: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing

The WZ KTM team have an exciting EMX250 rider line up in the form of Oriol Oliver, Mike Gwerder and Cato Nickel. After a tough start to his 2021 season, the team ended up signing Oliver after he parted ways with the Ghidinelli Yamaha team and almost immediately he started to show his potential ending up eleventh in the series.

One rider that has a lovely style is Gwerder and he gets better every year, the Swiss talent will be hoping to be a consistent top five rider in 2022.

Young German, Nickel makes the move up to the EMX250 series – he’s showed a lot of promise but injuries have hindered him the past few years so staying fit this year will be important.

The TBS Conversions Racing Team have decided to scale down and put all their efforts on one rider this year and they’ve decided to do this with South African talent, Camden Mc Lellan. A former EMX85 champ, there’s no doubting Mc Lellan talent and he’ll be hoping this is the year he can be a regular podium visitor in the EMX250 class – his future belongs in the MX2 World Championship.

One of the most improved riders in the paddock last year was Yago Martinez but it’s all change for him in 2022. He’s moved from the VRT KTM team to the Ghidinelli team who have switched brands to Fantic which will see the Spaniard race a two-stroke – he’ll try and replicate Lapucci’s success from last year!

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The BUD Racing Team have picked up young British talent, Eddie Kay Wade who has a lot of speed but injured have hindered his career so far. The main thing for Wade will be to stay injury free this year and improve as the season develops.

He joins Quentin Marc Prugnieres under the awning and he is one rider that is superb to watch as he’s got a great style – this year he’ll be hoping to show his true potential after his rookie season last year.

Last year didn’t go according to plan for Estonian, Jorgen-Matthias Talviku as he went into the season as one of the dark horses but for whatever reason the results weren’t there. The Sahkar KTM team have decided to snap up Talviku and with it being an Estonian team it might be exactly what he needs. The team will be hoping to get him back to the best which would see him being a front runner.

Two very exciting talents to keep an eye on will be the Coenen Brothers. The Belgians were a fantastic watch in the EMX125 series last year and both have decided to make the step up to the EMX250 series. Lucas ended last year on a roll and was clearly the fastest rider in the class at the last few races while Sacha also has a lot of speed but a few too many crashes meant he ended the season injury. It’s a big test for Sacha to move up to the EMX250 series so early, another year in the EMX125 class wouldn’t have done him any harm but the BT Husqvarna team have to very big talents under the awning.

Italian based team, SM-Action GasGas have a good thing going with Forato and Adamo in the GP’s but they will still have a focus on the EMX250 class. The team have signed up Federico Tuani who was with the Maddii team for a number of years and after concentrating on the EMX 2T class last year he’ll want good results in the competitive EMX250 series this year. The team have also signed up young Italian, Luca Ruffini who moves up from the EMX125 series.

After a year racing the MX2 World Championship with JK Yamaha, Gerard Congost has decided to move back down to the EMX250 class after signing with Spanish team, Jezyk KTM. At times he was battling for points in MX2 so he’ll be looking to be a front runner in the EMX250 class. Marnique Appelt is in a similar situation on his Raths KTM!

One rider who showed some very good pace last year but his results didn’t reflect that was young Spaniard David Braceras who’s staying with the VRT KTM team. With another full winter behind him he’ll be looking for the results to reflect the speed he’s got which should be a consistent top ten rider.

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A new team has entered the GP paddock – the Schmicker KTM Racing team and they’ve decided to concentrate on the EMX250 series. The team have inked deals with two Max’s – Spies and Palsson. Spies won the EMX2T class last year and it feels like he’s been around for ages but he’s recently just turned 18 years old so has lots of potential so should have a bright future. Unfortunately, injured ruined Palsson’s rookie season but the Swede has a lot of talent so will be hoping to stay injury free this year to show what he can do.

TM made a return to the paddock last year and they’ve stuck with Italian, Emilio Scuteri for the 2022 season. Injuries seem to follow Scuteri around but if he can remain injury free he has got a lot of speed and has what it takes to be a front runner – it would be nice to see a TM at the sharp end.

After such an impressive season in 2020, last year didn’t go according to plan for Marcel Conijn but perhaps that might take the pressure of. He’ll certainly be eager to put things right this year and achieve better results. It’s the last year for Conijn to contest the EMX250 series due to the U23 age rule so he’ll be looking to enjoy his last season in the class.

It’s always nice to see a two-stroke mix it up at the front and that’s what Meico Vettik will be hoping to do. After spending the 2021 season with the TBS Conversions team, the Estonian has signed with Powered by Young Motion KTM which will see him ripping on a two-stroke, a bike he seems more comfortable on.

The past few years, Marcel Stauffer has focused on the ADAC Youngsters Cup series but the Austrian has signed a deal with the Sturm STC Racing Team which will see him back in the GP paddock which is nice to see. Stauffer is a very capable rider so it’ll be nice to see him mix it up with the best young talents in the world once again by contesting the EMX250 series.

One rider that looks to have had a good off-season is Dutch talent, Raf Meuwissen. There’s no doubt that injuries have hindered his progress but he’ll be hoping to stay injury free and really show his potential this year. As warm up for the EMX250 opener, Meuwissen raced a 350cc at the opening round of the EMX Open series and just missed out on a podium by finishing fourth overall but the speed his speed is good going into the season. 

The Brit’s: After a year racing the MX2 World Championship with 114 Motorsports Honda, Joel Rizzi has decided to contest the EMX250 series again and secured a good ride with the Riley Motorsports Yamaha. The Brit will be a much better rider after his experience in MX2 and will want to show that in the EMX250 category.

What a season Bobby Bruce had last year finishing second in the EMX125 series. Unfortunately, Bruce is currently recovering from a recent operation on his knee as an old injury flared up but he’ll be back later in the year and eager to show what he can do on a 250cc.

Last but not least, Chris Mills has inked a deal with a new team in the paddock – SB KTM Racing and started the season with a top ten result at Hawkstone International so he’ll be looking to take that speed into the EMX250 series. 

Article: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Yamaha Racing