Is America ready for another brother invasion?

Images: Ray Archer/Bavo | Article: Jonathan McCready

This really is a remarkable era in the sport. The Lawrence brothers went 1-2 in the 450 class at Hangtown after winning an array of titles since moving to the USA and now the next generation of brothers are coming to prominence with the Coenen’s going 1-2 in Latvia the very next day in the MX2 world championship.

Elite level racing and brothers are going 1-2 in consecutive days across two continents is something that has never been down before. It is a remarkable feat that should be appreciated, just imagine the pride of the parents who sacrificed everything to push their boys into a statistically unlikely profession were even one making it is against the odds, let alone two and here they are going 1-2!

The Coenen’s have the same agent as the Lawrence brothers and the same ambition to get to America, and it could well happen next season. Lucas is currently in the title fight for the world championship at 17 and is absolutely rapid with a fluid style that can also hang it out but Sacha has always had to fight his height or lack thereof! The wee Belgain is very similar to Ricky Carmichael, intense and aggressive, but he just hasn’t had the height, leverage or strength or carry out the raw speed all moto – until last weekend in Latvia. Turning point?

Ray Archer

It can’t have been easy seeing his taller brother win GP’s from last year knowing he can go just as fast but is fighting disadvantages Lucas doesn’t have. Give up? Never! Sacha only knows one thing and that is flat out, the fact he can go that fast at that size is amazing, watch him at Lommel and your jaw will be on the floor, it shouldn’t be possible but he makes it happen. Even the likes of Ricky Carmichael and Jeff Ward, while small, had a lot of strength to make up for it. Sacha hasn’t developed that yet and is already winning. If he grows a bit more and gets that strength watch our because the intensity and desire he rides with is something else and as you saw in his post-race interview, winning wasn’t shock, he expects this and has never been intimidated by anyone.

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Sacha said of his win: “Really nice to win my first GP. I’m feeling happy! I had good speed today and I knew I could do it! I had a really good start in the second moto and I just did my race. We need to focus and try to make every weekend a bit like this…and be on the podium as much as we can. Not many mistakes today and I kept on my wheels. This feels so nice.”

While Lucas gave his brother props as the family accomplished the dream: ““I’m super pumped for my brother to get the win. All those hard moments he went through, it’s great to see him up there. Of course, as a competitor, I want to do better though. I took some big hits (crashes) in the second moto, so I think it could have gone better from my perspective. I struggled the whole weekend, let’s say, so I think we need to build on this and look ahead to fighting again in Italy.”

Ray Archer

Self- belief in both Coenen brothers has never been lacking, when I asked Lucas if how it felt to win GPs at 16 he shrugged his shoulders and said Herlings, Roczen and Prado had done it so it was no big deal – this is normal to them even though in reality this is exceptional!

But for InFront Moto Racing, the reality is these boys, like the Lawrence’s, wont be around MXGP for long, America is their goal and destiny that is likely to happen in 2025, while another year in GPs might be ideal for their development, the KTM restructure with no Husqvarna rumoured, (Lucas team), may force the Coenen’s to the land of opportunity early.

The Coenen’s aren’t as smooth as the Lawrence brothers, but America love aggression and these two have it in abundance, exciting to watch with unlimited talented and ambition the US are getting two generational talents that will have them wondering if there are anymore brothers in the GP system coming through…

The answer is yes! The Reisulis brothers from Latvia are next in line, with Janis looking like the Jett Lawrence of that family (injury halted his EMX250 season this year but he is an exceptional talent) and elder brother Karlis really stepping things up in EMX250 this season and, if not for mechanicals, would be a title contenders and Janis has already admitted his has American ambitions.

MXGP is creating the talent (outside the USA) but starting the lose the young stars to America at a rapid rate… MXGP’s lose is America’s gain and it is now becoming the end goal for most top youth talents. Can MXGP stop the talent drain? It’s unlikely when you see what the US has to offer in terms of supercross, the coolness of the product, the sunshine of California and Florida and the hype of their stars but for InFront Moto Racing, although it is a compliment the level of rider in their system, it may be becoming a problem.

Ray Archer

They have the premier motocross series in the world with MXGP but despite that, America is still a young riders preferred destination thanks to the glamour of it all and, with the success of the Lawrences, Vialle, Ferrandis and now Prado moving, it gives the next generation belief they can succeed too adding even more motivation to get there.

Ironically, the MXGP system with the diverse tracks and EMX is so good it’s creating technical riders so well rounded that even without prior supercross experience they can go to the USA and succeed. EMX and MX2 is the breeding ground for not just MXGP but now US motocross and supercross.

Enjoy the Coenen’s America, another two exceptionally talented brothers are coming your way!