EMX125 & EMX250: Who impressed in Latvia?
The Latvian GP that took place at the technical, sandy Kegums track held the first round of the EMX125 championship and the second round of the EMX250 championship. The fans got plenty of European action over the course of the weekend to get their money’s worth.
Heading into the first round, Jago Geerts was a clear favourite for the win. As he was favourite he did have a bit of pressure to deal with. No matter how good you are , the first round of the year is always an interesting one to see were you are at within the class. Jago certainly didn’t disappoint and went 1-1 to get the overall win. The weekend couldn’t have went any better for the young Belgian kid. He simply dominated the second on his Sahkar KTM – it’s going to be tough for anyone to beat him!
There are so many fast kids in the EMX125 class so it’s hard to predict who will end up on the box. However, Zachery Pichon, son of ex world champion Mickeal kicked his season off in style! Zach’s weekend started off great by setting the quickest time of the weekend in qualification. He took the holeshot in the first moto and was leading before he came under pressure from Geerts. He then had a small crash but he got back up to end up a fantastic second place in the first moto of the year. He backed this up with a strong fourth place in the second moto. Second overall for the first round of the year, the weekend could not have gone any better. This will do his confidence a world of good, he will be a lot stronger in hard pack. As the season progresses and he keeps gaining confidence he is capable of challenging for race wins.
Dutch talent, Roan van de Moosdijk suffered from a bad start in the first moto. He showed great speed on his DP19 Yamaha machine and worked his way up to fourth by the end of the moto. A better start in the second moto helped him as he went one better for third – Rubini was too strong for him in second. Third overall is a good start for the Dutch kid. If he can get better starts he is another that could challenge for race wins. With his rookie year behind him he already looks much stronger in the 2016 season.
One rider that really surprised me at the first round of the series has to be Andrea Zanotti. The Italian kid rode the best EMX race of his career so far. He went sixth and seventh in the moto’s for fourth overall. That is a massive improvement as last year at times he was struggling to qualify. He rode a DP19 Yamaha last year but has switched to KTM for the 2016 season. It looks like he has really stepped it up over winter and this will give him the world of confidence.
Two riders that deserve a shout out for their speed are Marcel Stauffer and Pierre Goupillon. Marcel was running sixth in the first moto before a crash – he was second best placed rookie. He was not one of the rookies I was expecting to be that fast so watch out for him! Frenchie, Goupillon has the speed to run at the front but had some shocking starts, when he sorts them out he will be one to look out for as the season progresses.
During the first round at Valkenswaard, Thomas Kjer Olsen was riding with an illness but he rode well. You got the feeling he could do more if he was 100% though and he proved it this weekend. Thomas didn’t have a great start in the first moto, he was fifth after the first lap but he rode very impressive! He was so aggressive, took no prisoners and took a great victory. The second race he didn’t get it as easy because Kevin Wouts put up a good fight but Olsen took both the victories. He now has the red plate heading into round three.
Suzuki’s Bas Vaeseen didn’t have the best 2015 season but he has had a much better start in the class during the 2016 season. He has been working with Stefan Everts and it is pretty clear that is bringing him on leaps and bounds. Bas secured second overall and his first EMX250 podium, it will be interesting to see if he can keep this level of riding in hard pack conditions.
BUD Kawasaki’s latest signing from America, Darian Sanayei rode well at the Latvian circuit all weekend. He was solid in the first moto ending up in sixth. A much improved second moto for the American ending up in third, this gave him third overall. Darian hasn’t been back on the bike all that long so he should continue to build on his speed as the season progresses. It will be interesting how he adapts to the tricky hard pack conditions when the series hits those type of tracks.
Just how fast is Hunter Lawrence? The kid has it all! He made a silly mistake on the first lap off the first race. He was way outside the top twenty but rode like a demon possessed and got back to fourth – that is not easy in such a stacked class. Luck wasn’t on his side this weekend as he was caught up in a first corner pile up so he started dead last. Hunter worked his way through the pack and ended up in seventh at the chequered flag. This kid has so much speed and seriously could be Australians next world champion if he continues to progress.
Article: Andy McKinstry