EMX125 & EMX250: Who impressed in Valkenswaard?
Last year was Mikkel Haarup’s rookie year in the class and he had a good year as rookie to finish the series in seventh. He has clearly put the hard work in over the winter and he looks like a new rider in 2017. The Danish kid simply dominated the EMX125 class at the first round winning the moto’s by thirteen and twenty-six seconds respectively. It looks like he is going to take some stopping for the championship.
Sand isn’t Brian Moreau’s favourite terrain being from France, a top five result would have been good for him at the first round but he showed some really good speed in the sand. He finished the moto’s in second and third to clinch second overall on his BUD Kawasaki. When the series hits hard pack he will be hoping to be Haarup’s main championship contender.
Rounding off the podium with a third overall was Spanish talent, Sergi Notario. This is his third season in the EMX125 class and if the first round was anything to go by then he will be a front runner in the class over the course of the season. The podium will give him plenty of confidence heading into round two at Kegums.
MJC Yamaha rider, Tim Edberg seemed to love the Valkenswaard circuit. He had an average start in the first moto just outside the top five but he charged through the field to take second which was an excellent result. He got a worse start in the second moto down in tenth but managed to work his way up to sixth before making a mistake with four laps to go when he lost a position meaning he had to settle for seventh. The ex EMX150 competitor had a great weekend but will be disappointed to have just missed out on the podium.
It is a rookie year for the talented Austrian, Rene Hofer in the EMX125 class. He broke his finger a few weeks ago and on the Thursday before Valkenswaard he tried to ride but was in some pain. However, he decided to ride and that turned out to be a great decision. He got a disastrous start in the first moto outside the top twenty but he worked his way into ninth at the end of the moto which is very impressive considering it’s his rookie year in the class. In the second moto he was in seventh position battling with Edberg and Facchetti. Unfortunately, he crashed and went back to twelfth but he got back to tenth by the end of the moto. Considering Hofer was riding in a bit of pain due to his broken finger, he is certainly one to look out for as he is immensely talented.
After finishing third overall at round one, Miro Sihvonen was even better at the second round in Valkenswaard which shouldn’t come as a surprise, Valkenswaard is a track he has performed well at in the past. In both moto’s he didn’t get the best of starts as he was down in sixth but on both occasions, he could come through the pack to go 1-1 on the day. He now has the championship lead heading into round three, he could be a hard man to stop taking championship glory.
Nick Kouwenberg isn’t a stranger to the podium as he won the EMX250 title back in 2015. However, he didn’t have a good season in 2016 on his JTech Honda. He has now switched to the Yamaha and is filling in for the SDM-Corse team due to their injuries. During round two he finished both moto’s in third to take second overall, he is still chasing after that win though but it might not be too long in coming.
After winning a moto and finishing second overall at the first round in front of his home crowd, Morgan Lesiardo had another good weekend in the sand of Valkenswaard. He looks to be the surprise package of the 2017 season as he finished third overall during the second round. A lot of Italian’s struggle in the sand but Morgan seems to have been putting in the hard work. Fourth and tenth in the moto’s was good enough to take third overall. He also sits second in the championship, if he keeps up this consistency he could certainly challenge for the title!
It was good to see two Brits in the top ten at Valkenswaard. Mel Pocock was heading for a place on the box with a third overall but he crashed with a few laps to go. However, sixth overall is still a very positive result. Privateer, Micky Eccles put in a superb performance during the second moto to cross the line in a brilliant fourth spot. Unfortunately, he had a problem in race one which meant he had a DNF. The fourth place in the second moto will definitely help his confidence as he beat a lot of top talent in the class. If he can keep up those kind of performances plenty of teams could be in the hunt for his signature.
Pics: Nigel McKinstry