Quick thoughts: Lacapelle Marival International & Riola
- Riola never disappoints – a bumpy ride
Usually Riola is the location of the opening round of the International Italian series but this year the track hosted the second and final round and what a track it is. The deep sand track offers a very challenging and bumpy track for the riders which is great prep for the MXGP series. Whilst it might not be the best of prep for the opening round at Matterley Basin it’s still worthwhile as it’s an ideal place to prep for the sand tracks on the calendar and Riola itself is now included on the MXGGP calendar – what a welcome addition it has been.
- Gajser looking strong in the deep sand
During the opening round of the International Italian series, Tim Gajser had to share a moto win with Jeremy Seewer but only one week later the Slovenian looked even stronger and was able to deal with the threat of Jorge Prado with considerable ease. Not only was Gajser riding really well as he enjoyed the bumpy conditions but he nailed two holeshots – that is rare over Prado! It looks like Gajser has been working on his starts which could be key when the 2022 MXGP season gets underway. There’s no more pre season races scheduled for Gajser but he’ll head into Matterley Basin feeling confident.
- Simon Längenfelder continues his strong pre-season
The young German has been picked up by the de Carli GasGas team who always look to improve bright young talents and if pre-season is anything to go by it looks like Längenfelder might be the next one they’ll work their magic with. Längenfelder had the MX2 moto win in the bag until a backmarker crashed right in front of him leaving him nowhere to go and then in the superfinal he rode a solid race to finish seventh (third in MX2). Even though Guadagnini beat him in the superfinal you’d have to say that Längenfelder has had the better pre-season and we know how strong Guadagnini was last year and should be this year so look out for new kid on the team – he’s fast, talented and has the perfect team behind him!
- The Norwegians show their pace
It was a great day for the Norwegian riders who have a handful of bright young riders coming through at the moment which is incredible considering Norway isn’t exactly known for it’s Motocross talents. Cornelius Tøndel had a super day on his Fantic 2-stroke winning the MX2 race and being the first MX2 rider across the line in the superfinal. He’s riding a very high level at the moment and beat some MXGP riders which indicates how fast the pace will be at the front of the EMX250 pack in 2022.
His younger Norwegian team mate had a super day as well, Håkon Østerhagen who’s preparing for his rookie EMX250 season and is returning after a big injury last year finished third in the MX2 moto and backed that up with ninth in the Superfinal – this kid has a bright future if he can stay injury free and is already beating GP riders!
Håkon Fredriksen had really bad starts but came from twenty-fifth to fifth in the MX2 moto and finished tenth in the superfinal after another bad start. There’s no doubt that the 114 Motorsports Honda rider has a lot of speed.
Over at Lacapelle Marival International, Kevin Horgmo had a good day on his F&H Kawasaki finishing third and securing a podium beating the likes of Jago Geerts and Tom Vialle. Watch out for the fast Norwegians in 2022 whether it be in the EMX250 class or the MX2 World Championship – they’re coming!
- A dream 450cc Factory Yamaha debut for Maxime Renaux
As far as debut’s go it doesn’t get much better than that for Maxime Renaux. The reigning MX2 world champion went 1-1-1 at Lacapelle Marival International beating his team mate, Jeremy Seewer for the overall. We know there’s nothing wrong with Seewer’s pace as he beat Gajser in a moto last week so Renaux has clearly adapted really well to the 450cc already despite not having an awful lot of time on the bike – he should continue to improve! With Febvre and Herlings doubts for Matterley Basin, watch out for Renaux – whilst he might not be a championship contender he might be knocking on the door for some podium’s.
If we go back to three or four years ago, Renaux was going through a very tough time with injuries and it looked like he might not make it in the sport but what an example he is to younger riders. The MX2 World Champion in 2021 and he looks to have a lot of potential on the 450cc, let’s hope he can stay injury free but French fans should be excited for his future.
- Factory Husqvarna MX2 riders start the season with a bang
What a day it was for Kay de Wolf who dominated the MX2 class at the Lacapelle Marival International. This kid was born in the sand but he can certainly ride the hard pack conditions as well. It looks like he’s had a very strong winter and will now go into the season with a lot of confidence. This will be the first time since moving up from the 85cc that de Wolf won’t be a rookie either as he only stayed in the EMX125 and EMX250 championships for a year. The Dutch kid has had a big development in a short period of time and he’ll be looking to take an even bigger step in 2022 and if Lacapelle Marival is anything to go off – he could be right at the sharp end.
It’s a big year for Roan van de Moosdijk who was making his Factory Husqvarna debut in France and whilst he didn’t have enough to beat de Wolf he can be very happy about his debut going 2-2. Everyone knows how talented van de Moosdijk is but since moving up to MX2 he hasn’t fully unlocked his potential. Now he’s on the Factory Husqvarna, can he challenge for the title in 2022? Let’s see!
- Next up: Hawkstone International
The last pre season race takes place in the UK this weekend with Hawkstone International and it’s set to be a great day of racing. The MX2 class will especially be interesting with de Wolf, van de Moosdijk, Geerts and Vialle all in action plus many more – there should be plenty of battles. In MX1, Glenn Coldenhoff will contest his first race of the year against the likes of Pauls Jonass, Brian Bogers, Calvin Vlaanderen, Ben Watson and lots more – bring it on!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Main pic: MX July