The real deal: Lucas Coenen – Story so far!
There has always been noise coming from Belgium about how talented the Coenen twins are but post 2021 they had done most their racing in Belgium and National championships without having too much EMX success. However, the 2021 season was a big turning point of their careers after contesting selected rounds of the EMX125 series in 2020, they signed a deal with French based team, BUD Kawasaki to race the full series.
This was a great move and 2021 was the year it started to click for the young talents. Lucas had to wait until round seven to win his first moto but after winning, he couldn’t stop and that’s been the story the last couple of years. He won five out of the final six moto’s that year which secured third in the EMX125 championship standings. To give you an idea of the improvement, the year before he didn’t even qualify for the first round of the EMX125 championship at Matterley Basin.
A decision had to be made towards the end of the 2021 season, stay in the EMX125 series or move up to the EMX250 after figuring out how to win at EMX125 level? Both twins ended up deciding to sign with the BT Husqvarna team to contest the EMX250 series. It’s a big step up having to adapt to the four-stroke and a very competitive EMX250 series which is stacked full off talent. They wouldn’t have been the first riders to struggle in their rookie season.
The decision was made and Lucas never looked back. Again, despite great speed it took him a while to win. He had to wait until round seven at his home Grand Prix in Lommel where he went 1-1 and from then on he couldn’t stop! He won seven out of the last eight moto’s to secure second in the championship.
Again, after a year that went better than what was probably expected: stay and fight for the EMX250 championship or move up to the MX2 World Championship? DIGA-Procross KTM had stepped up to sign both twins for their rookie GP season at just 16 years old but then the team closed their doors ahead of the season leaving a bit of uncertainty.
Austria clearly see the talent and the big improvement the pair have made the last two years though and decided to put Lucas under the Factory Nestaan Husqvarna awning with Sacha under the Factory KTM team.
The biggest step of all on the 250cc is making the move up to the MX2 World Championship and after learning at the opening rounds, Lucas is clearly one fast learner. At round seven he won his first moto and if it wasn’t for a broken chain would have won his first overall at round nine but he put that right in Indonesia a round later to win his first GP overall at the age of 16 years old.
Due to the EMX250 championship, we rarely see 16 year old’s win at the highest level these days as they mainly focus on their development in the EMX250 class – you have to be at the elite level to make the step up to MX2 and Lucas has showed just that – he’s a very fast learner and rides with a great efficient style. The last 16 year old to win an MX2 GP overall was a certain Jorge Prado back in 2017 and Coenen deserves the same sort of hype.
For the rest of the 2023 season it’s about building and continue to win as much as he can – it’s never easy to win but Coenen has shown in the past that once he figures it out he continues to do it. But going into 2024, there will be no doubt about it – he will go in as one of the championship favourites despite it being only his second year in the class. Fingers crossed he can avoid injury and continue to develop because what a future he could have in the sport.
One of the reasons behind fast tracking the EMX classes is because it’s thought the Coenen twins see their future in America so they might make the jump over to America in the next couple of years which would require more learning taking on Supercross. America themselves have the talented Haiden Deegan – what a mouth watering prospect that could be in the future with those two battling and who knows, we might even see it for the first time at this years MXoN.
We also must not forget about Sacha either who himself is very talented. He just needs to grow and gain strength then could be a front runner himself. The future is looking good for the Belgian’s!
Article: Andy McKinstry
Image: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing