Who impressed: Lommel 2 – EMX125 & EMX250
What a season it’s been for young French talent, Thibault Benistant as he clinched the title at the last round of the series. Benistant is getting quite the CV as he now adds the EMX250 crown to his EMX125 title.
In the first race, Guadagnini was slowing the pace down at the front and tried to get under Benistant’s skin but the French rider reacted well and came home in second. The second moto was even rougher but that didn’t phase Benistant as dominated to clinch the title in style. The only mistake he made was after the race when he near wiped out a member of his team! For a number of years French talents have only excelled on hard pack but the latest generation have worked out that they need to ride sand and it’s nice to see them put in the effort! There’s no doubt that Benistant has a huge future ahead of him.
Just how good has Hakon Fredriksen been this year? The man is legit! In the first moto he was dead last and came back to fourth – he was passing riders left, right and centre, really impressive!
Fredriksen’s start in the second moto wasn’t great either but normal service was resumed for the Norwegian as he went to work. He passed his way into second and looked superb in the gnarly deep sand. Honestly, you could watch him ride those conditions all day. If he can stay fit and work on his hard pack riding – what a future he has.
He might be an EMX250 rookie but Jorgen-Matthias Talviku has had a really good season on the ASA United Husqvarna. Talviku went 3-7 to end up third overall and get on the box.
In the second moto, Talviku was very impressive as he came from way back to seventh which was a good recovery ride. The Estonian showed a lot this year in his rookie season finishing fifth in the championship – you would think he’ll be in demand for the 2021 season should he leave the ASA United team.
It’s a case of being so close but yet so far for Marcel Conijn who had a brilliant ride at the final round of the EMX250 series as he nearly landed a podium. The KTM privateer had the best seat in the house for the first moto as Guadagnini slowed the pace down, Conijn caught up but didn’t get involved before ending up fifth.
In the second moto, Conijn ended up fifth again and ended up fourth overall. That’s probably his most impressive display yet and he’ll be happy to end his EMX250 series on a high. In the end, Conijn finished a solid eleventh in the championship. He could well be another rider on many team’s list for the 2021 season.
After having a good weekend at Lommel 1, Albin Gerhardsson had an even better event at Lommel 2 with two consistent rides. It’s good to see what a bit of confidence and belief can do.
The Swede went 7-6 for fifth overall and can be very happy with the way he ended the season – that’s his best EMX250 ride so far in his career. He can now go into the 2021 season feeling good about his riding, if he can ride the same on hard pack he could become a consistent front rider should he contest the EMX250 class again.
It would be fair to say that Lommel 1 didn’t go the way that Lion Florian wanted but all you can do is put that out of your mind and improve at the next opportunity. The young German did exactly that as he had solid results at Lommel 2.
The WZ KTM rider is in his rookie season of the class and he tends to improve the more experience he gets. Florian went 8-11 in the moto’s for eighth overall. Fifteenth overall in his rookie season is solid and with another strong winter behind him there’s no reason why he can’t get plenty of top five results in 2021.
What a truly special day it was for Spanish talent, David Braceras. The GasGas rider knows what it takes to win a moto but he’s came up just short of winning quite a few times. That all changed at Lommel 2 though!
Braceras went 2-1 to take the overall win and make sure the championship chase goes all the way to Saturday for the final round. One thing that stands out about Braceras other than his speed is his determination, his improvement from three years ago has been nothing short of fantastic!
Young Norwegian talent, Hakon Osterhagen has a lovely style and is fun to watch, especially in the bumpy sand. Last year was his rookie year in the class and the improvement he’s shown since last season has been very impressive.
At Lommel 2, Osterhagen was sat in a comfortable second in moto one but crashed on the last lap demoting him down to eighth – frustrating! In moto two he rode really well to come home in third and 8-3 was enough for a podium in third overall. It’s a podium Osterhagen deserves – he just needs to cut out all the crashing! It’s also a welcome podium for the CreyMert KTM team who will be closing their doors after Lommel 3 on Sunday – they will be missed.
Unless your name is Antonio Cairoli then Italian riders don’t typically perform too well at Lommel. Andrea Roncoli and Pietro Razzini didn’t have a great weekend but they performed much better at Lommel 2 and will be happy with the improvement they showed. Roncoli ended up fifth overall and Razzini in sixth – it was a good day’s racing for the Italian pair.
Young Latvian, Karlis Alberts Reisulis is still a rookie in the class but lately has showed really good pace on his KTM. Reisulis enjoys the sand and you can tell he really enjoys the rough Lommel sand.
In the first moto, Reisulis came from thirteenth to eighth, a very good ride! Race two didn’t go quite as well but twelfth was good enough for eighth overall – he’s made big strides since the start of the season.
Young Russian, Nikita Kucherov is quite a hard rider to work out. At National level he’s fast and has won races at the ONK Dutch Championships beating a lot of top riders – he even beat Everts in a moto earlier in the season. When it comes to the EMX125 series, Kucherov doesn’t seem to be able to show the pace we know he has.
However, at Lommel 2, Kucherov was fast and could put two good moto’s together. 11-10 meant he ended up ninth overall and he’s certainly more than capable of those results. Perhaps a little more belief in himself is what he needs to run at the top ten on a more regular basis.
It wasn’t the perfect day for Scott Smulders after a disastrous first moto – after a crash he ended up twenty-third and outside the points. However, in the second moto he reminded everyone of his talents. He actually battled with Braceras for the win before finishing third – his best race in the EMX125 yet, a step in the right direction!
Words: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Infront Moto Racing