EMX 125 and EMX 250 European Championship:
Benistat and Farres victorious in the sand of Belgium
The first burst of action in Lommel, Belgium, saw Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing’s Thibault Benistant make a return to the top of the box in the EMX250 class, as he looked for every advantage over his championship rival Mattia Guadagnini of Husqvarna Maddii Racing Junior.
Meanwhile in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing category, it was Guillem Farres of RFME GASGAS MX Junior Team, who took his very first overall victory of the season, with a fifth and a race win!
The European Championship riders were the first to test out the changes made to the circuit here in Lommel, to kick off this weekend’s races. Today’s races, along with the next two rounds coming up, are vital for the EMX pilots as they give their final push for top championship positions, and in the case of Benistant and Guadagnini, fight it out for the title.
As the gate dropped for the opening race of the day, all eyes were on the championship rivals Thibault Benistant and Mattia Guadagnini of Husqvarna Maddii Racing Junior, as Benistant grabbed the holeshot and led Marcel Conijn, Jorgen-Matthias Talviku and Gianluca Facchetti of Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing. Though Facchetti didn’t hold on to the position, as he crashed out and re-joined the race way down the order and eventually did not finish the opening heat. Kay De Wolf of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing had a good jump out of the gate, but a couple of corners later dropped it and as a result was way down the order in the beginning of the race. Benistant, Conijn and Talviku led the opening laps, as Guadagnini fought his way up to fifth and set his sights on Tim Edberg who was just ahead. A few laps later and Edberg crashed out of fourth, which allowed Guadagnini and Hakon Fredriksen of Yamaha SM Action MC Migliori J1 Racing through. Talviku then took second from Conijn, with Guadagnini doing the same not too long after, to move into the top three. Benistant then led the race by 6.560 seconds. Knowing how vital every point is at this stage in the championship, Guadagnini continued to push forward as he squeezed past Talviku to take second. Benistant then responded by setting the fastest lap of the race, a 2:06.072 as he extended his lead to 10.625 seconds. Though Guadagnini wasn’t going to give in easy, as he set his personal best lap of the race towards the end, taking three seconds out of the race leader. The Italian then worked away at the gap, to shrink it even further, but with just 2 laps to go, made a mistake which was the deciding moment of the race. Eventually, Benistant went on to win the opening race, with Guadagnini finishing second and Fredriksen third.
In the second EMX250 race it was Guadagnini who grabbed the holeshot from Talviku and Benistant. He didn’t hold on to the lead for long, as a small mistake cost him valuable positions and saw him drop down to 6th. Talviku then led the race, with Benistant and Oriol Oliver second and third. Guadagnini though was making quick moves as he passed two riders in a single lap to get into 4th. On lap 3, Benistant then took the lead from Talviku, with Guadagnini looking to do the same as he set the fastest lap of the race, to bring the gap down to 4 seconds between himself and the pair in front of him. Meanwhile De Wolf was edging closer to Oliver for fourth place. Guadagnini then caught and passed Talviku, with the Estonian then losing two spots to De Wolf and Oliver. Back at the front though, Benistant had an impressive 14.617 second lead as 9 minutes plus 2 laps remained.
Guadagnini and De Wolf then battled amongst themselves, with the pair coming together at one point, with the factory Husqvarna rider going through on the Italian to steal 2nd place. And he didn’t hold on to it for long, as he crashed a couple of corners after the finish jump, which allowed Guadagnini back into P2. With 3 laps to go, Benistant was already 32 seconds ahead, so the battle heated up behind him as De Wolf caught onto the rear wheel of Guadagnini once again. In the end, it was Benistant who was victorious, with Guadagnini holding on to second and De Wolf finishing third.
In terms of the podium, Benistant had the perfect day, taking two race wins as well as the overall victory, along with the red plate as he continues to lead the championship by 24 points over Guadagnini, who was second overall and Fredriksen getting his turn on the podium once again, as he took to the third step of the podium.
EMX250 – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 29:38.518; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:11.720; 3. Hakon Fredriksen (NOR, Yamaha), +0:20.408; 4. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, Husqvarna), +0:29.392; 5. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:53.802; 6. Bastian Boegh Damm (DEN, KTM), +0:55.832; 7. Marcel Conijn (NED, KTM), +0:56.676; 8. Rick Elzinga (NED, KTM), +1:18.899; 9. Albin Gerhardsson (SWE, Husqvarna), +1:20.550; 10. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, Kawasaki), +1:26.653.
EMX250 – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 30:30.524; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:29.958; 3. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:30.496; 4. Hakon Fredriksen (NOR, Yamaha), +0:45.403; 5. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, Husqvarna), +0:46.847; 6. Marcel Conijn (NED, KTM), +0:55.859; 7. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +0:57.120; 8. Emil Weckman (FIN, Honda), +1:00.340; 9. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), +1:06.708; 10. Tim Edberg (SWE, Yamaha), +1:08.121.
EMX250 – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 50 points; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 44 p.; 3. Hakon Fredriksen (NOR, YAM), 38 p.; 4. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 36 p.; 5. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, HUS), 34 p.; 6. Marcel Conijn (NED, KTM), 29 p.; 7. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), 24 p.; 8. Bastian Boegh Damm (DEN, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Albin Gerhardsson (SWE, HUS), 21 p.; 10. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, HUS), 17 p.
EMX250 – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 376 points; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 352 p.; 3. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 272 p.; 4. Hakon Fredriksen (NOR, YAM), 253 p.; 5. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, HUS), 235 p.; 6. Tim Edberg (SWE, YAM), 212 p.; 7. Lorenzo Locurcio (VEN, KAW), 193 p.; 8. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), 173 p.; 9. Meico Vettik (EST, KTM), 137 p.; 10. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, YAM), 134 p.
EMX250 – Manufacturers Classification: 1. Yamaha, 405 points; 2. Husqvarna, 402 p.; 3. KTM, 332 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 204 p.; 5. Honda, 47 p.
The opening race of the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing category saw Haakon Osterhagen of Creymert Racing who grab the holeshot, as he led RFME GasGas MX Junior Team’s David Braceras and Radek Vetrovsky from JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team. It didn’t take long for Braceras to take the lead, as he passed Osterhagen on the opening lap. Meanwhile the championship leader, Andrea Bonacorsi of Fantic Racing was down in 20th. Vetrovsky then had a big moment as he crashed out of third place. He did not re-join the race. Osterhagen then also crashed out, as he dropped from P2 to P10. Braceras then held a nice 4 second gap to Florian Miot of KTM DIGA Junior Racing, with Rasmus Pedersen of W-Z Racing just behind in third at the time. Miot then started to close in on the race leader, as he brought the gap down to 1.5 seconds. The pair needed to be careful as W-Z Racing’s Max Palsson made his way up into third and was all over the back of the two, which meant that there was no room for error. And Palsson continued to apply the pressure for a few laps until he managed to squeeze past Miot for P2. The battle for second gave Braceras a big more breathing room as he was able to get his head down and focus. Towards the end of the race he had a 6.711 second lead to Miot, who was able to pass Palsson back and that’s how the top 3 remained until the chequered flag dropped.
The start of the second race was a repeat of the first one as Osterhagen claimed another holeshot. He led Scott Smulders of No Fear/Jumbo BT Racing Team, Farres and Cas Valk of TBS Conversions Racing Team who got a fantastic start. Osterhagen immediately pulled a 4.7 second lead to the group, while race one winner, Braceras, was down in 6th on the opening lap. Bonacorsi got a much better start in the second heat as he was already up in 3rd place within the first few laps, as he passed Smulders and Valk. Farres then took the lead from Osterhagen, as he set his best lap of the race, a 2:11.321, as Osterhagen made a small mistake but managed to keep it on two wheels. Bonacorsi though needed to work on the large gap between him and the top 2. Further down the order, Braceras was coming under pressure from Palsson for P4, as Farres extended his lead to 9.539 seconds with 10 minutes plus 2 laps on the clock. And Palsson was charging, as he passed Braceras, though the Spaniard responded immediately. The two then went at it for a little while longer, before Palsson was able to make the pass stick. Miot then went after Braceras, though the GasGas rider was able to get back around the Frenchman a few laps later towards the end of the race. Meanwhile, Palsson continued his journey forward as he passed Bonacorsi for third place, which also got him on the podium. In the end though it was Farres who took his first race win of the year, while Osterhagen crossed the line in second and Palsson finishing third.
The EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing saw Guillem Farres take his first overall win, while his teammate David Braceras finished second and Max Palsson third. In terms of the championship, Andrea Bonacorsi continues to lead the series with a steady 44-point advantage over Braceras, while Meico Vettik is a further 12 points down in third.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. David Braceras (ESP, GASGAS), 30:20.905; 2. Florian Miot (FRA, KTM), +0:05.604; 3. Max Palsson (SWE, KTM), +0:07.386; 4. Meico Vettik (EST, KTM), +0:07.891; 5. Guillem Farres (ESP, GASGAS), +0:13.870; 6. Haakon Osterhagen (NOR, KTM), +0:14.664; 7. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, Fantic), +0:15.543; 8. Martin Venhoda (CZE, KTM), +0:21.718; 9. Scott Smulders (NED, Husqvarna), +0:22.185; 10. Kay Karssemakers (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.597.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Guillem Farres (ESP, GASGAS), 31:20.517; 2. Haakon Osterhagen (NOR, KTM), +0:08.231; 3. Max Palsson (SWE, KTM), +0:14.553; 4. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, Fantic), +0:19.860; 5. David Braceras (ESP, GASGAS), +0:32.772; 6. Florian Miot (FRA, KTM), +0:34.417; 7. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), +0:36.682; 8. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, KTM), +0:43.350; 9. Kay Karssemakers (NED, Yamaha), +0:51.886; 10. Sampo Rainio (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:52.829.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing – Overall Top 10 Classification: 1. Guillem Farres (ESP, GAS), 41 points; 2. David Braceras (ESP, GAS), 41 p.; 3. Max Palsson (SWE, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Haakon Osterhagen (NOR, KTM), 37 p.; 5. Florian Miot (FRA, KTM), 37 p.; 6. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, FAN), 32 p.; 7. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), 23 p.; 8. Kay Karssemakers (NED, YAM), 23 p.; 9. Andrea Roncoli (ITA, HUS), 18 p.; 10. Scott Smulders (NED, HUS), 18 p.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing – Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, FAN), 262 points; 2. David Braceras (ESP, GAS), 218 p.; 3. Meico Vettik (EST, KTM), 206 p.; 4. Max Palsson (SWE, KTM), 188 p.; 5. Pietro Razzini (ITA, HUS), 186 p.; 6. Guillem Farres (ESP, GAS), 173 p.; 7. Andrea Roncoli (ITA, HUS), 164 p.; 8. Valerio Lata (ITA, KTM), 147 p.; 9. Quentin Marc Prugnieres (FRA, KTM), 141 p.; 10. Saad Soulimani (FRA, KTM), 126 p.
EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing – Manufacturers Classification: 1. KTM, 299 points; 2. Fantic, 262 p.; 3. GASGAS, 252 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 235 p.; 5. Yamaha, 165 p.