EMX Quad European Championship:
the title stays with Saar
Last round for the EMX Quad European Championship in Kaplice, Czech Republic.
A short four-round season with twelve races was nonetheless a good enough platform to deliver outstanding racing between the top two protagonists.
Behind them there were equally tight finishes as several top quad exponents threatened their supremacy. The Kaplice track lent itself to the Quad brigade very well, and speeds were high. A good crowd watched both days, with qualifying and three races to entertain them.
The timed session to determine the gate was initially a four-way scrap between Kevin Saar, Christopher Tveraen, Joakim Granli and Rick Haverdil. The Dutchman sat out the final six minutes, giving the Polish rider Roman Gwiazda the chance to squeeze into fourth fastest. Lap times were faster than the sidecars, but that is the norm given the four-wheeled configuration and only one man aboard. It was close at the finish, but the Estonian Saar would start his title defence here in Kaplice from pole position.
This looked like being a Saar benefit and that proved to be the case. He got the holeshot from Joakim Granli and Rick Haverdil. Chris Tveraen and young Miro Cappucio came next. Tveraen was swiftly through to second and looked like closing on the race leader.
He did in fact close Kevin Saar down, but then as he made a chasing move, he lost control over a series of ripples and crashed heavily, breaking the front suspension off the left side. That was game over, and virtually all hope of the title went in that moment.
After that, Saar simply pulled away every lap, with the field strung out behind. It became interesting again, when the Polish rider Roman Gwiazda closed own first Zdenek Polacek and then Haverdil. Gwiazda got the bit between his teeth and was right behind Cappucio in third place at the finish. Norwegian Joakim Granli did a great job to finish in second, behind Kevin Saar. The winning margin for the defending champion was a huge fifty-seven seconds.
Then legislation intervened, and both Granli and Gwiazda were penalised five places for excessive noise.
1. Kevin Saar (Yamaha), 2. Mira Romeo Cappuccio (Yamaha) 3. Rick Haverdil (Honda), 4. Jan Brhel (Yamaha), 5. Zdenek Olacek (Husqvarna), 6. Jakub Kostalecky (Yamaha), 7. Joakim Granli (Honda), 8. Adam Tucek (Yamaha), 9. Roman Gwiazda (Yamaha), 10. Tomasz Jamrozy (Honda).
It looked like a holeshot for Saar, but Joakim Granli had other ideas. He flew past the champion on the first downhill drop to grab the lead. Saar slotted into second, with Haverdil in the mix too. Another catastrophe for Tveraen came to be when he and Roman Gwiazda became locked together at the start and were at least fifty seconds getting separated. Meanwhile, Saar had shot past Granli and set about opening a gap at the front. Lapping around two seconds quicker, he steadily pulled away with Granli doing a great job in second.
Behind, Haverdil held third, with a great scrap for fourth between Zdenek Polacek, David Susa and Jan Brhel. This went on for several laps with Cappuccio also closing at one point.
Next time around, Chris Tveraen was hurtling through the field and demolishing places before him. He was eventually to claim fourth from the back of the grid. This was small consolation for what was turning out to be a bad weekend.
The title had gone, and second place was now coming under threat from Haverdil.
1. Saar, 2. Granli, 3. Haverdil, 4. Tveraen, 5. Susa, 6. Brhel, 7. Kostelecky, 8. Jamrozy, 9. Gwiazda, 10. Cappuccio.
It was another flying start for Kevin Saar aiming to put the gloss on his show. For thirty minutes he did just that ahead of Chris Tveraen, Joakim Granli and the chasing bunch.
A massive start-line crash took out Rick Haverdil on the narrow run to the first turn. His bike cartwheeled down the straight and he was given medical attention trackside. His third place in the standings was now at risk from Joakim Granli with the Norwegian being in such good form. He was involved in fighting off Czech rider Jan Brhel and the young German Cappuccio throughout the race. He managed to bring it home into second place behind Christopher Tveraen who inherited first place when Saar went out.
For lap after lap Saar had extended the gap by virtue of faster lap times every time over the line. Then on the penultimate lap disaster struck when his transmission failed, and he was side-lined.
His winning points margin was safe, having clinched the EMX Quad European Championship title in race 2.
1. Tveraen, 2. Granli, 3. Brhel, 4. Cappuccio, 5. Gwiazda, 6. Susa, 7. Tucek, 8. Jamrozy, 8. Polacek, 10. Prochazka.
1. Granli, 2. Saar, 3. Bhrel, 4. Cappuccio, 5. Tveraen.
1. Saar 274, 2. Tveraen 235, 3. Haverdil 201, 4. Granli 199, 5. Gwiazda 157, 6. Cappuccio 130, 7. Jamrozy 96, 8. Brhel 91, 9. Phoelich 91.