Riders have reacted strongly to the announcement the EMX250 series will be limited to riders under age 23 next year. The EMX300 class will also be altered to have a maximum bike size of 250cc and be called EMX 2T, and there will remain no age limit to give riders too old to contest and MX2 championships somewhere to race.
This move to the under-23 rule for EMX250s as well as MX2 GPs affects riders like Brits Mel Pocock and Steven Clarke as well as Simone Furlotti, who are now too old to compete in the class but who had already sorted out deals for 2019.
Clarke posted on social media: “If you’re not going to ditch the age limit rule for MX2 like the rest of the world then why make this one limited to 23 also? This is OUR job/sport, and it seems like the riders are the only ones EVER getting shafted.”
The Youthstream and FIM’s statement says: ‘The European Championships were mainly created to help youth grow and help them prepare for MX2 and then MXGP and be competitive in these classes. This pyramid system is working well because together with this fact and by having the youth race on the same tracks and same weekends as MXGP and on tracks which are very technically demanding it has permitted all these riders to grow and implement their skills. Our pyramid system shows its success because it is without any doubt that today the MXGP and MX2 riders are the fastest in the world, and they all have come from the European Championships. We are seeing more and more riders competing in the European Championships who come from other continents to prepare themselves to become professional. We want this to continue and we strive to improve this. With the development of MX2 and MXGP and also of the European Championships, over the last few years we have seen some riders aged more than 23 remain or return to the EMX250 and this creates a problem for the young riders in this class to find a good team and to shine in this Championship. Therefore, for all these reasons, and in agreement with FIM-E a decision has been taken to create an age limit of 23 in EMX250 as of 2019. The goal of this Championship is to prepare young for the World Championship classes.’
On top of that, and for the same reason, the 2-stroke Championship is to be re-boosted and in 2019 it will have a new name (EMX 2t), with a new capacity of bike (250cc instead of 300cc) and without age limit in the way to welcome all the riders who are above the age limit for EMX250 and who are not at a level to compete in MXGP. This new class will be strongly promoted in order to give the riders and teams who will take part in it a great visibility.
In order to avoid confusion, from 2019 there will be an increase of the maximum age of the 250cc class in the Motocross of European Nations from 21 years old to 23 years old in order to make it the same maximum age as EMX250.
In the EMX85 class there will also be a slight modification to the age limit in the aim to keep things in line; from 2019 the maximum age will be reduced in the EMX85 championship to 14 years old, making it the same as the maximum age of the 85cc riders in the FIM Junior World Championship.
The Chairman of FIM-Europe MX Commission, Eddie Herd, said: “I firmly believe that this is the right way to go forward and improve the European Championships. FIM-Europe must continue to focus on the development of the youth and young riders, as it has in previous years, which will help secure the future of MX2 and MXGP.”