Two years after his EMX125 victory at Valkenswaard, Miro Sihvonen claimed another overall win in the EMX250. The 18-year old Finn recorded a trifecta of moto wins, overall victory and the red plate in EMX250 standings. After two of the nine-round series the KTM Diga Junior Racing rider leads the European MX250 Championship with 90 points, he holds a 20-point advantage over Italy’s Morgan Lesiardo. Simone Furlotti and Nick Kouwenberg trail by 27 points.
In the week leading up to the GP of Europe Sihvonen had felt a bit under the weather but this obviously didn’t affect his performance on the track too much. Although Sihvonen entered the race as one of the favourites he successfully maintained his composure on both race days. The Valkenswaard Eurocircuit had been modified ahead of the event, creating a much faster course. Already on Saturday it was clear that Miro was the guy too beat in the stacked EMX250 class. Starting from around twelfth place he quickly started to pass riders one by one. After only 4 laps Sihvonen had worked his way up to 3rd. It only seemed a matter of time before he would take control of the race. With 4 laps to go Miro passed his Spanish rival Ruben Fernandez to claim his first ever EMX250 race win.
In spite of a slightly better start Sihvonen still had his work cut out on Sunday. Rounding the first corner in 10th former junior World champion runner-up went on to deliver the second part of his sand riding clinic. While Miro needed a little bit of time to get up to speed the end result was the same. With 10 minutes to go Sihvonen guided his KTM 250 SX-F past leader Jago Geerts never to look back. Miro thus ensured himself of his first ever EMX250 overall win and his second podium of the season.
Sihvonen’s countrymen Roni Kytonen and Mattias Vesterinen fared less well in the Dutch sand. Kytonen placed 35th in the time practice of his group which relegated him to the Last Chance race. With 87(!) entrants in the category the going was extremely tough and Roni suffered a terrible getaway in his LCQ. Kytonen managed to make headway but the EMX250 rookie crossed the line 27th in the end.
The first EMX125 round saw a similarly big number of riders lining up. Matias Vesterinen qualified 25th in his timed session. However the young Finn had been in contention for a transfer spot for a long time in his LCQ. Disappointingly the 14-year old from Puntala had to settle for 7th in the end.
Miro Sihvonen: “I’m really happy with this victory! To win here in the way I did and to the take the lead in the championship is great. Especially because Valkenswaard is a home race for the team. I didn’t go into in the weekend with the goal to the take the red plate but it sure feels nice to be leading both championships, EMX250 and ADAC Youngster Cup, that I focus on! After the ADAC race next weekend we go to Kegums which is also a track that I enjoy a lot.
On Saturday morning I had some arm pump so I was struggling a bit in time practice. Two times I didn’t have the best of starts but I was able to do my own race. I just knew this was going to be my weekend. In the second moto a second place would have been enough for the overall so I wasn’t even particularly pushing but I sensed there was on opportunity. Perhaps because Jago had been spending a lot of energy. It was also positive that my riding was good although I still didn’t feel in the best shape and still suffered a soar throat.”
Roni Kytonen: “I never had a good feeling with the track here. I think I let the pressure get to me in time practice, I never had a good flow so I was too far off. We know what we have to do! Hopefully the Finnish championship race next weekend will help me to build some confidence before we go to Kegums. The good thing is that I’m feeling fine with the bike. I’m looking forward to turn things around!”
Matias Vesterinen: “Not a good weekend. In time practice the track was still slippery so not the easiest conditions. In the last chance race I suffered arm pump and I was not riding at the level I know I can. Maybe the cold I’m developing had something to do with that as well. When you can reach the race directly from qualifying you can ride with less pressure. So to qualify will be my first goal in Kegums and to get a better feeling in the race.”