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EMX series lights up Latvia

The second and opening rounds of the EMX250 and EMX Open European Championships have concluded here in Kegums, Latvia.

Following a long five-month break, the European Championships made their return with the EMX250 and EMX Open races that saw the first international gate-drop today. The intense sun made for hot and tricky conditions that tested even the best riders, though what made it better was the presence of fans that were keen on cheering on their favourite riders from the public area.

In the opening EMX250 race it was Tom Guyon who got a flying jump of out the gate and reached the first corner in pole position. He then led the rest of the European 250 riders until lap five when Koen Gouwenberg briefly moved into first place for one lap.

By the following lap Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing’s Thibault Benistant was comfortably in the lead as he opened up a nice gap between himself and the rider in second Tim Edberg. Benistant clearly took to the hard sand of Kegums as he led the rest of the race until the chequered flag dropped on lap 15.

Isak Gifting also had a strong race finishing 13.020 seconds behind the race winner as he fought his way from 4th to 2nd during the race. The top 5 consisted of Jorgen-Matthias Talviku of ASA United Husqvarna Team and the Husqvarna Junior Racing Maddii rider Mattia Guadagnini who was 5th in the first race.

In race two, it was Vettik Meico, Bastian Boegh Damm from WZ Racing, Tom Guyon and Mattia Guadagnini who were flying out of the gate and were the top 4 riders in the very beginning of the race. Though Boegh Damm didn’t waste any time and was the official race leader by the first official lap.

Guadagnini was also making his way to the front as he fought his way up to second and then set his sights on the #403 of Boegh Damm. The Danish rider did well to fend off the former 125cc Junior World Champion until lap 5 when Guadagnini became the new race leader.

As Guadagnini moved into the lead, Benistant was also making moves as he made a pass on Talviku and then Boegh Damm. While in second, the Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing rider then focused his energy on the leader as he chased his second race win and the overall.

In the last three laps the heat was on, as Benistant applied the pressure on Guadagnini who did his best to make his way around the back markers while holding onto  1st place. Benistant gave it his all, pushing the limits in the hope of passing the Italian rider, though on the last lap, a small mistake cost him the potential of a 1-1 result, as Guadagnini crossed the line in P1, just 0.582 seconds ahead of the Frenchman.

Talviku reached the chequered flag in 3rd, ahead of Gifting and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Kay de Wolf who were 4th and 5th.

Overall it was Benistant who took the round victory with a 1-2 result, with Guadagnini in 2nd and Gifting rounding out the EMX250 podium for round two of the series. With Boeg Damm not picking up any points this weekend, Benistant also became the new EMX250 Championship leader.

A 13-14 result gave local rider Tomass Sileika P10 overall, while other Latvian riders including the likes of Mairis Pumpurs and Rainers Zuks finished P23 and P26.

Thibault Benistant: “It has been a really nice weekend, with two bad starts but with two nice comebacks. The second race was a little bit too short for me to take the win, but it’s good I take the important one so it’s really good for the championship, I need to keep focused to take the big points”

Mattia Guadagnini: “It has been a very good day, I started good with the qualifying. The first race I had a really bad start and then after one lap I was around 10th and I had a small crash so I came back from deep in the group but I was pushing very hard and I finished 5th. In the second race I had a good start, I tried to stay as close as possible to Boegh Damm and then I passed him for the lead and then in the last few laps Thibault was very fast and I had no more energy but I pushed to take the win”.

Isak Gifting: “This is my second podium and it has been a really good day. I’m glad to be back racing and of course to end up on the podium is great and couldn’t be much better. I made some mistakes in the second race but overall I am very happy to be back”.

EMX250 – Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), 30:37.600; 2. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), +0:13.020; 3. Tim Edberg (SWE, Yamaha), +0:18.921; 4. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, Husqvarna), +0:26.499; 5. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:31.619; 6. Meico Vettik (EST, KTM), +0:41.318; 7. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:44.264; 8. Hakon Fredriksen (NOR, Yamaha), +0:46.918; 9. Filip Olsson (SWE, Husqvarna), +0:47.579; 10. Lion Florian (GER, KTM), +0:59.190.

EMX250 – Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), 30:47.304; 2. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:00.582; 3. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, Husqvarna), +0:26.037; 4. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), +0:32.021; 5. Kay de Wolf (NED, Husqvarna), +0:37.570; 6. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), +0:49.366; 7. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, Yamaha), +0:59.367; 8. Tim Edberg (SWE, Yamaha), +1:00.528; 9. Oriol Oliver (ESP, KTM), +1:03.251; 10. Maximilian Spies (GER, Husqvarna), +1:07.194.

EMX250 – Top 10 Overall Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 47 points; 2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 41 p.; 3. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, HUS), 38 p.; 5. Tim Edberg (SWE, YAM), 33 p.; 6. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 30 p.; 7. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), 25 p.; 8. Lorenzo Locurcio (VEN, KAW), 19 p.; 9. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, YAM), 16 p.; 10. Tomass Sileika (LAT, KTM), 15 p.

EMX250 Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 79 points; 2. Isak Gifting (SWE, KTM), 74 p.; 3. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 68 p.; 4. Jorgen-Matthias Talviku (EST, HUS), 61 p.; 5. Kay de Wolf (NED, HUS), 58 p.; 6. Bastian Boegh Damm (DEN, KTM), 50 p.; 7. Lion Florian (GER, KTM), 41 p.; 8. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 39 p.; 9. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), 36 p.; 10. Tim Edberg (SWE, YAM), 33 p.

EMX250 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 90 points; 2. Yamaha, 84 p.; 3. Husqvarna, 81 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 20 p.;

Main Photo: Thibault Benistant

Bottom Photos: 1. Mattia Guadagnini; Isak Gifting

The first EMX Open race saw some drama in the first corner, as a small group of riders came together causing a small pile-up, all while Simeo Ubach was the rider in the lead. Though a couple of corners later, it was Mads Sjoholm from BVZ Racing Team who was the official race leader ahead of the JWR Honda Racing rider Cornelius Toendel, Karel Kutsar and the local rider Toms Macuks of Rodeo Racing Team.

Couple of laps later and Toendel fought his way into P1 and was then the new leader of the race. 2nd at the time was Sjoholm, while Kutsar was the 3rd rider in tow.

By lap 7, Toendel was coming under pressure from Kutsar, who eventually made a pass on the #302. It didn’t take long for Macuks to sense his opportunity for higher positions, and while being cheered on by the local crowd, he was able to find a way past Toendel and set his sights on the win.

On the last lap of the race, a mistake from Kutsar allowed Macuks to get close and eventually passed the Estonian to secure the first race win of the EMX Open championship.

Race 2 saw Lithuanian Domantas Jazdauskas with a quick reaction out of the gate, as he led the rest of the pack into the first corner. Jazdauskas was able to hold on to the lead for a couple of corners before being passed by Kutsar who was keen to run away with the win in race 2.

Though it didn’t take long for Macuks to catch them both, as he passed Jazdauskas and Kutsar by lap 4 and was once again in the lead. He then held a comfortable lead until the end of the race, as he finished 09.040 second ahead of Kutsar, who was followed by the SKS Husqvarna Team pilot Miro Sihvonen who finished in P3. Andero Lusbo was once again 4th in the race and Kim Savaste of 137 Motorsport finished in the top 5.

On the podium it was local hero Toms Macuks who stood on the top step following a perfect day with a 1-1 result, followed by Karel Kutsar who finished second and Andero Lusbo, who’s consistency of a 4-4 result paid off, as he occupied the third step.

Local riders Karlis Kalejs and Arnolds Snikers finished 9th and 11th overall.

Toms Macuks: “Yeah of course a perfect weekend for me and I got the red plate, what can be better than that. I am looking forward to more races next week”.

Karel Kutsar: “Of course I am happy, in the second race I got a good start and then for a few laps I was the leader, then I got more tired in the middle of the race but tried to keep my rhythm to finish the race.

Andero Lusbo: “Today both races were very difficult, pretty heavy, I got tired a lot. In the final lap of the second race I pushed to the limit to secure the overall position”.

EMX Open – Race 1 – Classification top 10: 1. Toms Macuks (LAT, KTM), 30:11.878; 2. Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), +0:03.181; 3. Stefan Ekerold (GER, Suzuki), +0:47.813; 4. Andero Lusbo (EST, Husqvarna), +0:57.500; 5. Juuso Matikainen (FIN, Husqvarna), +1:09.514; 6. Domantas Jazdauskas (LTU, Husqvarna), +1:11.103; 7. Kim Savaste (FIN, KTM), +1:18.972; 8. Mads Sjoholm (DEN, KTM), +1:26.471; 9. Karlis Kalejs (LAT, Husqvarna), +1:29.802; 10. Miro Sihvonen (FIN, Husqvarna), +1:06.878.

EMX Open – Race 2 – Classification top 10: 1. Toms Macuks (LAT, KTM), 30:49.867; 2. Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), +0:09.040; 3. Miro Sihvonen (FIN, Husqvarna), +0:20.095; 4. Andero Lusbo (EST, Husqvarna), +0:21.352; 5. Kim Savaste (FIN, KTM), +0:21.764; 6. Stefan Ekerold (GER, Suzuki), +0:30.247; 7. Domantas Jazdauskas (LTU, Husqvarna), +0:47.737; 8. Karlis Kalejs (LAT, Husqvarna), +0:57.401; 9. Juuso Matikainen (FIN, Husqvarna), +1:07.554; 10. Greg Smets (BEL, KTM), +1:12.756.

EMX Open – Overall Classification top 10: 1. Toms Macuks (LAT, KTM), 50 points; 2. Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Andero Lusbo (EST, HUS), 36 p.; 4. Stefan Ekerold (GER, SUZ), 35 p.; 5. Miro Sihvonen (FIN, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Kim Savaste (FIN, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Domantas Jazdauskas (LTU, HUS), 29 p.; 8. Juuso Matikainen (FIN, HUS), 28 p.; 9. Karlis Kalejs (LAT, HUS), 25 p.; 10. Greg Smets (BEL, KTM), 21 p.

EMX Open – Championship – Top 10 Classification: 1. Toms Macuks (LAT, KTM), 50 points; 2. Karel Kutsar (EST, KTM), 44 p.; 3. Andero Lusbo (EST, HUS), 36 p.; 4. Stefan Ekerold (GER, SUZ), 35 p.; 5. Miro Sihvonen (FIN, HUS), 31 p.; 6. Kim Savaste (FIN, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Domantas Jazdauskas (LTU, HUS), 29 p.; 8. Juuso Matikainen (FIN, HUS), 28 p.; 9. Karlis Kalejs (LAT, HUS), 25 p.; 10. Greg Smets (BEL, KTM), 21 p.

EMX Open Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 50 points; 2. Husqvarna, 38 p.; 3. Suzuki, 35 p.; 4. Yamaha, 16 p.

Main Photo: EMX Open Start

Bottom Photos: 1. Toms Macuks; 2. Karel Kutsar