Support classes are typically uninteresting, to be brutally honest. That is certainly not the case at a round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, however, as the various EMX classes feature some of the brightest talent from across the globe. The Grand Prix of Latvia acts as round three for the EMX250 riders and round two for those in EMX125.
EMX250 Time Practice
Seeing as a lot of the riders who are featured on the pre-entry list have not ventured across to Latvia, there was only one qualifying session this morning. A majority of the contenders are present, however, with the exception of Miro Sihvonen and Mel Pocock. Sihvonen attempted to ride this morning, but the shoulder that he injured at the ADAC MX Masters is not strong enough, whilst Pocock is focussed on retaining his lead in the Michelin MX Nationals.
Jago Geerts, who showed a lot of speed at the previous fixture, was impressive again this morning. The Belgian dominated free practice with a time that was more than three seconds quicker than anyone else, then topped the timed session also. One would presume that his race craft and fitness has improved considerably in recent weeks, so perhaps he should be looked at as the heavy favourite for the win? Everyone else seemed to slot in where you would expect them too, aside from Suzuki World MX2's prospect (Zachary Pichon). Anyway, based on the feedback we have received, we'll now provide a screenshot of the full results following each session. That can be viewed below.
EMX125 Qualifying Group One
The first of two EMX125 qualifying groups took place at the later time of 09:30 and, with slightly less riders than the first round, making the cut was not as much of a tall order. After watching Mikkel Haarup dominate at Valkenswaard two weeks ago, parity was rife in this first session. Haarup was still competitive, of course, but only registered the third-fastest time and faced a rather large gap to Kevin Horgmo, who currently sits fifth in the series standings.
Seeing as the numbers are a little different this time around, only the top fifteen from this session transferred straight to the motos. A final point to consider is that the rider in fourth, Krisztian Tompa, was one of the guys who was stung by the TM Satellite team earlier this year. Tompa is riding a Yamaha now, with the help of some personal sponsors.
EMX125 Qualifying Group Two
The second EMX125 session could be considered weaker than the first, although there were a handful of contenders present. Brian Strubhart-Moreau showed elements of consistency, as he built on his runner-up position at round one with the fastest time in this. The gap that he established was extremely impressive too! Does the name of the rider in second, Thibault Benistant, not ring a bell? That is because he was buried down in twenty-seventh overall at the first round, so this is quite the turnaround.
EMX250 Moto One
The first EMX250 moto, which took place at an earlier time, was all about Josiah Natzke. The New Zealander took a clear holeshot and then led every lap, but was challenged by Jago Geerts at points. A crash eventually restricted Geerts to fifth. Morgan Lesiardo and Ruben Fernandez went at it for second for much of the race, but the former eventually edged out his rival to take control of the position and series lead. No one could touch Natzke, however, as he romped to the first EMX250 moto win of his career. The turnaround is pretty remarkable, as he scored just five points through the first two rounds.
EMX125 Moto One
The EMX125 riders faced the toughest track on Saturday, as their first moto took place right at the end of the programme. Gianluca Facchetti took the holeshot in this first moto and led the first six laps, but then Brian Strubhart-Moreau slid through and controlled proceedings until the end. The series leader, Mikkel Haarup, advanced as high as sixth, but then a hard fall caused him to drop to twenty-fourth. ‘722' eventually salvaged four points with a seventeenth.
EMX125 Moto Two
Sergi Notario, who acquired a brace of fourths at the first EMX125 round, led the first six laps of the final EMX125 moto. At that point, however, Brian Strubhart-Moreau broke into the top spot. The race for the win was over at that point. It was actually a big weekend for the Frenchman, as he took control of the red plate and now sits on an advantage of eighteen points! Mikkel Haarup trails him, after advancing from fourth to third in this race.
EMX250 Moto Two
Jago Geerts finally put all of the pieces of the puzzle together in the final EMX250 encounter, as he took the lead from Josiah Natzke after one lap and then claimed his first victory since stepping up from the EMX125 division. Natzke never let him get away, however, as he sat just a couple of seconds down for a majority of the race. The runner-up position gave Natzke his first EMX250 overall win.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX