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Spotlight on: The EMX2 Class

In the FIM Motocross World Championship, there are many storylines to follow. Will Jeffrey Herlings win every GP overall? Can Antonio Cairoli take his fifth successive world title? With questions such as this occupying the minds of most, the EMX2 class has been pushed to the side a little bit. But there are a couple of intriguing things going on in that feeder series also, especially for all of the British fans.

Whilst the primary MX1 and MX2 classes are struggling to fill the forty-man gate, the entries for the EMX2 class are coming in thick and fast. In many ways, the smaller European series is more beneficial to the riders than contesting the full MX2 World Championship, as the lower entry fee is much easier to accommodate for the privateer. Interestingly, Youthstream made the wise decision to switch up the format to give every rider a shot at success. After all, it’s a feeder series; why not give every rider that is worthy of a ride the chance to show what they are capable of?

So, the revised format splits the riders into groups of forty and sets them off into a semi-final to qualify for the main final, which gives the riders points towards the series standings. Quite a lot of riders do end up leaving the circuit without any points. But, at least they still get a lot of track time to learn and acquire knowledge of what it is like to ride at a GP, which is what it [the EMX2 class] is all about really. In the past, there has been some controversy, as a couple of the riders that have been booted out of the MX2 class (because of the age restriction rule) have elected to drop down to the feeder series rather than jump onto a big 450, Mike Kras is a prime example of this.

Now, the UEM EMX2 class is two rounds into the eight round series; at the moment Valentin Guillod is leading the title fight; he is eight points ahead of his biggest rival, Jeremy Seewer. I believe that the name Valentin Guillod should be familiar to you; the KTM rider did contest the full MX2 series, last year; he finished down in twenty-first in the standings. The European series can clearly be used to revitalise the career of a rider, as most will think that the rider is a potential title contender in the full MX2 World Championship. But, obviously he [Guillod] is not on a level good enough to contend [in the MX2 class] – evident by his previous results.

So, why do the British fans have something to cheer about in the EMX2 class? There a few young British riders that are hoping to open the eyes of most by completing the EMX2 class. Shall we look at how those riders’ seasons have gone thus far?

Jordan Booker (8th in the series): I am actually quite surprised by how well Jordan Booker has done in the EMX2 series thus far this year. Honestly, I am quite surprised that he is so high in the standings, as he has just a sixth and fifteenth to his name thus far. But, all of the riders in the series are quite young; you would expect there to be some inconsistency in the results. It would be interesting to see what he could do with a good start, as at both rounds he has had to fight his way through the pack; he hasn’t got the best equipment out there, which hinders him out the gate (more than likely).

Steven Clarke (13th in the series): Although he has completed just one of the two rounds that have been run thus far, Steven Clarke is already up into thirteenth in the series. However I’m not entirely sure whether he will complete the full series, so whether Steven can improve on that remains to be seen. In a way I expected him to do better than eighth at Ernée, as he has been very strong in the Maxxis British Championship since his return. But when you consider that he really is not familiar with tracks such as Ernée, it was an impressive ride.

Nathan Watson (25th in the series): Honestly, I did expect a bit more from the elder Watson brother, especially after his great rides in our domestic series. Perhaps this is an example of just how hard the transition to racing on the world stage is? However, there are six rounds still remaining; he has plenty of time to show what he can really do. Nathan scored his first points this year at Ernée, with a seventeenth; he is making progress!

Nathan Watson (25th in the series): Honestly, I did expect a bit more from the elder Watson brother, especially after his great rides in our domestic series. Perhaps this is an example of just how hard the transition to racing on the world stage is? However, there are six rounds still remaining; he has plenty of time to show what he can really do. Nathan scored his first points this year at Ernée, with a seventeenth; he is making progress!

Although the three mentioned above are the only British riders to have scored points so far, there is a handful of other British riders on-track trying to make the cut. Both Lewis Trickett, and Ben Watson made the final at Agueda (but failed to score points). Trickett has surprised me thus far; I did not expect him to be this good. However, these two didn’t qualify at Ernee this past weekend. Both Ryan Houghton and Adam Sterry have qualified at every round, but some bad luck has kept them outside of the points, thus far. I think that Sterry will be inside of the top twenty soon though – he has the speed. Although [Ben] Putnam and [Luke] Norris have been present at both Agueda and Ernée, they have not qualified for a final as of yet.

Evidently the EMX2 class is worth keeping an eye on, as there are things to follow. It may be worth following the feeder series, so that you know who to look out for when they arrive at Matterley Basin! The UEM EMX2 series will not be on-track in Maggiora this weekend; their next round is in just over two weeks time, at the Uddevalla circuit in Sweden.

Words by Lewis Phillips

Image courtesy of KTM Images/Ray Archer

MX Vice Editor || 25

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