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It was a big day for Italian riders Nicholas Lapucci of Fantic Factory Team Maddi and Valerio Lata of MRT Racing Team KTM, as the pair secured the crown in the EMX250 and EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Championships.
The newly crowned champions were able to revel in their success at the chequered flag of their first races, as Lapucci had enough of an advantage over his closest rival Kevin Horgmo of SM Action Racing Team YUASA Battery, despite the Norwegian winning the first EMX250 race, while Lata’s closest rival Bobby Bruceof ASA United GasGas Racing was forced out of the running due to a broken chain.
The crowning of the two champions today wrapped up the European Championships for the 2021 season, as two days ago we witnessed Fantic Factory Team Maddii’s Maximilian Spies also become the EMX2t Presented by FMF Racing Champion.
There were more than just the champions to celebrate as Riley Yamaha Racing’s Hakon Fredriksen secured his second overall victory of the season in EMX250, while in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing category 9MM Energy Drink Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Lucas Coenen did the same, going 1-1 for the second time in 2021.
In the first EMX250 race, it was Lapucci with the holeshot ahead of Yago Martinez, Jeremy Sydow of Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Maxime Grauand Horgmo.
Horgmo was quick to make some passes and get himself into third, as Martinez was looking to stay close to Lapucci by setting the fastest lap of the race. At that point the Spaniard was almost a second faster than the leader.
Martinez then went out of second as he dropped down to fifth, which meant that Horgmo moved up into his position. Rick Elzinga of TBS Conversions KTM was just behind the Norwegian looking to get around him.
Elzinga pushed Horgmo onto the rear wheel of Lapucci as the trio were separated by just three seconds. There was some close racing between them as Elzinga got around Horgmo, who immediately responded. It then took Elzinga a couple of more corners before he was able to make the pass stick.
Horgmo then had Fredriksen knocking on his door as he started to close in. And while the pair battled for third, Elzinga was able to get by Lapucci for the lead. Fredriksen was next to pass the Italian as Horgmo followed and did the same. Lapucci dropped to fourth.
Fredriksen then made a mistake which allowed Horgmo through. Meanwhile further down the order Grau crashed out of 10th.
In the closing stages of the race we saw a three-way battle for the win as Elzinga, Horgmo and Fredriksen went at it. Horgmo was first to make a move as he took over the lead, while Fredriksen also dived down the inside of Elzinga to push him down to third in a matter of moments.
The last three laps Fredriksen pushed Horgmo, but the GasGas rider was able to hold on and claim his third race win of the season. Fredriksen was second with Elzinga third and Lapucci fourth.
Despite winning the race, it was not enough for Horgmo to take the title fight down to the final race, as Lapucci crossed the finish line as the 2021 EMX250 Champion!
In race two, Lapucci secured yet another holeshot ahead of WZ Racing Team’s Mike Gwerder, Sydow, Grau and Fredriksen. Horgmo started the race down in eighth.
As Horgmo made his way up the order, he caught onto the back of Grau and while trying to find an opportunity to pass the Frenchman got taken down when his front wheel collided with the back wheel of Grau. He dropped down to 18th.
By that point Lapucci was already 4.885 seconds ahead of Gwerder who was fending off a hard-charging Fredriksen. While trying to stay ahead of the Norwegian, the Swiss crashed and eventually finished the race in 13th.
Fredriksen then set his fastest lap of the race as he looked to take time out of Lapucci, but it was not enough as the Italian was more than six seconds ahead and went on to extend his lead even further as Fredriksen settled into his position, while Elzinga was also having a lonely ride in third.
Bonacorsi made his way into fifth but had Sydow applying the pressure. Despite that he was able to keep moving forward and pass Martinez for fourth and that’s where he would finish the race as Sydow was able to move into fifth with a few laps to go. Martinez finished sixth.
Lapucci went on to win the race 6.493 seconds ahead of Fredriksen and Elzinga who was a further 9 seconds behind.
Two consistent second place finishes were enough to put Fredriksen on the top step of the podium for the second time this season. Lapucci was second overall, as Elzinga celebrated his third podium of the year with third overall.
Lapucci ends the season as EMX250 Champion with seven podiums which include four overall victories and 12 race wins. Horgmo was second in the championship with six podiums and two overall wins, with Elzinga collecting the bronze medal with three podiums and one overall win.
Nicholas Lapucci: “It was a strong one but also a long one. The first race I was like “please, why so long?”. I need some rest days after this, from the feelings, because now I am speechless. I don’t have many words to say. I brought it home finally. I can say that I am the European Champion. I also wanted to end it on a good note in the second race and I think it was a perfect day. I wanted the overall for the Italian people, but it is what it is. Sometimes you have to think big and be cautious, especially when a title is on the line. So, I am happy with that. The plan for next season is to stay with Maddii and move up to the 450 class. But let’s see what the future brings. I am excited to go racing with the big boys. I have a lot to learn, but I am ready”.
Kevin Horgmo: “I was really happy about the consistency. Unfortunately, I had some bad races here and there, but that’s part of a championship. I was hoping to be better on Saturday to be closer in the championship race and fight hard today. But Saturday wasn’t the best for me. I struggled here on the track a little bit and I was on the back foot. I am happy about finishing second and all the congrats to Lapucci. He’s been really strong this season”.
Rick Elzinga: “To end the season on the podium is always nice. The season was long, I had some ups and some downs. The ups are the ones I will remember all my life. Moments like in Oss, to win for my first time, in front of my own crowd, is just amazing. Then to finish off the season in third place is a big achievement for me. I love battling with these guys and I hope I can keep it going next year”.
Hakon Fredriksen: “It was a good day for sure. I had a good feeling and good speed in time practice. I could fight my way through both starts. I could go to top 5. I had a good fight with Kevin in the first race. Second race, Lapucci was already gone when I passed to second place, but I was happy to finish on top of the podium”.
As the gate dropped for EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing heat one, it was Coenen with the holeshot as he led Ferruccio Zanchi of Yamaha Europe EMX125 MJC, Scott Smulders from No Fear / BT Jumbo Racing and Bruce. Meanwhile Lata started down in 10th position.
Bruce then got around the outside of Smulders to move into third as Coenen gapped Zanchi by 3.333 seconds by the end of the first lap. The Belgian followed up with a couple of fastest laps of the race as he checked out, while Zanchi was left battling with Bruce for second.
Lata was making his way up the order, as he got around a few riders including Andrea Viano for seventh place. He then had a clear track as Karlis Alberts Reisulis of Yamaha Europe EMX125 MJC was further ahead.
Yamaha Europe EMX125 MJC rider’s Ivano Van Erp took a turn for the worse as he crashed out of 10thplace, after fighting back from a mid-field start. The Dutchman then crashed again and eventually finished the race in 15th position.
Zanchi then crashed out of second which meant that Bruce and Valk moved into second and third. By that point, Coenen was already 11.318 seconds ahead.
Zanchi got going in sixth as Lata looked to go after the Yamaha rider. While further up the order, bad luck struck Bruce who was hoping to take the title fight into race two. The British rider was forced to DNF after a broken chain left him unable to carry on with the rest of the race.
Coenen went on to win the race 14.486 seconds ahead of Valk and Reisulis who was third. With Bruce out of the race, Lata was unchallenged for the title and could wrap it up a race early as he crossed the line in sixth place.
In race two, Coenen led from the beginning once again with Bruce, Lata, Smulders and Van Erp just behind him into the first corner.
Van Erp was not wasting any time as he got by both Lata and Smulders to move into third, as the newly crowned champion came under more pressure from Reisulis who was making his way up the field.
Meanwhile Bruce was not going to let Coenen get away so easily as he clocked the fastest lap of the race and was just 0.947 seconds behind the leader. Coenen then responded with his own fast lap.
Kay Karssemakers of Husqvarna SKS Racing NL then dived down the inside of Smulders for fifth, but the battle between them remained tight. The pair pushed their way onto the rear wheel of Lata who was fourth.
Bruce set another fastest lap of the race, as Reisulis started to close in on Karssemakers and Smulders. The Latvian passed Smulders for sixth not long after.
Coenen then started to pull away as he was 3.455 seconds ahead of Bruce, who was coming under attack from Van Erp. The Dutchman took a chunk of time out of the Brit as he caught onto his rear wheel. Bruce tried to defend but Van Erp was able to find a way through.
With two laps to go Coenen was already 5.334 seconds ahead and went on to win the race while Van Erp was second with Bruce third.
A 1-1 result put Lucas Coenen on the top step for the second time this season, with Reisulis celebrating his second ever EMX podium finish on the second step of the podium, while Valk celebrated his first top three finish.
And that concluded the final round of the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing series with Valerio Lata securing the title while Bruce finished second. Two race wins today helped Coenen to third in the championship as he finished his season just ten appoints adrift of Bruce.
Valerio Lata: “Today was a good day. First race I had a bad start. I crashed with three laps to go and finished in seventh position. Second race I had a good start but not a good feeling on the track. I finished in the fifth position. But I am very happy of winning the championship. Thank you to my team, family and fans for this super day. See you next year!”.
Bobby Bruce: “To finish second is a dream for us. The whole team worked so hard. What happened with the chain in the first race was unfortunate, but it was out of everyone’s hands. There was nothing we could do. The second race was good; it was a good battle until the end. It was a good season all in all. Well done to Valerio, we had some good battles.”
Lucas Coenen: “Today was a good day for me. Two overall wins, two holeshots. I don’t think I could have done any better, but second race was tough because they were also riding fast. I managed to get 1-1 and good starts. It’s good for me. Third in championship is really good for me because I got two DNFs in Italy. I have been riding really good since Teutschental. I’m looking forward to next season. I don’t know whether I will ride in 125 or 250. We will see”.
Karlis Alberts Reisulis: “This is a nice way to end the season. Of course, the second race wasn’t so well. Scott was pushing me to the limit. But overall, it was two good stable races and that was one of the keys that got me to second overall”.
Cas Valk: “The first race was just a perfect race. I had two good starts and the riding was good. I finished second because Bobby’s chain broke. 2nd race I definitely had to work hard for it. I was locked up in the start. But to come from way back to 8th was very good. I am really happy to finally be on the podium after a difficult season for me. Injury and sickness in the beginning of the season, which means I couldn’t ride all the races. So, I am happy to take the podium here. I couldn’t have done it without my team and I want to thank them”.
Photo Credit – MXGP