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Valk Shines in Latvia - Race Report

Valk Shines in Latvia - Race Report

Jun 10

  • Race Report

The sand track of Kegums hosted the sixth round of the EMX250 and EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing. The challenging Latvian track that has been modified for the occasion and surrounded by forests, made it for a thrilling show for both classes with some excinting and challenging racing across the board.

The EMX250 sees Gabriel SS24 KTM'S Cas Valk getting on the top step of the podium at Kegums with a 1-3 while it was the red plate Fantic Factory Racing EMX125’s Noel Zanocz who climbed back up on the top step of the box.

The start of Race 1 was dominated by VRT Yamaha Racing’s Ivano Van Erp who burst off the starting line to take the lead, closely followed by his teammate and local star, Karlis Reisulis. Behind them, Cas Valk from Gabriel SS24 KTM and RFME GASGAS MXJunior Team’s Elias Escandell eying a mov to attack upfront, while red plate holder Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Mathis Valin found himself in 6th, trailing Joe Brookes but ahead of his main championship rival, the Beddini GASGAS Factory Juniors sensation Valerio Lata.

The US rider, Gavin Towers from VRT Yamaha Racing had his race cut short as he went down on the opening lap and had to withdraw from the race.

By Lap 2, Valk quickly demonstrated the speed that earned him pole position and overtook first Reisulis after the Latvian tipped over early on, to move into 2nd. The battle for the lead intensified at the end of the first lap, with Valk executing a perfect move on the finish line jump to edge past Van Erp after a brief game of cat and mouse. Valk became the new race leader on lap 2.

Early on, Valin and Lata overtook Brookes, moving up to 5th and 6th respectively. Brookes finishing the race at an encouraging 7th place.On lap 5 of 14, Valin continued his aggressive push, swiftly passing Escandell to move up 4th while Lata took a little longer and made the decisive move on Escandell on lap 8. Escandell had to settle for a solid 6th in the end.

Meanwhile, the fight for second place became a fierce contest between Yamaha VRT teammates Reisulis and Van Erp. Despite tipping over, Reisulis came back strong to get behind Van Erp. The Dutch’s best efforts were not enough to keep the 2nd spot on lap 5, as the home favourite, Reisulis, made a great move to jump on the inside and moved up 2ndwith the crowd cheering for him.

Reisulis harnessed the energy from his home supporters to fight for the lead, narrowing the gap to just 1.4 seconds behind Valk by lap 7, as he pursued his first race win of the season but had to settle for 2nd in the end with Valk bringing it home to win the race. Van Erp finished 3rd.

The fight for 4th kept going between the top two in the championship, Lata and Valin, and it was the Italian’s determination that made the difference. Lata forced Valin wide with authority as he cut inside in a corner on lap 11. Lata pulled away to finish 4th while Valin settled for 5th.

In the second race, a brilliant Escandell rose on top with a holeshot in front of Valin, Lata and Van Erp. Home rider Reisulis sit in 5 after the first corners. Valin started push behind Escandell while Reisulis made a great move to cut a corner and pass Lata for 3rd and kept another impressive charge to pass both Valin and Escandell in the opening lap to top take charge of the race in front of Valin.

On lap 3 of 14, Escandell who was battling with Lata for 3rd completely misjudged a jump and crashed down. This allowed Valk to get on the back wheel of Lata. The Dutchamn finally managed to pass the Italian with a good outside inside line to move up 3rd.

The pace was frantic as all riders pushed hard to get to the front and atthis game Valk was well place as he passed Valin for 2nd on lap 4. Reisulis showed an impressive control as he clocked the fastest lap and pulled 6 seconds clear of Valk, 2nd.

On lap 6, Valin made a costly mistake as he crashed out of 3rd to pick himself up in 5th while his teammate Benjamin Garib showed up well in 7th place. Valk meticulously reduced the gap with race leader Reisulis to 4.4 seconds on lap 7 and ate away the Latvian advantage. Feeling the heat, Reisulis stayed focus on the task he had to win his home round.

A nail-biting finale for the home fans and everyone watching the race ensued as Lata invited himself to the battle. Reisulis had to hold on at the lead to win the overall but Valk incessant pressure made it hard to maintain the lead for the Latvian. With 3 laps to go, a huge battle really began with the top three riders. With Lata hot on Valk’s wheels, Reisulis was allowed to pull a little bit away. Lata and Valk engaged in an striking give and take, but Lata was the man of the moment as he finally passed the Gabriel SS24 rider and rushed toward the race leader with only 2 laps to go.

Reisulis had to stay in front to win the overall but Lata had other ideas and showed tremendous speed. In a spectacular finish, Reisulis maybe thought he could go the whole way but with several corners to go Lata stroke and took the lead to win the race!

Heartbreaking finale for Reisulis who nearly won in his country but in the end settled for 2nd and 2nd overall which gave Valk an stunning overall win with 1-3. With a 5-5 and 5th overall, Valin remained in red plate but only 13 points ahead of Valk which shows that the championship is all but done!

Cas Valk: “In the second race, I was catching Karlis but couldn’t get by and then Valerio get to us and I had nowhere to go with Karlis (Reisulis) just in front. We made little mistakes so Lata passed us. It was maybe not the best ride for me but I’m so happy to take the overall win here and I’m looking forward for the next round in the deep sand of Lommel. Big thanks to my team for making this possible! “

EMX250 - Race 1 - Top 10 Classification: 1. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), 29:27.247; 2. Karlis Alberts Reisulis (LAT, Yamaha), +0:02.797; 3. Ivano Van Erp (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.760; 4. Valerio Lata (ITA, GASGAS), +0:42.077; 5. Mathis Valin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:46.722; 6. Elias Escandell (ESP, GASGAS), +0:59.000; 7. Joe Brookes (GBR, KTM), +1:00.455; 8. Saad Soulimani (MAR, Yamaha), +1:01.583; 9. Maximilian Werner (GER, Honda), +1:04.990; 10. Benjamin Garib (CHI, Kawasaki), +1:05.597

EMX250 Race 2 - Top 10 Classification: 1. Valerio Lata (ITA, GASGAS), 30:10.293; 2. Karlis Alberts Reisulis (LAT, Yamaha), +0:02.197; 3. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), +0:02.972; 4. Ivano Van Erp (NED, Yamaha), +0:13.710; 5. Mathis Valin (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:45.412; 6. Bradley Mesters (NED, KTM), +0:57.798; 7. Benjamin Garib (CHI, Kawasaki), +0:59.628; 8. Nico Greutmann (SUI, Husqvarna), +1:03.505; 9. Maximilian Werner (GER, Honda), +1:08.239; 10. Magnus Smith (DEN, Yamaha), +1:10.016

EMX250 Overall - Top 10 Classification: 1. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), 45 points; 2. Karlis Alberts Reisulis (LAT, YAM), 44 p.; 3. Valerio Lata (ITA, GAS), 43 p.; 4. Ivano Van Erp (NED, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Mathis Valin (FRA, KAW), 32 p.; 6. Benjamin Garib (CHI, KAW), 25 p.; 7. Maximilian Werner (GER, HON), 24 p.; 8. Joe Brookes (GBR, KTM), 23 p.; 9. Bradley Mesters (NED, KTM), 21 p.; 10. Mairis Pumpurs (LAT, HUS), 17 p

EMX250 Championship - Top 10 Classification: 1. Mathis Valin (FRA, KAW), 244 points; 2. Cas Valk (NED, KTM), 231 p.; 3. Valerio Lata (ITA, GAS), 225 p.; 4. Ivano Van Erp (NED, YAM), 170 p.; 5. Karlis Alberts Reisulis (LAT, YAM), 149 p.; 6. Maxime Grau (FRA, KTM), 144 p.; 7. Saad Soulimani (MAR, YAM), 143 p.; 8. Francisco Garcia (ESP, GAS), 123 p.; 9. Nico Greutmann (SUI, HUS), 117 p.; 10. Maximilian Werner (GER, HON), 83 p

The First race saw the Swede Sandro Sols making a very fast start but Fantic Factory Racing EMX125’s Francesco Mancini quickly took the command of the pack with Local start Markuss Ozolins in third on the opening lap and RFME GASGAS MXJunior Team’s Salvador Perez and Cole McCullough from Maddii Fantic by Milwaukee behind.

Perez went on the aggressive route to pass the Latvian in the opening lap but Ozolins came back for more to take the 3rd place back with McCullough eying their battle just behind. Red plate Fantic Factory Racing EMX125’s Noel Zanocz made a poor start but quickly came back up to 6th on lap 3.

Sols showed a tremendous speed but could not maintain pace in front of Perez. Perez rode past Sols for 2nd on lap 4 to chase after race leader Mancini who at that point was 5 seconds clear. Meanwhile Zanocz passed Brunet for 6th and rushed past McCullough for 5th few corners late.

A lap later and looking like on a mission to prove that he was there to keep his red plate, Zanocz easily passed Ozolins and Sols to move up 3rd with Ozolins following in his wake.

On lap 5, Perez had reduced the gap with leader Mancini to a mere 2 seconds and looked faster than the Italian. In a good move on the inside Perez took the lead from Mancini who seemed to have to not ride to his usual form as his pace dramatically went down.

Zanocz took advantage of that and moved past Mancini for 2nd to chase the lead but Perez was looking strong. Perez’s pace was unmatched and constant as he managed to keep the lead until the end with a comfortable 14 seconds gap on Zanocz 2nd. Mancini finished at an excellent 3rd spot to give him a chance of another podium.

Meanwhile the battle for the 6th place, Jarne Bervoets Yamaha Europe EMX125 MJC nearly crashed when trying to pass Áron Katona but managed to recover somehow. Ozolins finished strong with the 4th place in front of Katona and Bervoets respectively. Following a bad start, young Dutch hopeful Gyan Doensen from Racestore KTM Factory Rookies Team incredibly fought back to 10th from 26th place in the opening lap ! The big Finn Kasimir Hindersson displayed a strong performance to finish 7th.

Race 2 started with F4E GASGAS Junior Racing’s Maximilian Ernecker leading the race in front of local rider Tomass Saicans, Mancini and Doensen. The winner of the first race Perez went down in the opening lap and crashed out of 6th place.

Red plate Zancoz again with a poor start in 14th but the Hungarian already turned up in 5th on the opening lap which gave him a perfect opportunity to charge to the front with his typical great finish.

Ernecker started to pull away on lap 3, showing great control while Mancini and Doensen started to battle for 3rd on lap 3. Doensen didn’t wait long to make a decisive move on the Italian and moved up to 3rd. Mancini wasn’t to back down, mainly as he was topping the podium at that time but his teammate and red plate Zanocz pushed hard ad passed the Italian to move up to 4th on lap 6.

Meanwhile, Ozolins made a costly mistake for his podium chances as he nearly crashed but lost several positions in the process and going 11th.

Perez fought back after his fall to get back up to 14th on lap 9 as he showed great pace and gain lot of time as he doubled his way through in the mid-section where no one else of the pack would double this section.

Then Saicans, made an unfortunate mistake and crashed out of 2nd place and the race altogether following an impressive run in second place. That consequently brought Doensen back on the podium in 3rd instead of Perez, thanks to his now 2nd place. However, this was short-lived as Dani Heitink from Yamaha Europe EMX125 MJC fell from 13th which brought Perez up to 12th over the course of one lap with Saicans out too. From then on, Perez consolidated his 3rd overall with a 12th place finish.

Despite a very good second race in 2nd, Doensen had to settle for 4th overall. Still at the front, Ernecker remained spotless the whole race to bring his first race win of the season for 7th overall.

Thanks to his impressive consistency, Zanocz came back up to the top step of the podium with a good 2-2 to get in front of Mancini, 2nd overall with 3-3. The fight for the Championship between Zanocz, Doensen and Mancini continues and will be coming back in Maggiora for the seventh round.

Noel Zanocz: “It was a good weekend as I took the pole position. I went from 10th to 2nd in the first race which was good because I felt I could be much faster. In the second race I don’t how it happen but I started at the back but then I work myself up to 3rd pretty fast and then 2nd but I know can even better so we will work for Maggiora but I think it was a really good weekend!”

EMX125 Race 1 - Top 10 Classification: 1. Salvador Perez (ESP, GASGAS), 30:36.024; 2. Noel Zanocz (HUN, Fantic), +0:14.124; 3. Simone Mancini (ITA, Fantic), +0:25.524; 4. Markuss Ozolins (LAT, GASGAS), +0:28.819; 5. Áron Katona (HUN, KTM), +0:31.122; 6. Jarne Bervoets (BEL, Yamaha), +0:34.625; 7. Kasimir Hindersson (FIN, KTM), +0:41.065; 8. Alessandro Gaspari (ITA, KTM), +0:42.188; 9. Francesco Bellei (ITA, KTM), +0:45.373; 10. Gyan Doensen (NED, KTM), +0:51.024

EMX125 Race 2 - Top 10 Classification: 1. Maximilian Ernecker (AUT, GASGAS), 31:37.519; 2. Gyan Doensen (NED, KTM), +0:07.389; 3. Noel Zanocz (HUN, Fantic), +0:14.298; 4. Simone Mancini (ITA, Fantic), +0:21.406; 5. Kasimir Hindersson (FIN, KTM), +0:28.597; 6. Sandro Sols (SWE, GASGAS), +0:38.056; 7. Áron Katona (HUN, KTM), +0:44.592; 8. Francesco Bellei (ITA, KTM), +0:46.680; 9. Jarne Bervoets (BEL, Yamaha), +0:52.169; 10. Mano Faure (FRA, Yamaha), +0:53.856

EMX125 Overall - Top 10 Classification: 1. Noel Zanocz (HUN, FAN), 42 points; 2. Simone Mancini (ITA, FAN), 38 p.; 3. Salvador Perez (ESP, GAS), 34 p.; 4. Gyan Doensen (NED, KTM), 33 p.; 5. Kasimir Hindersson (FIN, KTM), 30 p.; 6. Áron Katona (HUN, KTM), 30 p.; 7. Maximilian Ernecker (AUT, GAS), 28 p.; 8. Markuss Ozolins (LAT, GAS), 28 p.; 9. Jarne Bervoets (BEL, YAM), 27 p.; 10. Sandro Sols (SWE, GAS), 25 p

EMX125 Championship - Top 10 Classification: 1. Noel Zanocz (HUN, FAN), 232 points; 2. Gyan Doensen (NED, KTM), 206 p.; 3. Simone Mancini (ITA, FAN), 204 p.; 4. Salvador Perez (ESP, GAS), 184 p.; 5. Mano Faure (FRA, YAM), 176 p.; 6. Francesco Bellei (ITA, KTM), 172 p.; 7. Áron Katona (HUN, KTM), 133 p.; 8. Markuss Ozolins (LAT, GAS), 128 p.; 9. Dani Heitink (NED, YAM), 117 p.; 10. Jarne Bervoets (BEL, YAM), 113 p

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