Thibault Benistant of Hutten Metaal Yamaha Racing has made a giant stride towards claiming the EMX250 motocross European championship title at the sandy track of Lommel in Belgium. Benistant won both heats, and have increased his championship lead to 24 points. Gianluca Facchetti had a trouble-filled day, and failed to score in either heat. Dave Kooiker was in the points mix with 18th place in the second EMX125 race.
This was an important race for Benistant, who was anxious to defend his championship lead. He qualified in seventh spot. This gave him confidence on the notoriously challenging track, and he blasted into the lead at the start of race one. He opened up an early gap, and from there on, he controlled the race to the finish flag. Facchetti qualified fourth, but his first race was one to forget, with a couple of crashes keeping him out of the points.
Benistant produced another good start in race two. He was in second position initially, but immediately exerted pressure on the leader, which enabled him to move into the lead a few laps in. Again he managed to open up a comfortable gap, and from there on he could ride a risk-free race to the win. This naturally gave him the overall victory, and resulted in an increased points lead in the championship standings, 24 points representing almost an entire heat in front of the closest follower. Facchetti again had a troubled outing, and went away from the event disappointed with no points added to his tally.
Dave Kooiker made a return to action after having broken his hand during the triple header at Faenza in Italy. He qualified 8th in the EMX125 class, proving that he was back to form. An overenthusiastic launch in race one had him slam into the start gate. Having to play catch up from the very back of the pack, he passed a number of riders, moving into the top 15 within two laps. A mechanical problem forced him to slach off again, though, and dropped him out of the points.
Kooiker managed to atone somewhat for the disappointment in race two. He came from 25th to 18th, adding three points to his tally.
The series continues on Tuesday at the same track. Thibault Benistant will be a bundle of expectant nerves going into the event, since he has a chance of securing the title already then.
Overall EMX250 Lommel:
1 Thibault Benistant 50 Pnt
2 Mattia Guadagnini 44 Pnt
3 Hakon Fredriksen 38 Pnt
4 Kay de Wolf 36 Pnt
5 Jorgen Matthias Talviku 34 Pnt
40 Gianluca Facchetti 0 Pnt
EMX250 Championship Standings:
1 Thibault Benistant 376 Pnt
2 Mattia Guadagnini 352 Pnt
3 Kay de Wolf 272 Pnt
4 Hakon Fredriksen 253 Pnt
5 Jorgen Matthias Talviku 235 Pnt
10 Gianluca Facchetti 134 Pnt