Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250’s Thibault Benistant locked up the 2020 EMX250 Championship title following a dramatic showdown at the 10th and final round of the championship in Lommel, Belgium.
Guarding a lead of 24-points going into the EMX250 round of Limburg, Benistant only had to beat his closest rival, Mattia Guadagnini, at the final round to be crowned champion.
After setting the pace in qualifying for the second time this season, the ‘198’ took full advantage of Pole Position and rocketed to an impressive holeshot. Drama soon unfolded with Guadagnini determined to take the championship fight to the last race. Benistant opted out of playing a risky game with his main competitor and settled for second position in Race 1.
Going down to the wire, Benistant had to finish within 21-points of Guadagnini in the final race. With race intelligence beyond his years, the 18-year-old Frenchman rode a smooth and steady race for his eighth race win and sixth overall victory to be crowned European Champion for the second time in his career – his first was back in 2018 when he won the EMX125 Championship onboard a GYTR kitted YZ125.
This season was Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250’s first term as Yamaha Motor Europe’s Official EMX250 team. Although Benistant has been a long-time Yamaha rider, it was his first year on the Dutch-based team. A solid combination of team and rider effort saw Benistant take his GYTR kitted YZ250F to eight race wins, six round wins and seven podium finishes in 2020.
In celebration of his 2020 European Championship success, Benistant will make his MX2 debut at the MXGP of Lommel on Sunday 25th October.
Thibault Benistant: “It was an intense weekend, but I didn’t want to think about the details, I just wanted to only think about each race and all I wanted to do today was take the holeshot and win. In the first race I settled for second and I thought to myself, okay, I’ll take second and do the job in the second moto. I took the holeshot again in the second moto and I saw Guadagnini was down so I just rode calm and finished the season with an overall win. I’m really happy but for the moment I don’t feel it, but I know it’s special.”
Gianluca Facchetti rode a strong first race, featuring in the top five for a long time, before eventually crossing the line in sixth. The Italian experienced a more difficult second heat on the heavy sand track, and was held down to 13th. The combined results earned him ninth overall for the day, cementing his position in tenth place in the final European Championship standings.
Dave Kooiker had his EMX250 debut in Lommel. Kooiker kicked off well in the first race, and circulated in the top five. A crash cost him some positions, and then, alas, a heavier crash resulted in some injured ribs which forced him to retire. He did not line up for the second heat.
Overall EMX250 Lommel:
1 Thibault Benistant 47 Pnt
2 Hakon Fredriksen 40 Pnt
3 Jorgen Matthias Talviku 34 Pnt
4 Marcel Conijn 32 Pnt
5 Albin Gerhardsson 29 Pnt
9 Gianluca Facchetti 23 Pnt
Final EMX250 Championship Standings:
1 Thibault Benistant 423 Pnt
2 Mattia Guadagnini 377 Pnt
3 Hakon Fredriksen 293 Pnt
4 Kay de Wolf 272 Pnt
5 Jorgen Matthias Talviku 269 Pnt
10 Gianluca Facchetti 157 Pnt