Benistant, Van De Moosdijk & Elzinga Celebrate Top-Three Finishes in France
A thrilling home Grand Prix saw MJC Yamaha Official EMX125's Thibault Benistant put take his GYTR kitted YZ125 to another emphatic race win, and eventual podium finish, while teammate Rick Elzinga finished an incredible third in Race 1, and managed to complete his 2018 EMX125 season debut inside the top-five despite being forced to retire from Race 2. ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250's Roan van de Moosdijk also took home his first piece of EMX250 Championship silverware after landing his GYTR kitted YZ250F on the third step of the podium.
After setting the pace right from the first practice session, Thibault Benistant made good use of his pole position, Thibault Bénistant and brought the hills of Saint Jean d'Angely , France, to life when he rocketed out of the gate onboard his GYTR kitted YZ125, with teammate Rick Elzinga not far behind, in fourth place. Before the end of lap one the crowd was roaring as the French phenomenon jumped past James Scott in the rhythm section to take over the lead.
Amidst a freight train of riders battling for second place, Elzinga had to get creative with his line selection despite the limited choice. Having missed the first four rounds, and eight races of the championship thus far, Elzinga made a series of nice passes to move into the second position before being knocked back to third by the EMX125 Championship leader, Rene Hofer.
Up front, Benistant had the French fans in frenzy as he ran away with the race, and led every single lap to win by 24.995 seconds over Hofer. Elzinga's performance for third place in his first race back was nothing short of incredible while Jorgen-Matthias Talviku bounced back from a small crash for 26th place.
In the EMX250 Class, ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250's Roan van de Moosdijk was the runner up in the Timed Practice session, before he proved his worth in the first race of the weekend with a noble third place finish, which was his second top-three race finish of the year.
On Sunday, heavy overnight rain had infiltrated the Saint Jean d'Angely circuit making it hard work for European Championship contenders. The MJC Yamaha Official EMX125 trio were out first, where they struggled to find traction on the wet, steep clay hills. Carrying momentum through the turns to minimize wheel spin while going up the hills was the key, and one that had mastered it was Rick Elzinga, who charged from outside of the top-five and up into second place before the extremely think and heavy mud forced a technical issue and forced him out of the race with 4-laps to go.
Benistant remained calm and patient in the French slop before joining his teammate on the side-lines with 2-laps to go. Despite not finishing the race, the French star had lapped enough riders to still be awarded sixth place, which was enough to stand on the second step of the podium. He also gained 18-points on the EMX125 Championship leader, and now trails by 30 going into the next round, which will take place in Belgium on the weekend of August 5th. Elzinga also lapped up to fifteenth place and added 6 points to the 20-points he scored in the first race, for fifth overall. Jörgen-Matthias Talviku used the weekend as a perfect opportunity to broaden his skills. The young Estonian, whose background consists of much softer and flatter surfaces, qualified in the last chance race, and finished 35th place.
Wet races always throw up surprises, and much like the younger Yamaha Family members, Roan van de Moosdijk had to deal with an extremely rough, muddy and challenging circuit on his way to ninth place in the final race of the weekend. Paired with his incredible third-place in the opening race, van de Moosdijk landed on the EMX250 podium for the first time in his career and awarded the ASTES4-TESAR Team their second piece of silverware this season.
The next round of the EMX250 Championship, round seven, will take place in four days time, at the flat and sandy circuit of Ottobiano in Italy.