Triumphant Return to Racing for Elzinga as Benistant tightens his grip on the EMX125 Red Plate
MJC Yamaha Official EMX125's Rick Elzinga put in an incredible podium performance on his return from injury while teammate Thibault Benistant strengthened his title hopes with a seventh consecutive top-five finish at the penultimate round of the EMX125 Championship in Frauenfeld-Gachnang, Switzerland.
After breaking his neck one-month ago, Elzinga's return to racing was heroic. The young Dutchman set the third fastest lap time in Qualifying and went on to finish second-place in the opening race of the weekend ahead of the championship leader, Benistant, who finished fifth.
In contrast to the hard, dry and choppy conditions the riders faced in race one yesterday, the fastest under 17 year-old 125cc riders in the world had to deal with a sloppy, slick and challenging grassroots style circuit on Sunday morning. Again, Elzinga was incredible and had his GYTR kitted YZ125 singing as he charged from the blunt end of the top-ten and up into fourth-place.
With the weight of a potential title on his shoulders, Benistant's main mission was to stay out of trouble and score solid points. The French ace was caught in a mid-pack brawl for most of the final race but he eventually managed to peel back two-positions on the final two-laps for seventh-place in the race classification, and fifth for the round overall.
Elzinga's 2-4 scorecards landed him on the third step of the podium for the first time in his fledgling career. A feat made more impressive by the fact that he had only finished one race prior to this, and had only been back on the bike for one-week leading into the Swiss Grand Prix this weekend.
Benistant has been a figure of consistency all season long. Seven rounds of the EMX125 Championship have been completed and the sixteen year-old has finished inside the top-five at all seven of them. Following yet another top-five finish, he has retained the championship lead and will head into the eighth and final round - that will take place at the Dutch TT Circuit in Assen on the weekend of September 16th - with a 33-point buffer over his closest rival.
Jörgen-Matthias Talviku scored 6-points in the first race with a fifteenth place finish, but was unfortunately disqualified from the second race after he crashed and failed to rejoin the track in the correct place.
The ninth round of the EMX250 Championship also took place in Frauenfeld, Switzerland last weekend with ASTES4-TESAR Yamaha Official EMX250's Roan van de Moosdijk narrowly missing out on a top-five finish. The talented Dutchman had a mediocre start in the first race and with the riders being so evenly matched in terms of their speed and ability on the Swiss circuit, could not progress any further up the ranks than tenth-place. Fellow ASTES4-TESAR EMX250 rider Caleb Grothues finished thirteenth.
When the gates dropped for the final EMX250 race of the weekend, Van de Moosdijk was back to his usual feisty self and took no prisoners as he charged through the pack and up into fourth place, while his teammate had to start from last after he collided with another rider on lap-one. Grothues fought back to twenty-second for nineteenth overall.
After a strong end to a tough weekend, Van de Moosdijk finished sixth overall and remains fourth overall in the EMX250 Championship Standings.