In addition to the EMX250 Championship, a hard-fought weekend of racing in the deep sand of Riola paid dividends to Ceres 71 Yamaha’s Nancy van de Ven at the third round of the FIM Women's Motocross World Championship. The five-time WMX silver medallist bounced back from her struggles in Race 1 with an emphatic win in Race 2 to finish second overall at the WMX round of Sardinia. As a result, she now leads the championship by 12-points over Race 1’s runner-up, Lynn Valk.
Dutch and Belgian riders are renowned for their mind-blowing ability to ride sand. Last weekend, it was evidenced by the incredible performances of Yamaha’s fastest Dutch riders in both WMX and EMX250 categories. Starting with EMX250, the Dutch-based Hutten Metaal Yamaha Official EMX250 team celebrated a milestone achievement, with all three riders finishing inside the top three in Race 1.
The opening race was an absolute thriller with Elzinga and Kooiker going bar-to-bar for the win. And after dicing the position for the entire 25-minute plus two lap race duration, it was Elzinga who took the checkers ahead of Bonacorsi, who put a stunning pass on Kooiker two turns from home. Kooiker still finished third for his best-ever EMX250 race finish.
In the second race on Sunday morning, the EMX250 riders were again pushed to the limits. The circuit was rough and brutal, and the 30-degree heat only added to the intensity. Going from strength to strength, Bonacorsi charged hard from third to celebrate his first race win of the season and his first-ever EMX250 overall victory.
Elzinga struggled to find his rhythm around the grueling sand circuit but still put in an incredible ride for third in Race 2 and second overall. At the same time, Kooiker fell short of energy at the end of the race after using every last ounce in the opening race. The tall Dutchman still hung on for seventh, which was enough to secure his best-ever EMX250 class finish, fourth overall.
At the end of the Sardinian Grand Prix, Elzinga remains second in the Championship Standings but has moved within 4-points of the series leader. At the same time, Bonacorsi has moved into fourth and is only 4-points shy of third, while Kooiker has moved up to 16th.
The next round of the EMX250 series will take place on June 4th and 5th in Ernee, France.
Hailing from the sand capital of the world, The Netherlands, Valk and van de Ven were in their element. Both Dutch stars got off to great starts in Race 1 on Saturday with van de Ven having the initial advantage before being shuffled back to second by Valk on the opening lap. After chasing Valk for a lap, van de Ven felt a loss of power and pulled into pit lane on lap-2.
Valk led the first five laps, but as the temperatures continued to rise above 30 degrees Celsius, she started to back off to conserve energy. At that moment, another Dutch rival, Shana van der Vlist took the lead and charged to her first race win of the season. Valk kept her cool knowing there will be another tough and demanding race to win on Sunday, and settled for second position, while van de Ven rejoined the race and put in an incredible charge from outside of the top-15 to finish sixth.
Bouncing back with a vengeance in Race 2, van de Ven powered her YZ250F to an all-important holeshot and led every lap for her second race win of the season. In contrast, it was utter heartbreak for Valk, who suffered a technical issue on lap-3 and could not finish the race.
As a result, van de Ven collected her third consecutive piece of podium silverware on the second step of the box and is the new WMX Championship leader.
The next round of the WMX World Championship will be at the MXGP of Spain in Madrid on the 28th and 29th of May.
Yamaha leads the Manufacturer's Standings in both classes.
For full results from the MXGP of Sardinia, click here.