The YZ125 class were the first riders to race on Sunday at the Motocross of Nations in Ernèe, France. As the October sun hit the hillsides around the sinuating circuit, the crowd came alive, treating the young riders to a taste of their enthusiastic and effervescent style of support.
As the French fans roared the YZ125 riders off the gate, it was fellow Italian Giorgio Orlando who rushed to the holeshot. Switzerland’s Noe Zumstein slotted into second, and Mancini found himself third. But he attacked hard and rode the wheels off his Yamaha to pass his two rivals early in the first lap.
From this point, Mancini was remarkably controlled and settled, keeping up an impressive rhythm even when he needed to pass slower riders towards the end of the race – with five minutes (plus two laps) left, he had a lead of 7.8 seconds.
The battle behind Mancini was a little more tense, with Orlando and Zumstein initially squabbling it out for second and home rider Felix Cardineau also showing them his front wheel. Latvia’s Jekabs Kubulins, who rode strongly in Saturday’s timed practice, moved into fourth place and looked to chase after the leaders with great pace.
However, ten minutes before the end, just as he attempted a pass for the podium, he injured his foot without going down. He initially entered the pits due to the pain but bravely decided to continue, desperate to finish the prestigious race. He crossed the line in 25th, a result that belies his true potential.
Cardineau also lost a place to his compatriot, Maho Simo, who moved into fourth in the latter stages of the intense race. Orlando and Zumstein did their best to hunt down Mancini, but it was clear they had to settle for second and third. The Top Female Rider was Nellie Fransson from Sweden.
In each of the YZ bLU cRU FIM Europe Cup SuperFinale categories, the top three finishers and two wild cards will receive an invite to the bLU cRU Masterclass that will take place in mid-November. There, one YZ125 rider will win a place in a Yamaha-supported EMX125 team for 2024, while the top-performing YZ65 and YZ85 youngsters will earn added support from Yamaha Motor Europe for next season.