EMX65 & EMX85 Grand Finale in Czech Republic Provides Perfect Prelude To The Motocross World Championship
Joining the worlds premier motocross series this weekend, eighty of Europe's fastest 85cc and 65cc riders lined up at Loket, a hilly and steep clay track in the Czech Republic, to contest the final round of the EMX85 and EMX65 Championships. Each class had a full gate with forty riders in each class.
Representing Yamaha and the bLU cRU this weekend, Dutchman Dave Kooiker challenged the rampant 85cc riders for a top-five finish in the EMX85 Championship. The youngster got his weekend off to a solid start when he put his GYTR kitted YZ85 inside the top-three in the first practice session. He qualified fifth in Timed Practice and then put in a supreme charge through the field from outside of the top-fifteen and up into sixth place in opening race of the weekend. Kooiker was solid for the entire 20-minute plus 2-lap duration of the race, but was eventually nudged back one position by fellow Dutchman Kay de Wolf. He was seventh at the checkered flag.
In the EMX65 class, Grizzly Yamaha Junior Team's Jayson Van Drunen was extremely grateful to be granted a wild card entry that allowed him to line his YZ65 up along side Italian YZ65 rider Patrick Busatto who qualified for the Grand Finale through the Italian Championship. As one of the youngest riders on the line, Van Drunen braved the rough and rugged hillside circuit and turned some heads with an impressive points scoring ride. He put 2-points on the board as a result of his nineteenth place finish.
The opening EMX65 race took place after the MXGP and MX2 races yesterday. Consequently, the track was bumpy, the lines were slippery and plenty of rocks and stones had surfaced. Busatto had a top-ten finish in his sights before a small crash dropped him outside of the top-thirty. The pint-sized Italian made a quick remount and put in a hard charge through the pack and up into a points-paying position before he unfortunately lost the front and crashed out of contention.
Day two presented a new opportunity for the kids to enjoy the special experience of competing along side their MXGP and MX2 heroes on exactly the same circuit. After showing his potential in the first race yesterday, Van Drunen's morning was cut short following a small problem in warm-up that prevented him from lining-up for race-two.
Busatto was left to fly the flag and when the gates fell for the final race, the quick and stylish Italian put in an impressive ride onboard his YZ65 where he battled for a place inside the top-ten for the majority of the 12 minute plus two-lap duration of the race. A few unfortunate errors in the final throws put him fifteenth at the flag, which was enough for nineteenth place in the overall classification. Jayson Van Drunen's 2-point he scored in the opening race still placed him the top twenty-five 65cc riders in Europe in the final classification.
Looking to step-up onto the world stage full-time, the EMX85 class is the last stop in junior racing before entering the EMX125 division that coincides with the Europe based rounds of the MXGP World Championship. Dave Kooiker was left to battle back from outside of the top-twenty after a mid-pack start. The Dutch star showed good speed and potential as he powered his YZ85 up into the top-ten in the first 10-minutes. With 8-minutes left on the clock, Kooiker was up into eighth place and hounding Saad Soulimani and Edvards Bidzans in hopes of claiming sixth.
After 19-minutes of bar-to-bar racing, Kooiker had found his rhythm and amazingly set his fastest lap of the race as he took sixth place from Soulimani and held it to the checkers.
Providing the Czech fans with a fine display of mini-motorcycle racing ahead of the MXGP and MX2 Grand Prix races, Dave Kooiker narrowly missed out on a top-five finish with his 7-6 scorecards. Nevertheless, the Dutch rider was sixth overall in the final classification and is a talent to watch in the very near future.