First Day Has Concluded in Horsham.
The first day of the Junior Motocross World Championship track action has taken place in Horsham, Australia. Today’s Free Practice and Qualifying sessions set the stage tomorrow’s stars to perform. The world’s best young riders hit the track for the first time this morning and put in their fastest laps to get a feel for tomorrows racing lines and pace.
The most experienced riders on track today where those in the 125cc class where in the first Free Practice session Raf Meuwissen from the Netherlands barely beat the lap time of Italian Mattia Gaudagnini.
Only 9 hundredths of a second separated the pair with a 1:44.800 lap from Meuwissen and a 1:44.894 coming from Gaudagnini. The next 7 riders all were within a second apart with 1:45 laptimes including EMX125 presented by FMF Racing points leader Thibault Benistant from France.
The track became more challenging later in the day and for Free Practice 2 the fastest lap times were over 1:47 led by a 1:47.946 from New Zealand’s James Scott. Petr Polak from the Czech Republic was second followed by Australian Bailey Malkiewicz.
The deciding times for tomorrow’s gate pick however came from the Qualifying session where Guadagnini took pole over Malkiewicz and Polak. Tomorrow will start with a Warm-Up session at 9:50 local time followed by Race 1 at 13:10 and Race 2 at 16:10.
125cc World Championship Qualifying Practice Top Ten: 1. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), 1:48.434; 2. Bailey Malkiewicz (AUS, Yamaha), +0:00.325; 3. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), +0:00.528; 4. Korey McMahon (AUS, KTM), +0:00.574; 5. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), +0:00.810; 6. John Bova (AUS, KTM), +0:01.267; 7. Raf Meuwissen (NED, KTM), +0:01.284; 8. Blake Fox (AUS, KTM), +0:01.523; 9. Miles Duffy (GBR, Yamaha), +0:01.553; 10. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:01.707.
The riders of the 85cc class were led by the Netherlands Kay De Wolf in Free Practice but Belgium’s Liam Everts was not far behind with the second fastest time and the support of his 10 time World Champion father Stefan trackside. The recent EMX85 champion Camden Mc Lellan from South Africa was 3rd just slightly faster than the American Ryder DiFrancesco.
Free Practice 2 had the fastest lap come from an American but instead of DiFrancesco it was Caden Braswell. Mc Lellan, De Wolf, and DiFrancesco were 2rd, 3rd, and 4th fastest respectively while the final spot in the top belonged to Dave Kookier from Holland.
Qualifying was nearly identical with the top 4 from Free Practice 2 returning to their prior position but Kookier dropped to 9th fastest. Everts will instead line up 5th tomorrow ahead of Netherland’s Kay Karssemakers and Spain’s Raul Sanchez.
The fight for the podium will be close as several riders are on near identical speed. Winning along with reaching the top 5 will require minimal mistakes and consistent performances. Race 1 is slated for 12:15 local time tomorrow while Race 2’s gates will drop 3 hours later at 15:15.
85cc World Championship Qualifying Practice Top Ten: 1. Caden Braswell (USA, KTM), 1:51.944; 2. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, KTM), +0:00.474; 3. Kay de Wolf (NED, KTM), +0:00.627; 4. Ryder Difrancesco (USA, Kawasaki), +0:00.869; 5. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), +0:01.269; 6. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), +0:01.647; 7. Raul Sanchez (ESP, KTM), +0:02.221; 8. Andrea Viano (ITA, KTM), +0:02.586; 9. Dave Kooiker (NED, Yamaha), +0:02.648; 10. Brad West (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:03.036.
The youngest and smallest riders are those of the 65cc World Cup and they bring out the true idea of junior motocross racers. Don’t be fooled though as these young guns are rippers and fly around the toughest tracks the world has to offer.
Free Practice 1’s fastest time came from the Netherlands’ Damien Knuiman who was the only rider on a 65 to have a time under 2 minutes. Braden Plath, Ky Woods, Jet Alsop, and Jack Deveson took 2nd to 5th quickest and all are from the host country of Australia.
Free Practice 2 was again led by Knuiman and Plath with both recording under 2 minute lap times. The top 2 had new company to round out the top 5 though with Slovenia’s Jaka Pleklaj 3rd, USA’s Logan Best 4th, and 2018 EMX65 Champion from Italy, Brando Rispoli 5th fastest.
Qualifying resulted in the same two fastest as Knuiman and Plath will line up first for tomorrow’s races. Jumping into the 3rd spot was American Enzo Temmerman followed by Best and Australia’s Kayden Minear.
65cc World Cup Qualifying Practice Top Ten: 1. Damien Knuman (NED, KTM), 1:59.803; 2. Braden Plath (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:00.208; 3. Enzo Temmerman (USA, KTM), +0:01.897; 4. Logan Best (USA, KTM), +0:02.292; 5. Kayden Minear (AUS, KTM), +0:02.460; 6. Ky Woods (AUS, KTM), +0:02.711; 7. Jet Alsop (AUS, KTM), +0:03.094; 8. Jack Deveson (AUS, KTM), +0:03.402; 9. Jaka Peklaj (SLO, KTM), +0:03.556; 10. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Husqvarna), +0:03.638.