Courtesy of KTM Racing
The ruts and bumps of Ernee and a massive crowd provided a new educational experience for the three youngsters of the KINI KTM Junior Racing Team as the 2017 EMX125 series almost reached the halfway point in Normandy. The squad were at full strength for the first time this term as Hofer and Marcel Stauffer welcomed Swiss teenager Mike Gwerder back into the fray after recovering from injury.
Pleasant conditions on Saturday gave way to some light showers Sunday morning and helped churned the French hard-pack into a demanding test. The many uphill drags, off-cambered turns and steep downhill descents meant it was a technical and nerve-straining prospect.
Gwerder showed some positive signs on his EMX125 debut but a dramatic Last Chance Qualifier saw the youngster crash, struggle to recover his racebike and then deal with a front brake issue that conspired to cast him to the sidelines for both motos. Stauffer suffered falls in both outings that meant he was unable to post any points on the board. Hitting another bike in the second race damaged his shift lever and he also sustained a painful impact to the arm as a consequence of another spill.
It was left to Hofer to forge ahead but the Austrian missed optimal starts to apply his obvious speed towards podium spoils. He was almost last at the beginning of the first moto and came back well through the full gate to fifteenth. In the second dash he was substantially further forward – at least midpack – but lost a little of his rhythm through experimentation with new lines and could not rise higher than eighth, for tenth overall. Rene’s points haul means that he has pushed up to sixth in the championship table.
Didi Lacher, Team Manager: “Overall this weekend was good; each rider had his own story and problems to deal with but it was certainly a great learning experience for all three of them. Rene is struggling with his starts. We’ve been working on them and thought we’d found something that could help him this weekend but the metal gate used in GPs means we have to keep on searching to find the best solution. He’s riding well and his speed is good; we just need to get him a bit further forward in the first corner. Marcel just tried too hard this weekend and was on the limit quite a lot. He paid for that and needs to calm down a bit but his lap-times were really encouraging. It was great to have Mike here for his first race and I think he felt the nerves of the occasion and it was such a heavy and difficult track. He did OK and was very far from how we know he can normally ride, so that leaves us room for improvement.”
EMX125 and the KINI KTM Junior Racing Team will next kick the two-stroke engines to life at the Grand Prix of Lombardia at Ottobiano, south of Milan, next month.
Next Round: June 25 2017 – Ottobiano (ITA)
Results EMX125 Ernee 2017
1. Kevin Horgmo (NOR), KTM (1-2)
2. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA), Husqvarna (3-1)
3. Brian Strubhart Moreau (FRA), Kawasaki (5-3)
4. Tom Guyon (FRA), TM (7-6)
5. Andrea Zanotti (SMR), KTM (6-10)
10. Rene Hofer (AUT), KTM (15-8)
38. Marcel Stauffer (AUT), KTM (40-37)
Standings EMX125 2017 after 3 of 8 rounds
1. Strubhart Moreau 128 points
2. Horgmo 118
3. Facchetti 100
4. Haarup 97
5. Notario 78
6. Hofer 63
19. Stauffer 25