Third EMX podium in a row
On the first weekend in June, the athletes travelled to Velke Uherce in Slovakia, around 140km east of the capital Bratislava, for the final round of the European Championships in the Centrale Europe Zone. After travelling over 1000km, the first track walk took place on Friday afternoon.
A beautifully designed, extremely challenging course designed and built by Greg Atkins was set to provide exciting racing. The very large jumps were particularly challenging for the 65cc drivers, so we ran them a lot to be able to feel our way around faster in free practice.
In free practice on Saturday morning, I did well and set the second-fastest lap time. In the subsequent qualifying session, which was used to determine the starting grid for the qualifying race, it was incredibly exciting. There was just 0.7 seconds between second and seventh place, with me finishing fifth.
In the late afternoon, things got serious for us riders in the EMX65 class for the first time.I got out of the gate well, but got a bit stuck just before the first corner and was initially in seventh place. With a super strong performance, I was able to fight my way up to third place and secure third place on the grid for the race on Sunday.
In the warm-up on Sunday morning, I was able to build on my performance from Saturday straight away and set consistently fast lap times, so that I was listed in second place again.
Things got serious on Sunday afternoon. The start of the first race took place in front of an impressive crowd. We positioned my bike on the innermost lane and I came out of the gate very strongly, turning into the first corner in the lead. Unfortunately, I let myself get carried too far to the outside at the exit of the corner, allowing championship leader Harry Dale to pass me. Harry and I gave the spectators some great racing action with extremely good lap times, so that we took first and second place with a lead of over 20 seconds on third-placed Dutchman Kenzo Jaspers. A great second place for me!
The start of the second race wasn’t quite perfect, so I came out of the bend in seventh place. But I attacked immediately and was able to overtake two riders on the first lap, then continued to chase down the riders in front and was the fastest rider on the track at that point. Towards the middle of the race, I caught up with the two front-runners Harry Dale and Brian Gyles (both GB). When I had closed in on Gyles and wanted to attack at a jump combination, Gyles indirectly decided the race in his favour. The Brit deliberately jumped a big jump when the flag was waved under yellow, the leader Dale and I in third place braked hard as prescribed by the rules. As a result, Gyles was able to close the gap on Dale and gain a bigger gap on me. Dale won the race ahead of Gyles and me in third place.
I was therefore able to finish second in the daily standings and secure my third EMX podium in a row.We also managed to finish the European Championship in the Centrale Europe Zone in third place.Now that the qualifying races in the zones have been completed, the semi-finals between the Centrale Europe Zone and the North East Zone will take place at the end of June in Axel in the Netherlands. The best 25 riders from both zones will start there to secure one of the 20 coveted tickets for the final in Loket in the Czech Republic.In parallel, the South West Zone will race against the South East Zone in Italy.We are hoping for a good position to qualify for the final.