World Junior MX Champs Day One Report

Words and Images by Kendall Jennings

The FIM World Junior Motocross Championships competitors have survived day one of the Championship fighting through the heat in Spain, Saturday, 18th July, 2015.

The 2015 event is being run at ‘Circuito La Nava’ El Molar, Madrid and the 1600 metre motocross track meanders up and down the side of an hill outside town limits of El Molar, encompassing fast sections and tight corners, as well as steep jump up-ramps.

Europe’s heat wave has taken it’s toll on surrounding grassland, making the sea of competitor country flags stand out to all the surrounding residential area.

Competitors are not the only campers at the facility, eager fans have also camped in the parking area of the complex. Spectators are treated to spectacular circuit views with a majority of the spectator area providing a full view of the track.

FIM World Junior Motocross Championships - Team Australia
FIM World Junior Motocross Championships – Team Australia

FIM Officials have opted for early racing, to help survive Europe’s unusual heatwave. Rider briefings being held at 0730 and the event schedule beginning directly after. Thankfully, Saturday proved cooler than earlier in the week, a breeze and cloud kept the heat moderate, even thought the sun had an extremely harsh bite.

There are three classes of competition, two world championships of a 125cc and an 85cc, and a 65cc European Championship support class, the classes catering for motocross riders aged between 10 and 17 years of age. The championship is renowned for rewarding the efforts of future AMA and MXGP champions with previous winners such as Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac turning fully professional and continue wining championships at the highest echelons of the sport.

Motorcycling Australia endorsed a six rider squad managed by Glenn Macdonald. With two riders competing in the 125cc class, and 4 riders in the 85cc class.

In previous years, there was also riders for the previous world championship 65cc Class ,which Australia’s youth have been extremely successful in since its implementation in 2010. But with the 65cc class being a European Championship, 2014 World Champion Australian Jett Lawrence was unable to defend his world championship status, the class originally being dropped from the schedule, and then re-added as an European Championship Class.

With the heat in El Molar similar to an Australian Summer, the Aussie squad has handled the temperatures quite well, which can be seen in the practice times. All the team qualified directly to the championship races.

With the daylight hours long, sunrise around 0700, and sunset around 2200, the day can become quite hot with 40+ degree temperatures and high temperatures still present late into the evening.

Competitors are given a twenty minute free practice, followed by a twenty minute qualifying session, and a further five minutes to practice a start and first corner loop. The registered competitor lap times, sort the gate pick list, with the competitor with the fastest lap has the first gate pick.

In the 125cc, 54 riders navigated the circuit in two heats of 27 racers with twenty minutes to register their fastest lap time. The top 18 progressed directly into the 2015 championship line up. Non-successful riders were given a second change to qualify for the championship in a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), where the first 4 riders are elevated to the starter list. Spaniard Rubén Fernández Garciia posted the fastest lap time of 01:50,33 on his KTM125.

125cc Qualifying Practice Top Ten Group A: 1. Ruben Fernandez Garcia (ESP, KTM), 1:50.337; 2. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:00.228; 3. Davide Cislaghi (ITA, TM), +0:00.683; 4. Richard Sikyna (SVK, KTM), +0:00.727; 5. Maxime Renaux (FRA, Yamaha), +0:01.007; 6. Jago Geerts (BEL, KTM), +0:01.513; 7. Stephen Rubini (FRA, KTM), +0:01.680; 8. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, Husqvarna), +0:01.733; 9. Eric Englund (SWE, KTM), +0:01.750; 10. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), +0:01.840.

125cc Qualifying Practice Top Ten Group B: 1. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, Yamaha), 1:51.047; 2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, KTM), +0:00.373; 3. Anthony Bourdon (FRA, Yamaha), +0:00.459; 4. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, KTM), +0:01.124; 5. Glen Meier (DEN, KTM), +0:01.157; 6. Alessandro Lentini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:01.768; 7. Jan Pancar (SLO, Yamaha), +0:01.895; 8. Cyril Genot (BEL, Husqvarna), +0:02.293; 9. Noud van Kraaij (NED, KTM), +0:02.503; 10. Jakub Barczewski (POL, KTM), +0:02.839.

In the 85cc, 50 riders competed for the fastest lap time, with the fastest 18 advancing to the championship starting list. An LCQ was also held, where the fastest 4 riders fill the starting line up.

85cc Qualifying Practice Top Ten: 1. Moreau Brian (FRA, Kawasaki), 1:56.530; 2. Elzinga Rick (NED, KTM), +0:00.552; 3. Boegh Damm Bastian (DEN, Kawasaki), +0:01.335; 4. Hofer Rene (AUT, KTM), +0:01.368; 5. Polak Petr (CZE, KTM), +0:01.483; 6. Scuteri Emilio (ITA, KTM), +0:02.022; 7. Budd Rhys (AUS, KTM), +0:02.258; 8. Petrashin Timur (RUS, KTM), +0:02.556; 9. Malkiewicz Bailey (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:02.691; 10. Beninstan Thibault (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:02.782.

Australian Team Riders Hunter Lawrence and Cooper Pozniak competed in the same qualifying heat where Lawrence recorded the second fastest time of the session, and Cooper the sixteenth fastest.

When qualifying heat times are combined, Hunter qualified seventh fastest, and Pozniak qualified thirty-fourth.

And for motocross fans that have been fortunate enough to follow the EM125 championship, New Zealander top runner Josiah Natzke qualified in eighteenth. Known as a poor qualifier, Natzke could be a surprise package when it comes to racing.

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence

Hunter Lawrence (Yamaha 125) – “I feel good, rack is coming along sweet, my bike handling awesome, I’m happy, my mechanics happy, so its good. Getting the rhythm of the track, went of for qualifying not that long ago and I was second in my group by .3 of a second. Looking forward to tomorrow.”

Do you think you are a dark horse?

“Most definitely, I don’t do qualifying back home. I have been working my butt off, I really want it, I have never trained so hard, I feel more mentally and physically more ready than ever, I’ll be pretty disappointed if I don’t leave top 5 if not better, but hey, it is what it is and we’ll see how the petals fall tomorrow.”

“Scott Bishop and Mike Ward I can’t thank them guys from Yamaha enough, I am a new member to the team, I’m loving it, its awesome. My dad for coming over, Erb Transport for helping us out with fuel, SkullCandy, Eithica, Bell Helmets, pod knee braces, twelve clothing, dunlop tires, axo gear, EKS brand, sony action cam, and everyone for being on board and showing support defiantly doesn’t go unforgotten, massive shout out to you guys.”

Cooper Pozniak
Cooper Pozniak

Cooper Pozniak (KTM 125) – “It is good, the track is a bit different than I thought it would be, it’s not to bad, I have qualified now so it is alright.

“Similar to Appin, Lakes and that, they are all hard pack. This track is a lot different in different ways.”

“The ruts are not too bad the track has formed up alright.”

“I have been training my arse off, been training at least 4 days a week and gym every single night, on a strict diet. Before I cam here I felt a lot healthier and faster.”

“I’d like to thank my Mum and Dad for getting me here. Glenn for this opportunity, and all my team mates for helping me out.”

In the 85cc Class, Frenchman Brian Moreau registered the fastest lap time of 1:56, 530 on his Kawasaki 85. Rhys Budd led the way for the Australian’s qualifying seventh on his KTM, followed by Husqvarna’s Bailey Malkiewicz in ninth, KTMs John Bova in seventeenth, and Regan Duffy in twenty-third.

Rhys Budd
Rhys Budd

Rhys Budd (KTM 85) – “It is really good. It can really show how I can go, today the track is pretty skatey, I just found out I finished 7th in qualifying, so that gives me a good gate for the race.

“In the morning it was really slick, and as the went on it has dried out and has got a bit of kickers and stuff in the up ramps, hopefully it should be good by tomorrow.”

“A huge shout out to all my family who helped me get to this stage and Team Australia.”

Bailey Malkiewicz
Bailey Malkiewicz

Bailey Malkiewicz (Husqvarna 85) – “It is like a couple of tracks in Victoria, the hills and all that, hard pack skatey surface”

“I have more bottom end. The suspension we just changed for that qualifying, it was okay, I just didn’t get a clean lap, still qualified 9th.”

“Riding everywhere as much as I could. My personal trainer has increased the cardio with some boxing.”

“I’d like to thank all my family for helping and supporting, KTM Australia and everyone at home for supporting me.”

John Bova
John Bova

John Bova (KTM 85) – “Definitely, it is very hot today, it isn’t to bad, I have an ice vest, so should be good.”

“There a lot of hard pack tracks in NSW and Victorian tracks they are actually not too bad, I like them a lot, they may be hardpack they are prepped well and don’t get too bad.”

“Yeah definitely, just get different competitors out their, ones like Bailey Malkiewicz out there, it defiantly helps a lot especially with different competition the way they ride and that, how it is done.”

“Like to thank everyone who is supporting me, LKI, SS Racing, Perelli, Link International, and everyone else that couldn’t make it here.”

Flights from Australia to Spain, basically, you lose a day. Even though you are a team and have people to talk to, being confined to a seat for hours is hard enough as an adult, caught up with Regan Duffy and asked him how the flight was.

Regan Duffy
Regan Duffy

Regan Duffy (KTM 85) – “Yeah it was really long, but I have never really been overseas, so I took it pretty hard. Just tried to sleep as soon as I arrived here.”

Being apart of the Australian Team, this trip is a trip of many firsts for Regan Duffy, we asked him what he thought of the event.

“You get a little bit nervous, but it is alright, it is fun. It’s nice to see all the other kids ride and see how quick they are.”

“I’d like to thank my dad for bringing me over here, KTM Australia, Motorex, VP race fuels and Mandurah City KTM.”

The Australian team is being assisted by German based Kosak Racing whom have provided their racing semi-trailer awning arrangement, similar to what Australian Factory Motocross Teams own on steroids. This allows the Australian Team to be housed in one location all the event, and the mood underneath the awning is one of mentorship, pride and family, as all the riders are supported.

They are being provided with anything they could possibly need at a race meeting allowing the rider to focus on their own personal dreams and desires, with all riders setting achievable goals for the hard work they have put in for the championships.

It was a pleasure to see that all riders where able to communicate to their mechanic, whether it was dad on the tools, or a Kosak Racing Mechanic, how their bikes where handling the El Molar circuit. 

Glenn Macdonald (Team Manager) – “I am very lucky that I have attended seven of these world junior motocross championships, in my ten years as a team manager back in Australia, it enables me to create an environment that I know works, our results last year and previous years have been successful.

“Creating an environment like this, is also a combination of knowing who you are dealing with, and knowing what works for them and making sure you stick to a plan, and don’t get too ahead of yourself when it comes to qualifying and racing, you’ve got to remember that they are still kids.”

It is difficult to predict where Australian Junior competitors will finish, as Australian race lengths are suited to a standard that encourages participation, not the full-time motocross elite, with race lengths generally being of around 15 minutes or less. Whereas European competition is focused on commitment, with athletes sticking to a fitness program and diet that allows competitors to compete at high aerobic exercise for 30 minutes. However our top Aussie Juniors have seen where they want to be, have worked hard on their health and fitness, and hopefully all the hard work will pay off ove the course of the next few days.