Round one of eight in the ’17 EMX125 European Championship saw the new crew land in the bumpy and fast terrain of the Eurocircuit, Valkenswaard in Holland. A cold breeze moved across the old facility south of Eindhoven and 15 year old Rene Hofer was in promising form after almost recovering from a broken ring finger on his right hand to show decent speed around the energy-sapping layout. In the first moto on Saturday afternoon the Austrian worked his way back through from a start that left him stranded outside the top twenty on the first lap to reach ninth position.
The frantic, competitive and busy class of young two-stroke shod aspirants was a challenge for the KTM trio and Marcel Stauffer only just missed out on qualification (he was first reserve and had set the fastest lap in the Last Chance Heat) and Mike Gwerder was not yet fully fit to take part in Holland. It was left to Hofer to shine for the squad supervised by Didi Lacher and Hannes Kinigadner and on Sunday #711 carved his way to sixth before a spill dropped him out of the top ten; Rene recovered to capture tenth on his KTM 125 SX.
Hofer: “After all the ‘story’ to be here I’m happy with this race. We’ve got some points and we can improve for the next race. The track was really tough in both motos and I did my best even though my starts were not that great. I worked my way up and overall I’m happy with how it went.”
Didi Lacher (Team Manager): “Ups and downs this weekend. Rene did really good with his broken finger and really surprised us. We did some riding on Thursday and it didn’t seem the best but he got better and better. He fought back in both races and today just suffered a crash while sixth unfortunately and had a hard time lifting the bike…but overall did really good and we’re heading in the right way. Marcel had problems in qualifying; the track was so fast and he was tight on the bike. He went to the Last Chance and came back from a terrible start to fourth and he just lost out by a few tenths of a second, as well as having a spectacular crash. No other rider dropped out for the motos so he didn’t move from that first reserve position. The boys are young, they make mistakes and they need to learn, especially on a track like this. The speed is there!”
Hannes Kinigadner: “It was cool to see the guys start the season and Marcel was so unlucky not to get through the qualifier. Rene did very well considering his finger injury and his speed was exciting to watch. There were some good positives from this first race and Latvia will come around quick, so we’ll go again.”
Next race: May 7th, 2017 – Kegums (LAT)
Results/Standings EMX125 Valkenswaard 2017 after 1 of 8 rounds
1. Mikkel Haarup (DEN), Husqvarna, 50 points (1-1)
2. Brian Strubhart (FRA), Kawasaki, 42 (3-2)
3. Sergio Notario (SPA), KTM, 36 (4-4)
4. Tim Edberg (SWE), Yamaha, 36 (2-7)
5. Kevin Horgmo (NOR), KTM, 31 (10-3)
9. Rene Hofer (AUT), KTM, 23 (9-10)
DNQ Marcel Stauffer (AUT), KTM
DNS Mike Gwerder (SUI), KTM