Kiwis Shine at French GP

Kiwis Shine at French GP

New Zealand’s James Scott made all the right moves at the weekend as he thrust himself into the spotlight at the French Motocross Grand Prix. Photo by

JUNE 13, 2018: The 16-year-old KTM racer from Oparau, near Kawhia, twice finished fifth at the French GP at St Jean d’Angely, gaining his first points of the season and elevating himself from nowhere in the European 125cc Championship (EMX125) to 21st in the standings after this fifth round of eight in the series.

Riding for the F4E KTM Team, the 2016 New Zealand junior 13-16 years’ 85cc class champion Scott took time to get used to the steep French track, situated between La Rochelle and Cognac, in the south-west of France, and he qualified only 31st fastest, which meant he needed to race the last-chance qualifier (LCQ) to earn a place in the starting line-up for the GP.

He led every lap in the LCQ race – winning the race and finishing a massive 22 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Italian KTM rider Riccardo Nicoli – and, despite Scott therefore being granted only a late pick on the championship race start line, he leapt into second spot soon after the start of the first championship race proper.

He eventually slipped back to claim fifth at the chequered flag.

In was harder work for Scott in the second EMX125 race. Jammed in traffic at the start, the Kiwi hero fought bravely to rise from 30th position to eventually claim another fifth-place finish.

“The weekend started off not that great, with only qualifying 31st and having to come through the last chance race, which I won by a decent margin,” said Scott.

“Then came race one later on in the day and I got a great jump out of the gate. But other riders caught me up down the straight but I managed to come out of the first two turns in second spot and then led a little while, but got put back to second before I completed a lap and stayed second for about 15 minutes.

“But I had a small crash and went back to fourth and then, on the last lap, I got passed by the rider behind me so I finished fifth.

“In race two, I got a horrible start and then slowly made my way back up to fifth again, which I was really happy with.

“I was happy with the result, but not so much my riding. I didn’t have my normal flow and speed.”

The weekend was won by Italian rider Mattia Guadagnini, whose 4-1 results in the two EMX125 races helped him up to fifth in the championship standings. Austrian KTM rider Rene Hofer leads the series.

The next EMX125 champion race is set for the sandy Lommel circuit, in Belgium, on August 5.

Meanwhile, as Scott was waving the Kiwi flag in the EMX125 class, fellow New Zealander Dylan Walsh was doing the same in the EMX250 class, taking his Husqvarna to finish 11th and seventh in his two outings in France.

Walsh was second on the first lap on race two but struggled to hold the position and was passed by French riders Brian Moreau and Mathys Boisrame and Germany’s Jeremy Sydow on lap two.

After six of 11 rounds in the EMX250 championship chase, Boisrame leads the standings from British rider Mel Pocock, while Kiwi hero Walsh is fifth overall in the standings, behind Boisrame and British trio Pocock, Martin Barr and Steven Clarke.

Words and photo by Andy McGechan,