Bogers close to the MXGP podium, second-place finish for EMX125 red plate holder Zanocz

The red soil of Águeda hosted the fifth round of the 2024 FIM Motocross World Championship and the third stop for the EMX series. Heavy rainfall throughout the weekend turned the MXGP of Portugal into a mudfest. In extremely difficult conditions, Brian Bogers put in an impressive performance in the premier class while Noel Zanocz put Fantic on the box in the EMX125 European Championship. 

Fantic Factory Racing MXGP

Teams and riders had to deal with treacherous conditions in Águeda, starting with the qualifying race on Saturday. Glenn Coldenhoff secured sixth gate-pick despite a tip-over that cost him fourth place. Brian Bogers was running up front as well but suffered a hard crash that forced him to retire from the race, luckily Fantic Factory Racing MXGP’s new entry escaped any injury.

Race 1 on Sunday was held under intense rain. Coldenhoff was quick out of the gate and took full advantage of his top 6 launch to bring home an outstanding fourth place in brutal conditions. Bogers had a tougher start to the moto but managed an incredible comeback, making up ground lap after lap and crossing the finish line in fifth place, making it two Fantic XXF 450 in the top 5.

In the second moto, Bogers had a better start and found himself in sixth place in lap 1. The rain-soaked track proved to be a tough test and it took Brian some time to settle into his pace. Once he had found his rhythm, the 27-year-old Dutchman secured P7, getting close to a podium finish in fourth overall in what was only his third GP of the season. Unfortunately, Coldenhoff could not repeat the strong start in race 2 but managed to quickly work his way up to eight place. He tried to push forward but a costly crash made him lose ground and the chance to fight for the podium. Crossing the finish line in P13, Glenn had to settle for eight overall.

Brian Bogers: “It was wet and muddy but we had fun and I think that is important, especially in a race like this. Because if you don’t feel it, it will only get worse and worse. We had fun and the results show it. On Saturday, I was in a very good position in the qualifying race, I was in fourth but had a big crash. I made it really difficult for myself because I had to start completely from the outside on Sunday. In the first moto I started way back, crashed in the first lap, stopped to change my goggle – and still finished fifth. That was pretty special. In the second moto I had to start again from the outside, however, I was already in sixth place in lap 1 but then I struggled a bit. I went off track in a few places, maybe I just wanted it too much and was pushing a little bit too hard. After 10, 15 minutes I tried to do just the same as in the first moto, riding more relaxed and it was better again. All in all, I am really happy. A few months ago, I was sitting on the couch and now I got a fourth overall. So, this is for those who believed in me when some people thought I wouldn’t come back anymore.”

Glenn Coldenhoff: “Saturday was good, a small crash cost me P4 but the qualifying race was pretty decent. On Sunday, the rain came down big time and the first moto was kind of a survival race. I took a decent start, I was running in the top 5 all moto long, a few guys made mistakes and I finished fourth. The riding was actually not so good but at least I stayed on the bike. In the second moto we did a mistake, I stalled the bike on the gate. That made it really difficult but in the first lap I was already in the top 7. After the first moto we had made some really good changes, I was able to push quite hard and that was exactly what I did. I think I just didn’t have enough patience. I was a bit too much in a hurry, especially after that start, and this ended up in a crash. That was a real shame because I should have been standing on the podium… I am really disappointed about that mistake but it is a learning lesson once again and it is also easy to make a mistake in these tough conditions. I feel like we are getting there but the day still hasn’t arrived. We will try again next week.” 

Fantic Factory Racing EMX125

Fantic topped both EMX125 qualifying sessions thanks to Noel Zanocz and Simone Mancini, with the Hungarian rider grabbing the pole position. Douwe Van Mechgelen was 12th in his group.

At the start of the first moto, Noel Zanocz pulled away on his Fantic XX 125 and went on to lead every single lap on his way to his second race win of the season. Unfortunately, Mancini’s first moto was affected by an issue at the start. The winner of the GP in Arco had to chase the field and worked his way up till P15 showing a strong race pace. Van Mechgelen crashed twice in tough conditions, ending up without points.

Race 2 on Sunday morning saw Zanocz get another solid start, he got into second place in the first lap and kept the position until the chequered flag. Mancini bounced back with an impressive third-place finish and Van Mechgelen fought his way into 11th place. 1-2 results placed Zanocz on the second step of the podium with the same points score as the winner, which also means he maintains the red plate and an eight-point advantage in the championship.

Noel Zanocz: “It was another good weekend. I secured the pole on Saturday and led the first moto from start to finish. In the second moto, I was third at the start but I lost a few positions at the second corner. I was in P6 but managed to move up to second in the first lap. I struggled a bit with the visibility in these difficult conditions, I tried to attack anyway but I ended up second. I still hold the red plate by eight points and we are going to Spain now to keep going this way or to do even better.”

Fantic Factory Racing MX2

The MXGP of Portugal proved a tough test for the MX2 riders, with David Braceras and Kay Karssemakers struggling to find the right feeling in Saturday’s qualifying race. On Sunday, Karssemakers started off strong in race 1 and was fighting in the top 10 when a crash cut his race short. Braceras put in a solid performance in extreme conditions, securing P12.

The Spaniard was about to top this result in the second moto but a tip-over made him lose ground, eventually finishing in P14 for 12th overall. For Karssemakers it was another unfortunate DNF which meant he left Portugal without a points-scoring result.

Kay Karssemakers: “The first race started well; I was in seventh until I had a big crash. I damaged the bike and hit my leg pretty badly, that is why I had to pull off the track. The conditions were brutal for the second race, it was so wet. I think the riding was very good in the beginning but we had an issue in these difficult conditions, I had to restart and that took me some time. Afterwards, I had another crash and it was just over. It was an unlucky weekend but we will keep fighting.”

Unfortunately, the team’s EMX250 rider Alexis Fueri suffered a deep cut to his thigh in an unfortunate fall in race 1 on Saturday, forcing him to sit out race 2 on Sunday. The Frenchman will have to rest for approximately ten days before jumping back on his Fantic XXF 250.