Australia and the USA On Top of the World at World Junior Motocross Championships

Author: Garry Morrow


Australian Bailey Malkiewicz (47) and Italian Mattia Guadagini (101) went head to head for teh premier 125cc World Junior title with Australian taking the win after a small mistake cost the Italian who had been near perfect all weekend. Photo: Garry Morrow
The small country town of Horsham, Australia, has been the epicenter for the 2018 World Junior Motocross Championships for the past three days and after a weekend of memorable racing three new World Junior Champions have been crowned, which included two Australians and an American!

The Hosham circuit, situated four hours West of the Victorian capital of Melbourne was a picture as a large crowd gathered to watch the Worlds best on a chilly 14 degree Victorian winter day. Motocross fans turned up in the spirit of the day, decked out in team gear and loud toys, such as air horns and chainsaws to cheer on their riders. Add to that the expected international flavour from all the participants and the weekend was one Australian motocross fans will remember for a long time to come.

In a fairytale ending Australian Bailey Malkiewicz was crowned 2018 World 125cc Champion after an action-packed two races, while American Caden Braswell overcame a difficult weekend to take the 85cc Championship home to America. Host nation Australia also saw their second World Junior Champion crowned for the weekend when Braden Plath came out on top in a close points battle in the 65cc class.
Bailey Malkiewicz chased Mattia Guadagini all weekend, eventually getting the upperhand with three laps to go when the Italian crashed. Photo: Garry Morrow
Pole winner Mattia Guadagini was the class of the field in the opening 125cc race. The Italian only challenge came from Bailey Malkiewicz on the second lap with the Australian trying an inside move that saw the Yamaha rider hit the deck. While the Australian Champion remounted quickly, the Italian was all but gone.

Malkiewicz and compatriot Regan Duffy staged a half race battle for second before a small crash, and a sluggish bike saw Duffy drop down the order and eventually finish ninth. Malkiewicz closed to within eight seconds of Guadagini in the closing stages, but the Italian really looked to be just controlling the pace. Malkiewicz went on to finish second.

Czech ridder Petr Polak rode a lonely race in third for most of the moto. Dutchman Rick Elzinga rode to fourth ahead of Frenchman Thibaut Benistant.
The moment a flawless weekend for Italian Mattia Guadagini suddenly wasn't! With this crash Bailey Malkiewicz assumed the lead in the second moto and the championship win. Photo Craig Wasley / Classic Shots Photography
Race two started as fans wanted with Australian Bailey Malkiewicz leading the opening lap ahead of race one winner Mattia Guadagini. Whichever rider could take the win would take the title and the next 25 minutes plus two laps of racing was going to have the large Horsham crowd transfixed - and screaming for an Australian win.

While the focus was on the two frontrunners Kiwi Broadie Connolly and Australian Korey McMahon were in close attendance in third and fourth place. Czech Petr Polak, Kiwi James Scott and Australian Blake Fox were also in the mix.

With four laps in the books, the running order had not changed with Malkiewicz holding a two second lead over Guadagini. With twelve minutes down though the Italian made his move and took the lead. Guadagini was a picture of control out front while Malkiewicz threw everything at it and looked more on the edge, but by no means was giving in. By mid-race Petr Polak had worked his way into third and proved to be the quiet achiever all weekend.
The 125cc podium with new World Champion Bailey Malkiewicz and the biggest smile in Australia. Photo: Aaryn Minerds.
With three laps to go of a drama free weekend for Guadagini, it all came to an end as a small crash was his only blemish, and it happened at the totally wrong time!

That was all Malkiewicz needed, and the Australian didn't wait around for an invitation. With to laps to go the Australian crowd was roaring for their rider to bring it home, air horns, chainsaws and waving Australian flags were the order of the day. The Australian crossing the line thirteen seconds ahead of the Italian and into Australian motorcycle history as the nations fifth World Champion and the first in the 125cc class.

Petr Polak passed a clearly struggling Guadagini on the last lap to add salt to the wound. Australian Korey McMahon was also impressive in 4th.

When the point were tallied up, it was Malkiewicz, ahead of Guadagini and a consistent Petr Polak that made up the podium for 2018.

2018 125cc Junior World Championship Race 1 Top 10:
1. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), 29:13.317
2. Bailey Malkiewicz (AUS, Yamaha), +0:12.457
3. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), +0:23.736
4. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.252
5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:36.671
6. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), +0:37.682
7. James Scott (NZL, KTM), +0:41.222
8. Blake Fox (AUS, KTM), +0:49.101
9. Miles Duffy (GBR, Yamaha), +0:49.602
10. Hayden Smith (NZL, Husqvarna), +0:52.137

2018 125cc Junior World Championship Race 2 Top 10:
1. Bailey Malkiewicz (AUS, Yamaha), 30:51.502
2. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), +0:13.831
3. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, Husqvarna), +0:14.023
4. Korey McMahon (AUS, KTM), +0:22.378
5. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), +0:27.227
6. Thibault Benistant (FRA, Yamaha), +0:27.780
7. James Scott (NZL, KTM), +0:28.433
8. Rick Elzinga (NED, Yamaha), +0:38.171
9. Blake Fox (AUS, KTM), +0:42.810
10. Noah Fergusson (AUS, KTM), +0:46.775

2018 125cc Junior World Championship Overall Top 10:
1. Bailey Malkiewicz (AUS, YAM), 47 points
2. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 45 points
3. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), 42 points
4. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), 31 points
5. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 31 points
6. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 31 points
7. James Scott (NZL, KTM), 28 points
8. Korey McMahon (AUS, KTM), 25 points
9. Blake Fox (AUS, KTM), 25 points
10. Miles Duffy (GBR, YAM), 18 points
American Caden Braswell (6) was the class of the 65cc class and overcame some drama's to take the 2018 World Championship. Photo: Garry Morrow
Race one of the 85cc class saw some close action at the start with the fastest qualifier Caden Braswell grabbing the holeshot and setting sail in what looked like would be a simple days work. Things are never simple though, and the American fell foul of a malfunctioning knee brace and dropped back through the field with Belgian Liam Everts assuming the lead.

Once at the head of the field Everts, son of 10-time World Champion Stefan Everts, rode in the style of his father with a controlled, smooth race, leading every lap until he crossed the line for a strong 14-second win. Braswell's knee brace troubles dropped him back to fifth, and his resulting charge through the field was impressive. Firstly despatching compatriot Ryder DiFrancesco, then Dutchman Kay Karssmakers before seeing the race out in third. Dutchman Kay de Wolfe rode a solid race to finish second.
Dutchman Kay de Wolfe put in a consistent weekend to finish runner up in the 85cc class. Photo: Garry Morrow
Race 2 saw Dutchman Dave Kooiker take the early lead as he battled it out with Spaniard Raul Sanchez and American Ryder DiFrancesco. Hot favourite Caden Braswell didn't have knee brace troubles this time but did have start troubles and ran in the middle order with a lot of work to do.

The big news was that race one winner Liam Everts was out in the first lap after crashing early in the opening lap and not being able to restart his KTM, which threw the overall wide open.

Second fastest qualifier, Camden Mc Lellan was starting to work his way into the top five and with six laps down Braswell had worked his way back to third place and was hunting down a championship, and with less than four seconds between him and the number one spot on track he rode hard and determined. Kooiker and Sanchez had other ideas as the trio put on a show for the Horsham crowd. With nine laps in the books though Braswell assumed the lead and showed clearly why he was the pacesetter all weekend.

For the final laps, Braswell controlled his lead and went on to a two-second win ahead of Dave Kooiker and Camden Mc Lellan. Dutchman Kay Karssmakers and American Ryder DiFrancesco rounded out the top five. Australian Brad West impressed with the Kawasaki rider finishing a credible eighth place; Zac Watson was the only other Australian to finish in the top ten with tenth place.

At the end of the day when the points were tallied up, it was Caden Braswell who took the title for the USA in what was an eventful day. Braswell really had to work hard and overcome some bad luck for his win and third; and title!

Dutchman Kay de Wolfe finished second overall on 37 points Kay Karssmakers made it two Dutchman on the podium with third overall. Brad West was the best of the Australians with 8th overall.

85cc Junior World Championship Race 1 Top 10:
1. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 24:34.941
2. Kay de Wolf (NED, KTM), +0:14.211
3. Caden Braswell (USA, KTM), +0:19.349
4. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), +0:26.912
5. Ryder Difrancesco (USA, Kawasaki), +0:32.923
6. Andrea Viano (ITA, KTM), +0:57.356
7. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, KTM), +0:59.347
8. Dave Kooiker (NED, Yamaha), +1:05.842
9. Brad West (AUS, Kawasaki), +1:13.345
10. Zac Watson (AUS, Yamaha), +1:15.204

85cc Junior World Championship Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Caden Braswell (USA, KTM), 24:23.125
2. Dave Kooiker (NED, Yamaha), +0:01.941
3. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, KTM), +0:03.438
4. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), +0:15.012
5. Ryder Difrancesco (USA, Kawasaki), +0:20.930
6. Kay de Wolf (NED, KTM), +0:25.963
7. Raul Sanchez (ESP, KTM), +0:26.213
8. Brad West (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:46.788
9. Andrea Viano (ITA, KTM), +0:54.553
10. Zac Watson (AUS, Yamaha), +0:54.903

85cc Junior World Championship Overall Top Ten:
1. Caden Braswell (USA, KTM), 45 points
2. Kay de Wolf (NED, KTM), 37 points
3. Kay Karssemakers (NED, KTM), 36 points
4. Dave Kooiker (NED, YAM), 35 points
5. Camden Mc Lellan (RSA, KTM), 34 points
6. Ryder Difrancesco (USA, KAW), 32 points
7. Andrea Viano (ITA, KTM), 27 points
8. Brad West (AUS, KAW), 25 points
9. Liam Everts (BEL, KTM), 25 points
10. Raul Sanchez (ESP, KTM), 24 points
The 65cc class was packed and full of action. Australian Braden Plath (428) tied on points but as a result of a better second moto was awarded the championship over American Enzo Temmerman (7). Photo Garry Morrow

Race one of the 65cc class saw Vitezslav Marek control the race from start to finish. The Czech rider controlled things from the front and looked smooth and controlled for the whole distance. Interestingly Marek only managed the 12th fastest time in Saturday's qualifying.

The only female rider in the field, Dutchwoman Lotte Van Drunen, was an impressive second, almost nineteen seconds behind Marek. American Enzo Temmerman rounded out the top three, a further nine seconds back from Van Drunen. Australian Kayden Minear finished fourth ahead of compatriot and second fastest qualifier Braden Plath, Plath had run as high as second in the early laps before dropping back. Pole winner Damien Knuiman finished 11th.
American Enzo Temmerman (7) was second in the 65cc class. Photo: Garry Morrow
Brando Rispoli took the lead early in the race two with race one winner Vitezslav Marek in tow and Australian's Jet Alsop and Braden Plath in hot pursuit. By lap two the USA's Logan Best had moved up from his 5th place start to assume the lead. Race one winner and runner-up Marek and Van Drunen ran fifth and sixth respectively.

With three laps to go Best and Rispoli drew clear of Jet Alsop by over fourteen seconds, with Rispoli taking the lead from Best with two laps to go. Alsop and Plath went toe to toe for the final spot in the top three while race one winner Marek dropped to 8th, one place behind Lotte Van Drunen.

As the flag dropped Best had found his way past Rospli for the race win and Australian Braden Plath had also worked his way into second with Rospli crossing the line in third.

Race one winner Vitezslav Marek finished down in 21st and Lotte Van Drunen in 8th.

In the end, though it was Australia's fourth World Championship with Braden Plath tying on 38 points with American Enzo Temmerman but getting the win as a result of his better second moto finish. Brando Rispoli rounded out the podium, three points adrift of first and second.

Lotte Van Drunen finished on equal points with Rispoli but was fourth on count-back.

Plath's World Championship is the third in the 65cc class with Jett Lawrence and Caleb Grothues having won the same class.

65cc Junior World Cup Race 1 Top Ten:
1. Vitezslav Marek (CZE, KTM), 19:12.256
2. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Husqvarna), +0:19.492
3. Enzo Temmerman (USA, KTM), +0:28.835
4. Kayden Minear (AUS, KTM), +0:30.579
5. Braden Plath (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:32.990
6. Brando Rispoli (ITA, KTM), +0:41.884
7. Jet Alsop (AUS, KTM), +0:44.226
8. Seth Burchell (AUS, Yamaha), +0:46.082
9. Seth Shackleton (AUS, KTM), +0:51.156
10. Koby Hantis (AUS, Cobra), +0:53.92

65cc Junior World Cup Race 2 Top Ten:
1. Logan Best (USA, KTM), 17:50.665
2. Braden Plath (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:01.537
3. Brando Rispoli (ITA, KTM), +0:04.006
4. Enzo Temmerman (USA, KTM), +0:12.985
5. Jet Alsop (AUS, KTM), +0:19.625
6. Seth Burchell (AUS, Yamaha), +0:26.068
7. Jake Cannon (AUS, Yamaha), +0:26.863
8. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, Husqvarna), +0:27.174
9. Kayden Minear (AUS, KTM), +0:31.092
10. Koby Hantis (AUS, Cobra), +0:32.970

65cc Junior World Cup Overall Top Ten:
1. Braden Plath (AUS, HUS), 38 points
2. Enzo Temmerman (USA, KTM), 38 points
3. Brando Rispoli (ITA, KTM), 35 points
4. Lotte Van Drunen (NED, HUS), 35 points
5. Logan Best (USA, KTM), 34 points
6. Jet Alsop (AUS, KTM), 30 points
7. Kayden Minear (AUS, KTM), 30 points
8. Seth Burchell (AUS, YAM), 28 points
9. Vitezslav Marek (CZE, KTM), 25 points
10. Koby Hantis (AUS, COB), 22 points

In the team's event, the host nation Australia took the win ahead of the Netherlands and Italy.

Asked about the day's success for Australia Team Manager Mark Willingham said, "To be honest I was quietly confident going into the weekend. I was at least expecting a podium considering the hard work we have all put in and the potential the riders showed leading up to the event. All the riders put in a good effort and professionally represented their country. I would also like to thank the parents and supporters for their help, assistance and belief in the team. It's a proud day for Australian motocross," Willingham concluded.

Though Italy didn‰Ûªt win the overall title as the best team they did claim the 2018 FIM Ride Green Cup as recognition for their promotion of a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to racing.

Full results can be found at:
Australia took out the team title ahead of the Nerthlands and Italy. Photo: Aaryn Minerds

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