Now Reading
Harry Walker claims epic 2nd overall and moto win at 2024 European Quadcross Championship Round 1 – Report & Results

Harry Walker claims epic 2nd overall and moto win at 2024 European Quadcross Championship Round 1 – Report & Results

The EMX Quad European Championship was back in action in Alqueidão, Portugal, for round one of the 2024 season.

Qualifying Race

The heat had not wavered between the practice and qualifying race session, however, it was evident that the close nature of the riders’ lap times would certainly be raising the temperature.

21 riders lined up on the gate to contest the opening qualifying race of the season, and as the gate dropped the lead of the race was highly contested, however, after the initial scraps for track position had calmed down, only slightly, it was Harry Walker who led the charge ahead of Manfred Zienecker and Patrick Turrini. The second position was short-lived for the German as Turrini found his way through and set about piling the pressure on Walker.

While the leading duo established their lead, Karlis Neija had Joao Vale and Murray Graham for close company, with the former soon succeeding in making the pass, and extend the gap to end the race in 4th position. Further down the order, Julian Veldman made his debut in the European championship and, despite a strong start which saw him included in the fight for fifth, it was not to be as he retired from the race with 6 laps to go.

Into the closing stages of the race, the gap was as close as it had been throughout the course of the race, with Walker still fending off Turrini by the slimmest of margins, but, try as he might, he was forced to relinquish the race lead on the final lap, with Turrini coming out on top to kickstart his title defence. Zienecker completed the podium after a lonely but consistent race to 3rd position.

Race 1

After the initial squabbling of position during the opening lap, it was the reigning champion Patrick Turrini who fought off the opposition to claim the lead of the race, with hard-charging local rider Joao Vale in close attendance and Manfred Zienecker chasing after them. Harry Walker was very slightly outside of the top 5 positions in the opening laps, but soon worked his way through the order into 3rd position after a handful of laps were completed, however, the most impressive opening lap came from the tall Dutchman, Julian Veldman, who was forced to retire from the qualifying race yesterday due to a puncture. Despite being the last to choose his gate, he would made up a staggering 15 positions to be within the top 6 riders by the end of lap one – a fantastic start on his debut.

With the short nature of this circuit, it wasn’t too long before the leading riders were encountering the tailenders, which have proved pivotal in races in years gone by. Turrini, the first rider to reach the backmarkers would use them to his advantage, with Joao Vale not managing to capitalise on their presence. By this point, Harry Walker had significantly opened his advantage over Manfred Zienecker, who was having a great ride in 4th place, unchallenged by the opposition.

Despite his speed and determination, it was a mountain too big for Walker to be given the opportunity of fighting for a higher position than 3rd, but certainly a great way to solidify his stance in this year’s championship from the very start. Great battles were had for the minor placings, with Oliver Sansom inside the top 10 positions along with Murray Graham and Louis Pinchon throughout the mid-point of proceedings, but he would soon slip down the order with local riders Simao Almeida, Diogo Campos and Luis Paulo Machado Mateus moving up the running order.

During the closing laps, a late-race charge was on the cards for Vale, with the gap consistently expanding and contracting between 1.3, and 1.8 seconds, but the metronomically consist Turrini extended the margin to an insurmountable 9.5 seconds by the time the chequered flag was waved – a great effort from the Portuguese pilot. Walker, the reigning British champion attempted to mount a late-race challenge, but it was not to be as he, very happily I’m sure, came home in 3rd position.

Race 1 Results

Race 2

Racing from the gate and into the first turn, it was Mark Mclernon who took the initial advantage as they rounded the first handful of turns, however, this lead was short-lived as Turrini, Walker and Vale found a way past and set about increasing their advantage over the opposition. Turrini completed the first lap with the race lead, however, if he thought that this race would be a similar affair to race 1, he was highly mistaken as the lead changed hand multiple times throughout the duration.

Walker made an impressively close move to take the lead, with Turrini sitting behind to study Walker’s lines over the coming laps, however, after challenging Walker for the lead, they both ran marginally off-line, and Joao Vale said “muito obrigado!” as he went from 3rd to 1st in one move – evidently a fan favourite with the local crowd cheering with delight! Turrini and Walker, in the meantime, sought about a way to reclaim their advantage, and soon relegated Vale to third position, and stretch their gap over the Portuguese rider.

Further down the order, Zienecker seemed to be, frustratingly, losing positions with the passing laps, however, a good point scoring position was up for grabs, of which he grabbed with both hands. Sansom was enjoying a much better race, eventually taking the chequered flag in 9th position, ahead of the German rider.

Into the closing stages of the event and the battle was still raging on, with the pendulum of momentum swinging back and forth between the Brit and Italian, but with a move which saw Walker and Turrini almost lock bars, Walker took the reigns and put together a fantastic lap to stretch his advantage to 3.4 seconds by the chequered flag, ahead of Turrini and Vale. Joakim Granli and Karlis Neija finished in positions 4 and 5, separated by only half a second!

At the end of the day, it was Turrini who may have lost the battle, but won the war as he kickstarts his title defence with the championship lead, and the red plate going into the round 2 of the championship in Heerde.

Race 2 Results

Overall Results

Report and Images by FIM Europe