June 11th, 2019.

PAR Homes Zip Racing ATVs R Us Yamaha’s Harry Walker dug deep last weekend, at the second round of the FIM-affiliated 2019 EMX Quad European Championship. The solo British rider recovered from an unaccustomed 11th timed-qualifying position, to reel in sixth and fifth place finishes, and improve his championship position in the process.

Fans lined the track to cheer on the multi-national, 29-strong line-up of top-level European riders, who were racing in dusty and blisteringly hot conditions. Walker’s onslaught didn’t quite get the start he needed when, of all things, he lost his seat around three laps into official qualifying, relegating him from eighth to 16th. He clawed his way back to 11th though but faced an uphill battle for race day. As in round one, Estonia’s Kevin Saar was in a league of his own out front in qualifying, which stood him in good stead for the racing ahead.

In Sunday’s first 16-lap moto, Walker was off the line with the leading pack and lapping in eighth position in the early stages of the race. The leading three of Sarr, Mike Van Grinsven and Patrick Turrini were lapping in the high 1:40s, with the next group of Sune Lewander, Roman Gwiazda and Walker in the low 1:50s. Walker rode a solid and consistent race in tough conditions, pulling out all the stops to take a hard-fought sixth finish from an 11th starting position.

Consistency was again the name of the game for Walker in the second moto. With the top six putting in closer lap times – all in the low 1:50s – Walker ran sixth for most of the race, digging in and finally securing a creditable fifth at the finish line.

His tenacity and consistency rewarded him with a step up in terms of the championship leader board; now in fourth place, just two points behind Poland’s Gwiazda and three points ahead of Latvian, Valerijs Kuzmins.

“That was a tough one,” said Walker. “It’s frustrating when qualifying goes wrong. You’re always playing catch-up and can’t afford to ease up for one single second. The track was great and fast, but it was humid and so, so dusty. My PAR Homes Zip Racing Yamaha worked a dream though and we salvaged the weekend by getting solid points and came away in a better position in the championship. Just need to have a word with my dad about that seat …. Ooops!”

Race 1;
1. Kevin Saar (EST), 2. Mike Van Grinsven (NED), 3. Patrick Turrini (ITA), 4. Sune Lewander (SWE), 5. Roman Gwiazda (POL), 6. Harry Walker (GBR)

Race 2;
1. Kevin Saar, 2. Mike Van Grinsven , 3. Roman Gwiazda, 4. Patrick Turrini, 5. Harry Walker, 6. Paolo Galizzi (ITA)

Championship standings (after two rounds);
1. Kevin Saar (Honda ) 100, 2. Patrick Turrini (Yamaha) 74, 3. Roman Gwiazda (Yamaha) 65, 4. Harry Walker (Yamaha) 63, 5. Valerijs Kuzmins (Husqvarna) 60, 6. Zdenek Polàcek (Husqvarna) 58

Next up on the EMX Quad calendar is round 3 in Latvia over the weekend of the 27th and 28th July, followed by round 4 in Croatia over the weekend of 31st August and 1st of September 2019.

[Pic; Walker closes down #17 Paulo Galizzi, whilst #35 Davino Bruneel eats his dust. Credit John Cook]