The F&H Racing Kawasaki team were floundering in the depths of EMX250 not too long ago, yet now they are a prominent squad in the FIM Motocross World Championship and looked at as a viable option for the future stars alongside the full-factory teams. This point is now reinforced by the fact that they have established a potent three-rider line-up ahead of the 2020 season.
The EMX250 division has been applauded in recent years and churned out some unbelievable stars. Is it of any significance that the two most recent champions have ended up on a support team instead of a factory effort? Does this speak to the engine package and programme that the F&H Racing team can provide? It is a mountainous task, competing with Red Bull KTM in the MX2 division, but F&H have proven that they can give the riders exactly what they need to not only compete but prosper in the division. There is also a secret ingredient beneath the Dutch awning that very few teams can provide: Marc de Reuver.
Marc de Reuver, a four-time Grand Prix winner (once in the MX2 class), joined the F&H outfit at the end of the 2017 FIM Motocross World Championship, after helping Pauls Jonass get the MX2 title for the first time in his career. Although that relationship did not quite last, F&H took advantage of an opportunity to create a structure that would nurture up-and-coming talent and ultimately put them in a position to compete for a title of their own. Although they have dealt with older MX2 riders recently – who are typically harder to mould – there are now three raw talents who could sit on the KX250 for the next five years.
This is the real test of how successful that programme is, although the way that Roan van de Moosdijk rode in EMX250 is enough of a glimpse of what is to come. Moosdijk was rarely a factor in previous seasons and did not even make much of an impact at the start of the current term. The work that was done caused an unprecedented amount of progress in a short period of time and ultimately led him to an EMX250 title, as well as a trip onto the MX2 box. Moosdijk was not even on the radars of most fans at the beginning of the term yet now he is being hailed as the next big thing.
Should Mikkel Haarup and Mathys Boisrame be expected to hit a similar trajectory now? It seems inevitable that they will hit new heights, as both guys are on the verge of breaking through. Haarup was expected to do that with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing and almost did. A successful run in pre-season races – where he pushed the reigning world champion and posted multiple podium finishes – forced the Austrian manufacturer to push him up to the MX2 class earlier than planned. It was really a baptism of fire once he was there though, which led to hard hits and a broken collarbone at round two.
Things trended even further downhill at that point as he returned to his native Denmark for a lengthy break that caused him to miss an overwhelming majority of the season. Haarup eventually returned at the Grand Prix of Belgium – in the EMX250 class that he had experienced success in the previous year – and logged a consistent run of podiums that reminded everyone just how capable he is. A race win at the Grand Prix of Sweden was a great way to cap off that portion of his career. It would catch most by surprise if he is fighting at the front at the beginning of the new term, but are all ingredients not in place?
The structure that F&H Racing can provide will be nothing new to Haarup, as Antti Pyrhonen has the IceOne outfit running like clockwork every single day. One would presume that he will benefit from riding with his new teammates though. Haarup has never had an opportunity to ride with fellow MX2 riders in training and has been forced to ride alongside premier-class athletes who obviously have him covered more often than not. Although that can work to fuel a fire in some instances, it can also hurt morale. The surroundings over at F&H – where he can also be the priority – are going to give him the leverage to take that next step.
Mathys Boisrame will strive to make similar gains, especially now that he will be compared to his successor in the EMX250 division. Boisrame had a successful maiden term in MX2 – a trip up onto the podium at the Grand Prix of Germany was the highlight – but also faded into the background more often than not. Taking a gold plate in EMX250 does not necessarily guarantee that you are destined to achieve big things (Morgan Lesiardo acts as the cautionary tale) so one could certainly argue that make-or-break time is near. Guidance from a figure like Marc de Reuver is something that he previous lacked though.
The F&H Racing team is arguably better prepared to tackle the future than some of the factory outfits that lack younger stars. By stealing these bright candidates now, F&H is arguably poised to upset the apple cart more and more as years pass by. The three-man roster is a great look for 2020 but has greater implications far beyond that. This is just the start.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer