In the months following on from Latvia last summer and his magnificent 85cc World title win, life for 14-year-old Spanish based Brit, Eddie Jay Wade has been peachy to say the least.
Appearing in front of the crowd at the Matterley MXoN to receive his acclaim was just the start, as smartly suited and booted, he mingled with the world stars at the annual FIM awards in Andorra last November. And just last week, Ed was in Madrid to receive the plaudits of his home-based Spanish association.
Throughout the winter months, Ed’s also been hard at it fine-tuning his new Jezyk Racing KTM, all in preparation for another season in the Spanish championships along with a debut season in EMX 125s. This year’s EMX125 championship kicks off at Valkenswaard on March 18.
And it’s interesting to see who else is on the line in the class of 2018. Coming into his second season of EMX125s action, Austrian, Rene Hofer ended up fifth in last year’s championship.
Before that he was the 2016 World and European 85s champion and once settled in to last year’s 125 series he was threatening the podium by midseason.
Scoring two fourth-place overall finishes he was impressive enough to gain a Red Bull Ktm contract for 2018 – and he’ll certainly be a strong favourite to hit gold this year. With all four guys who finished above Hofer in 2017 moving up, as do in fact most of last year’s top-20 finishers, it would appear not a bad time for EJW to be making his debut in the section.
With that said, though, if Ed is to make a dent in the top 10 he’s going to have to successfully dice with the likes of Raivo Dankers and Rick Elzinga. Both Dutch guys are experienced Euro campaigners and both are going into their third season of EMX125 competition.
Dankers ended up 19th – one place above Chris Mills – in last year’s series and 15th in the 2016 championship. Under the HSF Logistics awning last year, Team Dankers will run as a private outfit but with solid backing from KTM Austria this year.
As for Elzinga, in 2018 he’s to be lead rider in the official MJC Yamaha team, ably backed up by French rider Thibault Benistant (12th in last year’s series) and Estonian Jorgen-Mathias-Talviku.
15-year-old Talviku, gets his place on the team as a direct result of winning last year’s Yamaha bLU cRU class.
Missing out on half the rounds in 2017, Elzinga would ultimately finish in a lowly 26th place – at the World Juniors however, he took ninth and that included a brilliant fifth in moto two.
Along with Dankers and Elzinga other podium challenges should be coming from the likes of Sweden’s Filip Olsen and Finland’s Emil Weckman.
Signed up on a multi-year contract to the Ktm Diga Junior Racing team, 16-year-old double EMX150s champion Weckman is seen as a star of the future. After switching to Diga Racing mid-season in 2017, Weckman went on to claim twelfth at the World Juniors, running 9-15.
Others to keep an eye on include Italian Emilio Scuteri and in his third EMX125s season Holland’s Raf Meuwissen should certainly feel at home. Last year Maddi Racing claimed the World Junior 125s title in the hands of Gianluca Fachetti, this year 16-year-old Mattia Guadagni leads the Maddi team effort.