Benistant – Frenchman in MX2

It was way back in 1988 that a French racer won the first ever FIM Motocross World Championship MX2/125cc for that country when the sensational Jean-Michel Bayle defeated former champion Dave Strijbos and future champion Pedro Tragter for the number one plate.

Since that victory by Bayle, a handful of French riders have captured the MX2 championship, from Sebastien Tortelli in 1996, Mickael Maschio in 2002, Christophe Pourcel in 2006, Marvin Musquin in 2009 and 2010, Jordi Tixier in 2014 and as mentioned Vialle and Renaux in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

With Tom Vialle being the last Frenchman to win the MX2 World Championship, there has always been a long list of French riders who have captured the MX2/125cc Championship and a long list waiting to be the next from to win again. The next Frenchman in line is Thibault Benistant, a rider very capable of becoming a World champion.

Benistant won the FIM Europe Motocross European Championship EMX125 Championship in 2018 and was a contender for the FIM Europe Motocross European Championship EMX250 title the following year at his first attempt. Realising his obvious potential and proving that hard work pays, Benistant celebrated eight EMX250 race wins, six round wins and seven podium finishes on his way to securing the 2020 EMX250 title.

“I have been with Yamaha for a long time,” Benistant said. “Since I was racing on a YZ125, so I am happy to continue with them for at least another two years. I feel good on the factory YZ250FM, and I have a lot of confidence in the team around me, so I’m certain we can be contenders for the World Championship title. Thanks to my team for their support and thanks to Yamaha for believing in me.”

Benistant finished fifth this year in MX2 Championship points - his final position was in fact after missing the first three rounds at the start of the season. Racing for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team, Benistant has all the tools to take out another MX2 title for the country of France.

With Vialle winning the MX2 championship in 2020 and 2022 and Maxime Renaux winning it in 2021, it would be a huge boost for the French motocross scene if they can take four titles in a row.

Now, with current MX2 Champion Vialle leaving the MX2 class, it won’t just be up to Benistant for a French title winner in the MX2 championship, but he will be considered the favorite from that rich motocross country. He will have to go up against Monster Energy Yamaha team-mate Jago Geerts, who finished runner-up in 2022 and should be the guy everyone is looking at to lead this young field into 2023.

Geerts vs Benistant and possibly throw in the name Everts with Liam now racing for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, then you have a very favourable story-line as Benistant goes for France fourth MX2 championship in a row and the two Belgian riders Geerts and Everts try and win the first MX2 championship from the country of Belgium since Steve Ramon back 30 years ago in 2003.


Photo copyrights: Yamaha Racing

Geoff Meyer



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