GNCC goes down to the wire again in 2018 as Kailub Russell and Trevor Bollinger fight to the flag at Tomahawk – Josh Toth earns his fifth XC2 250 Pro Class win.


Round eight of the 2018 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series was greeted with more than perfect racing conditions as temperatures were in the mid-60’s and a cool breeze on Seneca Highlands for the Dunlop Tomahawk GNCC in Odessa, New York.


Kailub Russell GNCC Tomahawk 2018 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Ken Hill

XC1 Pro class

Making his return to GNCC, Ryan Sipes grabbed the main event holeshot and lead for the first laps of the race, but ultimately finish in 18th. Kailub Russell and Trevor Bollinger would make the early pass and push forward battling amongst themselves for the three-hour race.

Bollinger came through timing each lap just seconds behind Russell, pushing harder each lap. When the white flag flew Bollinger tried for a last lap charge but finished just 0.8 seconds behind K. Russell. This is Bollinger’s second appearance on the podium this year, and his best performance thus far in the season.


Trevor Bollinger GNCC Tomahawk 2018 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Ken Hill

Just two weeks ago in Ohio, Thad Duvall dominated the day but a mid-pack start left him way down on the two front-runners. Duvall worked up to third on the second lap and remained there for the duration of the race. 

Duvall’s team-mate Josh Strang finished fourth after finding himself in the ninth on the second lap. He put his head down from there and made the charge up to fourth.

Ricky Russell ran in podium contention early in the race. No stranger to the top five positions in the XC1 ranks, Ricky earned his second-best finish of the season with a fifth overall in New York.

Steward Baylor and Grant Baylor were not having the race they hoped for. Grant was out after two laps due to a mechanical issue while Steward was putting in a good ride until he blew a fuse on his bike.



Travis Pastrana | Honoring The Evel Knievel Legacy

3 Separate Distance Jumps In Las Vegas


In roughly three weeks time, Travis Pastrana will attempt arguably one of his most impressive/iconic stunts all in the name of Evel Knievel. In a sense, Knievel paved the way for today’s action sports stunts, so TP199 is setting out to honor the Evel Knievel legacy by doing recreating three of Evel’s most iconic jumps. The first jump will be over a gap filled with more than 50 crushed cars, the second will see him fly over 16 Greyhound buses and for the third and final jump Pastrana will recreate Evel’s Caesar’s Palace fountain jump. Oh, and did we mention he'”ll be doing all three jumps aboard an Indian Scout FTR750, while wearing a cape and dress boots in true Evel Knievel fashion? We had a few minutes to chat with Travis about the creation of this project, so check out what he had to say…

*The event will take place in Las Vegas, NV on July 8th and will be a 3-hour live broadcast on the History channel.*

Travis, it’s good to see you again and it looks like you’re doing well. But let’s get down to business. Talk about this wild set up that you have out here and the stunts that you plan to complete…

Well, this is a classic case of be careful what you ask for ( laughs). With Nitro Circus, our goal is to build up the action sports community along with the motorcycle community and one of the things that we do is put on these live shows with a bunch of crazy stunts, so we have a lot of networks coming to us with ideas. When the history channel approached us and asked about a live stunt, we all got together and it sat in a room, and I think it was Dave Matais that said, “If this is history related there needs to be some sort of story.” With that said, we were left with the question of “Who started all of this for us?" and the majority of us all had one answer: Evel Knievel. So essentially I’m looking to pay tribute to the man himself! The world record now for distance jumping on a dirt bike is well over 400 feet, so obviously attempting something like that is very high risk because if something goes wrong you’ll likely die. So at that point you almost have to ask yourself “Is it even worth it? Do people really care about it that much?" Hypothetically speaking, if I were to do a distance jump and make it past the current world record by 10 feet or whatever it would be cool don’t get me wrong, but we wanted to go a different route by utilizing a different kind of machine; not just a dirt bike, which are basically made for jumping. We asked ourselves, “What were Evel’s greatest jumps?” Obviously Cesar’s Palace is probably the most iconic stunt location in the history of stunts, ever, so once we learned that we could probably get access to the facility, we then approached Greyhound busses. Evel wore a cape and dress boots, so at that point nothing is about safety. It was about the show, it was about the spectacle. It was a costume essentially (laughs). So we’ve decided to go that route. We’re aiming for a live spectacle in Las Vegas just like what Evel did. We thought, "Let's do a live three hour special where we bring in celebrities that grew up with Even Knievel as their hero." We want to have celebrities come in to talk about their unique experiences and memories of Evel. There are so many kids in the younger generation that have no idea who Evel is, so this is a Great way for us to honor him and to showcase what he was all about. With The resurgence of flat-track racing, Roland Sands is quite arguably at the forefront of that movement, so I wanted him involved in this project. We were then left with the question of what bike was I going to ride. Obviously when you think of Evel you picture that big number 1 on that Harley Davidson. That’s the bike that Evel was known for, but really he jumped everything. Roland Said to me, “Travis, if Nitro Circus is really about the resurgence of action sports and motorcycle riding in general, then it has to be Indian motorcycles." They're a manufacturer that really wants this to come back and they've been making it happen at events like X Games. And to be completely honest, the Indian that I’ll be jumping is about as close as we could get to Evel’s bike when we started with the stock platform. Obviously the bike has a few modifications to it and the ramps that I’ll be jumping aren't wedge jumps, so we are using the technology that we have to make this as safe as possible. At the same time, though, things changed when they asked me which of his jumps I wanted to do because my answer was, “All of them!” As I said before, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it (laughs) and I got it because I’ll be jumping a total of three separate jumps varying in distance. Jump number one will consist of a gap containing over 52 crushed cars, the next jump will take him over 16 Greyhound buses and the third and final jump will be over the Caesar's Palace fountains. I’ve got about a week out here to test and I’ve already jumped the bike to dirt (about 80 feet or so) so I’ve got a little better understanding as to how the bike jumps. Plus, I didn’t want to look like a joke when we invited out all of the press (laughs). We’ve got guys out here building each of the jumps and landings right now, but I’m going to take these on one at a time to build up muscle memory for each jump. I think we’re aiming for somewhere around the 160-180 foot mark to make this as exciting as possible, but I already feel like somewhat of a sissy compared to Evel because of all of the safety precautions involved (laughs). I’m going into these jumps with the same mindset as Evel; I’m doing them no matter the wind or whatever else! Three separate jumps in one night is definitely going to be tough for me. All of his bikes were geared up to go up to a specific speed to ensure that whatever the top speed was wouldn’t take him past the landing. Obviously I won’t have that luxury because the three jumps will require different speeds.


Let’s talk about the machine that you’ll be jumping. It sounds like this was almost a collab of sorts with Roland Sands, as his input is obviously of great value when it comes to these bikes…

This creation is mostly Roland. I told him right off the bat that I don’t know very much about these bikes. It’s twice the weight with a third of the amount of suspension travel that I’m used to riding on and jumping with, but I’ve jumped a lot of different stuff (laughs). Buses, four-wheelers, cars, everything kind of flies so I wasn’t worried about the actual jumping aspect because I feel that I have that covered, so I asked Roland to be the man when it comes to wardrobe and motorcycle authenticity. I gave that creative freedom to Roland and this is what we’ve come up with. I like it because it still has that cool feeling about it and it will still stoke out the guys that race and ride these bikes. I mean I’ve even got my bend of ProTaper bars on there (laughs)! We’ve also made some modifications to the foot pegs, but ultimately it’s still a bike that is a tank that’s not meant to fly.

A few minutes ago, I heard you giving someone a rundown about the bikes weight and suspension travel and all that because this machine is in stark contrast to what you’re usually jumping…

Yeah (laughs)! This bike is twice the weight and it only has a third of the amount of suspension travel as a regular dirt bike. Obviously that is something that I’ll have to acclimate myself too, but the other thing to keep in mind is that this bike puts out a ton of power. It’s been cool working with the guys on this bike because I’m learning so much. This bike is extremely linear and smooth which is what makes it such a good modern dirt-track bike. However, I don’t really have time for linear and smooth because I need as much power as I can get right off the bat since my run up to the jumps is somewhat limited. In all reality, today is a test day of sorts for me on this bike. We are figuring out what parts deliver the most amount of power. We are seeing what speeds we can get up to and how quickly we can get there. On the final jump it will basically be one simple plan; go as fast as I possibly can and don't miss a shift. That’s it! I mean that does make things a little simpler for me, (laughs) but it’s a little scary at the same time. It’s kind of gnarly because if I miss a shift there really isn’t any time for me to stop, so I need to make every move count. Maybe I can aim for the water if I get lucky (laughs).


You briefly touched on your attire for the nights events and it sounds like you’ve got something pretty cool planned out…

I’m wearing a cape, dude… (laughs)! The hardest piece to attain for the whole outfit were the boots. They had to be custom made, and to be completely honest they’re made for going out to the club (laughs). Evel must not have cared about the jumps because he was way more excited for the afterparty if he was jumping in those (laughs) I'm just kidding. It’s no secret that I’ve broken plenty of bones and that includes my ankles, which are both fused from past injuries, so that’s another reason why the boots had to be custom made. Again, I don't want to miss a shift in these boots, so I was talking to my team and we’ve been considering starting off in second gear and shifting to third instead of 1st to 2nd because there’s a chance I could click into neutral accidentally. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m thoroughly looking forward to the event.

Roughly how long ago did this idea popped into your head? Were you able to get right down to business or did you sit on it for sometime before telling anyone else?

It’s taken roughly a year, and I think that’s about the time that the History channel showed real interest in the idea. It’s really cool being involved with Nitro Circus because of the place that it’s at right now. From one side of the spectrum to the other, you have everyone from the Olympics to Weedmaps creating these live, one-off stunt shows. Networks have been coming to us constantly for stuff like this so it’s cool to see that happening. Every day, ideas are thought up by these networks and obviously a lot of them aren’t doable, but occasionally we come across on that really makes us think! A lot of those thoughts look really good on paper, and to be completely honest this stunt just might fall under that category because this is going to be a true challenge from every aspect. However, we’ve got a great crew out here and a great bike! The other challenge is our lack of time for preparation because I really only have a week to figure out how to fly this thing.


Yeah, talk about the amount of preparation time you’ve had for these jumps in Las Vegas. It’s not very extensive, right?

I’m not exactly working with the ideal amount of time for preparation, as we are about three weeks out from the jumps, but that’s fine. I’ve obviously been riding the bike a little bit today for some testing and I’ve done so for about 10 days total, but after today that’s it until it’s showtime! Essentially this is my last day of testing. I’m just going to take this one jump at a time obviously starting with the smallest of the three. I think for added safety we'll even utilize the Nitro airbags that you see during our live shows. Eventually I’ll move up to the final jump, which is the most challenging because we are starting on a platform with only a limited distance for a run-in.

This ramp set up that you’ll be using is pretty unique in that you’ll be up on a platform the whole time, right? 

Right! We would’ve done it flat on the ground just like he did, but there is a lot of infrastructure built up around the fountains now. We are just trying to make it as big as we possibly can with what we have to work with.


So it turns out you actually had the pleasure of meeting Evel Knievel. Can we hear that story?

(Laughs) I had just won the Daytona Supercross and I was 16 years old. That was my first Supercross win! I had the ultimate introduction to Evel (laughs). Somebody introduced Evel and I, but this person was talking me up like crazy since I had just won my first race. The guy stopped talking so I said, “Hello Evel, it’s so nice to meet you…” and halfway through my first sentence he interrupted me and said, “That’s great kid… Go get me a beer!” (laughs). Oh! And the best part is that He was judging a Hawaiian Tropics Bikini Contest! So after hearing that Evel was thirsty, I went and found my dad and told him that Evel Knievel told me to get him a beer. My dad did a double take at me and literally ran to the front of the beer line telling people that the beer was for Evel (laughs). So my dad hands me the beer and I took it over to Evel just to hear him say, “Thank you!” This day and age you wouldn’t exactly want that to happen if you actually met your hero, but with him I guess it was expected (laughs). I thought to myself, "That man is living life to the fullest!" Obviously that is defined differently for each person, but that was him! He definitely held true to what I was expecting (laughs).

In your opinion how does this stunt compare to the rest of the crazy things that you’ve done over the course of your life?

I think what makes this gnarly – as is the case with any live event – is that you have to go when they say go regardless of the wind or any other weather condition! Normally, if it’s just a little windy you can sometimes wait it out, but that’s not always the case. For me, I’m taking pride in the fact that I have the opportunity to represent the legacy of Evel. He was the kind of guy that if he said something, he was going to follow through with it. Even if he knew he wasn’t going to make it, he still did it. He was a man of his word in that sense, and I want to uphold that very same value. To be a man of my word like that, I think is my biggest fear. Hopefully the weather will be perfect and we won’t even have to worry about it, but we'll be prepared for it otherwise. This is about representing an icon! In the case that something does happen on the first or second jump and I’m still capable of continuing, then you better believe that’s what I’ll be doing!


This is off topic, but can we talk about your friend Phil Smage that went long on a distance jump in a Razr? That was stomach-turning to say the least, but it appears he’s finally headed in the right direction with his recovery. Can you give us any updates?

That was seemingly one of the biggest fuck-ups in modern stunt history, and being the stunt coordinator on that I feel responsible. To see one of my best friend get really hurt like that has been really tough. The toughest part, though, is that all of the numbers were correct from our initial testing, too. He was going about 12mph over the intended speed, plus the skid-plate acted like a wing, so Murphy’s Law kicked in. Yes, the 12mph would have taken him further than what was intended, but because the Razr caught lift and essentially flew for a second or so Phil was just taken way too high. At that point, the front end lifted and all of that weight came down on just the rear tires instead of all four, which is obviously more ideal for weight distribution, plus he landed on the brakes. Essentially everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong. It just sucks, man. At the end of the day, distance jumping can be catastrophic if there’s even the slightest miscalculation, and unfortunately that was the case with Phil. Of course the Internet and social media were quick to jump to conclusions on everything, and if you can believe it I even received a hand-written letter that was dropped off in my own mailbox from someone stating that they hope my kids get paralyzed just so that I can know how it feels. What I’m saying is that I have received hate on basically every level. I mean I’ve spent almost every dime that I’ve made trying to build this industry back up. This is dangerous shit and obviously we want to make it as safe as we possibly can, but when something goes that wrong and people jump to conclusions too quickly it doesn’t make things any easier; especially when pain is wished upon innocent people. The whole thing has changed my outlook on the future of things, but at the same time the industry has been extremely positive. Road 2 Recovery has been chipping in along with Weinerschnitzel, so it’s extremely great to see that positivity. Obviously I’m feeling pretty negative about the whole situation, but as many have seen Phil is one of the most positive people on earth. At the end of the day things went wrong and everyone knows their responsibility.



Brayton Returns to Australian SX




Highlights MXGP of FRANCE 2018


Covington wins MX2 moto one


Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Thomas Covington has taken victory in the opening MX2 moto today at the St Jean d’Angly circuit in France. The American who yesterday confirmed he will move back home in 2019 has little to no pressure now and his results are really looking great.

"Yes," Covington said. "The track is really difficult and i knew the start was key and I went with the sand tyre, but I needed it for the start. Kept it smooth and on two wheels and once I saw my team-mate Olsen behind me I knew we had them covered."

Taking the lead on the first corner, he just showed what a talent he is and let’s hope he keeps it up for the remainder of the season.

Covington took the holeshot, but was passed by Jacobi, but the American quickly back past the German rider. Olsen also in the top three, then Prado and Jonass in fifth. Watson another horrible start after a start straight crash, and back in 26th place.

Prado crashed mid first lap, and Covington and Olsen command up the front, with Jonass now third.

After a lap it was Covington, Olsen, Jonass, Jacobi, Cervellin, Furlotti, Prado, Geerts, Fernandez and Bernardini. Prado quickly into fifth.

Covington flying up front and extended his lead over Olsen, and Jonass was getting a lot of pressure from Jacobi. Prado closing up fast on those two.

Lawrence into the top ten, and Prado all over Jacobi and Jonass. Lawrence moves to 8th place, and finally showing some good results. Watson flying and into 15th place.

Olsen started to make ground on Covington and was onto his American team-mate. A long way back in third was Jonass, with Prado on his tail. Lawrence into seventh place and looking good.

Prado smashed his way past Jonass in a corner and pushed his older team-mate wide. Top ten was Covington, Olsen, Prado, Jonass, Jacobi, Geerts, Lawrence, Cervellin, Fernandez and Mewse into 10th.

Belgian youngster Geerts clocked the quickest lap of the race and showing his talent and was closing a little on the front guys. Geerts passed Jacobi for fifth and on fire.

Jacobi crashed and was stuck trying to get going again. Lawrence moved into sixth place and Jacobi back outside the top ten.

Covington’s lead was more than four seconds with three laps to go, and Watson up to 13th place, a great ride, but obviously disappointing for the Brit. With two laps to go Watson moved into 10th place, really showing some fight the Yamaha rider.

Prado was quickly onto Olsen in the final stages of the moto and looking very fast. Jacobi down again and stuck in the mud and Prado all over Olsen for second place.

Covington wins the moto, then Olsen and Prado.

MX2 - Grand Prix Race 1 - Classification

1. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), 35:58.425; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:03.573; 3. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:05.910; 4. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), +0:11.808; 5. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:15.171; 6. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:31.713; 7. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:57.033; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Yamaha), +1:00.917; 9. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:03.209; 10. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), +1:09.790; 11. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +1:11.832; 12. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +1:12.837; 13. Iker Larranaga Olano (ESP, Husqvarna), +1:14.123; 14. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Kawasaki), +1:37.504; 15. Simone Furlotti (ITA, Yamaha), +1:51.195; 16. Stephen Rubini (FRA, KTM), +2:06.121; 17. Bas Vaessen (NED, Honda), +2:21.852; 18. Brent Van doninck (BEL, Husqvarna), -1 lap(s); 19. Hardi Roosiorg (EST, KTM), -1 lap(s); 20. Marshal Weltin (USA, Honda), -1 lap(s); 21. Anthony Bourdon (FRA, Husqvarna), -1 lap(s); 22. Zachary Pichon (FRA, KTM), -1 lap(s); 23. Enzo Toriani (FRA, Husqvarna), -1 lap(s); 24. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), -2 lap(s); 25. Bastien Inghilleri (FRA, Yamaha), -3 lap(s); 26. Andrea Zanotti (SMR, Husqvarna), -4 lap(s); 27. Josh Gilbert (GBR, Ho


Herlings wins with 1-1

French GP


Jeffrey Herlings of the Red Bull KTM Factory team has again shown his class, going 1-1 and winning his 75th GP victory (and 14th in MXGP) at the Grand Prix of France. The Dutchman once again just played with Antonio Cairoli, and on a track that should have suited the Italian. 

Tim Gasjer was third overall and continued his great return to form.

In the second MXGP moto, it was Cairoli took the holeshot and Herlings around 8th. Desalle down and also Searle, and Herlings into fifth place and all over Paulin.

Herlings went past Paulin going into the second lap, and onto Seewer. After a lap it was Cairoli, Gajser, Seewer, Herlings, Paulin, Febvre, Paturel, Bobryshev, Monticelli, and Coldenhoff. Simpson 14th, Anstie 18th, and the Brits struggling again.

Cairoli held three seconds over Gajser, with Herlings seven seconds back in third now. Then came Seewer, Paulin, Febvre, Paturel, Bobryshev, Monticelli and Coldenhoff.

Cairoli extended to eight seconds over Herlings and Seewer and Paulin in great battle for fourth place.

Febvre moved past Seewer and into fifth and going after his countryman Paulin. Cairoli now four seconds ahead of Gajser and nine ahead of Herlings.

On lap seven the lead went to five seconds and Herlings clocks a quick lap and closing on Gajser. Top ten after seven laps was Cairoli, Gajser, Herlings, Paulin, Febvre, Monticelli, Seewer, Desalle, Paturel and Bobryshev.

Herlings cuts the lead on Cairoli to seven seconds and was onto Gajser for second place. The kids coming again for the leader. Fastest lap of the race to Herlings.

Herlings all over Gajser and all over the place looking for a way to pass and into second place and going after Cairoli. Once past Gajser the Dutchman just pulled well away.

After 11 laps the lead was five seconds to Herlings, then Gajser a further  12 seconds back, Herlings making his move again on the Italian. Febvre and Paulin in a great battle as the former world champion moved into fourth place.

Suddenly Herlings was all over Cairoli for the lead and pushing the defending world champion. Desalle all over Seewer for sixth place.

Herlings just rides past Cairoli like he was standing still and walked away from him. No competition for the Dutchman, none at all. Desalle tried again to pass Seewer, but the Swiss rider doing well, although the Belgian finally went past.

After 15 laps the lead was suddenly three seconds by Herlings and Gajser in third 25 seconds back. Then came Febvre, Paulin, Desalle, Seewer, Coldenhoff, Bobryshev and Monticelli.

Herlings nine seconds ahead on lap 17 that was a six second gap from two laps prior, so three seconds a lap quicker than Cairoli as the race closed down.

Herlings wins the moto and the GP overall. Cairoli second and

MXGP - Grand Prix Race 2 – Classification

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:38.032; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:08.838; 3. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:40.401; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:49.798; 5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:52.800; 6. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:55.315; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:56.529; 8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:56.531; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:16.573; 10. Ivo Monticelli (ITA, Yamaha), +1:17.441; 11. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +1:18.040; 12. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), +1:24.213;


French MXGP Qualifing

Herlings unstoppable in France


Red Bull KTM factory rider Jeffrey Herlings easily won the MXGP qualification race today in France, taking the lead on the first corner and running away with it.

"It was really good," Herlings said. "I pulled the holeshot and it is needed here, with the big rocks and it is just a qualification race, but its all about tomorrow, and we need to start tomorrow, so we will work on that."

Herlings a nice holeshot ahead of Paulin and Febvre, with Cairoli fourth. Desalle down hard and into Cairoli (who continued on), and Coldenhoff also down. Gajser and Guillod also up there.

Herlings disappeared from Paulin and Gajser, while Febvre in fourth was getting away from Cairoli. Paulin got away from Gajser and Febvre all over the HRC rider. Cairoli in fifth, then Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Seewer and Anstie.

Herlings lead was 10 seconds and Simpson also in the top ten. Febvre and Cairoli both went past Gajser, and Searle into 10th place as Simpson exited the top 10.

Herlings cruising out front and 16 seconds ahead of Paulin, and Febvre and Cairoli closing on Paulin a little.

Cairoli into third as he passed Febvre late in the race. Herlings from Paulin and Cairoli.

MXGP - Qualifying Race - Classification

1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 24:35.251; 2. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:17.990; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:19.988; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:27.922; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:34.999; 6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +0:45.959; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:46.320; 8. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:50.508; 9. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +0:51.783; 10. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:51.920; 11. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +1:01.190; 12. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki),



CRF450RX versus YZ125 for Japanese Enduro Championship honours



Hot Topics: MXGP of France

A look ahead to the tenth round


There is a lot to dissect on the eve of the Grand Prix of France, the tenth round of the current term, which is not exactly shocking. The previous round in Great Britain provided plenty of talking points and ensured that the hype surrounding the FIM Motocross World Championship is at an all-time high as the halfway point is approached.

All eyes are going to be on the Red Bull KTM stablemates, Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli, on Sunday, which has been the case since the first gate drop back in March. There are some additional layers to this intriguing title fight now though, following an intense duel on British soil that ended with the latter on the ground. Is there going to be retaliation? No, not at all, although the pair may not be as reserved as they have been when it comes to aggressive moves. It is unlikely that there will be anything that crosses the line though, unless there is another racing incident that leads to contact. The common conception is that the previous collision should get filed under that category.

All eyes are going to be on whether Antonio Cairoli can respond (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

Eyebrows were raised when Antonio Cairoli opted to not shake hands with Jeffrey Herlings following the second moto, which was the one where no contact was made, so it will be interesting to see how their relationship develops moving forward. Herlings even stated in our exclusive interview that a little bit of respect has been lost. This is probably not going to lead to any fireworks, because the pair are too wise to fall into that trap, but those with a keen eye may spot some differences. Cairoli has been very positive thus far and it must be getting tough to maintain that. There is no denying the fact that he needs to win a Grand Prix as soon as possible.

Standing atop the box for the second time this season could prove to be difficult for Antonio Cairoli though. Cairoli tweaked his knee at some point at the Grand Prix of Great Britain and, although an official update has not been released, it is known that he went to get it evaluated the day after the event. It supposedly feels better now and he even tested a Formula 1 car on Wednesday, so he is obviously not too concerned. It is unlikely that it is going to be anything that holds him back in the coming weeks, unless he catches it in a rut and then aggravates it further. St. Jean d’Angely is typically rock hard and not too treacherous anyway.

Antonio Cairoli has been mentioned much more than Jeffrey Herlings in this, a piece that focusses on some hot topics of discussion, but why is that? The ball is well and truly in his court. Herlings has made it quite clear what he can and will continue to do in the coming weeks, so fans across the globe are now waiting to see whether Cairoli can respond to those advances. It is an odd one to evaluate actually, because he may be further away from defeating the current series leader than the results indicate. The gap between the pair was just one measly second in the final encounter last weekend, but what would have happened if they started together?

Pauls Jonass has all of the momentum in the MX2 class, once again (KTM Images/Ray Archer)

A similar title fight is raging on in the MX2 category, thanks to those incredible races that Pauls Jonass and Jorge Prado are piecing together. This is going to be a big weekend for the latter, who needs to capitalise and steal points in the championship. Prado has clearly had the speed to defeat his rival at the previous three rounds, with the exception of the second moto in Great Britain, but has actually given up four points through that period. Although that may not seem like a massive number, three opportunities to cut the deficit down to around ten points have been missed. How many times is he going to get a chance like that?

St. Jean d’Angely should favour Jorge Prado, although Pauls Jonass was the winner at the French event last year, so he could reverse the damage that was done at Matterley Basin. Even if that does happen though, Jonass can reflect on the previous two events in a positive manner. Nothing would have been gained or lost through that period and that is all he really cares about at the moment. If there are no significant swings over the next ten days, Jonass is just going to ooze confidence and that is going to make it trickier for Prado to have an impact. Anything can happen, of course, but it is hardly ideal to rely on a freak incident.

Although the various title fights will hog headlines yet again, there is so much more going on. Can Gautier Paulin rebound in front of his home crowd? Can Ben Watson edge closer to his maiden moto win? Will any premier-class riders inch closer to the top two? Is Conrad Mewse ever going to return to the top five? Can Romain Febvre reel off consecutive podium finishes for the first time in two years? Is Hunter Lawrence going to be a factor for race wins moving forward? The list could go on and on, as there is no shortage of action in the FIM Motocross World Championship.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer


2018 SCORE Baja 500

Justin Morgan and his three-rider SLR Honda team raced to overall victory at the 2018 SCORE Baja 500 – Morgan’s third win in four years. 


Repeating their SCORE San Felipe 250 win earlier this year, the team of Justin Morgan, Mark Samuels and Justin Jones crossed the finish line in 11h:54m:58s at an average speed of 45.49mph.

321 riders began the 50thedition of the Baja 500 at 3:30am in Ensenada, heading out into the famous Baja desert for 542 miles of racing. 

187 riders finished the race within the 22 hour time limit and of those the SLR Honda team clocked in just shy of 12hrs. That despite reportedly riding the last 80 or so miles with no oil in their forks after they failed. 

Morgan rode to mile 240, Samuels rode to the 370 mark and Jones rode to mile 505before swapping back to Morgan who rode to the finish.

“After doing the first 240 miles I felt good for the last stage as I had some tacos at Valley T and a couple of Monsters and I was good to go.” Said Morgan after the race. “The first 240 miles were rough and it was hard to prepare for the end as I could only sleep for a couple hours. 

“My first Baja 500 was in 2011 and I was 21 years old and didn’t have clue and I was hooked even after I was forced to miss 2014 because I was hurt. I have a couple more years on a bike for sure, but hope to run a truck after that.”  

Team mate Samuels said: “The track was rough and my section was really rocky and technical. I was supposed to ride another 50 miles, but Justin Jones stepped up and rode it for me down the beach section and killed it. The team really pulled together and it was awesome.”

Pro Moto Ironman 

Francisco Septien won the Pro Moto Ironman class. Finishing first in class, 43rd overall and 14th overall bike, Septien said: “This was one of the hardest Score Baja 500s.  The worst idea I had, was trying to pass the Sportsman guys.  Being an Ironman, we are already tired and trying to deal with more and more dust; it was not a good idea.”