Tuesday
Jun052018

Knee Update: Tony Cairoli

Antonio Cairoli shares an update

Tuesday, 5th June 2018

There was intrigue following the Grand Prix of Great Britain, as rumours spread that Antonio Cairoli had tweaked his knee. Some even noticed that he was in pain as he jumped off of the overall podium. Those rumours were confirmed when a photo surfaced of him awaiting a check up yesterday morning, then he released a small update earlier today.

"Hey everyone, I am on my way to the Formula 1 test," he said on social media. "I am super excited. My knee is actually going a little bit better. This morning I spin some laps with my motocross bike, not too much, but it will be okay." Details on when the issue was sustained and whether there is actually damage to the knee have not been confirmed at this point. Although, based on the positivity in that statement, it seems as though he will be fine moving forward.

Following a brace of seconds at the Grand Prix of Great Britain, Antonio Cairoli now trails Jeffrey Herlings by fifty-four points with eleven rounds left to run. A mudder is expected in France this weekend, which is round ten, and that may even level the playing field somewhat.

Tuesday
Jun052018

Ken Roczen Gaining Momentum 

Ken Roczen Gaining Momentum With Second At Thunder Valley National

 

Click to view larger image of A 2-2 results for the round was enough to see Roczen back up on the podium with second overall.
A 2-2 results for the round was enough to see Roczen back up on the podium with second overall.



In only his third race back from injury, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen continued his amazing progression, battling hard for the lead in both motos at the Thunder Valley National to score his first overall podium of the season, landing second with 2-2 results at round three of the AMA Pro Motocross series.

When the gate dropped for the first moto, the German got off to a seventh-place start, but he moved up to fifth by the green flag. He had advanced to third before the race was red-flagged and everyone was forced to return to the starting line. On the restart, Roczen rocketed his CRF450R to the holeshot and, after briefly surrendering the front spot, regained it later in the opening lap and maintained it for over half the race. Coming under severe pressure from Eli Tomac, Roczen was able to evade the subsequent advances for several laps before relinquishing the lead on lap 10. He fought hard to make a counterattack but was eventually forced to settle for second.

In moto two, Roczen got off to a fourth-place start but blitzed the downhill to quickly move into second. He closed in on the leader, and a three-way battle for the top position ensued, with Roczen falling to third in the battle. The top two riders tangled on the next lap, which gave Roczen the opportunity to take the lead. He stayed smooth and consistent up front before once again coming under fire, and after fighting tooth and nail for several laps, he slipped to second with 10 minutes remaining.

 


Click to view larger image of Roczen’s Colorado performance moved him up two positions in the championship standings, to fifth, with 97 points. Roczen’s Colorado performance moved him up two positions in the championship standings, to fifth, with 97 points.



"Being in the battle up front and being in the mix today is awesome," Roczen said. "Hangtown was honestly kind of miserable just because I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t have a lot of time on the bike, and everything just felt so foreign. Here, I basically rode the same bike that I rode at Glen Helen, and though it wasn’t totally ideal, I knew what the bike was going to do and how it would react to things.

"We got good starts and rode up front," He continued, "It’s great to have the racing butterflies again and to be doing good. It’s just amazing and the greatest feeling ever and so much better than sitting on the couch. I could have one day or six months of preparation and I’m still going to want to go out there and do what I did today. I want to be up front, I want to battle, and if I don’t win, that’s fine. I can’t expect myself to go out there right away and go 1-1, but to be up front, go 2-2, and be on the podium is beyond amazing. I’m having a blast right now.”

 


Click to view larger image of Good starts in both motos contributed Roczen's success on the day. Good starts in both motos contributed Roczen's success on the day.



Team Manager, Erik Kehoe, is happy with how the plan for Roczen's return is panning out.

“Today definitely feels great. This is right according to plan, if not ahead of schedule," Kehoe reflected. "Ken’s plan has been to build and get stronger each week, get good starts, and continue to learn, which is exactly what he did today. I don’t know if anyone, including Ken, expected him to be back on the podium at this point in the season, but he’s incredibly tough mentally and knows in his mind that he’s capable of doing what he did. He really showed how strong he already is, and this just continues to build his confidence so I think soon he’s going to be ready to battle even more.”

Roczen’s Colorado performance moved him up two positions in the championship standings, to fifth, with 97 points.

 


Click to view larger image of A happy Ken Roczen with mechanic Oscar Wirdeman and team manager Erik Kehoe (Left). A happy Ken Roczen with mechanic Oscar Wirdeman and team manager Erik Kehoe
Monday
Jun042018

Discussion: Jeffrey Herlings

A candid chat with Jeffrey Herlings

 

Jeffrey Herlings was not available for a post-race podcast at the Grand Prix of Great Britain, but did make time for us earlier today and that gave us an opportunity to tackle every single hot topic. The pass is discussed, of course, as well as qualifying, the rhythm section, starts, sector one and much more. Settle down and tackle this in-depth discussion with the fastest man on the planet.

MX Vice: We will work through the weekend in order, so talk about that qualifying race. Tony [Cairoli] dominated that one, but it almost looked like you were not willing to push your limits. Were you still learning with your bike set-up and the track at that point?

Jeffrey Herlings: Obviously, you know, I missed the start a bit. I was around fifth, then Tony holeshot and after two laps I was still in fourth I think. I saw he was really pulling a gap and it was just a twenty-minute moto, so I felt like if I finished second or first it would not really make a difference for the gate pick for the Sunday race. I did not want to push too much or waste too much energy, so at one point in the race I was like, "Alright. If I finish second then I have the second gate from the inside, which is good, and if Tony goes more to the outside then I have still got the complete inside gate."

I was fine with the second place, so halfway through the race I started pushing and closed up to [Tim] Gajser and passed Glenn [Coldenhoff] to get second. I was not really stressing. I knew that if it was a race where there were points on the table then I would have pushed harder to pass Gajser and Coldenhoff quicker to get to Tony, but there were no points on the line and it was only a qualifying moto.

Jeffrey Herlings is on top of the world. There is no doubt about it (ConwayMX)

One of the big things I noticed in that one was Wayne, your mechanic, was putting on your pit board to do two, three, two in the rhythm section. When I was spoke to Dirk he said that Ruben even laid into you a little bit to try and get you to try it. Obviously it was not actually that much faster, so did you just feel like it was not worth the risk?

Last year, at the ‘Nations, I almost had a huge crash over that jump on the Saturday and this Saturday, in one of the practices, I cased it again and almost went over the bars. I was like, I do not want to waste my season by doubling, tripling, casing it and then almost doing a nose wheelie over the bars for the next one. I was just like, "Screw that. I am not going to pull the trigger when I do not really have to."

Then on the Sunday I knew that if I wanted to stay with Tony I had to pull the trigger sometimes. Obviously he did not win that much, but you did gain maybe a few tenths of second. It is not like it made a world of difference whether you pulled the trigger or not.

So, we need to talk about the pass in the first moto. From the angle that everyone got on television, which was from the front, you could not actually see the contact, so it just looked really bad. When I saw other footage though, it was not really a hit. It was more like you had just tagged him a little. Did you feel like you hit him quite hard? 

No, literally, I did not even feel like… I felt that we touched, but it was not like it was a big hit or whatever. I just wanted to go to the inside and turn really sharp to set myself up for the next turn, but then he also braked hard and turned really sharp. We basically gave each other a small elbow, but I think he lost his balance a bit and so did I. We touched and that was the point where he fell over. It was definitely not my intention to touch him and definitely not to put him on the deck. Whatever happened was not my intent and it is a shame it happened, but it was just a racing incident.

It looked like it came down to the fact that you got so much drive coming out of the corner, whereas he did not, so it was a racing incident. Had he gotten the same drive as you he would have been clear and that may not have happened.

Like you said, it was a racing incident and things like that happen. I was in the inside and, because we had the contact already from the drop off, he was out of balance and went a little wide, so wanted to come back inside. I was a little out of balance too and we just touched. I think I touched his front wheel or something with my bike, so I do not feel like I had body contact with him, so that might have happened when he fell over. It is a shame, because he is my biggest rival and it is a pity this happened with him. It really was not my intent to get in touch with him, especially because he is my teammate. When you have to fight the same guy week in week out you do not want to make him pissed, let's say.

Jeffrey Herlings now leads Antonio Cairoli by fifty-six points (ConwayMX)

What did the race director say to you straight after the race? I saw he pulled you to one side and had a quick chat. 

Yeah. He just said, "Jeffrey, watch out next time" and that he knew it was a racing incident, but kind of to use my brain in the future and hopefully it does not get to a point where one of us two takes each other out and one of us gets injured. Obviously he did not say the full story but that is basically what he wanted to say.

Dirk said that there was a bit of tension back in the truck, did you notice or are you removed from it? Do you just do your own thing between motos?

Obviously I did not see him between motos. We do not really see each other that much off track. Obviously both of our team trucks are together, but we just do not really see each other that much. We just see each other sometimes when we pass by each other at the track, then we say hello, and sometimes in the energy station. I think we both respect each other and I respect him a lot for what he has done in the past, plus what he is doing right now with how fit he is and how well he is riding.

I still have a ton of respect for the guy and, yeah, I like the way that we are battling. We are both on the same brand and trying to fight for the same goal, which is making it difficult. We are still one team and, even though we are one team, we are actually two teams. I want to win and he wants to win, so that is just the difficult part.

Is that how you view the second moto then, because everyone is talking about how he did not stop to shake your hand. Are you disappointed by that? I know that in every interview we have done you always make a point of saying how great he is and that he is not making it easy on you. 

Yeah, I mean, he lost a little bit of respect by doing that. I would have hated it too if I had led every single and then got passed on the last lap. My pass was really clean and we did not get in touch, so it was a fair pass. I won that moto and when I wanted to shake his hand, I think it was even on television, he just did not really want to shake my hand at that point. I get it, you know, I have made mistakes in the past, like the [Mel] Pocock incident.

When you just get beat and something like that happens, you are a racer. You are in the heat of the moment and you are really pissed at yourself and the situation that you did not win. I completely understand. There is a part of me saying he should have stopped, but then a part of me saying that I understand. If I would have been in his position, then I might have done the same. Everything has two sides.

  Herlings set the quickest time of moto two on the final lap (ConwayMX)

Speaking of that pass in the second moto, which was really clean, did you have that spot picked out going into the last lap? Was it just a case of taking advantage of him drifting wide? 

There were two or three spots on the track where I was going to try and make the pass. I definitely wanted to try it again where I did it in the first moto, because he was just running the inside there. I had that place and some other parts of the track where I was thinking that if I was close enough I would be able to pull the trigger to pass him. Yeah, like I said, it was also a bit lucky, because had he defended that line on the inside I would not have been able to make the pass. I was going to try and do everything to try and make the pass anywhere on the track.

The pass in that long turn at the top was just incredible. Everyone is talking about it. This may even be the most hype that you have ever had! Did it feel special or just like something that was quite easy for you?

No, this was a really tough race and we both had to fight hard to get where we were. I think, as a spectator, this is one of the best seasons in history to watch. We have had many great races; Argentina, Valkenswaard, Kegums, here and then maybe a few others that I am forgetting to mention. We have had some close battles and some nice ones, so I think that for the motocross it is good. It is just good for the sport.

The first sector was a strong point for Tony all weekend and I know that your team told you that a lot. Towards the end of the second moto though, I do not know what you did, somehow you found another gear and gained a second. Did you do something different?

Not really, because I had basically been riding the same lines. I did not know where I found it. I just pretty much went faster anywhere in the sections. He was really strong and we should not underestimate the speed we were going. I feel like we were going really fast and Tony was having a great race. Like I said, I do not know a specific place where I found it. I had to push hard to make this speed happen.

I know he really pushed you hard around that track too, as it was tough to make up time and tough to make passes. I noticed in the first moto you were really aggressive and desperately trying to pass guys like Glenn immediately. Was it in the back of your mind that you had to get up there as quickly as possible?

Yeah. With how beautiful the track is and how great it is to ride, it is really tough to pass. It is wide, like I said, but there is still only one really good line and it is tough to overtake, especially when your main competition is exactly the same speed. If you have three or four seconds quicker than a guy then it is really easy to pass, but when you are running similar lap times it is tough to make a run.

I saw on Saturday that I had to be there from the beginning. I had to make sure that I was up there in the beginning and in both motos I put myself in that position. In the first moto I was into second within a few turns and in the second moto it took me one or two laps. I knew I had to be there and not give him the gap that he had on Saturday, because it would have been game over. I think that is going to happen on many occasions in the future as well.

Herlings has won fourteen of the nineteen motos this season (ConwayMX)

Are you disappointed at all with your jumps out of the gate? Obviously Tony zapped you right away, but then that is not really surprising.

In both motos I was struggling with my balance. For some reason, it felt like it took so long for the gate to drop. I do not know if it was actually long. It was just my feeling that it was really long, then in the first moto just before the gate dropped I got out of the balance. In the second moto it was exactly the same thing. It was a little bit my own fault. My starts were not great, but they were not bad. Both times I was out of the first turn in around third or fourth or something.

They were not good, but they were not super bad. I have had better starts than that and we will keep on working. I have seen that it has been raining a lot in France and the track is currently a little flooded. I have seen pictures, but I do not know if they are really recent or not. You need to have a good start there even if it is dry. We are going to work on that this week. We will not find the egg of Columbus, obviously, but at least we will keep working and keep trying.

Finally, you have had one hundred podiums. More important though, you have had one hundred podiums with the same group of people. I guess that makes it really special? 

It is actually a dream come true. I remember when I signed my first contract in 2008, which was basically ten years ago. I had that one year with Jacky Martens, but I have been with this group since the end of 2009. We have almost had ten years together. It is simply amazing to achieve one hundred podiums, seventy-four GP wins and three world titles in less than three years. I lost two due to injuries, unfortunately, but it is pretty amazing to accomplish that.

I probably could not have made it happened without KTM sticking behind me. They have always had a great bike from the beginning until now and have always supported me whatever decision I have made, even in the years where I did some dumb things they always stuck behind me. I have to appreciate that and give them a big thank you for always having my back.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX

Monday
Jun042018

Walker new WESS Points Leader after Erzberg

 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker claimed a runner-up result at round two of the World Enduro Super Series — the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble – handing him the WESS championship lead. 

 

Walker’s strong performance at the 24th edition of the Austrian Hard Enduro race meant it was two from two after his second place at round one, the Extreme XL Lagares a month earlier.

“I really wanted to get a win here today but runner-up result is good." Said Jonny after the race. "It was tough out there, the heat really added to the difficulty level. My start wasn’t great but I somehow made up a lot of places early on and got into second. 

“The initial pace was very high and I knew if I tried to maintain it I’d burn out. It was mentally hard to slow things down, but the right call. The section Green Hell was a game-changer and with enough energy left in the tank I was able to literally push my way from fourth into second. 

“Leading the WESS series is great. I wanted to come out strong for rounds one and two and I’ve done that. Next weekend is a Classic Enduro but I’m hoping I can do well and keep my point’s lead.”

As a three-time Erzbergrodeo Hare Scramble winner, Walker had high hopes of securing a fourth win but didn’t get the best of getaways as the 50 fastest qualifiers headed from the start line. 

Despite that Jonny worked his way up to second in large volumes of traffic and heavy dust during the opening stages of the race to follow the then leader Taddy Blazusiak. 

 

jonny.walker ErzbergRodeo 2018 3149 Enduro21 560

Photo Credit: Jonty Edmunds/Future7Media

 

Riding smart, Walker opted not hold the same rapid pace as the runaway lead pairing of Manuel Lettenbichler and Billy Bolt during the middle part of the race. Opting to try and conserve energy for the toughest of sections during the final stages was a tactic which paid off – arriving at the notorious woodland climb Green Hell in fourth, Walker incredibly pushed his way up to the summit and into second position.

Walker ended the Erzberg Hare Scramble just 41 seconds behind race winner Graham Jarvis after two hours racing. 

 

Monday
Jun042018

Graham Jarvis Claims Erzbergrodeo Victory


Click to view larger image of Graham Jarvis did it the hard way but he did it and made it to the end of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble first. Photo: Future7Media
Graham Jarvis did it the hard way but he did it and made it to the end of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble first. Photo: Future7Media



Brit Graham Jarvis (GB) has claimed victory at round two of the World Enduro Super Series – the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble.

In what was a dramatic, action-packed and unpredictable race, Jarvis put on a late race charge to take the win by just 41 seconds from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker with early pace setter Manuel Lettenbichler finishing third.

Under sunny skies and hot temperatures, the 24th edition of the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble saw the 500 qualified riders blast off the start line at 14.30 hours. With all the main contenders in this year’s WESS securing a front row start during qualification, it was Taddy Blazusiak who made his move early, taking the lead. But with Walker hot on his heels, plus WESS round one winner Bill Bolt and Lettenbichler right in contention, any hopes of breaking away from the chasing field were quickly ended.

During one of the early technical woodland sections, the young guns of Lettenbichler and Bolt moved past both Blazusiak and Walker to take up the lead. At Checkpoint 15 of 25, Lettenbichler and Bolt had built up a lead of one-minute over Walker while Wade Young overtook Blazusiak for fourth. However, with Checkpoint 19 forming the formidable Carl’s Dinner boulder garden, the race was anything but over. After a bad start, Jarvis was beginning to cut his way through the pack and was closing on the leaders.

 


Click to view larger image of Second was enough to see Jonny Walker take the overall lead in the WESS championship standings. Photo: Future7Media
Second was enough to see Jonny Walker take the overall lead in the WESS championship standings. Photo: Future7Media



At Checkpoint 21 - Green Hell - the race took another dramatic twist as both Lettenbichler and Bolt became stuck on the near-vertical woodland climb. Jarvis, now in third, heroically pushed his way past the stricken duo to the top and took the race lead. Walker, following suit, tried to apply pressure to the Husqvarna rider during the final two signature sections Dynamite and Lazy Noon but Jarvis kept his cool to cross the finish line in an astonishing time of two hours, five minutes and 59 seconds.

“It’s always special to win here, but to do it like I did, that ranks as one of my best victories," Jarvis enthused. "I had a really bad start getting stuck on the very first climb out of the quarry and I lost so many places. Also, with the dust it was really difficult to overtake on the first couple of sections. It wasn’t until Checkpoint 15 that I got up to about sixth, but I knew Carl’s Dinner would be decisive. I made a lot of time up there. When I got to Green Hell I wasn’t quite sure what was happening but I saw Billy and Manni stuck. I got up so far and then was able to push the rest. That for me was where the race was won, but with Jonny chasing me home I couldn’t relax until the chequered flag.”

 


Click to view larger image of KTM's Manuel Lettenbichler rounded out the podium with third three minutes behind winner Graham Jarvis. Photo: Future7Media
KTM's Manuel Lettenbichler rounded out the podium with third three minutes behind winner Graham Jarvis. Photo: Future7Media



Winner of round two of the World Enduro Super Series, Jarvis also secured his fourth Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble victory. Finishing just 41 seconds behind, Walker claimed the runner-up result and in turn took control of the WESS championship standings.

Second place was enough to see KTM's Jonny Walker claim top spot in the WESS standings.

“That was a tough race but I am happy to finish second and importantly take the lead in the WESS standings," Walker said.

"Taddy made a mistake and I got out in front, but then Manni and Billy passed me on a hill when I messed up a little. Their speed was way too quick and I knew I had to pace myself a little," Walker explained. "Carl’s Dinner was tiring, but I kept up a steady rhythm and tried to minimise any mistakes. I managed to clear Green Hell and came out of there in second. The rest of the race from then on was less tricky and I pushed on as hard as I could but couldn’t quite catch Graham before the finish. I’m happy with second and although it would have been nice to take the win, it’s great to be leading the championship.”

 


Click to view larger image of After a lot of time getting physical, as all had to do, Wade Young came home 15 minutes back in fourth. Photo: Future7Media
After a lot of time getting physical, as all had to do, Wade Young came home 15 minutes back in fourth. Photo: Future7Media



Regrouping after the punishing Green Hell section, Lettenbichler was able to cross the finish line three minutes behind Jarvis in third, with Young coming home in fourth.

“I gave it everything I had, I wanted to win so badly but just lost out towards the end," Lettenbichler reflected. "I had a really great ride up until Green Hell. Billy and myself were pushing the pace a lot and we had built up a gap on the others. I wasn’t my best in Carl’s Dinner and was still in contention. Unfortunately, things went wrong in Green Hell and Graham came past us. But this is my debut podium at the Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, so it is something to celebrate. Third in Extreme XL Lagares and now third here is a very strong start to WESS too.”

Billy Bolt, seeing his chance of winning lost in Green Hell, completed the top five.

“That was such a tough race, I am happy with fifth but feel I could have done more," Bolt said. "The beginning of the race went really well, I was feeling good and made up a lot of time on the others. I got to the Green Hell section but my arms were so dead by that point I knew I would struggle to get up there on my own. I helped Manni first and then came back for my own bike. I think I pushed to hard too early and had nothing left towards the end. I’ll definitely learn from the experience and come back stronger next year.”

Passing both Blazusiak and Mario Roman in Green Hell, Beta Factory Racing’s Travis Teasdale finished sixth with Paul Bolton seventh.

 


Click to view larger image of A happy 2018 podium of Graham Jarvis (C), Jonny Walker (R) and Manuel Lettenbichler. Photo: Future7Media
A happy 2018 podium of Graham Jarvis (C), Jonny Walker (R) and Manuel Lettenbichler. Photo: Future7Media



After a promising start, Taddy Blazusiak eventually ended his race in eighth.

“I have to be happy with that – I enjoyed the race and the fans here have been amazing," Blazusiak said. "Of course, it’s not the result I wanted but after crashing so heavily I am glad to make the finish. It took a little while to feel better and at one point I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it through Carl’s Dinner. I paced myself though and felt a lot stronger at the end. Eighth place gives me some valuable championship points and keeps me inside the top-10 overall. I’ll concentrate now on Le Trefle Lozerien classic enduro next weekend and hopefully come away with a good result.”

Securing another top 10 finish in WESS, Spain’s Pol Tarres took ninth with Roman dropping back to 10th in the closing stages of the race. In total 23 riders completed this year’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble within the four-hour allotted race time.

With round two of the World Enduro Super Series now complete, the championship switches disciplines to Classic Enduro, in France at next weekend’s Trèfle Lozérien AMV, June 8-10.

 


Click to view larger image of There was plenty of big hills at the Iron Giant, and plenty of carnage with only 23 out of 500 riders finishing the gruelling event. Photo: Future7Media There was plenty of big hills at the Iron Giant, and plenty of carnage with only 23 out of 500 riders finishing the gruelling event. Photo: Future7Media



Results — Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble, Top 10
1. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna) 2:05:59
2. Jonny Walker (KTM) +00:41
3. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM) +03:03
4. Wade Young (Sherco) +15:45
5. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna) +24:04
6. Travis Teasdale (Beta) +32:50
7. Paul Bolton (KTM) +33:41
8. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) +35:52
9. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna) +48:41
10. Mario Roman (Sherco) +52:58

Standings – World Enduro Super Series (After round 2 of 8)
1. Jonny Walker (KTM - GB) 1700 points
2. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna - GB) 1610 Points
3. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna - GB) 1610 Points
4. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM - GER) 1540 Points
5. Wade Young (Sherco - RSA) 1220 Points
6. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM - POL) 1180 Points
7. Travis Teasdale (Beta - RSA) 1030 Points
8. Paul Bolton (KTM - GB) 1020 Points
9. Pol Tarres (Husqvarna - ESP) 890 Points
10. Blake Gutzeit (Yamaha - RSA) 760 Points

 

Monday
Jun042018

Husqvarna Desert Racing Team


Click to view larger image of South Australian Ivan Long will be looking to go one better in 2018. Photo: Kane O'Rourke South Australian Ivan Long will be looking to go one better in 2018. Photo: Kane O'Rourke



The new-look Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team is geared up for the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race, set for Alice Springs in the Northern Territory from 8-11 June.

Led by former Dakar Rally racer and renowned domestic competitor David Schwarz, South Australian Ivan Long will be joined by Sam Davie in Husqvarna Motorcycles' factory- backed effort over the Queen's Birthday long weekend in the Top End.

Ivan Long starred on his way to claiming a triumphant second overall in last year's Finke affair aboard a Husqvarna FE 450, earning him class honours in what was an outstanding result for the ever-capable 29-year-old. He was also on the podium in the 2014 edition, recognised as one of Finke's finest competitors year in, year out.

"It's been a hectic lead-up for us heading into Finke, adding another rider to the team after we did well last year," Long said. "It's definitely a good thing for us, the Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team has been a really positive step and we are looking forward to getting into the race week now.

"I'll be on the Husqvarna FE 450 again, so it will be good if we can back up that class win again, and if that happens the outright will sort itself out from there," Long continued. "There's been a lot of effort going in off the bike this year, which has been paying off so far in my training, and it should be a really good run down to Finke and back for us once again."

 


Click to view larger image of Sam Davie  is comfortable at the moment and now look forward to the race to get underway. Photo: Kane O'Rourke Sam Davie is comfortable at the moment and now look forward to the race to get underway. Photo: Kane O'Rourke



As for emerging Victorian talent Sam Davie, 23, he rode to his career-best Finke Desert Race result one year ago by capturing fifth place overall on-board the Husqvarna FE 501 and will benefit immensely from the experience of joining Schwarz and Long in the official Husqvarna Motorcycles team for 2018.

"I'm excited for this year's race and the support from Husqvarna Motorcycles Australia is really good for us as a team," Davie said. "Working and riding with Ivan has pulled my pace along, so I am really comfortable at the moment and now look forward to the race to get underway. We've been up here three times this year, which has been important, and we've really progressed in terms of the bike settings together. This is the best prepared I have been heading into Finke, so hopefully it goes our way and we can come away with a strong result in the end."

David Schwarz - Team Manager, Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team, is obviously keen to get the weekend underway.

"We are really looking forward to the challenge of the Finke Desert Race once again in 2018 after claiming that podium with Ivan last year and also winning his class on the Husqvarna FE 450 was fantastic," Schwarz said.

"When the opportunity came up to be able to run another rider we were happy to have Sam come on-board and to form the Husqvarna Motorcycles Desert Racing Team. We all really appreciate Husqvarna Motorcycles Australia providing the opportunity to run the desert team and, for me personally, it is the next stage in my career, so it is an exciting time together as a team."

The Finke Desert Race is regarded as one of the most prestigious motorsport events in the country, as riders take-on the mammoth 480-kilometre return trip from Alice Springs to Finke on consecutive days, each targeting ultimate glory in the outback.

 

Monday
Jun042018

Jeremy Martin interview

 

GEICO / Honda’s Jeremy Martin won back-to-back 250 AMA Motocross Championships in 2014 and 2015, but over the last two seasons the red plate and a third title has eluded him. The national #6 has been fast here and there and added some overall wins to his career resume over the last two seasons, but the last time he held the red plate was at the 2015 Ironman National–until Saturday at the 2018 Thunder Valley National.

From the drop of the gate on the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown, Jeremy has looked like his old confident self on the bike and that has translated into three straight podiums, an overall win last weekend at the Thunder Valley National and now an eight-point lead in his quest for a third title.

After the podium celebration was over, Dan Lamb tracked down the younger Martin brother–his older brother Alex Martin finished 2nd–at the GEICO rig to talk about his round three win, getting the red plate back and his two hard-fought moto battles with his brother–“I had to show him who the boss was.”

We often see brothers in moto both having success, but the Martin’s are the only ones you will see finishing 1-2 at the nationals.

MXlarge: Welcome back to being the points leader and owning the red plate. First time since 2015 and it’s got to feel good.

Martin: Yeah, it’s been a long time. A lot of stuff has happened since 2015: changing teams, got really run down and stuff like that. It’s taken a long time to get back to where I think I should be outdoors. I’m proud to be here. I’m enjoying the moment and it feels good to be able to get the red plate and to get the overall for the GEICO / Honda team. They feel like family and they’ve really been patient with me. They work well.

MXlarge: You said you were feeling the butterflies when they handed you the red plate on the podium, is that true? Even with two titles to your name you still get those feelings when you get the red plate?

Martin: For sure! It’s, like you said, been three years. I mean, imagine being a Champion and then accepting for the next three years getting beat every season. And not even having a chance to have the red plate. To have the red plate is pretty badass.

MXlarge: What did you think of this track today? You and I talked at Hangtown about how the track was more hard pack than normal and today was similar. It didn’t look like it was disced as deep as it usually is here.

Martin: I’m pretty disappointed that they’re not digging the tracks as deep. I mean this is outdoor motocross. Thank god it’s getting rougher and it’s getting better, but I don’t understand it. I think the rougher the track gets, the safer it is. It would be nice to have the track rougher. Like I said, when it gets that rough it slows you down.

MXlarge: Talk a little bit about the battles with your brother. You two battled hard in both motos, but you two battled really hard in that second moto.

Martin: Yeah, we battled hard for sure. Seeing him there I knew I needed to get him for the overall. Yeah, it was my day and I was like, “you need to make the move.” He was riding good. He was riding his ass off–riding really hard. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, you know. (laughs) I had to show him who the boss was.

MXlarge: You can tell watching you, that you really know how to set him up for the pass from all your time riding together as kids.

Martin: It’s kind of funny because I used to never race with him a whole lot, you know. Even when I first came into the pro ranks I was quite a bit faster than him, but now I’m really really proud of him for coming on strong. It;s pretty cool to see both the Martin brothers up front battling. I don’t know if there’s ever been any brothers that have been that competitive in the circuit like this.

MXlarge: Week off from going to the races now, what do you do?

Martin: It’s back to work. I had those goose bumps–that feeling of winning for twenty-minutes–and lived on that high but now it’s over. It’s time to move on.

Monday
Jun042018

Herlings vs Cairoli - Battle of Britain

 

I am still sitting here shaking my head. The racing we have seen in the MXGP class in 2018, well, it is some of the best I have seen in my 27 years covering the GP racing from Europe, or the 47 years I have followed motocross as a fan. Jeffrey Herlings is doing things that keeps the press room, the spectators and the whole motocross world watching, and he will elevate the sport in Europe to another level.

His tactical break down of Antonio Cairoli was just vicious. What we are seeing is a version of a rider, that hasn’t yet been seen. Asking around in the paddock, everyone feels the same, the seemingly new era, the post Antonio Cairoli era (if you dare say that) is one of the most spectacular we have ever seen.

Cairoli-herlings-podium.jpg#asset:7994

Now, let us not get ahead of ourselves, because Antonio Cairoli is long but done. His speed in Matterley Basin was the best Antonio Cairoli we have seen at this track, a track he has won on four times and clinched a world title at, but seriously, Herlings played with him like he was a half dead mouse and Herlings was a nasty cat. Flicking the Sicilian around like a toy, and then smiling as if to say, there you go mate, take that. His look back at the end of the second moto, while crossing the finish line to win the race and the Grand Prix was a sign of what is to come.

The two don’t like each other, that is clear for everyone to see, and clearly KTM have said, “boys, behave yourselves” and in public they have done just that. Of course, they respect each other, but two very different athletes, but both with the same hunger, and that hunger is to win, and at times at any cost.

herlings-cairoli-start.jpg#asset:7995We interviewed Antonio on the Saturday, and he felt Herlings couldn’t carry this type of speed all season long, and maybe he is correct, because Herlings wasn’t as dominant in England as the previous few GPs, but still, he had enough to win, and win in style.

The fact Herlings felt he could just sit back in that all important second moto, wait until the two-lap board came out and then go, catch and pass Cairoli in a fashion that was just WOW. It is like he doesn’t even have a care, like whatever Cairoli can do, he can match and then add some.

Antonio Cairoli isn’t happy, in fact his actions after that second moto was very much a rider who will come to France next week and be seriously keen to put some hurt on somebody. In the past he has been able to respond to this type of attack, be it Clement Desalle or Gautier Paulin, but both those guys, multiple GP winners, and very good GP riders, don’t have a single world title, and probably never will. Herlings, a three-time world motocross champion, with 74 GP wins is a totally different animal, and Cairoli knows that better than anyone.

When Jeffrey Herlings jumped into the back of his KTM van and headed to the Eurotunnel to get home on Sunday night, he was smiling, laughing and in great spirits. This kid isn’t just loving his job at the moment, its way more than that, his life is just as he wants it, and if he continues to ride the way he is riding, his 101 GP victory will come long before he is 25, and he might have an extra couple of world championships to his name.

Sit back and watch world, this season is a long way from over, and possibly the greatest GP rider of all time (Cairoli) isn’t finished just yet, and his responce in France, a circuit that will suit him more than Herlings will be the perfect place to make his own statement, and his chance to reply to this stunning effort by Herlings.

Ray Archer image

Sunday
Jun032018

Herlings vs Cairoli...Epic Battle!

 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings had an epic battle in Great Britain, then Cairoli crashed and Herlings won Race 1!

Sunday
Jun032018

British GP - Highlights