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MXGP MAG Chief Editor: Marionna Leiva Photos: MXGP INFRONT MOTO RACING MEDIA World Trade Center II Rte de Pré-Bois 29 1215 Geneva 15 Airport Switzerland

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MXGP Mag #79 March 2020 .7 P � � � � � � � The articles published in this �������� � � � � � � magazine do not necessarily reflect � � � 8 � . � the official position of Infront Moto ����� P �������� � � � � � � � � � � � � Racing. � � � � � � � � � � �  � � L � � � A � � I 4 � OR Then content of this publication is �� P.1 �������� � � � � � � � � � � � � � based on the best knowledge and � EDIT � �  � � � S � � T � � � information available at the time � O � � � SH .18 ����� � the articles were written. P L � � � � � � � O � �  � � � T � � CO � O � � � H � The copying of articles and LES �������� � � � 32 O � . �  photos even partially is H P � P � � � X U � � � � forbidden unless permission H � FO � � TC ����� � A has ben requested from � � � C � � 4 � � Infront Moto Racing in ING ���P.3 �������� � � � � � � � � � advance and reference is � � � RAC � � ����� � ������ � � made to the source (©MXGP). � � � � � � � � � �  IAL �������� � C S E O L S IR AM .38 F P G �  F g R n O STE NTH ctory Raci N O h O c M a b M HE asGas Fa T F M O onstruct G A E T �� P.52 � gC � � n � i � � d � � Stan RE ���������������� U T FEA ������������� L A I C ���� �P.58 � � � � � � � SPEP Trophy � �������� � � � � � � E MXG � FAM��������������� F P.64 � O � � � � L h � �������� HAL ieffenbac � � � � � � � � D ������ Rolf S K AL P.66 T � � � � K  c DOC E 250c / D R 0 A U 5 P EAT maha 0W F L CIA n 1981 Ya E P � P.74 S � � so � � d � �  u H OR T Neil I D HE E T O ST N O I ST QUE

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L A I R O T I D E

David Luongo CEO of Youthstream

Dear MXGP Friends, Here we are! The opening of the 2020 MXGP season on the superb track of Matterley Basin is behind us. It was a fantastic weekend, but also very challenging due to the difficult weather conditions we had to face. I would like to thank the local organizer, Steve Dixon, all his crew, the Infront Moto Racing’s staff, the ACU and the FIM officials for the great work and the collaboration during the whole weekend. The adapted program on Saturday allowed everybody to deliver great condition of racing during Sunday and we were able to witness the start of what will probably be the most exciting season of the history. In MX2, a big group of new contenders fought for the first red plate of the season. After a great Saturday’s qualification, Mikkel Haarup finished on a promising third overall position of the Grand Prix, while Tom Vialle confirmed that he has the speed to be crowned at the end of the season. However, it was Jago Geerts who started the season with the overall victory. In MXGP, the top guns were all in good condition, too, and showed to the MX fans that they

THE MXGP WORLD CHAMPION WILL ADD HIS NAME TO THE AMAZING LIST OF LEGENDS OF OUR SPORT will give everything for the title. Jeffrey Herlings, Tim Gajser and Tony Cairoli completed the first podium of the season. Those three fantastic riders regroup 16 World Championship titles! But behind them, there was another massive group of challengers with Jeremy Seewer, Mitch Evans, Gautier Paulin, Clement Desalle, Glenn Coldenhoff and Henry Jacobi. It is great to see two rookies like Mitch Evans and Henry Jacobi riding among the top 10 at their first MXGP appearance, the bring some new Australian and German flavors to the top ten of the championship. Another important moment to highlight of the Grand Prix of Great Britain happened during the MXGP Opening Press conference. We had the pleasure to unveil the bright new MXGP Trophy. This beautiful piece of art designed in Spain and made of carbon fiber and aluminum

will be given every season to the MXGP World Champion. It represents all the history of our sport and we engraved all the names of the riders and the manufacturers that won the major class of the FIM Motocross World Championship since 1957, the year of the its creation. For the upcoming season, the MXGP World Champion will add his name to the amazing list of legends of our sport. Finally, the beginning of the season showed a new step into the integration of the MXGP World Championship inside the Infront Sport & Media’s family. The creation of a new entity name managing MXGP has been announced. From now on, Infront Moto Racing will replace Youthstream. It is important to confirm that the management of the company will remain the same. Now the whole MXGP paddock is ready to go for the second Grand Prix of the season in The Netherlands, on the historical track of Valkenswaard. The sandy location will for sure be a great scenery for the Dutch fans to support their local heroes and the first time they will see them back from their historical victory during the 2019 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations in Assen.


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TO WIN YOU MUST BE FAST LIKE A FOX! 14

THE 2020 FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IS BACK IN ACTION, AS THE FIRST ROUND OF THE MXGP SEASON CONCLUDED IN MATTERLEY BASIN FOR THE MXGP OF GREAT BRITAIN.


This year the competition in both MX2 and MXGP has reached a new level, with both classes stacked full of the most talented riders from all around the world, making 2020 one of the most unpredictable seasons in the history of the motocross world championship. The return of the MXGP’s, also sees the return of the highly competitive FOX Holeshot contest, with points up for grabs at each of the 20 rounds featured on this year racing calendar. With such fierce competition this season, getting a good start will be vital as riders will be looking for an extra advantage over their competitors. With important championship points

to collect, a good start can be the decider between a race win or a ride outside the top 10 and is the reason why teams are now spending more time dialling their start techniques in order to have that extra competitive edge. The FOX Holeshot black plate is awarded to the first rider who crosses the white chalk painted line in turn 1 after the gate drops during each weekend’s championship races in both MX2 and MXGP. The two riders, in each category, that finish the season with the most FOX Holeshot points, will be awarded with a hefty bonus cheque from FOX that will be presented to them at the annual MXGP Awards. MXGP In 2019, the competition was led by Red Bull KTM Factory rider Antonio Cairoli, which he also dominated in 2018 and despite

missing a large part of the season last year, still topped the charts with 8 points in the FOX Holeshot competition ahead of the 2019 MXGP World Champion, Tim Gajser of Team HRC, who finished with 7 holeshots, followed by Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP rider Jeremy Seewer with 5. Also getting a taste for it was the now Standing Construct GasGas Factory rider Glenn Coldenhoff, who tied on points with Arnaud Tonus, then the competition was followed by Romain Febvre, Jeffrey Herlings, Julien Lieber and Pauls Jonass. In 2020, Jeremy Seewer claimed the first FOX Holeshot of the season, as he got off to a flyer in Matterley Basin, then SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing’s Henry Jacobi was the second recipient of the black plate in race two. MX2 Last season in MX2, the FOX Holeshot competition was 15


spearheaded by Red Bull KTM Factory’s Jorge Prado who finished the season with 23 points, followed by fellow teammate Tom Vialle on 8 points – so it is safe to say that the KTM Factory squad had their starts on point. Then followed the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 rider, Jago Geerts, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory rider, Thomas Kjer Olsen, F&H Racing’s Roan Van de Moosdijk, Henry Jacobi and Darian Sanayei who all finished the season with one point.

With the first round of the new season taking place at Matterley Basin, it was the Red Bull KTM Factory riders, Tom Vialle and the teams newest recruit Rene Hofer that carried on the KTM dominance into the new season,

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with Vialle claiming the FOX Holeshot in race 1 and Hofer in race two.

MX2 TABLE Tom Vialle

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The starts were extremely close this weekend, going to show just how much effort each team are putting into dialling this technique. But with a long season ahead, it will be interesting to see if another team and rider can challenge the Red Bull KTM Factory’s reign of the FOX Holeshot Award.

Rene Hofer

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Next up the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship heads to Valkenswaard for the MXGP of the Netherlands!

WATCH THE VIDEO

MXGP TABLE Jeremy Seewer

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S S E N I S U B ! O N T I A K T C I R BA B T A E R G IN 19


The fast-flowing natural circuit based in the south of England, close to the historic town of Winchester, holds a lot of MXGP history, having hosted 10 Grand Prix’s since it first made an appearance on the world championship calendar back in 2006.

IT’S TIME TO BEGIN ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE WORLD, AS WE KICKED OFF THE 2020 FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON WITH THE MXGP OF GREAT BRITAIN. WITH 20 EPIC STOPS FEATURED ON THE MXGP CALENDAR, WE HAVE ALREADY TICKED OFF ONE AS MATTERLEY BASIN HOSTED THE SEASON OPENER OF ONE OF THE MOST UNPREDICTABLE AND EXCITING SEASONS OF MXGP! 20

Stefan Everts and David Philippaerts wrote themselves in the history of the British track, as they were the very first riders to win the overall GP in MXGP and MX2. That very same year also saw the legendary Everts chase his 10th world title, a record that still stands 14 years later. In the last decade, the hardpack circuit has become a big favourite among riders and fans


Busy day, lots to do!

Time to set up! for its unrivalled panoramic views and awesome track layout. Over the past years the MXGP of Great Britain has hosted some epic races, including two ‘Festival of Motocross’ events, that saw a huge line-up of MXGP and MX2 riders along with youth, women’s and veteran classes all rolled into one blockbuster weekend. Additionally, the circuit has also been home to two Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, including the most recent edition in 2017, that saw Team GB make a return to the Monster Energy FIM MXoN podium for the first time since 1997. What made the weekend even more special though, was the fact that after 8 years of travelling far and wide to Argentina and Qatar, the fans were able to witness the start of the season on European soil!

Late on Thursday evening and early Friday morning the teams and riders began to arrive on site for set-up day. This was the first opportunity that we got to see the new awnings for 2020 and they were impressive. We saw the return of some of the most impressive team structures including that of Team HRC, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP and MX2, Red Bull KTM Factory, Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team and of course the most extravagant of them all, the F1 style Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing construction! We also saw some new faces, the highly anticipated Standing Construct GasGas Factory MXGP’s new look for the new season, as well some new faces that included Shaun Simpson’s privateer SS24 team as part of the MXGP paddock.

Friday as always is on the opening round, was a busy day. Not only for teams setting up but also for the riders and our TV crew and photographers. One of the main priorities was the spinning ‘hero’ style videos, along with the rider’s ‘mugshots’ for the MXGP-TV graphic. With the first part completed, then it was onto the next order of business, which was the opening press conference. During the opening press conference, Infront Moto Racing CEO David Luongo, FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela and MXGP of Great Britain organiser Steven Dixon took a moment to welcome everybody to another awesome season of the motocross world championship. Mr Luongo also touched base on the announcement of the brand-new name, as Youthstream became Infront Moto Racing for 2020. Then the press conference moved on to something very exciting, as the all-new MXGP Trophy was 21


revealed in all its glory, signifying the start of a new tradition in the world championship, that will pay homage to all the past, present and future world champions of the premier MXGP class. You can read more about the trophy in the next few pages… It’s race day! With all the official stuff over, it was time to move onto the part that we all came for, which was the racing! As usual, we were treated to the finest British weather, which was a mixture of all four season’s rolled into one day. We saw sunshine, rain and snow, which made for rough and tricky conditions, but that didn’t stop the die-hard motocross fans as they rolled into Matterley Basin by the masses, with 34,500 spectators all throughout the weekend hanging over the fences to support their heroes for the opening race of the year. The sunny weather on Sunday morning set the stage for a fantastic day, with the racing even more exciting than expected. This was a treat for the British fans, who got to witness the start of the brand-new MXGP season. Going into the weekend, the overall winner in the MXGP class was hard to predict, with a lineup of extremely strong riders, who have been training hard this winter, the list of favourites was never ending. Following Saturday’s practice session, Team HRC rider, Tim Gajser, was among the top favourites as he clocked in the fastest lap-time during the session ahead of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Arminas Jasikonis and Red Bull KTM Factory rider Antonio Cairoli. In the opening race of the weekend, it was the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory’s Jeremy Seewer who claimed the first FOX Holeshot of the season, closely followed by Herlings and Gajser. Team HRC’s newest recruit and MXGP rookie, Mitch Evans, also

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got off to a flying start and was sat in fifth. But on the downhill corner after pitlane, Gajser found himself in trouble as he banged bars with Honda SR Motoblouz’s Jeremy Van Horebeek, which left him having to fight back from 13th position. As the defending champion fought his way back through the field, his team-mate Evans, was also moving quick as he made a pass on Seewer for second place. The 2013 MXGP of Great Britain winner, Clement Desalle of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team also got a good start in fourth, before getting cross-rutted in the second lap and falling down to 7th. While Red Bull KTM Factory’s Jeffrey Herlings made a great come back and continued to lead the opening race, Seewer muscled his way back past Evans, knocking the Australian back to P3. Meanwhile things were heating up in the top 10, as Cairoli, Desalle and Standing Construct GasGas MXGP rider Glenn Coldenhoff found themselves in a 3-rider battle for 4th, 5th and 6th. Desalle did muscle his way past the GasGas Factory rider, while Cairoli was able to maintain his 4th place position, claiming important points for the championship. Towards the end of the race, Gajser found himself battling the 2019 MX2 World Champion, Jorge Prado of Red Bull KTM Factory. The Honda rider was able to pass the MXGP rookie, before setting his sights on higher positions. But more bad luck for the Slovenian, as a mistake caused him to crash on the last corner before the Monster Energy finish line of the last lap, left him having to settle for P8 in the race, allowing Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP rider, Gautier Paulin to move up a position to P7. In the end it was Herlings who returned to winning ways as he took the race 1 victory with a 0:11.879 second lead over Seewer in second. Having a fantastic ride and making an impressive debut to his MXGP rookie campaign was the Honda factory rider Mitch Evans who placed 3rd in the race.


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In race two, it was the SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing’s Henry Jacobi who took the FOX Holeshot, but Gajser moved swiftly into the lead, with Cairoli in town, to also pass Jacobi a move into second. Meanwhile Herlings was behind in 4th and Paulin in 5th. Bad luck for Evans, who came around the first turn virtually last, leaving him with a lot of work to do in this second MXGP race. By lap 4, Herlings was already charging, making a pass on Cairoli for 2nd position, while Gautier Paulin was sitting in 4th, where he remained throughout the race, also keeping Desalle at bay in 5th. Mitch Evans found himself moving quickly, and by lap 5 was already in 6th position as he passed both Seewer and Jacobi. With two laps to go, Desalle and Coldenhoff found themselves in an intense battle, with the two riders getting close to each other on several occasions, but the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider stayed strong to finish 5th. Gajser claimed his first race win and with it a second overall, while Herlings made a strong come-back as the overall Grand Prix winner. Cairoli finished 3rd both in the race and on the podium. While we all expected the MXGP races to be the forefront of excitement, the action from MX2 class delivered that and much more! The racing was close, and intense to say the least, leaving the podium completely open for anyone. In the opening race, it was the Red Bull KTM Factory rider Tom Vialle who started the race with the FOX Holeshot, a repeat of last season as he claimed the Holeshot race 1 in 2019, too. Straight away the young Frenchman pulled a gap on his competitors and rode comfortably in 1st for the majority of the race. F&H Kawasaki Racing’s Mathys Boisrame also got off to a great start as he followed Vialle until lap 5, when Red Bull KTM Factory’s newest recruit Rene Hofer made a successful pass for second position. Meanwhile the Hitachi KTM fuelled by Milwaukee polit Conrad Mewse was on a 25


mission, hoping to impress home fans, he pushed for Hofer for third, giving fans an awesome battle to watch. On lap 6 the race action was impressive, as we saw some big changes to the top 5. With Boisrame fading this allowed Monster Energy Yamaha Factory’s Jago Geerts, Mewse and F&H Kawasaki Racing rider Mikkel Haarup through, with the three of them locked in a battle for 2nd place. In the next two laps, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory MX2 rider Jed Beaton also made some swift moves on Mewse, Haarup to move up into 3rd position in the race. On lap 8 disaster struck the man in the lead, with Vialle making a mistake and crashing out of the lead. This handed Geerts his first race win of the season, with Beaton finishing 2nd and Haarup making a fantastic debut to his MX2 season with a 3rd, as Vialle crossed the line in 6th place. In race two, it was another FOX Holeshot from Red Bull KTM Factory but this time that of the #711 Rene Hofer. Geerts was right there in P2 and Vialle in 4th place. SM Action M.C Migliori – J1 Racing’s Maxime Renaux also got off to a great start in 6th position, followed by Beaton and Boisrame. The championship favourite, Thomas Kjer Olsen of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team, got off to a much better start in the second race, as he crossed the line 5th on the opening lap. Eager to salvage some important points to his world title chase, Olsen got his head down and focused on the race at hand. By the second lap, Hofer continued to lead, while Olsen moved into 3rd followed by Renaux and Beaton. Meanwhile race 1 winner, Jago Geerts crashed out of 2nd and was back down in 8th place, putting his chances of an overall at risk. The top 5 remained the same until lap 8 when Haarup, Geerts and Boisrame moved up to 4th, 5th and 6th.

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Hofer led the majority of the second race, keeping his team-mate, Vialle at bay, before Vialle was able to pass the young Austrian, with 3 laps to go. At the same time, Haarup made a move on fellow Dane, Thomas Kjer Olsen of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory, for 3rd. With 2 laps remaining, Geerts was also able to pass Olsen for fourth, which handed him the overall victory at Matterley Basin. In the end though, it was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts to clinch the overall at the MXGP of Great Britain and with it the red plate. But the overall didn’t come easy as the young Belgian had his fair share of drama, especially after crashing out while chasing for the lead in race two. Though he brought it back around and stood tall on the top step of the podium. Joining him was Red Bull KTM Factory’s Tom Vialle and the MX2 season rookie, Mikkel Haarup of F&F Kawasaki Racing! While the focus of the weekend was on MX2 and MXGP, the MXGP of Great Britain also saw round 1 of the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing and the WMX Championships. It was a historic moment for the Everts Family, as KTM Liamski rider Liam Everts secured his first overall victory in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing class, putting the red number plate on #72 14 years after his father’s (Stefan Everts) victory at the British venue. Meanwhile in the Women’s category taking the first overall victory of the season and with it the championship leader’s red plate, was the DRT Kawasaki rider, Courtney Duncan. The defending champion looked strong all the weekend winning both races and starting her 2020 campaign with a victory. The next stop on the MXGP racing calendar is the MXGP of the Netherlands as we head to Valkenswaard for round 2 of the FIM Motocross World Championship and the Women’s World Championship, as well as for the kick-starting of the EMX250 championship.

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FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

RESULTS MXGP CHAMP. STANDINGS 1. J. Herlings (NED, KTM) 2. T. Gajser (SLO, HON) 3. A. Cairoli (ITA, KTM) 4. J. Seewer (SUI, YAM), 5. M. Evans (AUS, HON) 6. G. Paulin (FRA, YAM), 7. C. Desalle (BEL, KAW), 8. G. Coldenhoff (NED, KTM) 9. H. Jacaobi (GER, YAM) 10. J. Prado (SPA, KTM)

1. KTM 2. Honda 3. Yamaha 4. Kawasaki 5. Gas Gas 6. Husqvarna

1. KTM 2. Yamaha 3. Kawasaki 4. Husqvarna 5. Honda 6. GasGas

115,515 Users +22% from 2019 240,832 Views +32% from 2019 746, 360 Page views + 51% from 2019

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1. J. Geerts (BEL, YAM) 2. T. Vialle (FRA, KTM) 3. M. Haarup (DEN, KAW) 4. J. Beaton (AUS, HUS) 5. R. Hofer (AUT, KTM) 6. A. Forato (ITA, HUQ) 7. T. Olsen (DEN, HUS) 8. R. Van de Moosdijk (NED, KAW) 9. C. Mewse (GBR, KTM) 10. M. Boisrame (FRA, KAW)

MX2 MANUFACTURERS

MXGP-TV.COM

Italy France The Netherlands UK Germany

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MXGP MANUFACTURERS

2020 START OF THE SEASON MXGP-TV INSIGHTS

Top 6 Countries

MX2 CHAMP. STANDINGS

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L A I C O S P G X M

@davecoekaerts41 @paulsjonass41 #mxgp #motocross #moto #dirtbike #vectorart #vector #illustration #art #design #create #artist #graphicdesign #adobeillustrator #dirtbikesarecool #rockstar

@demetriou_michalis_37 Yesterday it was a big day for me... Finally I met the best of the best and my favourite mx champion @ antoniocairoli Thanks to my brother for giving me this amazing present!!!

@kumy_art Cuadro de lo cotidiano XX... Hay gente que no entiende de barreras o lĂ­mites... simplemente vuelan. @monsterenergy @mxgp

@katrindiemiger

@cuoci Hole-shot was really close... #mxgpgreatbritain #mxgp2020 #tc222 #bomber #racr The MXGP of Great Britain was nothing less than amazing. All the best actions of the weekend are included in a recap video of the first stop of the 2020 MXGP season

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Want to know more about the track at Matterley Basin? Check out our track preview by Dunlop, where we find out more about what tyres are more suites to certain conditions at the famous British circuit!

MXGP season kicking off today Who’s your money on?


@gettysport @gr3g_r0ll1_08 @gatedropmx

Taste the rainbow!â

Great time at Matterly basin wiv @tyl3r.jon3s

Stefan, Liam and Harry Everts. Liam is the third generation of the family dynasty #mxgp

The 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship season has been officially declared open in Matterley Basin with the opening press conference. While the racing begam on Saturday, teams and riders gathered at the circuit to get prepared for the weekend ahead

@martynees Amazing weekend during @mxgp đ&#x;’Ż Huge THANK YOU to those two superstars @milenakojder @stephenrubini118 and whole team @assomotor_ team. Great hospitality, thank you for having me!!! I missed adrenaline rush #mxgp #mxofgreatbritain #motocross #honda

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Background

AFTER CELEBRATING ITS MOST SUCCESSFUL SEASON IN THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2019 WITH 3RD OVERALL IN THE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MXGP CLASS AND A DOUBLE-MOTO WIN AT THE MONSTER ENERGY FIM MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS AT ASSEN, STANDING CONSTRUCT MADE MORE HEADLINES AFTER IT WAS ANNOUNCED MID-NOVEMBER THAT THE TEAM WOULD BE SWAPPING KTM MACHINERY FOR GASGAS, A MOVE THAT GRANTED THE TEAM FACTORY STATUS FOR THE 2020 MXGP SEASON, AND WOULD BE KNOWN AS STANDING CONSTRUCT GASGAS FACTORY RACING TEAM. WE RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH TEAM OWNER TIM MATHYS TO SEE HOW THIS WOULD BENEFIT THE TEAM, THE RIDERS AND THE MXGP PADDOCK RESPECTIVELY.

The first time we saw Standing Construct in the MXGP Paddock was as recently as 2012 and by the end of 2013, the young team had already celebrated its first podium with Glenn Coldenhoff at the ‘bars when he won the British GP at Matterley Basin, the penultimate round of the championship’. A brief change of machinery to Yamaha granted the team factory equipment although it was not named as an official factory team, and with more GP wins in the books, this time with Valentin Guillod in 2015, it seemed that Standing Construct was well placed to 41


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be a main player in the years to come. However, after failing to land a satisfactory deal for the 2017 season, the team pulled out of racing, but when you are as passionate about racing as Tim Mathys then a return was always inevitable, and after a one-year hiatus, the team returned to the paddock as Standing Construct KTM. By the end of 2019 they were a force to be reckoned with as Glenn Coldenhoff ran riot, with a run of podiums which included two overall victories as well as that historic MXoN win at Assen. Big News When news of GASGAS entering MXGP emerged it was received with a mixture of emotions and various comments, most of them positive – the negative ones were aimed more at the fact that the new bike would be nothing more than a KTM after the Austrian marque acquired it last year – but as we have seen with Husqvarna over the past six or seven years, the white corner of Austria now has its own identity and it’s widely expected that GASGAS will follow that same path where, it will also be a successful brand in its own right. So, how did this deal come about and when did the first conversation take place? Tim Mathys: ‘Well, at the end of September I read online somewhere that Mr. Peirer bought the majority of stocks of GASGAS but, like everybody else, I was thinking that it was only the enduro, the electric and trials bikes. At that time, we still had a KTM contract and in fact, everything was already done for 2020 and also with riders, and parts, sponsors, gear, … and then in the middle of October I got a message from Robert Jonas to ask “when do you have the time to have a real good

phone call?” Even though I was very busy that day, I sent him a message saying “now, if you want?” So, he called and explained that they were convinced that the GASGAS project was a good project for the future, that the products they have now are really strong products in trial and enduro but they also wanted to introduce GASGAS into the motocross market like they did with Husqvarna. Then after 30 minutes explaining the commercial strategy behind it, he said “we already want the GASGAS to be present in MXGP next year! We have been talking and we think it would be good for us and for you to collaborate in this and you would become the factory GASGAS team …” and so that’s when it started, in the middle of October.’ When you’ve just been told you will be a factory team you can imagine how excited Mathys was, but it wasn’t only him that needed convincing, especially after the kind of success that Standing Construct had had towards the end of the season. Having that telephone conversation with the riders was never going to be easy, especially with Glenn since he was the highest profile rider in the team and an MXGP bronze medallist and MXoN winner, but in the end, it was all pretty straightforward: ‘Both Glenn and Ivo Monticelli were convinced pretty quickly that it was a good step, also because they were sure that when Pit Beirer or Robert Jonas say something, they keep their word, so we were sure that in the beginning that the bike would be very close to a KTM and that it would be developed step-by-step, but not that we would suddenly have a completely different bike which would have been a really big problem for the team, for Ivo but especially for

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Glenn because he is very picky with his parts and bike.’ Full Factory From the outside looking in, becoming a factory team is widely regarded as a huge step up from being a privateer or a satellite team, and the advantages outweigh the negatives on a number of different levels, whether it be access to certain parts, budgets or technical information in general. But, just how much difference will this make? Only those that have been in both positions actually know, but it’s also about perspective, as Tim explains: ‘When we were with Yamaha in MX2 we were very close to a factory team let’s say, only the official word ‘factory’ wasn’t in our name; but now it is with GASGAS. With what we had at Standing Construct KTM and now at Standing Construct GASGAS, the budget is a big difference so that’s one thing, and the fact that we now have the extra budget, for sure is welcome, but even much more important for us are the factory parts and the factory assistance that we will receive; that info is maybe even more important than the extra budget we have now. Before, we saw some parts on the factory KTMs that we simply couldn’t get and now we have full access to those factory parts and we discovered in the past month when testing on the dyno and also on the track, that some of these parts, even when you don’t ride with them you think it’s ridiculous that it would help something, but then you try it on the dyno or on the bike and everyone is stunned about the difference it makes, so that for sure is also a big difference.’ However, it’s not always about budgets and factory parts; sometimes it’s about relationships as well, and it’s clear that the relationship between Pit Beirer, Robert 45


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Jonass and Tim Mathys is a strong one and that can be the biggest advantage of all: ‘For us now, it’s even more important that we can stay with KTM Group, with people we know, with people we know how it is to work with and how professional they are because Pit and Robert are responsible for racing in KTM, Husqvarna and now GASGAS – all insiders know that – so we keep working with the same people, the same kind of contact let’s say, which was all very good; only now, being a factory team means it changes a lot in our team, with what concerns our organisation and parts and budget.’ Orange, White and Red If we cast our minds back to 2013 when Husqvarna became part of KTM Group, the general consensus was that ‘it’s just a white KTM’ but gradually, since then, Husqvarna has become its own brand, some of the chassis components are different, the measurements are different to the point where now, Husqvarna are pretty much running their own thing, despite the engines being very similar. As a result of what happened back then, it’s obvious the same thing will happen with GASGAS; over time, it’s hoped that GASGAS will be a brand in its own right, and it might start happening sooner than we think: ‘In the beginning it will be exactly the same as with Husqvarna, where the bike is based on the KTM platform which means in the beginning it will be pretty similar, but during the season there will already be a kind of evolution where the bike will develop to its very own identity by having some of other parts and some things changed, exactly like it was with Husqvarna; little by little it will develop into its own identity.’ Whilst some people will be sceptical, Mathys is more positive and explains that what

KTM has done with Husqvarna and now GASGAS is nothing new, and has been happening for years elsewhere: ‘In these times it’s how it goes in industries; it’s the same with cars, with trucks, with vans and I think what KTM is doing now is just the modern way of developing some machinery. The base will be very close to a KTM but that is also a big advantage for GASGAS; they take the very good base and little by little they will change some things on that bike so that’s just the positive thing about it.’ From a neutral standpoint having another brand in the Paddock can only be seen as a positive, and with KTM, Yamaha, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki and now GASGAS lining up behind the gate, it shows the growth within the off-road sector as well as the popularity of MXGP and how it is also expanding as a brand, but despite the obvious ties with Austria, when it comes to racing, Mathys, his team and his riders will still be as competitive as ever: ‘I think it’s very important for MXGP, like in every competition, it’s nice to have some different players and even though we are in the same group, we are competitors; just like Antti Pyrhönen doesn’t want Jeffrey Herlings to win the GP, he prefers that Jonass wins it and it’s the same with us.’ Spreading the Love From the outside it would appear that most of the focus on GASGAS will be on the MXGP class with Glenn Coldenhoff the highest profile rider on its books, but the reality is that GASGAS will also feature teams in other classes, too. The MX2 team will be known as DIGA Procross GASGAS Factory Racing and will line up with two youngsters who rode in the EMX ranks last year and who have now been fast tracked to factory 47


what he’d achieved as a team owner in less than ten years:

status. Jermey Sydow’s best finish in EMX250 was a 2-5 for 3rd overall in Latvia on his way to 6th in the championship, despite missing the first three rounds through injury. His 16-year old teammate is Simon Laengenfelder who finished 3rd overall in the EMX125 class, where he scored two race wins and four podiums along the way, including an overall win and three second places. GASGAS will also feature a team in the EMX125 division and this will be run by former racer Jimmy Verburgh. The F4E Team Manager will

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work alongside the Spanish Federation where the team will officially be known as RFME GASGAS MX Junior Team. The trio of riders are all from Spain; Guillem Farres placed 9th in last year’s championship, David Braceras was 15th and with David Beltran a newcomer to the class. Proud With the new season getting under way at Matterley Basin the new brand in the Paddock did not go unnoticed and garnered quite a bit of media attention, as you would expect, and for Tim Mathys, there was nothing but pride at

‘I am proud that the guys in Austria trust us and have confidence in us and they know that we will do a good job, but I think it’s something that we earned from the past years. If you saw already in MX2 we had, I think I can say, one of the fastest MX2 bikes because in this team we are so obsessed by power and by making good bikes; also in MXGP, I think last year we showed what you can do with having no factory parts and with everything that you put behind the gate, that you have to make it yourself even if you have to buy some parts that everyone can buy. And that’s why I am proud that now we get that recognition and that we became a factory team.’


E L R A U I T C A E E SP F


G N I T A R D B N E A L E Y A C : D Y R H E P T O S R E T Y F P O G X S N M O I P M A CH RROW! O M TO


AT THE MXGP OF GREAT BRITAIN, HOSTED BY THE LEGENDARY MATTERLEY BASIN CIRCUIT IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND, THE RIDERS, TEAMS, MEDIA AND FANS WERE STUNNED AS A BRAND-NEW NOVELTY WAS INTRODUCED TO THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. DURING THE OPENING PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE WEEKEND, THE MXGP TROPHY WAS REVEALED IN ALL ITS GLORY, DEMONSTRATING THE START OF A NEW TRADITION IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, THAT WILL PAY HOMAGE TO ALL THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE WORLD CHAMPIONS OF THE PREMIER MXGP CLASS.

This season and for many more seasons to come, every World Champion of the MXGP class will engrave their name in history and be awarded with the extremely rare piece at the end of the season to commemorate their achievements. Created with an extreme attention to detail, the cup is made of two materials, aluminium and carbon fibre, while the base is formed of 6 pieces of anodized aluminium in three different shades; red at the bottom and black and grey in the middle alongside the MXGP logo. In the grey parts, you can find some filigrees inspired by motocross; such as the starting gates of the tracks, the teeth on the bike sprockets and other more distinctive elements that make this trophy so unique to our sport. And making up the most impressive part of the trophy are 16 twisted carbon fibre blades shaped into a cup to resemble the championship logo. But the most special and exciting part of the entire thing are the legendary names that it holds, with 20 stainless steel plaques wrapping the trophy, engraved with names of all the world champions in the main class, dating back all the way to 1957 until now. Every aspect of the trophy is thought through, right to the most intricate details, and was designed to reflect everything that makes motocross so special. Even the size and the weight of the trophy represents the toughness of the competition, while its uneven sharp angles are meant to capture the skilled performance of the riders and the thrill and speed of the races! The trophy features 27 legendary names that have all won one or more of the 63 world titles, including the very first Motocross World Champion, Bill Nilsson (1957), Roger De Coster (1971,1972, 1973, 1975, 1976), Georges Jobé (1987, 1991, 1992), David Thorpe (1985, 1986, 1989) Stefan Everts (1995-1997 and 2003-2206) and Mickaël Pichon (2001 and 2002)

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among more recent names like Antonio Cairoli (2009-2014 and 2017), Romain Febvre (2015), Jeffrey Herlings (2018) and Tim Gajser (2016 and 2019), just to name a few. The trophy was designed by the Barcelona-based Garcia Rojals Studio, that holds a long-time global reputation for designing outstanding racing trophies, including the Moto GP World Championship Trophy and the World SBK Trophy. The studio is also the creators behind some specific race trophies inside the same championships and has developed different projects for eSports and NASCAR, among others, and now adding the extremely special MXGP trophy to their already impressive portfolio. Gracia Rojals design philosophy relies on creating unique projects that are timeless, with a special focus on the technical highquality materials and was the perfect fit to create such an important trophy that would highlight such a significant legacy in the motocross world championship! Here is the full list of names included on the MXGP Trophy: 1957

Bill Nilsson

1958

René Baeten

1959

Sten Lundin

1960

Bill Nilsson

1961

Sten Lundin

1962

Rolf Tibblin

1963

Rolf Tibblin

1964

Jeff Smith

1965

Jeff Smith

1966

Paul Friedrichs

1967

Paul Friedrichs

1968

Paul Friedrichs

1969

Bengt Åberg

1970

Bengt Åberg

1971

Roger De Coster

1972

Roger De Coster


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2002

Mickaël Pichon

2003

Stefan Everts

1986

David Thorpe

2004

Stefan Everts

1987

Georges Jobé

2005

Stefan Everts

1988

Eric Geboers

2006

Stefan Everts

1973

Roger De Coster

1989

David Thorpe

2007

Steve Ramon

1974

Heikki Mikkola

1990

Eric Geboers

2008

David Philippaerts

1975

Roger De Coster

1991

Georges Jobé

2009

Antonio Cairoli

1976

Roger De Coster

1992

Georges Jobé

2010

Antonio Cairoli

1977

Heikki Mikkola

1993

Greg Albertyn

2011

Antonio Cairoli

1978

Heikki Mikkola

1994

Greg Albertyn

2012

Antonio Cairoli

1979

Graham Noyce

1995

Stefan Everts

2013

Antonio Cairoli

1980

André Malherbe

1996

Stefan Everts

2014

Antonio Cairoli

1981

André Malherbe

1997

Stefan Everts

2015

Romain Fevbre

1982

Brad Lackey

1998

Sebastien Tortelli

2016

Tim Gajser

1983

Håkan Carlqvist

1999

Frédéric Bolley

2017

Antonio Cairoli

1984

André Malherbe

2000

Frédéric Bolley

2018

Jeffrey Herlings

1985

David Thorpe

2001

Mickaël Pichon

2019

Tim Gajser


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L L A H

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E M A F F O


ROLF DIEFFENBACH, THE ‘BIG GERMAN’ BORN ON 12 JUNE 1951, ROLF DIEFFENBACH WAS THE LEADING GERMAN MOTOCROSS RIDER OF THE WILD 70’S AND 80’S IN THE FORMER 250CC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, THE PREMIUM CLASS OF MOTOCROSS AT THIS TIME. As a child, my dream was to become a soccer player in my favourite team VfB Stuttgart, but I missed the speed a little bit, so I tried out other sports like downhill ski racing. My style was probably a bit too risky, so I crashed and broke my leg severely. It was a complicated fracture and it was impossible to play soccer anymore - a disaster for me. In that period of time I came in touch with motocross while visiting a local race. Together with a friend of mine we modified a 50cc Hercules bike and started to cruise offroad around my home village Widdern.’ Riding was fun, but Rolf was also an ambitious character. ‘I wanted to prove my riding skills in races, but I had no money to buy a motocross bike. Finally, my grandma helped me to buy my first second-hand racing machine.’ In 1971, at the age of 20, Rolf completed his first international motocross race. He rose up rapidly and rode in the World Championship against competitors like Gennadi Moissejew, Jaroslav Falta, Harry Everts, Torleif Hansen and other great names. ‘I became a professional factory rider in 1975 and joined the

KramerMaico racing team’, explained Dieffenbach. ‘But it was an unlucky start. I couldn’t compete in the world championship because of a broken ankle during the pre-season race in Gaildorf (Germany). This was a heavy setback and a bad experience for me, because in that year I was really competitive, and I was able to win all pre-season races.’ However, Rolf Dieffenbach used the time of his rehabilitation to improve the Maico for the following season in 1976. Together with the ingenious tuner Fritz Kramer, he invented a new concept for the exhaust pipe. ‘At that time, the exhaust pipes were located below the engine. The off-road bikes had not enough legroom. We invented to arrange the pipe in between the cylinder and the fuel tank, which was a real improvement.’ In 1976, at the age of 25, Dieffenbach completed his first GP season in P16, behind competitors like André Malherbe (Belgium/P14) and Hakan Carlqvist (Sweden/P15). He celebrated his first podium in 59


1977, in Hyvinkää,Finland, on the iconic Kramer/Rotax bike. ‘It was a completely new and innovative motorcycle. At the beginning of the 1977 season we struggled with technical issues. But at the end of the season I was a competitive top-5 rider.’ Dieffenbach completed the 1977 season on P15. The talent of the tall German moved into the focus of other factory teams in the GP paddock. Dieffenbach signed a Kawasaki factory contract for the 1978/79 season and finished the 1979 world championship in P6. Dieffenbach, the ‘Big German’, was hired by the German Honda importer to ride GP’s as well as the national championships. He finished the 1980 GP season in P4 behind Jorges Jobé, Kees van der Veen and Dimitar Rangelov. ‘It was a crazy time. I won the qualification race of the Motocross of Nations on home soil in Bielstein in 1981 in front of an incredible fan base.’ ‘One event is still present in my mind’, remembered Dieffenbach. ‘My Grand-Prix victory in Holice (ČSSR) 1982 was simply unbelievable. It was the time of the ‘Iron Curtain’ and the GP in the former ČSSR was the only possibility for fans from the eastern part of Germany to attend a race of the world championship. Since the success of Paul Friedrichs in motocross had still been very popular in the former GDR. Thousands of enthusiastic motocross fans crossed the border to visit the Czech GrandPrix and celebrated the victory of a West German rider. The fans sang the national anthem of West Germany which was officially forbidden in the former GDR. For a moment, the Germans from two different countries and two different political and economic systems were unified into one big human choir. I will never forget my emotions during the podium ceremony. It was something like a premonition of the historic fall of the Berlin wall 7 years later in autumn 1989.’ 60

1976 -

P16, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Maico)

1977 - P15, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Kramer/ Rotax) 1978 -

P16, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Kawasaki)

1979 -

P6, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Kawasaki)

1980 -

P4, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Honda)

1981 -

P4, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Honda)

1982 -

P5, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Honda)

1983 -

P7, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Honda)

1984 -

P51, World Championship, 250 ccm, (Maico)

‘The Japanese factory teams concluded their Grand-Prix engagement temporary in 1984, so I returned to my roots, back to Maico. The mid-80’s were a time of radical technical improvements like monoshock suspension and the launch of water-cooled engines. The ‘84 Maico was not competitive anymore and the 1984 season was simply a year of technical issues.’ Dieffenbach concluded his active career after a disappointing season. After finishing his motocross career Dieffenbach founded his own plumber business in his home-town Widdern but was still involved in different training programs like the development of the ‘ADAC Junior Team’.

enthusiastic motorcyclist. ‘I explore the world with my BMW R 1200 RS. Motorcycling is still my life and my passion. Occasionally I ride more than 700 km per day.’ Unfortunately, his passion was also the tragedy of his life. Rolf Dieffenbach, one of the world’s best motorcycle riders, was on tour in Austria, near Maria Neustift, when the gearbox of his bike lost oil, his rear wheel slipped away and he crashed heavily against the side rail of the street. Rolf Dieffenbach died at the age of 68 years old.

Motorsport was the passion of the ‘Big German’ and fans in all parts of Germany and all over the world will never forget the tall and friendly German, the face of the German motocross His passion and fascination for of the 70’s and 80’s. motorbikes and motorsports Text & Photos: Thoralf was alive - till his last breath. Dieffenbach was an Abgarjan


S K L A T K C O D PAD 2

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5

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1

23- time Isle of Man TT winner, John McGuinnes joined us at the MXGP of Great Britain!

2 It’s in the blood… Liam Everts celebrated his first EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Podium with his father Stefan and grandfather Harry!

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3 If it ain’t mud, it ain’t fun! Even the youngest riders enjoyed themselves at Matterley Basin. 4 How many Monster Energy athletes can you fit along one table? Spoiler alert, quite a few! 5 Even motocross riders need to take care of their hair! Thomas Covington and Ben Watson getting a fresh trim at the Monster Energy Barber Shop! 6 Sunshine and smiles!

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7 Set-up goals! Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory team set-up was next level at the MXGP of Great Britain. 8 3 months after the birth of baby Skyler, Kiara Fontanesi is ready to make her WMX comeback and go after the title this season. 9 Set-up complete at the MXGP of Great Britain! 10 Antonio Cairoli spent Valentine’s Day at the track with his wife Jill and baby Chase – can it get any better than that?

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E L R A U I T C A E E SP F

NEIL HUDSON 1981 YAMAHA 0W50/250CC 64

OVER THE YEARS, THE LOOK AND FEEL OF THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP HAS CONTINUED TO EVOLVE, AND ONCE UPON A TIME THE 500CC CLASS WAS CONSIDERED THE ‘BLUE RIBBAND’ CATEGORY FOLLOWED BY 250CC AND EVENTUALLY, THE 125CC CLASS WHEN IT WAS INTRODUCED IN 1975.


But, with the demise of the 500cc motorcycle due to a lack of demand, the premier class status shifted to the quarterlitre category, which eventually became MX1 in 2004 and MXGP from 2014. During that 63year history, Great Britain has only ever produced one 250cc world champion, now known as MXGP and Neil Hudson was the rider who achieved what is now considered a historic achievement, and with the MXGP of Great Britain kicking off the 2020 season, we thought it would be very appropriate to feature the bike that took Hudson to victory. So, in this month’s issue of MXGP Magazine we will feature Neil Hudson’s 1981 Yamaha OW50.

Neil Hudson started his grand prix career racing Maico machinery in 1977 and in his debut season finished a very respectable 13th overall. He followed this up with 5th a year later, a campaign which also saw him take his maiden GP overall victory. By 1979, and his third year as a world championship racer, he elevated himself to 2nd overall and by now he was already racing factory machinery from the German manufacturer. However, things were not as they appeared and despite having just had his best season, Neil expressed his desire to leave Maico due to its inability to honour certain aspects of their contract. Yamaha was keen to sign Hudson up to be its sole factory racer for the following season (1980) and the two parties entered into a racing partnership.

After testing the 1980 air-cooled Yamaha at the end of ‘79, the Brit was clearly looking forward to representing his new team, and after his first test he was more than impressed but a contractual dispute between him and his former team reared its ugly head, and after just three races on Yamaha, Hudson was legally bound to represent Maico for the rest of the season. ‘The bike I tested was Heikki Mikkola’s factory 250cc which he rode at the ’79 des Nations; it wasn’t the ’80 bike, but the mechanics that bought it over said ‘we can change anything you want; you can change the footrests, if you want them in the same position as the Maico, we can do it …’ But, I’d just lapped quicker on the Yamaha than I had on my Maico and thought it’s got to be the way to go, you know? So, that was it, the decision was made, but 65


66


obviously, it never materialised in the end.’ Anyway, long story short; 1980 did not end well as a badly broken ankle and concussion in a first turn crash at the German GP, the third round on the calendar, meant he missed almost the entire season, but after winning the first race at that ill-feted German GP, Hudson had done enough to convince the Japanese bosses, who were in attendance, that he was still the right man for the job, and so he re-joined Yamaha for the 1981 campaign. Having previously tested Heikki Mikkola’s factory air-cooled 1979 bike, by the time 1981 came around Yamaha had shifted from air to water-cooled bikes for its factory effort, and back then, factory meant factory. ‘It was all handmade; there was nothing standard about it. The only thing from standard that would fit the factory bike were the mudguards. There was a team of 35 engineers from Japan who worked solely on factory bikes and it was estimated that the bikes were worth £25,000 each in man-hours and materials. There were carbon fibre chain guides and engine plates, titanium nuts and bolts and shock spring, no expense spared … it was like something you’d never seen before. ‘We had Magnesium hubs to start with but they were very big so we went back to the more standard aluminium hubs, as far as I can remember, but it was close to the legal weight limit, whatever that was back then.’ Initial tests went extremely well, and this included a pre-season international race in France, but by the time the first GP came around at Cognac, it was soon clear that there was a massive problem with Yamaha’s new water-cooled technology, and it would come at a huge detrimental cost: ‘I remember the bike originally came over as a water-cooled bike, 67


we used it an international race; it was okay there but of course, the races were only 25 minutes, but then we went to the first GP in France which was muddy and it wouldn’t survive 45 minutes in those conditions.’ The main design fault there was due to the size and location of the radiator, which was nestled at the bottom of the front number plate, and so when it became blocked there was no way to keep the bike cool, and as a result, both his and his teammate Dave Watson’s bikes seized solid. With the second round in a week’s time in Spain, Yamaha had to think and think fast: ‘After France, this obviously called for drastic measures, and within about three days we had air-cooled cylinders from Japan, they were flown in to Sonauto Yamaha France; we had to go to Paris and use their workshops so we could convert them back to air-cooled for the next GP in Spain that coming weekend. It was the same bike; we just swapped the cylinder over. We just took off all the watercooling system; after what had happened, it was no coincidence that the water-cooled engines were abandoned for the rest of the season, we never played with them again; it was shelved, basically. It was just too risky.’ ‘It probably would have been okay in the dry, but you couldn’t go from one bike for dry and another for wet conditions, because there was a massive difference in performance between the two. The watercooled bike never lost power whereas any air-cooled engine would ‘go off-song’ a little bit after about twenty minutes, but it was the same for everyone in those days. But if we could have started with the water-cooled engine it would have been a massive advantage, but that was the way it was.’ Whilst the water-cooled bikes had a bit more power and maintained that power, it was 68

not worth the difference in weight savings over air-cooled bikes; it would therefore come down to how much the loss of power would cost the air-cooled bike in comparison to the watercooled bikes, but as always, there was even a way to overcome that, as Neil recalls: ‘We had a different headerpipe on the exhaust which was better; it’s not that we needed more power, but we were able to modify our exhaust system which worked really well. We had a free hand to make the necessary changes, we weren’t necessarily governed by the Japanese where we had to do this or we had to do that. They would ask us, ‘what do you think you need to do to be able to get more power ...? for instance.’ ‘If anything, the only thing the bike was lacking in the beginning was top end, this is why we changed the exhaust which gave it more top. Even as an air-cooled engine it still had a power valve engine with a Nikasil bore, but when we sorted the exhaust to give us the top end, it was much better. The exhaust was factory, made in Japan, a one-off.’ As for the rest of the bike, the chassis was a factory, handmade steel frame which was married to a factory aluminium swingarm and despite having to switch from water-cooled to air-cooled, the engine was still a full factory item, including the piston and ignition; and with magnesium cases, the bike definitely looked the part at the time. The engine also came with Yamaha’s exclusive ‘YPVS’ or Yamaha Power Valve System which was a variable exhaust valve to prevent exhaust gas blow-by. The Mikuni carburettor was produced from magnesium and measured in at 38mm and came equipped with factory reed valves and of course, it goes without saying that the exhaust pipe and silencer were also produced in-house and were ‘money-couldn’t-buy’ items. The


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factory Kayaba (KYB) forks were 43mm, lighter in weight and of the conventional type whilst the rear shock was an Ohlins unit, complete with titanium spring. Finally, the clutch and 5-speed gearbox were also one-off factory items. With the removal of the water-cooling system plus all the other trick parts, the bike would have weighed a good few kilo’s lighter than production and lighter than its nearest factory rival’s bikes, like Georges Jobe’s Suzuki for instance. Possibly the biggest gain though was the suspension as the OW50 adopted a linked-type Mono-cross system with a Bell Crank which won-over Hudson immediately: ‘Unless you rode one of the old triangle swingarm bikes, the comparison was unbelievable, almost like modern day suspension today. I’m not saying the bike was above anything else, but the suspension was really good; that was a big thing in those days. Before that, we had the cantilever type suspension and originally the new stuff with the linkage wasn’t going to be available because the Americans were going to get it, and it wasn’t going to be available until sometime in 1981. I did the international race in Beaucaire with the water-cooling as well as with the old triangle swingarm, but then suddenly the race bike turned up with this new linkage, and the first time I ran it was around March, the day after a British Championship round. I’d raced the 500cc on Sunday and we tested the 250cc on Monday with the new suspension, and I was between 3-4 seconds faster on the 250cc than I was on the 500cc the day before! So, the new suspension was a massive advantage really.’ After the double DNF in France, Hudson failed to score in the first race at the following round in Spain after getting caught in a huge crash on the hill at Sabadell, but rectified this with a 2nd in Race Two, before winning the overall in Austria at round three. 71


His only other DNF came at the following round in Italy where he was T-boned in Race One by an Italian called Morizio Dolce. From then on, the two main candidates were Georges Jobe and Hudson. However, Jobe then injured his elbow prior to the USGP at Unadilla, Round Ten, and did not even travel Stateside, safe in the knowledge that his 53-point lead would remain intact, at least for another couple of rounds. When Hudson went 2-2 for the overall victory, the points gap was reduced to 29 and Jobe was forced to travel to Russia to try to salvage some extra points, but not even a heroic 2nd in Race One could prevent Hudson from taking a double-race win, and as the riders headed into the final round in Holland, Jobe and Hudson were separated by just 11 points. Over the previous two rounds, Hudson had gained 39 points on Jobe and once again had forced 72

the Belgian to line-up behind the gate, injured. In the first race, Hudson rode too tight and had to settle for 4th place, which meant that going into the final race of the year, Jobe still led Hudson by 3 points. At the start of Race Two, Hudson fell in the first turn and when he remounted, went into attack mode as he could not afford to finish any lower than 7th if Jobe did not score, if he was to win the title: ‘There was a massive crash at the start in the first bend, and I was mixed up with about six other riders and set away dead last. I came back through the field and I think I ended up sixth or something like that which would have given me enough points to win it, but by then, Jobe was just circulating, doing nothing, waiting for his chance to try to take me out, which he tried to do in the woods. He couldn’t finish the race, so he stopped in the woods and as I came around, he revved his bike up and just let it go to try and take me out.

Fortunately, he missed, but nobody saw it because it was right in the depths of the woods. You hear these stories from the past about things that happened and here I was right in the middle of it myself. It’s not very nice to be honest.’ After clinching the title by two points there was nothing but relief for Hudson who later said ‘it wouldn’t have bothered me whether I sat on another bike ever again. From all those years racing schoolboy motocross and reaching that pinnacle, that was it; I couldn’t go any further.’ During the 1981 season, Neil Hudson rode his Yamaha OW50 to five race wins, eleven 2nd positions and one 3rd place. He also claimed four overall victories and four 2nd places on his way to his first and only world title and remains the only British rider to have won the 250cc / MXGP world championship. Photos: Yamaha/J.Burnicle/ Haudiquert


S N R O O I T T I S E ED E U QO TH T ❝

Hello, how can I create an account on MXGP-TV? Jan  

Hi Jan , To create an MXGP-TV account visit www.mxgp-tv. com and click on “sign in” Regards MXGP

Hi, is there an app where you can watch MXGP on TV? Marc  

Hi Marc , You can watch the races from our website, on your laptop, smartphone or tablet and connect the device to your TV and enjoy the races! If you have a smart TV, you can also use your browser to log in on www. mxgp-tv.com Regards MXGP

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Hello MXGP. Where can I find all MXGP Magazine? Matteo  

Dear Matteo , thanks for the message! You can find all the issues of the MXGP Magazine online, just follow this link: https://issuu. com/mxgpmag Best Regards MXGP

When can we buy tickets for the MXGP of Belgium? Kelly  

Hi Kelly We are working on final details and the tickets will be available soon. Once the tickets are online we will share this news on our Facebook page  Thanks MXGP

Hi, just wondering when buying the tickets, do they get sent through email to then print them off or do they get delivered? Steven  

Hi Steven when purchasing a standard ticket you will receive it through to your email, that you can then print off. The tickets do not get delivered by post, it is all online. Thanks MXGP


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MXGP #79 March 2020  

– Good news, race fans! The 79th issue of the MXGP Magazine is available to read online! In this month’s edition, you will find Standing Co...

MXGP #79 March 2020  

– Good news, race fans! The 79th issue of the MXGP Magazine is available to read online! In this month’s edition, you will find Standing Co...

Profile for mxgpmag