#107 JULY 2022
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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 MXGP Mag #107 July 2022
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AME F F O
The articles published in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official position of Infront Moto Racing.
L A I R O T I D E
David Luongo CEO of Infront Moto Racing
Dear MXGP Friends, We are entering the last sprint of the MXGP season. June and July allowed us to go back to Indonesia, on a bright new venue in Sumbawa Besar Isaland. It was definitely a fantastic Grand Prix. From the very beginning when we landed in Lambok and we had a great welcome of its local authorities, we felt that this GP would have a very special attention through the Indonesian fans. After the Official Opening ceremony in the city organized by the governor of the region, the paddock members were taken to a parade in the streets of the Sumbawa city and we were welcomed by more than 20.000 people. It will remain for sure as one of the biggest and warmest welcomes of MXGP Grand Prix history. The superb track surrounded by the sea and packed by thousands of spectators was definitely a great reward and achievement for the local organizer. Gajser had a strong GP for the victory and we noticed with big pleasure the comeback of Romain Febvre that for his first GP of the season just missed the podium! Our come back to Indonesia was a great success and will open the door to more events in Asia! We need to go overseas, and we need to go to countries where motorsports are developing. Indonesia is for sure one of them. The public definitely felt in love with motocross and people were asking pictures and signatures to all the riders. After this long trip we went back to Europe; Loket was the following stop and it was again a great success. The typical and historical track of Czech Republic also hosted the
WE CAN DEFINITELY CONFIRM THAT MOTOCROSS IS STILL GROWING
final of the European 65cc and 85cc championships, as well as the last race of the Junior e-motocross series. We can definitely confirm that motocross is still growing and that the base of our pyramid, the junior and youth talents, is continuing to grow and to touch new people. The GP was a big festival of motocross talents, more than 140 kids from 6 years old! Our European championships are growing, and they are the base of the MXGP and MX2 World Championships! We will continue to invest into those categories and bring them to race during the MXGP weekend. The Grand Prix are the best platform for them to continue to progress. It is the unique occasion to be in front of such big public, in front of TV and in front of the professional teams and trainers. On top of the junior classes, there were also more than 40 riders and in EMX 2stroke class and both MXGP and MX2 were full. In total the technical control saw more than 350 bikes going through it! Last week Lommel was back, and the hellish deep sand track combined with the heat of our summer gave a lot of challenges to all the riders. A full Dutch podium in MXGP with the victory of Brian Bogers, in front of Calvin Vlanderen and Glenn Coldenhoff, gave the Dutch fans who crossed the border a great time. The Belgians were also rewarded
as Jago Geerts took a bigger gap on Tom Vialle in their battle for the MX2 title with his strong victory. Lommel 2022 was definitely one of the busiest and most crowded since years, the MX industry made the paddock full of activities. It was the first Belgium GP without COVID restrictions and fans answered the call! In MXGP class, Tim Gajser is managing his comfortable gap in front of a group of great challengers, but Jeremy Seewer, Jorge Prado, Glenn Coldenhoff and Maxime Renaux will continue to push until the end of the season and no mistakes are allowed as we will go to 4 very demanding tracks in Sweden, Finland, France and finally Turkey for the closing GP! On the side of the novelties, I would like to welcome RAM as a new car partner of the MXGP World Championship. Such well-known and emblematic brand will for sure help MXGP to reach new highs in the upcoming years! We are also going “live” 24/7 on Youtube with all the best races of the GP history going one after the other on free contents for the pleasure of the fans! And finally, the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations is getting closer, and it will for sure remain the History of the sport. Right now the federations are starting to announce their teams and we can be sure that the level of racing will be amazing!
I would like to thank FIM, FIM Europe, all our organizers, the MXGP partners, the teams and the riders, for their collaboration. I wish you a good summer and see you in Sweden!
S T O H S L COO
S T O H S L COO
S T O H S L COO
T O H S E L O H X FO
INDONESIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, BELGIUM 18
IT’S BEEN A MONTH SINCE THE LAST ISSUE OF THE MAG AND OF COURSE THERE’S SOME THINGS TO CATCH-UP ON, ONE OF THOSE BEING THE FOX HOLESHOT STANDINGS.
to an overall victory at his home Grand Prix.
Let’s start with the MXGP of Indonesia and our first visit to Samota-Sumbawa. At the Indonesian Grand Prix, there were four Fox Holeshot winners across the MXGP and MX2 categories which included the overall winners Tim Gajser and Tom Vialle, who were flying out of the gate in races one, while in the second heats, the Fox Holeshot awards were won by Jorge Prado and Simon Längenfelder! A couple of weeks later we were back in Europe, with the first stop being Loket, for the MXGP of Czech Republic. Once again, we saw four different Fox Holeshot recipients as race one winner Jeremy Seewer was the leading
rider into the first corner in the opening heat, while in MX2 it was Thibault Benistant, who also went on to win the race. Meanwhile in the second races, the Fox Holeshot awards went to Jorge Prado and Jago Geerts. After the hardpack of the oldschool Loket track, we headed for the deep sand of Lommel for the MXGP of Flanders. With a brandnew track layout and a new first corner (going right instead of left), the racing and the starts were even more interesting as the riders got to grips with the new layout. In MXGP, Jorge Prado was unbeatable when it came to the starts as he claimed both of the Fox Holeshot’s, while in MX2 it was the home hero Jago Geerts who added two more Fox Holeshot’s to his tally on his way
After 14 rounds, Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle continue to lead the Fox Holeshot Classifications with 15 and 9 points each. There are still four events left on the calendar, so it will be interesting to see if the leaders will dominate once again or whether we will add some new names to the classifications. MX2 Tom Vialle
WATCH THE VIDEO MXGP Jorge Prado
P U G H N ATC I C A C R
N U F & S A E S R E L V E O M P I M R O L AT D N A T E K O L IN
Since the last issue of the MXGP Mag, we have visited Indonesia, Czech Republic and Belgium and as the name suggests, we’re going the give you a catch-up on all the action that went down at each of these events. Get ready, it’s a wild ride! IT’S BEEN A BUSY FEW WEEKS FOR THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AS WE’RE WELL AND TRULY INTO THE SUMMER SEASON AND PROBABLY THE BUSIEST AND MOST CRUCIAL TIME IN THE SERIES AS WE EDGE CLOSER TO CROWNING THIS YEAR’S CHAMPIONS.
A TRIP OVERSEAS Let’s kick things off with the MXGP of Indonesia! It was a long trip that required several flights and roughly two to three days of travelling, but in the end the trip across the world was so worth it after the warm welcome that the paddock received upon arrival in Lombok. The riders, teams, staff and journalists were met with beautiful traditional dances and musical performances which reminded everyone just how much they had missed the Indonesian Grand Prix
during the last two years. And that was just the beginning as the festivities continued throughout the weekend, starting off with the official welcome at the Regent Office and the Regent Palace on Friday’s media day. Beautifully choreographed dances and theatrical performances took place, followed by welcoming speeches by the Governor of West Nusa Tenggara DrZulkieflimansyah SE M.Sc and Ministry of Youth & Sports Mr Zainudin Amali, as well as Infront Moto Racing’s CEO David Luongo and FIM/CMS Director Antonio Alia Portela. The paddock then took a trip to the Regent Palace which included a parade that was met by thousands upon thousands of passionate fans who were eager to take photos with everybody from MXGP, from riders to journalists and staff, and really showed their appreciation and made everybody feel very welcome to the island of Sumbawa!
As always, Friday’s media day was sealed with the family photo in front of the beautiful Regent Palace and then it was time to get down to business. The track in Samota-Sumbawa received raving reviews from the riders and teams who were impressed by the preparation and layout of the brand-new venue that was specifically built for the MXGP of Indonesia. It was hilly and technical circuit and included a variety of terrains with big jumps that really got the crowd going. It was a circuit that had everything and from the moment everybody arrived on site, to the day they left – impressions and feedback didn’t change! On race day, celebrations didn’t stop as the morning began with a special opening ceremony that included more welcoming speeches and performances along with an impressive air show that wowed not only the forty thousand fans that lined the circuit but also everybody from the paddock.
In terms of the racing, we saw Tim Gajser and Tom Vialle deliver the perfect scorecard of 1-1 as they dominated the rest of the field to stand tall on the top step of the podium. The victory for Vialle was an important one as he was able to clinch back the red plate from his title rival Jago Geerts. Joining the pair on the box was Jorge Prado and Ruben Fernandez in MXGP, with Fernandez celebrating his second podium of the season. In MX2 meanwhile, Simon Längenfelder and Thibault Benistant finished second and third. BACK TO EUROPE & BACK TO LOKET! A couple of weeks later, the action returned to Europe as we all packed our bags and headed for Loket, a beautiful town around 130km from Prague. The MXGP of Czech Republic was intense and very busy as not only did it host the 13th round of the series but also saw the EMX85 and 65 finals, along with the one-round EMX2t Championship and the final two events of the Junior e-Motocross series – which meant we finally got to crown some champions 25
and hand out some medals! As always, Friday is a busy media day, not only for the top stars but also for the EMX youngsters who started off with a TV graphic photo shoot and ended it with a family photo on the podium as all the title hopefuls gathered for the annual photo opportunity. Loket is an old school track that has been part of the FIM Motocross World Championships since 1995 and as per tradition, the typical firework display on Saturday evening kicked off what was another incredible edition of the Czech Republic Grand Prix. The racing delivered, as did the support of the huge crowd of fans – which is crucial to any successful race weekend as it always gives the riders that extra edge. In MXGP, Jeremy Seewer continued to show his strong form as he went on to win the qualifying race, the opening heat and the Grand Prix, while his teammate Maxime Renaux challenged him for the race win in the second race to mark what was an incredible return to racing after his back injury. Renaux finished second on the box with Gajser taking it steady throughout the weekend to bag himself some good points and celebrate with the duo on the third step in front of many Slovenian fans. In MX2, it was the weekend of Jago Geerts who bounced back with an overall victory that saw the red plate change for the eighth time this season, after a tough weekend for Vialle who struggled to finish on the box. Meanwhile Benistant continued to impress with qualifying and race two victories that saw him claim his third podium on the bounce, while also Längenfelder celebrated a back-to-back podium finish. In between the Grand Prix racing, we saw impressive performances from the youngsters as Vitezslav Marek and Ricardo Bauer stormed to victory in the EMX85 and EMX65 categories, while record-breaking entries signed off the Junior e-Motocross series that saw Timoteï Cez take home the number 1 trophy and gold plate after a remarkable season that saw him win three of the five rounds on his electric motor! Then in the EMX2t category, Toms Macuks claimed gold with a 1-2 result
that saw him battle Haakon Osterhagen and Johannes Klein for the top step. NEW TRACK LAYOUT, SAME OLE’ LOMMEL… From the hard-pack terrain of Loket, we headed for the sand, as excitement began to build for one of the toughest Grand Prix’s of the season – the MXGP of Flanders. Lommel is a familiar stomping ground for the majority of the riders in the FIM Motocross World Championship, with many of the top teams based close by, some even within walking distance of the venue! While many riders know Lommel inside out, this season the organisers threw a spanner in the works by changing the layout of the well-known track! A new first corner which headed right instead of left was introduced and the track was ridden in the opposite direction with some sand also being moved which brought characteristics of the ‘original’ Lommel that once was. As always, the MXGP of Flanders is hard to predict as it’s not always easy to know who will bring their A game and who will get caught out by the brutal ruts and in our case – the very hot weather that tested even the strongest and best prepared sand riders. Racing aside, there were plenty of offtrack activities that made the weekend much more exciting! Huge hospitality structures filled the paddock, including the impressive Just 1 Racing set up as they launched their newest collection, the Kawasaki Racing Team MXGP truck hospitality, the Yamaha hospitality that showcased their championship winning bikes at the entrance, the Liam Everts & S72 Gin hospitality plus much more! On Friday, the riders took part in the annual family photo on the podium, along with the Yamaha Family photo which included their MXGP and MX2 stars along with the up and coming EMX riders. On Saturday it was a day of announcements and celebrations as Jeffrey Herlings and Tim Gajser were presented with their very own replica MXGP trophies in order to celebrate their titles in 2020 and 2021, followed by the annual KTM Summer Party, that did not take place last year but really made up for it this year as KTM 30
Factory Racing announced their rider line-up for 2023, which will include Andrea Adamo and Liam Everts. And it was not the only announcement to be made, as on the same evening, Belgium announced the three riders that would represent the Belgian flag at this year’s Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations! The Team will be headed by Jago Geerts (MXGP), Liam Everts (MX2) and Jeremy Van Horebeek (Open). For Van Horebeek this Motocross of Nations will be his last as he shared his plans to retire at the end of the season, also making this his very last Belgian Grand Prix! A few familiar faces were present for the weekend which included Antonio Cairoli and his family, Clement Desalle, Thomas Kjer Olsen and Bas Vaessen who were all on-site to enjoy the races with the fans – and boy did the action deliver! The EMX riders were the first to take to the track and the first to celebrate their podiums as Belgian Lucas Coenen impressed his local supporters with a 1-1 result in the EMX250 class, while in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing the win went to Latvian Janis Reisulis who was confident even before the races that he was going for the win and nothing less. Doing it for the girls in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing category was Lotte Van Drunen who once again showed that she is a force to be reckoned with. Van Drunen put on a show stopping performance in the second heat, as the youngster claimed her very first top 10 finish! In MXGP, all eyes were on Jeremy Seewer as he back up his victory in Czech Republic with another qualifying race win on Saturday. It all looked like it could be Seewer’s weekend once again, but in Lommel, nothing is guaranteed, and such was the case this time around. The fight for the top step of the podium was incredibly close and probably changed five or six times throughout the course of the second race. The fight for the GP win was between three Dutchies, Glenn Coldenhoff, Brian Bogers and Calvin Vlaanderen, with
the victor only being decided after the chequered flag had fallen – and it was Bogers who came away with the big trophy. It was a huge win for Bogers who did it with a race victory in the opening heat and third in race two to finish the weekend on 45 points, ahead of Calvin Vlaanderen who had 44 points to his name while race two winner Glenn Coldenhoff, despite feeling ill all weekend took home 43 points and rounded out the all Dutch podium on Belgian soil which was a huge statement and confirmed that the Dutch are among the best sand riders in the world! For Bogers it was not only his first podium since the birth of Brian Jr but it was also his first ever Grand Prix victory! “I don’t even know what to say…” said Bogers. “What can you say on the top of the podium? It’s just amazing and I can’t believe it. It was really tough, but we made it” he added. In MX2, it was a dream weekend for Jago Geerts who ended his home Grand Prix with a win in front of a huge crowd of Belgian fans! But the victory was not handed to him, in fact it was one that almost went to Kay de Wolf, who went on to win the first race but just came short in the second one, as Geerts was determined to deliver and impressive performance and take as many championship points over his rival Tom Vialle. For Vialle the Belgian Grand Prix started off with a DNF in qualifying, though ended with a third on the box, despite a tough 7th and a 4th in the races. The trip to the podium was a surprise for Vialle who had no clue he was third, as initially it looked like Längenfelder was on course for his third podium in a row, but the heat and the demanding conditions took it’s tool on the young German who crashed within touching distance of the finish line and struggled to get going. After 14 rounds, Gajser is 122 points ahead Seewer and Prado, while in MX2, Geerts has a 23-point lead over Vialle and Längenfelder as we enter the last four rounds of the 2022 Championships! Let’s see what the next race shave in store for our title hopefuls…
FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Re-Live the Best Races from the MXGP Archive with Mega 24hr Stream on YouTube! We’ve got a special treat for all the die-hard motocross fans! Join us, as we re-live some of the best and most intense races from the last several years of the FIM Motocross World Championship with an epic 24 HOUR LIVE stream available exclusively on MXGP-TV’s YouTube channel!
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L A I C O S P G X M
@sonnie_silva Amazing time at @ mxgp in Belgium #mxgpbelgium #mxgp #monsterenergy #monsterenergygirls #motocross #yamaha #race #motocrossrace
@femkefatale Great times at the @mxgp with @monsterenergy Thanks @depaepenoa dor this shot Message for TKO | MXGP of Spain 2022: The entire MXGP paddock is still thinking of you TKO We’re all sending you all the best wishes, stay strong and we hope to see you back with us soon
@lxon.hkn222 @tiga243 at @ mxgpofflanders #mxgpbelgium #mxgp #mxgpflandersbelgium
@pirellimx The Sunday Shoey is back! @calvinvlaanderen returns to the podium with P2 at Lommel @martinplesnik When somebody asks you “How was the Lommel GP?” Toughest GP
Race 2 winner @ glenncoldenhoff 🦁 finishes P3 and @tiga243 continues to carry the red plate
Qualifying Highlights | MXGP of Spain 2022: Don’t miss all the best battles of the MXGP and MX2 Qualofying Races of the day in the News Highlights!
@mxfotograafleon Great Weekend MXGP Flanders Lommel #mxgp #lommel #belgium #flanders #greatweekend #weekend #mx #motocross #gp
@kacc_j MXGP Loket 2022... . . . #srdcovka #musibyt #instagood
@mathis5mx LOKET MX-E Ce week-end nous étions en République Tchèque pour les deux derniers round du championnat électrique avec une belle grille de 40 pilotes
@msc_teutschenthal Club-Ausfahrt zum MXGP Loket #crew #vereinsleben #mscteutschenthal #talkessel #mxgp
Dunlop EP.4 | A tour of the Dunlop truck | MXGP 2022: Take a look at the Dunlop truck which travels to every MXGP race on the calendar, offering tyre support for the teams and riders in the paddock!
P G X M # D OF ORL W E H IN T
@bomotoroilczsk O uplynulém víkendu se stal @vitamarek479 člen naší #bofamily mistrem Evropy ve tříde 85ccm při domácí @ mxgp_loket 43
R E S T L S R I N G MO
R E S T L S R I N G MO
H T S N RE MO E D I RF TH O
F O S N O I P M A H C E E L H T T TIRROW O M TO 49
AS WE ALL PROBABLY ALREADY KNOW, MANY IF NOT ALL OF THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE WINNERS AND CONTENDERS ENTER THIS SPORT AT A PRETTY YOUNG AGE, USUALLY AT THE AGE OF FOUR OR FIVE AND COMPETITION BECOMES JUST A PART OF THEIR CHILDHOOD AND EARLY TEENS, BEFORE THEY EVENTUALLY STEP INTO THE PREMIERE CLASSES.
After all, champions are not just made overnight, a lot of work and years of sacrifice goes into it and many of the MXGP and MX2 stars that we know and love today, were already strong competitors in junior ranks take for example Jago Geerts, Conrad Mewse, Tim Gajser, Pauls Jonass, Thomas Kjer Olsen and Mattia Guadagnini who have all won at least one of the junior titles. The EMX categories are crucial to developing the champions of tomorrow and is part of Infront Moto Racing’s pyramid scheme that aims to develop riders through the ranks starting in the 65cc and 85cc categories up to the EMX125 and the final EMX250 class before the top riders of these categories naturally
for more of this as they reach the top classes. progress up to MX2 and finally the pinnacle of the sport which is MXGP! Nowadays, Infront Moto Racing’s pyramid scheme not only includes the EMX European class, but also FIM Junior Motocross World Championship as well as the YZ bLU cRU which typically takes place at the end of the season, and now the all-new Junior e-Motocross series which was introduced in 2021. Though the pyramid scheme is not just about the racing aspect, it also teaches the riders how to behave like an FIM Motocross World Championship rider. The EMX classes receive the same coverage on MXGP-TV and MXGP’s social channels, along with post-race press conferences which allows them to get to grips working alongside media and journalists so that they are ready
This year, during the MXGP of Czech Republic we saw many youngsters in action, which included the finals of the EMX65 and EMX85 European Championships as well as the Junior e-Motocross series that was introduced in 2021. JUNIOR E-MOTOCROSS SERIES RECAP… The EMX65 and EMX85 classes are pretty self-explanatory, but the Junior e-Motocross series (MXE) is still a pretty new phenomena that sees kids between the ages of six and eighth competing on electric bikes, showcasing the capability of e-technology to a global audience.
The bikes used in the series includes the KTM SX-E 5, Husqvarna Motorcycles EE 5
and the GASGAS MC-E 5 models which provides the perfect combination of power and stability to help these youngsters take the first step in what could potentially turn out to be their careers for the future. The series was initially set up in 2021 as part of a collaboration between KTM AG and Infront Moto Racing and after its huge success in the first year, it was a ‘no brainer’ that the series would return in 2022! The series itself gave the youngsters a taste of what it’s like to compete at elite level events, as not only do they get the opportunity to race Grand Prix tracks, but they have full access to the paddock environment and can really understand the life on an MXGP rider.
Tobias Scharinger was the first winner of the inaugural season of the series, and after numerous GP style podium and red plate celebrations, there was no doubt that many of the youngsters 51
that competed previously were compelled to try again, in the hopes of being the next rider to stand on the box and lift the cool trophies! The five round series kicked off in Spain that saw last year’s runner up, Timoteï Cez, take the victory ahead of Elias Eder and Logan Liberal Rodas. At the second round in France, Cez struggled as he could only manage seventh overall, while Cameron Berry celebrated his birthday in style with an epic podium that saw the huge crowd in Ernèe sing him Happy Birthday along with the local speaker, while Austin Edwards and Noé Mathais made their first visits to the podium! By the third round, in Germany, Cez was back on top though both Edwards and Cameron made sure that their podium in France was no fluke as they once again placed inside the top three to finish second and third. The final two rounds took place in Loket alongside the MXGP of Czech Republic in a special twoday event, similar to that of a real GP and for the first time ever, the kids took on the entire lap of the circuit, compared to previously short-cuts that were made specifically for the MXE group. Not only that, but the final rounds saw record-breaking entries, with the gate completely full, it was a nice moment to see how quickly this new electric series has grown and gained interest around the world. Additionally, the races received LIVE coverage on MXGP-TV and full support from the huge crowd of fans that made their way to Loket for the weekend. In addition to this, the youngsters received the same coverage as the “big boys” being featured on MXGP’s social channels and more! Cez ended up winning the penultimate round with John Slade making his first podium appearance to finish second overall, while Logan Liberal Rodas celebrate his third place on the box in style, as always! 54
The final two races were a test for the Championship leader Cez, who could only manage second on the box, as Edwards took his first victory, while Rodas made backto-back visits on the third step. But all eyes were on the champion Timoteï Cez who was ecstatic with his gold plate after finishing second the previous year, and after a year of hard work, was able to have his moment on the top step of the box! Throughout the 2022 edition of the Junior e-Motocross series it has been a pleasure to watch the youngsters take on the GP tracks on board their electric machines, while receiving incredible support from the fans who were eager to show their excitement for the little riders! EMX FINALS The EMX finals is a one-day event that takes place alongside a selected Grand Prix event every year. Before the final stage, events take place in four different zones, North West Europe, North East Europe, South East Europe and South West Europe where after these events, generally 8 riders are invited to participate in the one day Championship decider. More riders could be invited which means that each youngster will have to work hard in order to qualifying during the timed sessions. Riders who have won the EMX65 and EMX85 titles previously have gone on to have successful racing careers. For example in 2013 Conrad Mewse was the EMX85 winner and now is racing the MXGP class for Diga Procross KTM Racing Team, while the 2014 winner Jago Geerts is currently fighting for the MX2 World title and riding for one of the top factory teams in the paddock, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing MX2/ But of course, that was not the only excitement of the weekend, as we also witnessed the crowning of the 2022 EMX85 and EMX65
winners at the finale in Loket. All eyes were on defending champions Vitezslav Marek and Lucas Leok. For Marek there was a little bit of added pressure as he was looking to defend his victory in front of his very passionate home crowd. In the opening EMX85 race, the holeshot went to Filippo Mantovani as he led Felix Cardineau, Ryan Oppliger and Mano Faure. There were a lot of passes made in the opening lap which saw Gyan Doensen go from seventh and into the lead by the end of the first lap. Cardineau remained second while Mantovani dropped to third. Local hero, Marek started down in ninth before make his way up to fifth and by the third lap was in third. It took Marek just over a lap to pass Cardineau and Mantovani. By that point, Doensen was 11.858 seconds ahead, though Marek was looking fast and was taking time out of the leader. In the final few laps, we saw a close battle between first and second as Marek worked hard to pass the Dutchman. In the end, Doensen was able to manage under pressure to secure his first EMX race win. Marek was second ahead of Mantovani, Cardineau and Faure. In the second race, Faure was the early leader ahead of Mantovani, Cardineau, Douwe Van Mechgelen and Marek, while race one winner Doensen started in 11th. But by the end of the first official lap, Mantovani managed to find his way into the driving seat as Marek moved into third. It took the Czech rider another lap to go from third to first, which sent the local crowd wild. He then opened up a decent four second gap over Mantovani, as Doensen worked his way into fourth. Several laps later, the Dutchman climbed into third and then got by Mantovani with just four laps to go.
It took the Czech rider another lap to go from third to first, which sent the local crowd wild. He then opened up a decent four second gap over Mantovani, as Doensen worked his way into fourth. Several laps later, the Dutchman climbed into third and then got by Mantovani with just four laps to go. Marek won the race ahead of Doensen, Mantovani, Freddie Bartlett who fought from eighth into fourth and Niccolo Mannini who rounded out the top five. A 2-1 result meant that Marek was the winner for the second year in a row as he secured the gold medal and gold plate, while Doensen finished second ahead of Mantovani who took home the bronze medal. Marek celebrated with his team in style as the huge crowd of Czech fans lined the podium to celebrate! This was Marek’s third EMX title, he had previously won the EMX65 category in 2019 both at the finals and at the Junior Motocross World Championship and has followed it up with a title in the EMX85cc class last year in Sardegna and now this time around in Czech Republic again. Marek is also competing in the EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing series this year and is still working towards some top results in the super competitive category. Meanwhile in the EMX65 category, in the opening race it was Harry Dale who led Francesco Assini, Louis Morette, Jekabs Hudolejs and Jorge Salvador out of the gate. Meanwhile last year’s champion Lucas Leok started down on 17th. There was a change in the lead quite quickly, as Alex Novak moved into first ahead of Assini who remained second with Hudolejs also moving up to third. At the same time Leok was making good progress in the first few laps, as he managed to get himself up to 11th, then eighth and sixth, before dropping back 60
down to 10th by the end of the race. Assini then dropped out of second to sixth, meanwhile Ricardo Bauer was making his way up the order and was in second by the fourth lap. Bauer battled closely with Novak in the closing stages of the race, before making the pass with just two laps to go. Bauer was the race winner ahead of Novak and Salvador who got himself up to third, followed by Pau Ruiz Caudet and Hudolejs. In the second race, the holeshot went to Dale once again, as Rafael Mennillo followed in second ahead of Enri Lustus, Morette, Bauer and Leok. But the first lap saw a change for the lead as Bauer went from fourth to first. The Austrian
then led Leok, Caudet Ruiz, Mennillo and Salvador, as Leok set the fastest lap of the race and looked to keep close to the leader. Dale dropped to sixth. Assini then got around Hudolejs for ninth before dropping back to 13th by the end of the race. Bauer was fully in control as Leok followed behind. Bertram Thorius managed to make a good pass with two laps to go on Salvador to take his position. In the end, Ricardo Bauer was the race winner and with it secure the gold medal in the EMX65 category, while Caudet Ruiz was given the silver medal and Salvador the bronze. This was a big win for the 11-year-old Bauer from Austria who is already eyeing up a career in racing. Bauer competed in the EMX65
class last year where he finished 8th and has made big improvements in the last 12 months to take the victory this time around. After finishing both of his races on top, the youngster did not hide his surprise at taking the win but also made sure thank his mum and dad for their support, who were just behind the camera as he did his TV interview with Lisa Leyland. And that’s how this year’s EMX85 and EMX65 European Champions were decided! The next step is to decide who will win the world title and world cup with the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship which will take place on the 27th and 28th of August in Finland!
E L R A U I T C A E E SP F
… D N A T S T S A L S ’ E I D D E
TO THOSE OF US WHO FOLLOW MXGP, EDDIE HERD WILL BE FAMILIAR TO YOU AS EITHER THE GUY ON THE PODIUM WHO HANDS THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER’S RED PLATE TO THE EMX SERIES LEADER, OR THE GUY WHO GREETS YOU AT THE WAITING ZONE BEFORE THE START OF A RACE. AT THE RECENT MXGP OF ITALY IN MAGGIORA, EDDIE ANNOUNCED HE WAS STEPPING DOWN FROM HIS ROLE AS FIM EUROPE MOTOCROSS COMMISSION PRESIDENT, AND THAT THE MXGP OF GERMANY WOULD BE HIS LAST RACE IN THAT ROLE. FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN PRESENT AT THE RACES FOR 40 YEARS, WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM TO DISCUSS HIS TIME SPENT WITHIN THE MOTORCYCLE FRATERNITY.
For most people working within MXGP, you can almost guarantee that at some time or other they have ridden a motorcycle, and for Eddie Herd it was no different. For him, it started in 1960 when he was nineteen years old riding trials on a 350 Gold Star BSA, his first bike. It was about this time that Eddie also took on his first officiating role, as he recalls: ‘I was also Clerk of The Course when I was nineteen when I was doing trials with my local club, Carshalton. I wasn’t at work then, I was still in school, but when I got a proper job working for the Port of London Authority, I bought a C15 BSA trials bike on hire purchase.’ It’s Official With motorcycling fast becoming part of Eddie’s life, he also dabbled in motocross, or ‘scrambling’ as it was known back then, riding a Triumph 500 twin, but it was mostly trials where he got his thrills. Later on, as he neared the age of forty, Eddie turned his attentions to enduro and would often bomb around on an aircooled 420 KTM, and whilst he was occupying his free time watching or riding motorcycles, he started to become more and more interested in what was happening behind the scenes, and it wasn’t long before he found himself getting involved himself: ‘I watched a lot of scrambles back then, the British GP at Farleigh Castle, Hawkstone Park, but in the meantime, I’d made my way onto the Southeast Centre Board Management Committee, where I went to a few ACU General Council meetings. I met Albert Carter (ACU Chairman) and Dennis Slaughter (ACU Vice Chairman) and they persuaded me to go for the ACU Motocross Committee at the ACU, which I did, and got on it. This must have been around the late eighties when I got on the committee. Albert and Dennis then nominated me as a delegate for many, many sidecar GP’s, the first one being in Slovenia.’
Whilst Eddie frequented British and world motocross events, it was sidecar racing where he initially spent most of his time, and it was sidecar which eventually led him to a more active role within the FIM Motocross world Championship. ‘I went to the first Sidecar GP in Kegums, Latvia; It was run by Salvis Freimanis before Kristers Sergis took over. Anyway, I went to the first one they ever ran as an ACU delegate in 1991, and after visiting for a second time, I became friendly with Salvis and his wife and I got to a stage where I said to him, if you ever run a motocross GP, I will come at my own expense and help you. And that happened in 2009.’ ‘I went at my own expense and met up with Andy Summers, who is now the FIM Technical Director, and Chris Warren, currently the FIM Chief Flag Steward, and whilst we were having dinner on the Friday evening in the hotel restaurant, Dave Nicoll, who was the FIM Race Director at the time, walked in in the middle of our meal and said:‘Boys, we’ve got a problem!’ ‘What’s up Dave?’ I asked, and he said, ‘we haven’t got enough experienced staff here, I need help!’ I asked if there was anything I could do, and he asked if I could manage the ‘waiting zone’. ‘Anyway, I got the riders on the line, managed the waiting zone, made sure everyone was in the right positions and all that, made sure all the rules were obeyed in there, and that was the first time I was involved as an official let’s say, rather than a delegate.’ And that kind of effort did not go unnoticed either, as by the end of the grand prix, Eddie was invited to a meeting with Youthstream’s President Giuseppe Luongo, who had nothing but high praise for the ‘new kid’ on the block, stating that he wanted Eddie to continue in the role for the rest of the season, which was another five rounds.
He rounded out the year in style by being asked to take care of the waiting zone at the Motocross of Nations at Franciacorta in Italy. By the way, what we now know as the waiting zone was a million miles from what we have now in MXGP, as Eddie recalls: ‘In those days I had to build the waiting zone, apart from Kegums, which was nicely built behind the start area, but everywhere else there wasn’t a waiting zone really. Dave Nicoll would say to the organisers we needed so much fencing and blocks blah blah blah, and if I was lucky, I would get enough; sometimes I didn’t, but I had to build a waiting zone near to or behind the backdrop of the start, which I did.’ Top Man ‘Dr Wolfgang Srb and Mr Luongo had a very big plan for the Motocross European Championships; to make these Championships become the solid base of the pyramid with MXGP at its point, and they were very supportive to my candidature as President of the FIM Europe Motocross/Snowcross Commission.’ By the end of the 2010 racing season, and during the weekend of the MXoN at Thunder Valley, Colorado, FIM Europe had had a management council meeting and on the Monday after the event, people came to me and said ‘congratulations Eddie! You are now officially the President of the FIM Europe Motocross Commission,’ and that’s where and when it started, 2010. Prior to that from the year 2000, I was on the FIM Europe Motocross Committee, which was pushed by the ACU, so I’d already done 10 years on the Commission, with five or six years as Vice President, so becoming President was the next step.’ However, there is more to this job than meets the eye, and it’s not just the work he does on the weekends where he was managing the waiting zone, as Eddie points out: ‘It’s a lot of work; it involves updating the rules every year, not just the European events that are combined with the world, but also 65cc, 85cc,
the Sidecar of Nations, the Quad Cross of Nations, snowcross, supercross if we have it. Updating the rules, and in some cases rewriting the rules because some of them do need re-writing. Even things like appointment of officials for the year, so things like Jury Presidents etc, because obviously I can’t go to all of the events; answering thousands of e-mails a year, some sensible and some stupid, but you get them all the time. As Wolfgang said, ‘it’s not a job for someone who already has a full-time career, you’ve got to be semi-retired, otherwise you’ll be up until 02:00am and then going to work the next day,’ and I know that; you just couldn’t do it. Especially someone like me who is not very quick with computers. So, basically that’s what’s involved, and keeping in touch with all the branches of sport including snowcross, quad cross, Quad Cross of Nations, Sidecar Cross of Nations and we have the motocross of European Nations as well which changed to focus more on the youth a few years ago.’ Achievements Eddie remained in the job of FIM Europe Motocross Commission President until he stepped down in Germany earlier this year, and during his time in the role, he has been influential in how off-road sport is run, whether it be sidecars, quads or motocross, and what we might see from the outside as minor changes, for someone like Eddie and the FIM, those changes are quite significant. With Eddie’s help and guidance, some of these changes have been very successful and still remain in place today. ‘One of the big ones is the Sidecar of Nations that we run, which runs every year. I started that off and developed the rules for it, and it was based on the fact we already had a Motocross of Nations, so why not run a Sidecar of Nations? Just like the MXoN, it is based on the principal of three races, each rider does two of the three races, qualifying on the Saturday for start positions on the Sunday, and ballots
for Saturday start positions, just like the ‘big’ nations.’ ‘In 2009, somebody suggested to me, should we have a Quad Cross of Nations, and I said why not? So, I wrote the rules for that and that’s been a big success now that we’ve had the American teams over the past few years, not the past two years because of the pandemic, but particularly good to see the Americans coming over, not just with a team, but their top three riders from the States; factory-backed, professional riders, so that’s been a success. The 65cc, 85cc, building the pyramid with Giuseppe and Wolfgang so that we get youngsters going right through from the 65cc class to 125cc, on to EMX250, and hopefully a factory bike, and you can see the results of that. Can you name a rider in MX2 that has not been through the European Championship?’ ‘We also started the European Women’s Championship and that led to the Women’s Motocross of European Nations, but with two riders on each team as opposed to three, and that is also quite successful.’ Eddie’s legacy will continue from next year and beyond as well, even if he is not around, especially when it comes to the EMX65 and EMX85 championship. As you may know, the qualifying format to get to the EMX65/85 championship finals is determined by a series of regional zones. Up until this year, 2022, the zones were known as Northeast, North West, South East and South West, but with what is going on in Ukraine at present, Eddie realised that the structure of the two zones in Northern Europe was in jeopardy and the system compromised if nothing was done to redress the situation. ‘I had to sit down and think about that, because we have lost Ukraine, Russia and Belarus; that’s three countries from the Northeast Zone that we’ve lost, and that only leaves four, so I had to re-structure that. I had several meetings with David Luongo and together with Giuseppe in the background we agreed that as
from 2023 two of the zones would be re-titled, the North Europe zone will be based around the Baltic Sea and will include Sweden, Norway and Finland, and the other remaining countries that are in that, and the other zone which was the old North West will now be known as the Central European Zone. We had to react to the crisis otherwise we would have had, in a couple of years, nothing happening in the northeast of Europe because of less riders and less organisers. It’s not what we wanted to do but it was forced on us. It is vital that the integrity of the EMX65/85 zone system was protected because those two classes are the base of the ‘pyramid’ which has been so successful over the years and will continue for the future. Forming Friendships After forty years of life in the paddock, it goes without saying that lifelong friendships were formed, but there have been a couple of people who have been particularly influential and who clearly believed in Eddie from the beginning, Giuseppe Luongo and Wolfgang Srb: ‘Well yeah, they must have done, because Wolfgang said we will give you four years, that’s the mandate, and when that was up, he said we’re going to give you another four years, and then after twelve years I was still there, and Giuseppe still didn’t want me to stop, but I felt it was time to go; so, the thanks must go to Giuseppe and Wolfgang for believing in me and for giving me 100% support. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve been called in to see Giuseppe and he’d say what did you do that for? And when I told him he’d say ok, well the man who never makes a mistake does nothing, which is very true. And if I needed advice, a phone call to Wolfgang and I always got very good advice, and Giuseppe of course, but to do with the rules I would refer to Wolfgang, so a big thank you to those two guys.’ Eddie also recognises the importance of teamwork within the paddock and the hard work that goes on behind the scenes:
‘There’s an incredible number of people that work for Infront, and they all work incredibly hard. Earlier this year in Italy we had the dinner for the media people and the logistics people, but everybody forgets the people from the kitchen, because they can’t have their own dinner, there’s no one to cook it for them! But they work so bloody hard; they arrive early in the morning and they’re there until late at night. The logistic guys who have to work in all weathers, hot terrible heat, cold miserable rain and mud, putting things up, taking them down, the driving they have to do … but everybody, media people, everybody. It’s a huge team, and there are some smashing people in there.’ Thanks Eddie Are you proud of what you achieved, and would you do it again, Eddie? ‘Yes! Of course! I didn’t really want to stop but I felt that age
was creeping up on me. I’m eighty years old now!’ There is no doubt that Eddie has seen more than most people in his forty-year journey, so if he could choose a favourite racetrack and rider, who would it be? ‘Favourite track? It has to be Argentina, but I can’t stand long haul flights. In Europe though it would have to be Loket, which I think is an old school track with modern influences on it. And of course, the town of Loket itself is just beautiful and a beautiful place to be. And as for riders, well, in the early years in the 60’s it would have been Jeff Smith, but also people like the Rickman brothers and Dave Curtis. In the 70’s Roger De Coster and Heikki Mikkola were fantastic, in the 80’s, if you were British, you followed Dave Thorpe and Kurt Nicoll. But, if you are asking me to name my two favourite riders of all time, I can’t split them;
they would be Stefan Everts and Jeffrey Herlings. Stefan because, well, he was just incredible, wasn’t he? And Jeffrey because he is just phenomenal. That year in Lierop, he won both races by two minutes, didn’t he? I used to watch him in the 85cc class when the European Championship was with MX3, and he would post lap times on his 85cc that would put him 3rd or 4th in the big class. You could see he was something special, and when he got to MX2 you saw how devastating he was. So, Stefan and Jeffrey, although not forgetting Tony Cairoli of course and Tim Gajser, but if I had to name two, it would be those two. Before I go though, I just want to say thanks to everyone at Infront; there were a lot of fun times!’ Eddie, we wish you all the very best in retirement, and thank you for your hard work, dedication and commitment to the FIM and MXGP, and no doubt we will still see you around at the races from time to time. Just make sure you stop by and say hello!
E E M M A A N F N F O I T L L AC SE H
TITLEPEAN DANIEL THIS MONTH THE MXGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WILL AGAIN VISIT FRANCE, FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON. FRANCE HAS NOT ALWAYS LINED UP TOP RIDERS IN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT SINCE THE FIRST GP WIN OF A FRENCHIE, NO LESS THAN THIRTYFIVE FRENCH RIDERS HAVE WON AT LEAST ONE GRAND PRIX. THE FIRST ONE WAS DANIEL PEAN, WINNER OF THE 250CC GP IN YUGOSLAVIA IN 1977, AND HE STILL REMAINS AN EXAMPLE FOR MANY OF HIS COUNTRYMEN. Born on 21st December 1954 in Le Gault du Perch, not that far from Le Mans, when he was a kid Daniel was fascinated by all the cars he could see in the garage where his father was a mechanic. His dream was to become a car racer, but when he had the opportunity to jump on a bike, he did it; it was not a motocross bike, but Daniel made some adjustments to use his 500 BSA on off road sections. He was fifteen years old when he entered his first race in Berchères les Pierre, and then he joined the famous Moto club of Brou, which was home of several 250cc and 500cc GP’s between 1980 and 1997. As his BSA was not the best bike to race motocross, he changed it when he turned sixteen and bought a 250cc Husqvarna. After a first successful season in the French Championship, Daniel became part of the
French Team and started his GP career in the 500cc class on a Maico. He raced GP’s during two seasons in that class, but in 1974 he raced a 250cc Maico in France, as the French importer had already some strong riders on the famous 490 German machinery. In 1975 he did the entire season in the ‘quarter litter’ class and entered the top twenty of the World Championship. The following season he improved his results when he won the famous Le Touquet Beach Race, claimed a second consecutive French title and ended the season twelfth in the 250cc World Championship. A few months later, in 1977, he became a French hero when he was the first rider to ever win a GP in Yugoslavia. “I was injured at the end of 1976 and missed the first part of the season and the first GP’s, but as I beat Joel Robert in an International race in France when I came back racing in 79
May, we decided with my dad, who was my mechanic, to go back to GP’s. We travelled with our car and a little trailer to Karlovac in Yugoslavia, a very long trip. It was a memorable day for me, as I won the GP with a second and an eighth position. On our way back to France we made a stop at the Maico factory, and suddenly I got some factory parts for the rest of the season,” remembers Daniel. Racing GP’s until the end of his international career in 1982, Daniel got some other titles and podiums in France, where he was a real example for all the young riders as he was the first French rider to focus on GP’s. “For me the goal was always to race GP’s, as it’s the pinnacle of our sport, and I was the first Frenchie to be so motivated by the GP’s and when I look behind me, I’m really proud to see that so many French riders have achieved so great results in Motocross,” he comments. Despite not having won any other GP, or even stood on GP podiums, he showed to many young kids that everything is possible if you work hard and trust in your abilities. “When I started racing Motocross two riders inspired me,” says Jacky Vimond, who became the first French World Champion with a 250cc title in 1986. “It was Daniel Pean and Jean Jacques Bruno, who later became the first French rider to win a 500cc GP in 1979. I learned so much watching them and racing against them, it helped me to become stronger,” says Jacky, who is currently working closely with Jeremy Seewer. For Daniel motocross remains always in his life, as he is still active in our sport taking care of young riders in East of France. Text and Photos: Pascal Haudiquert
2nd in the French Junior Championship (Husqvarna)
26th in the 500 World Championship (Maico) 5th at the Trophy of Nations 250 with Team France
2nd in the 250 French Championship (Maico) 26th in the 500 World Championship 6th at the Motocross of Nations with Team France
250 French Champion (Maico) 18th in the 250 World Championship
250 French Champion (Maico) Winner of the Enduro du Touquet 12th in the 250 World Championship
2nd in the 250 French Championship (Maico) 16th in the 250 World Championship. Win one GP 6th at the Motocross of Nations with Team France
250 French Champion (Maico) 17th in the 250 World Championship 8th at the Motocross of Nations with Team France
3rd in the 250 French Championship (Montesa- Kawasaki) 34th in the 250 World Championship
5th in the 500 French Championship (Kawasaki) 8th at the Motocross of Nations with Team France
2nd in the 250 French Championship (Kawasaki) 24th in the 250 World Championship
S K L A T K C O D PAD
A wonderful air show kicked off the action at the MXGP of Indonesia!
23 World titles in one picture…
Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings received replica versions of the MXGP of Trophy
A familiar face came to enjoy the MXGP of Flanders… Clement Desalle chatting with Lisa
KTM Summer Party!
MXGP riders visited the Regent Palace in Samota during the MXGP of Indonesia
Moto2 Rider Marcel Schrötter visited the MXGP of Czech Republic!
Class of 2022
Beautiful traditional dance performances took place on the start in SamotaSumbawa ahead of the MXGP of Indonesia
10 MXGP’s newest partner RAM out in full force in the MXGP paddock, showing off their product range!
Photo: Yamaha Racing
E L R A U I T C A E E SP F
DONNY SCHMIT 1992 YZ250
DONNY SCHMIT WAS AN AMERICAN RACER WHO CAME TO EUROPE IN 1990 TO RACE THE FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. IN HIS FIRST SEASON WITH SUZUKI, HE WON THE 125CC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP AT HIS FIRST ATTEMPT AND HE MIGHT HAVE WON BACK-TO-BACK TITLES IN 1991 HAD HE NOT PICKED UP AN INJURY MIDSEASON.
we needed to work quite a lot at that time with that bike because it was quite fragile. They were many, many problems.’
For 1992, Schmit moved from the Sylvain Geboers Suzuki team to the newly formed Michele Rinaldi Chesterfield Yamaha outfit where after a difficult start, he would eventually win his second world title, and it’s Donny’s 1992 Yamaha YZ250 which we will feature in this issue of MXGP Magazine. After winning the 125cc world title in 1990, Donny Schmit had high hopes of defending his crown in 1991, but after crashing out of the Hungarian GP in the first race, his lead vanished, along with any title hopes. He would not return to action until the final round of the year in Japan, where he placed 3rd overall. In some ways, 1991 was a crucial year as the American had plans to
move into the highly competitive 250cc class for the 1992 season, and moving up as a two-time world champion would have had the 250cc class regulars on high alert, and whilst the expectation was that he would remain with Suzuki, the shocker came when he announced he would be racing for the Michele Rinaldi’s Yamaha team. After recovering from injury and switching class and brand, there was much to be done, and so those first winter tests would be crucial … except, they were anything but, as his mechanic Massimo Castelli recalls: ‘The bike was new; some things were coming from ’91 from Pekka Vehkonen’s bike, things like wheels, hubs, the swingarm, but for the rest was a complete different bike. The frame, the linkage was completely different,
In the past, Yamaha factory bikes came with an ‘OW’ moniker as opposed to the production ‘YZ’ badge, but by the early ‘90’s Yamaha were no longer producing full works bikes. Gary Benn, who was responsible for all racing activities, including testing schedules and kit-parts for dealer riders, fills us in: ‘The actual frame wasn’t factory but all the hard parts were; so, the swinging arm, like the Delta swinging arm, the links, all the parts that we tested and ordered, the crankshafts, cylinders, heads … they were all OW part numbers, but the actual bike was based on a production bike.’ During the first tests, Donny remarked that the YZ/OW Yamaha was too aggressive which made it difficult for him to set up for his riding style, and it was clear that 87
photo: P. Haudiquert
something needed to be done to make it a bit more rider-friendly. Massimo Castelli sheds some light on some of the problems the team was having to deal with: ‘Donny wanted more easy power for sure, because I remember when we started from the beginning of the season when we were testing, and we went to our first race, we had quite a lot of factory parts, like crankshaft and some things like that; but the engine was very aggressive. So, Donny pushed a lot to change some parts in the engine. So, for example, we went back to the standard crankshaft, we didn’t use the factory one. The factory one was heavier, so when you opened the throttle the power was more aggressive. So, he preferred it with the standard crankshaft, so a more smooth power, but then he had the power everywhere, not just in one part of the engine. We also changed the triple clamp, a different off-set in the triple clamp and then we just set up the suspension.’ Despite having two very accomplished teammates in Alessandro Puzar and Bob Moore, it soon became apparent that Donny’s set-up would be unique to him, making his job even harder. ‘Alex’ and Donny were both using OW parts whereas Bob was more production based with some special parts thrown in, but was not officially a full factory rider. Donny was a smooth rider and more calculated; he liked a smooth power delivery and a high rear-shock setting. He liked his bike to turn tight. Puzar on the other hand would arrive full gas into the turn, brake, shut the throttle off and then BANG! Open the throttle full gas again and go. He liked his bike to sit lower, with a higher front end. ‘The bike was Donny’s bike; he couldn’t ride any other rider’s bike, he was a very strange guy to fix the bike. He was quite a small rider but he liked the bike very high in the back, so it was quite difficult to set up the bike for him. He worked a lot with ‘Moose’ from Ohlins; Moose was coming crazy at that time, because he was complete in the opposite direction compared to the other riders,’ remarked Castelli. The season did not start well. From the opening round at Valkenswaard in The Netherlands, Donny could only muster
photo: P. Haudiquert 7-9-6 scores, and then the following round in Switzerland he suffered his first DNF of the season, going 9-0-11. By round three in Austria, the American was ready to explode after another DNF in race one (0-3-4) meant he was already losing touch with his rivals. From the outside, the bike looked unreliable, but it wasn’t just that. Donny was ‘lost’ and was struggling for answers. After Austria, there was a remarkable turnaround and by the time the team reached Italy for round four, there was a very notable improvement, and Donny won the Italian GP with a 1-1-1. According to Castelli, ‘Yes, we had a lot of problems with the bike, in the engine, especially with detonation and things like that, but then we started to work in the workshop with Iller ‘Aldo’ Aldini; we changed a lot of parts in the engine and finally the engine never had a problem after that. We changed completely the character of the engine, we changed the crankshaft, we changed the piston, the cylinder head; we changed many things. Finally, 90
Donny had the engine like he wanted, and finally from there we could start to win and, you know, especially for the rider, when you have a good result, you don’t want to change anything. You want to keep that bike until the end of the season. Gary Benn remembers the situation well and praised Donny for his part in the whole saga: ‘Halfway through the year he was a little bit lost and then all of a sudden, his season turned around, and if I had to sum up Donny, he was probably a very hard perfectionist on himself, and he wanted that from his bike, but I don’t think he was capable of doing it as a test rider. So, basically, what happened was, we tested heaps of stuff and we went with what he wanted, but then he got to a point where he just threw his hands up and said ‘look, I’m totally lost, the bike’s not doing what I’m doing! You guys have all the information, build me a bike you reckon I can win with, and that’s what we did. And from then on, he didn’t touch it, didn’t say anything about the bike and went on to win the world championship.’
From round four in Italy where Donny took his first race win and overall victory, the American registered 10 races wins, six 2nd places and a 3rd place (his second 3rd of the season), and by the time he arrived at the penultimate round in Finland, he was 84 points clear of his closest rival and just needed to stay out of trouble to clinch the title. That though, was easier said than done, and after a crash on Saturday, Donny rode just two of the three races on Sunday, as Castelli remembers: ‘Donny made quite a big crash on Saturday and so he started just to take the points to win the title. He won the title in the second race after finishing 5th and then after, he chose with Michele not do the other race.’ Donny Schmit had just become a two-time world champion and in two different categories. The season may have gotten off to a rough start but with hard work both he and the team managed to turn things around to win the title with a round to go. It was the ninth world champion for Yamaha and the first for Michele Rinaldi as team owner with the Yamaha brand.
S N R O O I T T I S E ED E U QO TH T ❝
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