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#40_JANUARY 2017

MOVIN’ AND A SHAKIN’

INTO 2017

25 February (Sat) QATAR Losail

21 May GERMANY Teutschenthal

13 August SWITZERLAND Frauenfeld/Gachnang

5 March INDONESIA Pangkal Pinang

28 May FRANCE Ernée

20 August SWEDEN Uddevalla

19 March PATAGONIA - ARGENTINA Neuquen

11 June RUSSIA Orlyonok

3 September USA Charlotte

2 April LEON - MEXICO Leon

25 June ITALY Maggiora

10 September THE NETHERLANDS Assen

16 April TRENTINO Pietramurata

2 July PORTUGAL Agueda

17 September PAYS DE MONTBÉLIARD Villars sous Ecot

23 April EUROPE Valkenswaard

23 July

7 May LATVIA Kegums

6 August BELGIUM Lommel

CZECH REPUBLIC Loket

1 October Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations Matterley Basin, UK


RACING CATCH UP

SPECIAL FEATURE Tanya Muzinda

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INDEX

COOL SHOT

MONSTER GIRLS

HALL OF FAME Neil Hudson

MXGP MAG: Chief Editor: Marionna Leiva Photos: Youthstream YOUTHSTREAM Media World Trade Center II Rte de Pré-Bois 29 1215 Geneva 15 Airport Switzerland MXGP Mag #40 January 2017 The articles published in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the official position of Youthstream. Then content of this publication is based on the best knowledge and information available at the time the articles were written. The copying of articles and photos even partially is forbidden unless permission has ben requested from Youthstream in advance and reference is made to the source (©Youthstream).

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EDITORIAL Giuseppe Luongo President of Youthstream Group

Dear MXGP Friends, Youthstream wishes you a Happy New Year full of good health and loads of fun with the 2017 Motocross Championships. For the FIM Motocross World Championships and the FIM-E Motocross European Championships 2017 has already started very successfully as there is a big increase in the number of entries in each class. There are 27 MXGP riders and 36 MX2 riders entered for the first MXGP/ MX2 race in Qatar, which is by far the record number of entries for a non-European race. For the MXGP/ MX2 events in Europe there are more than 50 requests

for MX2 and between 35 and 40 requests for the MXGP class. In addition, the European 125cc, 250cc and 300cc Championships have significantly increased their number of entries compared to last year as well. This is a confirmation that our policy of investing in the MXGP Academy and promoting the European Championships that we put into action several years ago is certainly beginning to bear its fruit. Many talented riders are coming up into the professional level via these youth classes and now MX2 is full of these young and talented riders, and as a consequence MXGP is composed of uniquely the elite. With all these young, hard-working and gifted riders every

championship promises an extremely high level of competition, tough rivalry and action-packed races. Good riders coming up from the European Championships immediately find slots in factory or factory-supported teams putting them at once in a position to compete for the best position in MX2. This pyramid system, not only significantly increases the number of participants in each class, but most importantly it increases the quality and dramatically lowers the riders’ average age. Over the last few years we have seen riders from all over the world (USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) successfully take part MXGP MAG 2017 MXGP.COM


in the European Championships, and now many of them are apt for the MX2 World Championship. It’s out of doubt the European EMX125 and EMX250 are the best universities in the world to gain experience and attain access to the top level in the Motocross and Supercross World Championships. This year it will be very interesting to follow riders like Kjer Olsen from Denmark, Darian Sanayei from USA, Hunter Lawrence from Australia, Caleb Ward also from Australia, Bas Vaessen from the Netherlands, Anton Gole from Sweden, Jorge Prado from Spain and Conrad Mewse from Great Britain who will all be charging into

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MX2 from the EMX250 class. fans will be supporting them together with the American And what about MXGP? What stars like Dungey and Toan amazing line-up with To- mac, and thanks to the sucnus, Leok, de Dycker, Nagl, cess MXGP had with MXGPButron, Paulin, Strijbos, TV.com, from this year Feld Simpson, Desalle, Jasikonis, is starting to broadcast the Nicholls, Graulus, Lupino, Supercross live via Internet, Corneth, Herlings, Van Hore- allowing all fans from around beek, Guillod, Anstie, Searle, the world to follow the SuCairoli, Gajser, Coldenhoff, percross World Championship Febvre, Bobryshev, Tixier, live on Internet. Gonçalves! The racing will Naturally Youthstream will be simply be phenomenal! continuing MXGP-TV in 2017 This weekend the FIM Su- with its live programs of all percross World Champion- the MXGP, MX2, Women, Vetship will be kicking off in eran and EMX125, EMX150, Anaheim with 2 European MX EMX250 and EMX300 ChamChampions and MX2 World pionships along with loads Champions who will compete of highlights, backstage info, for the victory, Roczen and studio show, and other fun Musquin. Many European contents for MX lovers.


COOL SHOTS

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COOL SHOTS

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COOL SHOTS

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RACING CATCH UP

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MOVIN’ AND SHAKIN’ INTO 2017 As MXGP prepares to pull the brakes on 2016 we thought we’d touch on some of the changes that have already taken place as riders and teams prepare for the new season, and whilst MX2 seems relatively unchanged there are some pretty notable movers and shakers in the premier MXGP class, so here’s is a quick re-cap.

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Tim GAJSER The MX2 and MXGP world champion remains at Honda but in 2017 becomes a full HRC Team member after his successful debut season in MXGP where he outshone his senior team members Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev. Gajser’s boss for the past two seasons Giacomo Gariboldi also gets a promotion and his Gariboldi team becomes the official Team HRC in a move that sees Bobryshev as Gajser’s teammate. The 2016 season could not have gone any better for Gariboldi and Honda as they took a clean sweep of titles that included Honda as winning manufacturer, Gariboldi as winning team and Gajser as MXGP world champion, and whilst it’s not im-

possible to emulate, it will no pans out over the winter as doubt be a hard act to follow. he bids for a potential top five ranking. Valentin GUILLOD After a decent rookie year Shaun SIMPSON in MXGP with Kemea Yamaha After just one season with Yamalube that saw the Swiss Wilvo Virus Performance KTM, star place 9th overall, Valentin Scotland’s Shaun Simpson Guillod has decided to switch will line up on blue next year from ‘paddock blue’ to red as after team owner Steve Turnhe joins forces with the Ital- er decided to call time on team ian-based Assomotor Honda ownership, so the 3-time GP team in a move that he hopes winner will now operate from will catch the eye of Team HRC Belgium for the Wilvo Yamaha in the not too distant future. Team. Joining Simpson will be But that’s not all; after link- Arnaud TONUS who made his ing up with former MX3 world MXGP debut at the final round champion Yves Demaria in of the season at Glen Helen 2013 as his trainer that saw where he rode to 8-14 for 9th the duo claim the EMX250 ti- overall. Tonus hasn’t raced tle, the two have decided to the world championship since go their separate ways so it he left MX2 for the USA at the will be interesting to see how end of 2014 in a season that Guillod’s new training regime saw him claim his maiden MX2

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GP victory in Brazil as well as four 2nd and two 3rd overall finishes en route to 6th overall in the final standings. Tonus was impressive at the 2016 MXoN so he will no doubt be looking to be as impressive in the premier class in his rookie season. Gautier PAULIN After placing 2nd overall in 2015 for Team HRC Gautier Paulin was left languishing down in 13th in 2016 after sustaining a back injury whilst training at Lommel before the third round of MXGP in Patagonia. The Frenchman was forced to miss the next five rounds before suffering a highspeed get-off in France whilst leading the qualifying race. GP21 only managed three visits to the podium in 2016 and by mid-season the rumours were already circulating that he was keen for a move away from Honda to Husqvarna and by November it was announced

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that he would in fact be riding in white with a move to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Team alongside Max Nagl. It’s not yet been determined which of those two riders will be classed as the number one rider in the team but knowing team boss Antti Pyrhönen there will be no such thing and both will be treated exactly the same. Either way, the move could be the perfect fit for GP21 who has had a year of training with Aldon Baker under his belt, who just happens to train fellow Husky rider Jason Anderson in the USA. Jake NICHOLLS After a couple of seasons out in the wilderness Jake Nicholls was back on the MXGP trail in 2016 with Hitachi REVO Husqvarna. However, with the departure of Steve Turner’s KTM team, Nicholls will enter 2017 aboard a KTM. It’s not all change though, as the Brit will

remain with Roger McGee as the team owner and the new team will be known as Hitachi KTM UK, just like it was in 2015. If Nicholls can continue his current form, he could be knocking on the door to a potential top fifteen placing in 2017. The MXGP Rookies Jeffrey HERLINGS It’s hard to imagine a 3-time world champion as a rookie but that’s exactly what Jeffrey Herlings will be when he lines up behind the gate in Qatar at the end of February in what is possibly the most anticipated move to the premier class in a long time. We have already seen a glimpse of what to expect from The Bullet at the recent MXoN in Italy where he went 2-1 to win his class and after what we have witnessed over the past couple of seasons where Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser secured the title in their rookie seasons,


could Herlings possibly make it a three-peat? The Dutchman will partner Antonio Cairoli at Red Bull KTM but will remain under the MX2 awning, effectively running as a team within a team. Interesting! Max ANSTIE After placing 3rd and 4th in the last two MX2 campaigns Max Anstie has aged-out of the lites class and for 2017 will be joining another new team as he embarks on his MXGP journey. Of course the Brit is no stranger to switching teams; Kawasaki in 2011, Honda in 2012, Suzuki in 2013, Yamaha in 2014 before switching back to Kawi’s in 2015. Having said that, 2017 will be the first year that Anstie will remain with the same brand as he upgrades from Jacky Martens Rockstar Energy Husqvarna squad to that run by Antti Pyrhönen in MXGP where he will operate

alongside Max Nagl and Gautier Paulin and who knows, it might turn out that he is better suited to the bigger capacity, so watch this space!

ent DESALLE (Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team), Tommy SEARLE (Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki) and Jordi Tixier (Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team). There’s no As for the rest of MXGP there doubt about it, there is a lot to are no significant changes; play for come 2017 in MXGP. Monster Energy Yamaha retain the services of Romain Feb- MX2 vre and Jeremy van Horebeek Compared to MXGP there are whilst Suzuki World MXGP not so many changes, in fact continue with Kevin Strijbos hardly any! The biggest change and Arminas Jasikonis. Ken DE is Herlings’ departure to MXGP DYCKER was on the verge of paving the way for a rider or walking away from MXGP when riders to claim race and GP it looked as though he couldn’t victories. As the MX2 riders secure a ride, but at the elev- head to the line in Qatar, only enth hour the Italian-based Thomas COVINGTON would J-TECH team have since agreed have experienced what it’s like to accommodate him as they to WIN an MX2 GP (Leon 2015) switch their attentions to SU- and win races; Leon 2015 and ZUKI, a brand Big Ken is more Assen 2016. The only other than familiar with. Other rid- rider that would have experiers who remain unseated but enced a race win will be Pauls will be looking to impress are Jonass, so there will no doubt Glenn COLDENHOFF (Red Bull be some serious squeaky bum KTM Factory Racing), Clem- time come the end of February.

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As for team changes, the top 19 riders from 2016 have either moved into MXGP or stayed with the same team and the first notable change will be the Spaniard Jorge Zaragoza, who switched from Gariboldi Honda to team Yamaha Ausió. Davy Pootjes jumps from Red Bull KTM to HSF Logistics Motorsport KTM alongside Brian Bogers and Calvin Vlaanderen whilst Adam Sterry will be on the competitive BUD Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki after Steve Turner’s decision to move out of the motocross paddock. Another mover is Brian HSU who left Suzuki World MX2 for the Hungarian-based Maurer-GÉP Husqvarna Team in a bid to get his MX2 career back on track after collecting EMX and FIM Junior titles on his way to MX2. Last but not least, Ben Watson who missed 2016 due to a complicated foot injury sustained in Patagonia will remain

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under the watchful eye of Roger McGee but as previously stated will switch from what was Hitachi REVO Husky to Hitachi KTM UK. MX2 Rookies TKO Where else do we start here other than the 2016 EMX250 champion Thomas Kjaer OLSEN. After dominating the 2016 EMX season the Dane made an impressive debut appearance in Switzerland when he was Bodo Schmidt Husqvarna mounted and so he already knows what to expect when he enters MX2 fulltime in 2017. He remains with Husqvarna but will move to Jacky Martens Rockstar Energy team alongside Conrad Mewse and Thomas Covington. He has the confidence gained from winning an EMX title and he will certainly have the tools for the job and there is no reason why he can’t win a race or two, may-

be even grab a podium or two as well. Darian SANAYEI After impressing on his European debut in EMX250 the American Darian SANAYEI has switched from BUD Racing Monster Energy Kawasaki to Steve Dixon’s Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki team alongside Vsevolod BRYLYAKOV and Tommy Searle. To finish 2nd overall in EMX250 racing circuits he had never ridden was a steep learning curve for the young American so the stage is set for what promises to be a solid debut in MX2 where a move to the UK will make his transition just a little bit easier. At the American round of MXGP at Charlotte he even grabbed a FOX Holeshot so he knows what it’s like to lead and what’s needed to stay there and he, like everybody else is already working hard, getting prepped for the year ahead.


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2017 PROVISIONAL OFFICIALLY APPROVED TEAMS (OAT) LIST

Communication Channels Numbers Facebook LIKES: 1,131,283 Twitter Followers: 47,285 Instagram Followers: 363,681 Youtube Lifetime Views: 43,351,627 2016 MXGP-TV.com 2,5 Millions Sessions 1,3 Millions Users 6,5 Millions Page Views 2016 MXGP.com 6,2 Millions Sessions 2 Millions Users 19 Millions Page Views *at 31 December 2016

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Tanya Muzinda, INSPIRING A GENERATION 28

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SPECIAL FEATURE

For those of you who do not know who Tanya Muzinda is, don’t worry! Her name is not widely known! So then, you might ask, why are we writing a feature on someone that you have never heard of? Actually the answer is quite simple, because Tanya is something of an inspiration; not just to girls all around the world, but also to all children in Africa and other third world country’s. As a female, making your way into motocross is difficult enough and even harder if you’re a girl coming from Africa, but Tanya and her family are breaking down the barriers and overcoming the hurdles in the hope of one day racing in the FIM Women’s Motocross World Championship.

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Humble beginnings From the outside looking in it’s very easy to suggest that the Muzinda family is doing okay in the world, especially if they are able to ‘afford’ to go racing, but the reality is so much different. Her father Tawanda may have been a keen motorsport enthusiast, but like so many, was never able to afford to go racing himself. However, with nothing but hard work, he was able to buy his daughter Tanya a go-kart in the hope that one day she would become a racer herself. The Donnybrook Motorsport Park where she had her first drive is quite an impressive facility, with all kinds of racing taken care of; motocross, enduro, go-

kart, road race, dirt oval, rally and drag strip are all located there, so perhaps it came as no surprise or maybe it was by chance that when she saw the motocross track that she wanted to try her hand at that instead. After selling the go-kart and making all kinds of sacrifices her father was able to purchase a pretty beatup KX65 and from that very first moment, Tanya was hooked on motocross, aged 5 it immediately became obvious that this sport was for her. As the only female rider in the country, a lot of attention was drawn towards her and with a bit of gentle persuasion people started to get involved in helping her along the


way; even the government of Zimbabwe, who are now paying her school tuition fees. That gesture alone means that Tanya is the first girl in her family to go to school! Two years ago the EU Ambassador there nominated her as Ambassador for Food Security in Rural Zimbabwe and she has since been rewarded with a brand new KTM 65, no doubt making her racing much more enjoyable, allowing her to compete on a more level playing field. Reaching out However, having the support of your local community is one thing and while all support is welcome, it will only get you so far, which is why Tanya’s father reached out to former WMX racer Stefy Bau.

‘It all started about three years ago; I received a couple of emails from Zimbabwe and at first I thought it was a scam because hearing from a girl in Zimbabwe who wanted to be mentored in motocross … I thought it was a little bit weird. But then I decided to open the email and the whole dream started from there.’ ‘When I got to Zimbabwe it was an incredible experience but when I met Tanya I saw immediately that there was something special there. I took quite a lot of equipment with me with the help of some sponsors as Tanya wasn’t racing with all the proper safety gear; in two weeks she was just learning day in, day out, and so we decided to enter a race and she finished 2nd racing against the boys.’

Unforgettable experience Earlier this year Tanya along with her parents and Stefy were guests at the MXGP of Belgium at Lommel where Tanya was able to witness first-hand the sights and sounds of world championship motocross, and even though there was no WMX action that weekend, the young 11-year-old from Harare was able to savour the moment and the seed was well and truly planted; her goal of racing in Europe became even more of a reality. Walking through the paddock and meeting the riders of MXGP and seeing how everything operates was a real eye opening experience, something that wasn’t wasted on her father Tawanda: ‘This means a lot to the family and also to the coun-

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SPECIAL FEATURE

try because we come from a humble background. Africa is a country with a lot of difficulties but as you can see the whole country came together so that Tanya can come out here and experience the European experience, to meet the good people, the lovely people of Europe. It means a whole lot to the family and to Africa and to Zimbabwe.’ As for Tanya, well she got to meet her hero Antonio Cairoli in the Italian’s backyard of Lommel: ‘I look up to Tony Cairoli; everyday I watch his videos and I have a big poster of him in my bedroom and he really inspired me to do motocross. I would like to go to the world championship for women because in

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Africa it’s hard to find a girl who rides a motorcycle and I’d like to inspire the young kids who have their dreams. My biggest challenge has been the financial problems because in Zimbabwe you don’t get that much support but I feel very lucky because nearly the whole country has supported me and my dreams.’ To listen to Tanya speak it’s hard to believe that she is just eleven years old, her maturity is beyond her years and had it not been for a simple email to Stefy Bau, this young girl from Harare, Africa, may have never had the experience to travel the world like she has but more importantly than that, been given the chance of a basic

education that you and I all take for granted, so maybe it’s a appropriate we give the final word to miss Bau herself: ‘It’s just wonderful to see a country getting behind a little girl who has a dream, that wants to use the sport of motocross to tell the world that if you have dreams you can achieve them.’ If you want to follow Tanya Muzinda’s progress or if you want to help her in any way then feel free to click www. tanyamuzinda.com and if you would like to see a short video we recorded of her at the MXGP of Belgium then you can watch it here:


MXGP SOCIAL

TWITTER, FACEB IN THE WORLD OF #MXGP @SmeysG Breaking: Ken de Dycker joins J-tech Suzuki #mxgp‬

@Jac_malins ‬‬ You shouldn’t wish your life away.....But what the hell!! I Can’t wait for the new season to begin!! ‪#MXGP‬‬‬ @Jorgeprado61 Thanks to all the journalist and photographers who follow the ‪#MXGP‬‬‬ @GamingGuy88 Since I’m on a bit of a Rockstar kick today, here’s my new bike on the MXGP video game! ‪#xbox‬‬‬ ‪#mxgp‬‬‬ ‪#rockstarenergy‬‬‬ ‪#motocross‬‬‬ ‪#suzuki‬‬‬‬ @turkeyshot152 Going back live for my birthday stream at 2 pm CST! I am going to get some laps in on MXGP2! ‪#MXGP‬‬‬ ‪#Racing‬‬‬ ‪#Birthday‬‬‬ ‬‬ @Mamsfizer Are You Ready?? I’m Ready!!! #mxgp‬‬‬ ‪#motocross‪#grandprix‬‬‬ @losailcircuit Countdown has started and we are just 75 days away from the #MXGP of Qatar 2017 ‪#losail‬ ‪#MX‬ ‪#doha‬ ‪#qatar‬

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@KEMCOSportsPR 2017 MXGP-TV full season package now available with 25% discount for Christmas ‪#MXGP‬ ‪#MXGPTV‬ @motoclubernee Gift idea for late comers ‪https://mxgp-france.motoclubernee.com/6551-mxfr/fr/ #mxgp‬ #mcernee ‪#motocross‬ #ernee

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BOOK, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE

@teomat1971 Sempre bello rivederlo in #pista #motocross #mx #mxgp #sardegna #yamaha

@jonesey454 Safe to say our setup at @wwmotox was on point #mxgp2 #inthepits #mullet @joseph_512

@crunch724 2016 was awesome ! Got to travel and work a lot more and I’m very thankful to all the opportunities I got the chance to experience and the people I’ve met. Looking forward to 2017

@honda_crf_250r Thats the reason why we love motocross #motocross #fun #mx #hondacrf250r #alpinestars #king Follow my bro!!!!!!! @janwollner15

@dj_what_official #tbt #soundcheck #veltinsarena #smx #mxgp #motocross #supercross #djwhat #hiphop #trap #bass #theheatison #fun #bigstadium #monsterenergy #justsayin

IN THE WORLD OF #MXGP 35


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SPECIAL FEATURE

Off-Season Preparation For the best motocross riders in the world the off-season is known as a period that riders get to recover from injuries, the rigors of a tough racing season, and rebuild from seven months of tough combat in the MXGP and MX2 motocross world championships. For some riders though the challenge of competition is just too much to ignore, and many use enduro riding, supercross events, or training in pouring rain, or even snow to prepare for their up-coming season. Red Bull KTM Factory rider Jeffrey Herlings is one rider who just can’t get enough time on his KTM machine. I remember Pit Beirer telling me he doesn’t know a rider who loves to ride as much as the three

times MX2 world champion, and Herlings himself will find any form of racing to keep mentally sharp. A local beach race in Holland was the perfect type of event for the sand master to hone his sand skills. Young Australian Hunter Lawrence of the Suzuki factory team is coming to terms with what a European winter brings as far as challenges. Coming from one of the best countries for sunshine and great riding conditions: “Yeah, you kind of get down when the winter really kicks in over here in Europe, but it’s good for your character building. I mean what’s not to love about doing moto after moto in half frozen, rough, rutted, sand tracks in minus degrees with rain. I definitely miss the heat of Aussie,

I don’t know how I would cope with the heat of Australia now from being in such cool weather over here, even the summer here in Belgium isn’t as hot as Aussie, but I am getting used to the cold conditions, so it’s okay.” Veteran Max Nagl has spent winter days riding with his new teammates Gautier Paulin and Max Anstie, and feels lucky to have a mix of experience and youth in his corner as he prepares for what he feels will be a very demanding 2017 season. “Having Gautier (Paulin) in the team as my team-mate is good, also (Max) Anstie is there, so three good riders. We practice together on the bike, and we can push each other a little bit, especially in the winter period. It’s not such a big change for


me, because I need to beat them anyway on the track in a race, but it’s fine to have some competition in the team to push harder. It’s also good for us, because Gautier and I are in the business a long time and Anstie is coming from MX2, he is motivated and he always wants to ride, he is always pushing 100% and he is pulling us with him a little. It was a bit difficult in the winter period, because normally when your season is done you enjoy a holiday, but I was spending most of my time in the hospital. That wasn’t so great, now I am ok.” The greatest motocross rider of all time, Stefan Everts, might not race anymore, but he knows that there are many forms of motorsports that can give a rider the edge when it comes to preparing for a tough GP season. He took his Suzuki team members on an enduro week that he enjoyed as much as his young riders and he has also organized trips to Spain for a pre-season race brings some nice change for the GP riders. “Enduro riding is easy and I could keep up with them, I could sometimes get up the difficult hills easier

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than them. It’s different being on a motocross track though, it costs too much energy and after 10 years, what do you expect? We have been going to Spain for many years with the training school, they have great facilities with great dirt and a nice track. The weather there is also good.” Coming from Denmark, Thomas Kjer Olsen doesn’t always enjoy the best weather conditions back home in winter, so when he was offered the chance to train and prepare in Spain, he enjoyed the experience: “Basically, we didn’t have a lot of opportunities to ride in Denmark, so being able to train in Spain was great. I think it’s important to get a good base during the pre-season, but I don’t need to be at the top straight away. It’s a long season, so you need to take care and try not to overdo it. I will take it easy, but I will still do the best I can. I want to be maybe inside the top ten at the end of the season, that is my goal, but I was already top five this year, so I think I already belong there. With the right work, I will be good I think.”

British rider Jake Nicholls hasn’t always taken his racing seriously, but as he enters the veteran stage of his career, he is finding that a more relaxed approach makes it more enjoyable: “I enjoy riding my bike more than I have ever had. After a few injuries, you appreciate what you have when you can ride. In January I’m full with pre-season training and we also have a race in Spain in January, then a race in England in the first weekend of February. Then after that I have only two weekends off until October. My intention for 2017 is winning the British championship and get into the top ten in the GP’s as often as possible.” What we will find out as the season rolls around, at the opening round in Qatar in late February, is which riders have done their homework, and made sure the winter counts, and which riders will be under prepared and might struggle in those early rounds of the 2017 MXGP and MX2 championships. Text: G. Meyer


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HALL OF FAME

Neil Hudson ‘Smooth’

The first ever British rider to claim a 250cc world title in 1981, Neil Hudson remains the only ‘Brit’ to triumph in this class, as most of his countrymen shone in the 500cc category. Quiet in the paddock but always riding smoothly on his bike, Neil had a short career as he only entered seven world championship campaigns.

Born on the 24th of January 1957 in Pensford, just a month earlier than Graham Noyce, Neil Hudson started racing in the schoolboys a few weeks after his debut on a 125cc BSA, his first motocross bike. The young kid was talented, but he had to wait a few more years to be selected by the Maico importer in the UK before he could enter the world championship. He was 20 years old when he entered the GP’s, and immediately collected his first points at a time when only the top ten riders scored points. Scoring points in fourteen heats, Neil confirmed his great potential at the end of his debut season in 1977 and he was selected to race for Great Britain

for the team races. In Cognac for the Motocross des Nations and in Markelo for the Trophy des Nations, Neil entered the top eight and along with Noyce, one of the best riders on the team, Team GB finished third overall in both events. Neil also won the Coupe de l’Avenir and as a result became a serious contender for the FIM 250cc World Championship for the 1978 season. The German manufacturer Maico upped its level of support and Hudson rewarded his paymasters with 5th overall, winning his first ever GP in Sweden along the way.

a great year for British motocross.

Disgruntled with how 1979 eventually panned out Hudson signed with Yamaha during the winter, but Maico took the matter to court and as a result Neil was forced to miss the opening round of the 1980 season in Spain! He returned for the second round but it was on a Maico. Despite putting the matter behind him and winning the first race at round three in Germany, Neil was involved in a crash at the start of the second race and suffered a broken leg; his season was over, and when he Going into 1979 Hudson was returned in 1981 it was on the seen as the main contender to brand new 250cc factory Yamathe Swede Hakan Carlqvist but ha. it was ‘Carla’ who won the first two GP’s of the season on his The first GP of the season in Husqvarna. Hudson duly re- France didn’t go according to plied by winning in Italy and Yu- plan as he was forced to retire goslavia. Unfortunately, in the in both races due to mechanical second half of the season the failure, but then the determined Maico only finished one race Brit went on the rampage, pickper GP, and even though he won ing up wins in the USSR, Bulfive heats during the season, garia, Austria and The USA to he finished runner-up behind get himself back in to contenhis rival, while fellow country- tion. Reigning world champiman Graham Noyce claimed the on Georges Jobé had a healthy 500cc World title in what was lead in the series, and with an

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advantage of 53 points before the last three rounds, the Belgian was the favourite to defend his crown, but the Suzuki rider got injured during a national race, missed the US round and entered the final event with an 11-point-advantage over Hudson. Jobé did his best during the final GP in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, but he was forced to retire twice. Hudson still had a job to do and when he crossed the line in the second race, the Brit was crowned the FIM 250cc Motocross World Champion with a winning margin of just two points over Jobé. The 500cc class was the main one at that time, and Neil joined Carlqvist in the factory Yamaha squad for the 1982 season. His riding style was suited perfectly to the bigger bike, and after four rounds Neil was tied on points for the lead with the American Brad Lackey after winning his

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out to be a disaster as he failed to record any podium finishes and only scored points in nine of the twenty-four races. As a consequence, he decided not to honour his factory status and retired from racing at just twenty-five years old. Two years later David Thorpe became the British hero when he won the first of three Scoring another podium at the 500cc World Titles for Honda. Motocross des Nations with the British team, Neil was confident Text and photos: Pascal Haufor 1983 but his season turned diquert. first 500cc race in Finland. Neil scored points in all but two races in his debut 500cc season but in the end was no match for the Suzuki boys of Lackey and André Vromans and had to settle for third overall. He did manage to beat the factory Honda’s of Noyce and André Malherbe.

1977: 13th in the 250cc Motocross World Championship (Maico). Winner of the “Coupe de l’Avenir” 3rd at the MX of Nations with team GBR 3rd at the Trophy of Nations with team GBR 1978: 5th in the 250cc Motocross World Championship (Maico). Winner of 1 GP 3rd at the Trophy of Nations with team GBR 1979:2nd in the 250cc Motocross World Championship (Maico). Winner of 2 GP 2nd at the MX of Nations with team GBR 1980: 18th in the 250cc Motocross World Championship (Maico). 1981: 250cc Motocross World Champion (Yamaha). Winner of 1 GP. Winner of 4 GP 1982: 3rd in the 500cc Motocross World Championship (Yamaha). 3rd at the MX of Nations with team GBR 1983: 14th in the 500cc Motocross World Championship (Yamaha)


PADDOCK TALKS

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Paddock Talks 01/Welcome to the world Jayden Strijbos! Congratulations to Kevin Strijbos and Yentl Haazen!

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02/Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Nagl, who got married in December. They looked stunning! 03/Clement Desalle getting ready for the 2017 season. The Belgian rider spent one week in Mallorca doing some physical training. 04/Gautier Paulin enjoying his well-deserved rest after a hard cardio training in the mountains.

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05/The eight-times-world champion Antonio Cairoli wishing a Happy 2017 to all his fans with her beautiful fiancĂŠe Jill Cox.

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05

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07

06

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Paddock Talks

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06/Michele Rinaldi celebrated his 25 years collaborating with Yamaha surrounded by very good friends. 07/Evgeny Bobryshev had a lot of fun during the ‘Honda Thanks Day� at the Honda headquarters in Japan. 08/2016 MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser spent a very special Christmas at home in Slovenia.

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09/Former MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre and her beautiful girlfriend Megan Closset wishing all their fans a Merry Christmas in a very Xmas style! 10/The 2016 and 2014 MX2 World Champions Jeffrey Herlings and Jordi Tixier training together with Nico Dercourt.

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Photo: R. de Coster Archive

Roger De Coster’s 1971

Factory FN71 Suzuki Roger De Coster is without doubt one of the most iconic riders the world of motocross has ever seen; his dashingly handsome looks and effortless style on the bike won him an army of fans all over the world. He truly was a global superstar and if the truth were known, he still is to this day.

star status began to shine. In his debut season with Suzuki in 1971, the Belgian raced to the first of his five world motocross titles, and his RN71 Suzuki that took him there is our feature bike in MXGP Mag this month.

500cc World Championship was in 1967 riding for CZ where he placed 5th overall and it wasn’t long before he would claim his first victory at the Italian GP at Gallarate in 1968.

The following two seasons saw Laying the foundations the Belgian place 5th overall and For a rider so successful De if he was to advance further up Coster didn’t actually start rid- the world rankings, a brave and Roger first started riding a bike ing and racing until he was 17 bold decision was needed. The 125cc classlike in the putspaid a spotlight on the next years old, his usually first bike aged 17 and mostEuropean riders Championship forofasthe a result of him working World of name that era the bike ofInchoice After Champions being the dominant force big in motocross. fact both 2015 FIM Motocross and was European; in Roger’s case six days a week in a local bike during the 1960’s CZ’s time in vice-world champions Romain Febvre, Gautier Paulin, Tim Gajser and Pauls Jonass it was a CZ and while he was shop whilst still in school. By the spotlight was drawing to an have all won the EMX125 on their paths tohad motocross 19-year-old al- end supremacy. relatively successful withchampionship the 1964 the as Suzuki entered the fray Czech brand with three 500cc ready claimed the Belgian Ju- in the 250cc class after taking GP wins in consecutive years nior 500cc title, winning the road racing by storm. Suzuki ’68,’69 and ’70, it wasn’t until senior 500cc title two years lat- was the first of the Japanese he switched to Suzuki that his er. His first season in the FIM manufacturers to show an in-

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SPECIAL FEATURE

terest in motocross and after sending home rider Matsuhisa Kojima from Osaka to the Belgian GP in 1966, they contracted Ole Petterson to race 250 GP’s in 1967 to help develop their bike further. In ‘69 Suzuki hired Joel Robert and Sylvain Geboers and a year later rewarded Suzuki with a one-two in the 1970 250 World Championship. The new brand on the block was an instant success, too, and when the time came to enter the 500cc class there was never any doubt as to who Suzuki felt was the man to chase the title; quite apt really as De Coster later became known as ‘The Man’. But how difficult a decision was it for De Coster to park the CZ in favour of the journey into the relative unknown, with a bike that was unproven? ‘At CZ things weren’t so clear; I was supposed to get a small financial help equal to about $5000.00. Well, I never saw any part of it! And many of the spare parts given to my Czech mechanic would be sold on the way to Belgium. This was not unusual in the CZ days; Dave Bickers experienced the same habits by his mechanic. CZ was behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ and this was a way for the mechanics to make ends meet!’ remembers De Coster. ‘So making the change wasn’t so difficult! After Joel Robert and Sylvain Geboers finished

1st and 2nd I was told later that they (Suzuki) also tried to contact me with a written letter but this never got to me until late the next season. Anyhow, late in 1970 I had an agreement to start racing the new RN370 in the ‘71 500cc World Championship.’

my new mechanic Mino Harada, chassis designer Tamaki and translator Tommy Sakuragi.’

That weekend, Roger De Coster went on to win his first 500cc GP! Remarkable. Even more so was the fact he maintained his form and went on to win the title, although it obviously helps In it to win it when you go into the weekend Roger’s move to Suzuki may knowing that you can win, right? have been seen as daring and a bit of a risk, especially as he ‘I can say that when I raced I alwas already a proven GP win- ways started the race believing ner at CZ. For Suzuki, that’s I had a chance to win, although why they hired him, and they early on I was probably fooling had nothing to lose. Roger on myself, but still I believed it! But the other hand was in danger I was so happy; the Suzuki guys of facing career suicide, even if gave me a lot of increased trust he could see how serious Suzuki and the manager at the time Mr. was about competing for world Tamaki told me they trusted that titles. we were ready to win all races! There was no such thing as winter testing back in the ‘70’s, and certainly something of a far cry from how teams go about their racing today, but surely De Coster must have had a fair amount of time on the bike prior to the first GP of the season, right? ‘Suzuki sent me two bikes; a 250cc and a 370cc in early February with some parts. I picked them up at Brussels airport and raced the first time in an international event at Lummen in Belgium. They brought two new bikes to the first GP of the season at Cingoli, Italy, and the first time I saw them was inside the Ford Transit on Friday night before the GP, travelling with

I was a bit surprised but it felt good.’ But how different was the factory Suzuki compared to the CZ he had been racing previously? First impressions are made to last and the Suzuki certainly left more than a good impression on De Coster. The bike was about as full factory as you could get and everything about it was different; every bolt, every single part was all hand made. But that wasn’t all, as Roger remembers: ‘Well, for a start the FN71 weighed in around 8kg lighter than the CZ, which was one thing, but the engine would run real clean from low rpm; the 36mm Mikuni carburettor was

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Photo: R. de Coster Archive

much better than the European made ones. Also the ignition system was real good and not affected as much by the rain as the European ones of the time. Low-end response was really good for the time, better than the CZ although it didn’t have much top-end; it was necessary to shift early and at first it was a case of ‘here’s your bike Roger, good luck’ but as time went by we got to give some input. The first couple of years there was no pre-season testing but Suzuki was really good at communicating my comments to Japan after each race; we would go find the nearest post office and would cable or send a Telex. There was no email or even fax at the time!’ As the lone rider in 1971 De Coster went on to win five GP’s in his debut season with Suzuki in what was its first season in the 500cc world championship and it was the start of a racing love affair that would last until 1979. During his

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time there the Belgian amassed five 500cc world titles and 32 GP wins with the Japanese brand, 36 in total if you include his three victories with CZ and his one for Honda in 1980, his last ever GP. Part of his and Suzuki’s success was down to wanting to succeed, something that De Coster fondly recalls when asked if there was a particular story that stood out from 1971, about a race or about a problem with the bike he had to ride with, with the team or mechanics or other riders: ‘A continuous difference in attitude from the Japanese compared to the European factory staff was that if your bike broke and you got back to the paddock; if you broke the frame or bent the forks; the euro factory guy would say ‘you are stupid, why did you jump that, or why did you land front wheel first in case you broke the hub? The Japanese would ask how it happened and with tears in his eyes would go

find the nearest post office and let them know at home and someone would design a counter measure part.’ Tech spec 1971 Factory Suzuki FN71 • Capacity 362cc • Gearbox 4 speed • Bore / Stroke 80mm x 72mm • Carburettor Mikuni 36 mm • Ignition Nippon Denso (Points & Condensor) • Rims D.I.D • Tyres Dunlop Front 21 x 1.60 / Rear 18 x 2.15 • Suspension KYB 36mm with 150mm travel. Rear travel was 75mm • Weight 95 Kg • Engine cases and hubs Magnesium • Most bolts Titanium but they used a lot of Aluminum in places CZ was using steel. • Handlebars Suzuki • Gas tank Suzuki aluminium hand-formed.


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QUESTIONS TO THE EDITOR

QUESTIONS TO THE EDITOR Dear MXGP, When does the MXGP-TV Season Package Christmas Offer will end? Thanks, Marc Dear Marc, The MXGP-TV season package with 25% discount will last until the 15th January 2017. Best Regards MXGP Hi MXGP, I wish to attend some GPs during the season and I was wondering where I was able to have some details on the VIP tickets. Thanks, Sally Hi Sally At the link below you’re able to check all the info and purchase your VIP GOLD Skybox package for all the European rounds of MXGP https://www.gootickets.com/ en/2363-MXGPVIP/ Regards MXGP

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MXGP MAG 2017 MXGP.COM

Hi MXGP, I’m a model and I wish to be a model/hostess at your event. Could you let me know the procedure to follow and who I need to contact? Thanks, Françoise Hi Françoise Thank you for your interest. You can send either a private message to MXGP Facebook Page or an email to social@MXGP.com confirming your availability and they will give you all the details. Regards MXGP Hi MXGP, I was just wondering what do I need to do to enter the EMX250 class in 2017. Thanks, Macauley Hi Macauley You can send an email to sportoffice@mxgp.com. Regards MXGP

Hi MXGP I would like to give as a present a ticket for one of the MXGP events to my boyfriend. Where can I buy it? Thanks, Letizia Hello Letizia, Thank you for your message. You can check our ticketing page on MXGP.com and on right side bar. You can also buy your tickets by checking the “Tickets” button on the calendar. Best Regards MXGP


MXGP MAG 2013 MXGP.COM

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MXGP #40 January 2017  

Youthstream is proud to announce that the fortieth issue of the MXGP Mag is now online. This month it features an article highlighting the m...

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