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Cairoli - Tougher Than Ever Story By Geoff Meyer images Ray Archer

Bruised and battered from the Grand Prix of Portugal, nine-time world motocross champion Antonio Cairoli will be seething. He knows that this 2018 GP season might be his toughest to date. He knows that speed wise the young lion Jeffrey Herlings might have his number, but if there is one thing about Antonio Cairoli, it is that he is a fighter, and the word, give up, or quit, isn’t in his vocabulary.


Time and time again 222 has turned up, and given his all, fought against the odds of injury in 2015 and 2016 and returned in 2017 as a different rider. Better than that young kid who won his first world motocross championship in 2005, back when he was just 19 years old, better than the rider who dominated the world in 2012, winning his sixth world championship and dominated the Americans and Herlings at Lommel with 1-1 results.

Cairoli is beating everyone, apart from Herlings, then it is clear he has already picked up his pace from 2017, a season he himself admitted was Antonio Cairoli at his very best. I have written the Italian off, and for sure I won’t be doing that again, despite being a massive Jeffrey Herlings fan.

I still remember 2011, and the year it looked like finally, Desalle had found the momentum to uncrown Cairoli. The Belgian started the season with victory in BulgarIf you ask Antonio Cairoli, he ia, going 2-1 and Cairoli struggled. can still get better, can still Round after round Desalle reeled find some extra speed and can 100% be a 10 times world off GP wins, in America going 1-1, motocross champion, and I for and Portugal also 1-1, but Cairoli one, don’t doubt his desire and wasn’t going away, and after that round in Portugal, Cairoli fought destination in the motocross back, winning in Spain, and closhistory books. ing the points lead of Desalle to a While we all marvel at the per- single point. formances of Jeffrey Herlings in 2018, and for that matter also Cairoli would score GP wins in Latvia (1-1), Belgium (1-1), before at the end of 2017, it might Desalle would win in Czech Rebe reminded, that defendpublic (2-1), but with the weight ing MXGP champion Antonio Cairoli is still, very much in the of the world on his shoulder and the points race starting to favour mix. The Sicilian legend is just the Italian, Desalle excited the 16 points behind Herlings in the championship points, and race and season with an injury. as we have all seen in the past, A round later in England, CairoCairoli knows how to win world li would win again, with a 3-1 championships, even when it GP victory, and then a round seems his chances are slim. later in Gaildorf, Germany, he was crowned world motocross He has handled the likes of champion for the fifth time in his Clement Desalle and Gautier career, and equal the tally of moPaulin in the past, two riders tocross legends, Roger De Coster, who have been at the very top of our sport for more than Georges Jobe, Joel Smets and Eric Geboers. a decade. Paulin a multiple MXoN moto winner, and Desal- Great champions usually find that le with a stack of GP victories extra bit of speed, that extra bit to his name. of motivation, and that extra bit of dedication to once again rise While it might seem that Herfrom the ashes of defeat. Antolings is presently the man to nio Cairoli, a rider many feel is beat, you can be sure Cairoli is working harder than ever to the greatest Grand Prix rider of find a way to match the Dutch- all time, shouldn’t be written off, and you do so at your own peril. man. If you look at how far


Moving Up and Learning Fast Story David Bulmer images Yamaha

Wilvo Yamaha rider Jeremy Seewer is very much a man putting the pieces of the puzzle into place. Piece by piece he slowly makes something that might have started as an unattainable object into something that is very much a masterpiece. The rider from Switzerland has won on the MX2 Grand Prix scene and even fought for an MX2 world title, but now in the MXGP class, its starting all over again, and once again rebuilding that puzzle of success.


Holding down ninth place in the MXGP championship points might not say a lot, but for a 450cc rookie, it places him ahead of a lot of very good riders, including his two team-mates Shaun Simpson and Arnaud Tonus. Having joined the Dutch based Wilvo Yamaha team after the departure of Suzuki in the GP paddock, the always likeable Seewer has worked hard, and been a pillar of consistency. Sure, a DNF in the opening round in Argentina wasn’t the start he wanted, but its been solid performances in every single moto he has finished. Seventh overall in round two in Valkenswaard, 11th overall in Redsand, ninth overall in Trentino, and again seventh overall last weekend in Agueda. Our guy on the road, David Bulmer caught up with Seewer and asked him about 2018, and what his feelings are for his rookie season in MXGP. Motocross Illustrated: Can you explain your weekend for me? Seewer: Overall it was another solid weekend. There was nothing really special, but also nothing bad either. I felt pretty good all weekend, my speed was good, I could battle with the top guys. I struggled a bit off the starts this weekend, but I was really happy how I could move forward through the field and overall, I think I did okay. Every weekend I get better and better, I took the most points I have so far today, so you can see I am improving. The track was quite sketchy in some places, and I am still learning the bike and not ready to push the edge yet. I want to finish the whole season, so as long as we take a step forward at each race, it’s okay. Motocross Illustrated: You spoke in the press conference on Saturday, about how it’s been moving up to the MXGP class. Can you expand on that? Seewer: You know, compared to MX2, in that class you have three, four, maximum five guys that can beat you, but the sixth, seventh and eight guy, you know, even if you have a small crash, or if you don’t get the start, you know you will get them. They will get tired, they are not consistent enough, its just you know the guys you can battle with, and there are not that many. In MXGP, every single race, you have to deal with different names, and big names. One race you battle with Gajser, the next its Paulin, then its Cairoli for some laps and then its Febvre. Motocross Illustrated: I can imagine a mistake in MXGP is like a big mistake, compared to a small mistake in MX2? Seewer: There are so many top guys, and a little mistake can cost you a lot. In my opinion my


speed is good, apart from maybe the first two or three guys, but my speed is there. You need to put everything together, good starts, and it isn’t just about the power of the bike, but the technique, and those first few laps they just go all in. You need to be consistent until the end and you need the perfect puzzle if you want to be successful in MXGP. Motocross Illustrated: What about the end of 2017, when you knew you were not going to be on a Suzuki in the MXGP class. What happened in order to get the Wilvo ride? Seewer: You know one month after the Nations (into November), but I was always confidence, I had a good background, good sponsors, my mum and dad and I didn’t freak out in the situation. I had a contract with Yamaha Europe and as soon as we started dealing together I felt great, like it was even better. It also worked well, because I have a company in Switzerland who sponsor me for the last 8 years and they are a big Yamaha dealer. It turned out well and third rider for Wilvo is pretty good. It took some time to adapt to the Yamaha and talk to the team about improving things for me. We are still not there, but its getting there and I want to thank the team, because they are putting in a lot of hours and money to get there. It’s a private team more or less and it isn’t just something you can quickly, but it’s coming. Motocross Illustrated: We are only a ¼ of the way through the season. What do you think the possibilities for you are as the season moves into the later rounds? Seewer: In this sport, and in this class, it is difficult to say, in a second everything can change. Of course, my goal is to build it up, that has always been my goal. MX2 I was 10th the first year, fifth the second year, second the third year. Its just step by step and that is the goal in MXGP. I am eight in the points standings and that is pretty good, and I just keep trying to improve and keep doing what I am doing. I know I have potential and of course my goal is to fight for a title in this class. Motocross Illustrated: How long do you think it takes to get there? Seewer: That is the question that is difficult to answer. I can’t tell you if its next year, or in three years, but I hope to continue to improve and if its in five years its too late. I hope next year I am a good top five rider and then in 2020 I will be on the podium a lot, that is the dream goal, but we need to take it step by step. Motocross Illustrated: You have loved racing in Switzerland in the MX2 class, but how about racing in Switzerland in the MXGP class, can that maybe be the GP where it clicks? Seewer: Racing in Switzerland, it makes the whole story more like a fairy-tale, if you are winning stuff, but coming in as a top 10, top six guy, its difficult, but I am still very much looking forward to it. I just hope everything turns out well and it’s a successful GP, but its still a long way away and I first have to focus on the raced ahead.


Ray Archer image


Ray Archer image


Ray Archer image


Ray Archer image


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Jed Beaton - Rising Star Story Geoff Meyer Images Kawasaki

While Jed Beaton is a long way from the finished product, his MX2 debut season is already showing signs of what a talent this young Aussie is and his second MX2 podium last weekend in round five of the 250cc championship also saw him move to fifth place in the championship points. Australian riders have had a long and at times successful relationship with the Grand Prix scene, from Jeff Leisk back in the 1990s, to Chad Reed, Andrew McFarlane and Dean Ferris. All GP winners, and in the case of Leisk and Reed, world runner-up’s.


Beaton, like those before him isn’t just seeking to compete, and a GP win is 100% in his to do list, but what Beaton wants is more than any of his countrymen were able to achieve. When Chad Reed finished second in the world in 2001, Beaton was just three years old, and now, as the career of Reed is in the twilight, its young Australian riders like Beaton who need to carry the torch and bring some success to the land down under. Now 20 years old, Beaton knows that its time to make his mark on the sport that propelled him to the bitter cold of Europe and gave him a goal to be an Australian World Motocross Champion. With three years to remain in the MX2 class, the tall kid from Tasmanian has time enough to improve and make it happen. We caught up with Jed and asked him about his podium finish last weekend in Portugal, and what to expect in the coming months. Motocross Illustrated: Firstly, congratulations on your second MX2 podium. How did this one compare to the French podium in 2017? Beaton: A little bit different. Obviously the French one was a little bit of a surprise, and this one is also a bit of a surprise so early in the season, but I have been working really hard the whole off season and also lately. I felt pretty good with the track, and I felt comfortable riding, so, it all came together this weekend. Motocross Illustrated: Tell me, is the bike better than it was at the start of the season, or are you just better? Beaton: A bit of both really. The team is trying to make the bike better at each round and I am also trying to make myself better at each round. I would say a bit of both. Motocross Illustrated: I saw some photos of you and your trainer Marc (de Reuver) on facebook, and you two really seem to have a real bromance. How is that with Marc? Beaton: We have a good relationship, we get on really good and we have a lot of fun together. When one of us does good he is very happy, and we are happy for each other. I think we have a good thing going on at the moment and its good for both of us. With Marc he is either 100% in, or 100% out, if you know what I mean. It is his life as well, and he wants the best results for us. Motocross Illustrated: How did you find the track, because some of those ruts were pretty amazing? Beaton: I found the track pretty technical, but it was the same for everyone. Some places were rutted, like really rutted, other spots


were just soft. It was a bit weird, and I can’t compare it to any other time, because this was my first time there. Obviously because they had a lot of rain leading up to the event, it made is spongy. Motocross Illustrated: Obviously Prado is riding really good at the moment, and Jonass started really strong, so running with those guys is difficult, but you are getting closer and battled with Olsen and Jonass on the weekend. Is it possible to start thinking about a moto win, or is that unrealistic? Beaton: You never know, that is what we all work for, you don’t put all the hard work in to get a second or something like that. It is something I want to do, but I need to be realistic, and wait for the right moment for it to happen. It is a whole new thing to go and say I want to win a race, for sure in your rookie season. Motocross Illustrated: Did you surprise yourself in the weekend? Beaton: Yes and no. I knew if I got good starts I could ride better, and this weekend I had good starts and I felt more comfortable and its easier being at the front of the pack, so I need to do that more often. Motocross Illustrated: Performing like this, on a privateer team, against the factory bikes. I can imagine you are satisfied at the moment, but do you think about what is possible in the future, or are you just thankful you have a good team behind you at the moment? Beaton: You can’t think too much into the future. It is a long season and we are not even a ¼ of the way through. You have to commit to the team you ride for, the team you signed up for, so at the moment I am not really thinking about anything other than getting through this season and performing for the team. Motocross Illustrated: This year the tracks have pretty much been different at every single round. How would you explain what you have ridden so far? Beaton: Every track has been different. I mean Argentina was hard-pack underneath and really fast, and Arco hard and a bit slower, Valkenswaard was just really cold and pretty much frozen, Redsand which was rutted. We have had a lot of different tracks to deal with and at the moment not one track has been the same. Motocross Illustrated: You got a podium last weekend, but was Agueda your favourite track so far? Beaton: I wouldn’t say favourite track, but my riding was the best its been. I mean Arco was hard to pass if you got a bad start and Portugal you had plenty of passing spots and it was technical.


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