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It’s that man Roczen again. This time on a Red Bull KTM machine, but looking just as spectacular Photo: Frank Hoppen CONTENTS:

Angel Stadium in Anaheim, the place dreams can come true and legends can be made Photo: Frank Hoppen

Contents 10 12 24 28 32 34 52 54 56 58 70 72 76 86 88 88 88 94

Gallery#02.1 Gallery#02.2 Antonio Cairoli Column David Bulmer Column Gallery#02.3 Gallery#02.4 Geoff Meyer Column Gallery#01.5 Gallery#02.6 Steve Dixon Column Gallery#02.7 Gallery#02.8 Tinus Nel Column Gallery#02.9 Gallery#02.10 Gallery#02.11 Gallery#02.12 Alex Gobert Column

PUBLISHER AND FOUNDER: Geoff Meyer « DESIGNER: Ian Roxburgh « PHOTOGRAPHERS: Ray Archer, Simon Cudby, Frank Hoppen,

Garth Milan, Geoff Meyer, Ian Roxburgh, Massimo Zanzani CONTRIBUTORS: Dave Bulmer, Antonio Cairoli, Steve Dixon,

Alex Gobert, Andy McGechan, Tinus Nel AUSTRALIAN EDITOR: Alex Gobert NEW ZEALAND EDITOR: Andy McGechan SOUTH AFRICAN EDITOR: Tinus Nel BRITISH EDITOR: Dave Bulmer EUROPEAN EDITOR: Geoff Meyer AMERICAN EDITOR: Lex Valasakos ADVERTISING: Geoff Meyer « ADDRESS: Nijmeegstraat 59, Gendt, 6691CM, Netherlands PHONE: 31 481 420260 EMAIL: or


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SPECIAL THANKS: One Industries, FOX Racing, KTM, Leatt Braces,

Terraforma, Alpinestars, Red Bull Pro Nationals, Maxxis British Championship, Youthstream, DEP Pipes, Racespec, British Supercross Championships PUBLISHED BY: Geoff Meyer « © Copyright Meyer Publishing 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of Motocross Illustrated is prohibited without the express permission of Meyer Publishing

Features 16 BEN TOWNLEY INTERVIEW 2004 World MX2 Champion Ben Townley is back to try and regain the form that brought him his only major Championship success.

38 GIUSEPPE LUONGO INTERVIEW Youthstream President Giuseppe Luongo is a very private man. We get inside the head of the most powerful man in Motocross.

46 OLD SCHOOL MOTOCROSS For all the veterans in the sport here are some cool images from the 1970’s. Dave Thorpe, Marty Moates, Brad Lackey, Roger Harvey and Peter Herlings are included in this great feature.

62 GRANT LANGSTON INTERVIEW 2000 World 125cc Champion Grant Langston has retired. We sat down with Langston to find out how the last couple of years have been for him.

80 ANAHEIM I Anaheim I, it’s one of the biggest races in the world and last weekend it was Ryan Villopoto’s chance to put his name in lights.

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CYRIL DESPRES Cyril Despres is a mutiple winner of the famous Dakar Rally and in many peoples eyes is the man who took over from the famous Stephane Peterhansel as the King of the Desert. In this classic Jonty Edmunds image Despres charges through a corner on his Red Bull KTM machine PHOTO: JONTY EDMUNDS

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KTM TEAM When I first saw this image I had to think about the mighty Honda Racing teams of the 1980’s in America. Not saying that Andrew Short, Ken Roczen and Mike Alessi are in the same league as David Bailey, Ricky Johnson and Johnny O’Mara, but the presentation of the Red Bull KTM Factory team is every bit as impressive as the HRC presentations of the 80’s PHOTO: GARTH MILAN


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[ Words: Andy McGechan > Photos: Andy McGechan and Ian Roxburgh


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Hot and cold...

these are words that could describe the motocross career of New Zealand’s Ben Townley. He’s a man of extremes. When he’s hot, he’s very, very hot, scorching hot in fact, but when he’s cold, it freezes the blood. On a good day, few catch match the young man from Taupo, the geothermal tourism hot-spot at the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. He’s raced against, and beaten, some of the biggest and best names in the sport – Stefan Everts, Tony Cairoli, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto ... but often, just a little bit too often, he’s been unable to harness and release that blinding speed.


e’s been sidelined with injury so many times in the past few years. But perhaps that’s testament to the man too ... if you don’t crash now and again, you’re simply not trying hard enough. If that old saying is true, then nobody could argue that Ben Townley tries very hard indeed. Townley’s rollercoaster career continued its ups and downs in November with another unexpected and sudden stomach-lurching dip for the man from the Bay of Plenty region. Yes, if we rewind to mid November and the 25-year-old former world MX2 world champion and 2007 American East Coast Lites Supercross Champion appeared to have recovered from 18 months of nagging shoulder injury, his racing career seemingly back in order. Townley had just come off a tough AMA outdoor season, a one-off shot at GP glory at Glen Helen and from producing an eye-opening performance at the Motocross of Nations in Denver, Colorado. He was looking forward to taking on his new assignment at the start of 2011, racing again in the MX1 world championships in Europe, this time for the French-based CLS Kawasaki team, with support from Pro Circuit and Monster Energy. But, in the blink of an eye and with the ink barely dry on his one-year CLS contract, he came unstuck in dramatic fashion at the fourth round of seven in the Australasian Super X Championships in Auckland, the Kiwi crowd favourite crashing to the floor of the North Harbour Stadium, a dislocated left hip ending his night prematurely. There was too much water on the track. He just got too much wheel-spin and not enough drive off a jump, said Townley’s father, Grant. He could see he was coming up short on the landing spot and decided to bail off in mid-air. It is now just a matter of wait-and-see for the recovery process. Our fingers are all crossed. I can’t see why he won’t be out and about, racing again in the next five or six weeks ... he should be all okay to go again by the first GP (in Bulgaria on April 10). It was just muscular damage. Indeed, although nothing is ever certain in this high-impact, high-adrenaline world of motocross, fears that his career had taken another tumble to rock-bottom may have been premature, the signs were positive that he’d make a quick recovery. Just three days after the spill, doctors reported to him that plans for extensive surgery to repair the damage would not be necessary after all. I went in for surgery at 1pm on Tuesday (barely three days after the crash), where they put me to sleep, they tested my hip in all positions and it was perfect, said Ben Townley. Originally it was thought to be unstable and needed surgery to keep it in. I woke up 45 minutes later to news that it is really good and requires rest for a few weeks and then rehab. Obviously the crash was pretty horrendous and they are never a good thing, but I had a smile when I was told the news I didn’t need an operation. A few weeks later and he was starting to show good improvements, walking freely and feeling confident again about the season ahead. I’ve been doing a lot of rehab and I feel good, not ready to go riding just yet though. While the crash was certainly a shock at the time, it really only served to delay his preparations for Europe. As we speak, I’ve still got time on my side. I don’t want to rush things but I’m determined to be ready to go hard when the GPs kick off in April. I’m looking forward to the new season and nothing has really changed. I will still be on the start line. Nobody in the CLS Kawasaki team is alarmed about me. He said he really enjoyed his time in the United States and it was with a tinge of sadness that he decided to head back to the other side of the globe. It has always been Townley’s dream to race professionally in the United States and it’s fair to say he has succeeded with that, well beyond the wildest dreams of many who have tried before him. If he had his way, the man from the Bay of Plenty would still be plying his trade in America, but the worlds economy being what it is at the moment, matching top riders to top rides is not as straightforward as it once was, just ask Chad Reed, Christophe Pourcel, Jason Lawrence and Josh Hill, to name a few. But for Taupo native Townley there were always other options. Just as at home in any of the various countries that make up Europe, and well-respected and well-liked in all of them, a return to the GP scene had always been a long-term plan. I’m looking forward to being back in Europe. It’s just that I’m perhaps heading back there a little sooner than I’d planned. The opportunity to race in Europe again was just too good to turn down. Besides, I have a lot of friends over in Europe. It will be good to catch up with them again. The 2011 season will be a big year for me and I’m not looking any further ahead than that at this stage. It is fair to say, though, that I still have unfinished business in America and I will attend to that in the future.


Photos: Ian Roxburgh

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Photo: Andy McGechan

Townley started his international career in Europe in 2001, finishing up there at the end of the 2005 GP season, having pocketed the MX2 world crown in 2004 -- remarkably just three seasons after first touching down on the Continent. He had also finished a close third overall in his debut season racing the MX1 class in 2005 (behind the legendary Stefan Everts and his own house-mate at the time, fellow Kiwi Josh Coppins). His move soon afterwards to the United States was the realisation of his childhood dream, although 2006 was destined to be a frustrating one with a knee injury from a pre-season spill in Florida in January keeping him off the race track. Once back to full fitness, he had another breakthrough year in 2007, winning the East Coast Lites Supercross title in the US followed by an incredibly close runner-up finish in the 250cc outdoor motocross series (behind his then Kawasaki team-mate Ryan Villopoto). A huge crash while practising at the Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek, Maryland, in September 2007 would turn out to be more serious than first thought and the damage to his shoulder was not something he could just shake off. That meant his 2008 and 2009 seasons that followed were largely forgettable; thanks to that nagging shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for the most part and also prompted him to abandon his new factory Honda contract and head back to New Zealand to rest and recover. He bounced back in 2010, riding for the Troy Lee Designs satellite Honda outfit in the US, memorably finishing top three in a few AMA open class races -- six times in total -- and ending the season fourth overall. The major successes he celebrated in 2010 were winning a moto at the USGP, the only American round of the MX1 world championships, and winning one of his two races at the Motocross of Nations in Denver, Colorado. It was good for me but, in some respects, maybe a little bit disappointing too. But then I think, overall, I'd had two years out of the sport and racing, so to finish fourth (in the US) was not too bad." His focus for the next 12 months at least will be to fulfil his obligations to the CLS Kawasaki team and, hopefully, win the MX1 world title for them. Everyone well remembers 2004, when Townley won the MX2 world title and a young Italian rider named Antonio Cairoli was beginning to show signs of his being a future world champion. Indeed, when Townley left the European scene the following season, Cairoli stepped up to win the MX2 crown and he developed and grew even further from there, winning the MX1 crowns in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 the two men will go to war again, this time in the MX1 class and with two-time and defending world MX1 champion Cairoli perhaps the favourite. It’s going to be good, Townley said. I am looking forward to it, there is a huge family of people who supported me and helped me with my success and I am looking forward to going back and setting up there. I have a lot of respect for Tony (Cairoli). If you look at where he came from since I left Europe, he was just somebody I beat when I won my world title and since then he has won three world titles. He has become a huge name in our sport. But I know, when I’m 100% again, I can beat him. There’s no question in my mind about that. I have been up against him a couple of times this year (at the USGP at Glen Helen in May and at the Motocross of Nations in Denver in September) and I had the speed. So I think if I can put my whole package together then I think I will be okay. Townley’s preparation for the big fight began with his racing at the big annual Taupo Motocross Extravaganza in October, taking a stock standard KX450F straight off the showroom floor to battle his way to runner-up spot overall behind fellow Kiwi international Cody Cooper (Suzuki). It was great to be back racing in New Zealand, and particularly at Taupo sure it didn’t pan out with the overall win for me that day, he shrugged, but, when you consider I only picked this bike up from the shop five days before the race, it was still a great result. It has been a rollercoaster career for Townley and certainly a recent rough couple of years for the likeable Kiwi. Townley has experienced some remarkable highs but, equally, some low points that would test the character of many a brave man. My time off (in 2008 and 2009) did hurt me. My strength went, I had a problem with race craft; I would get to a stage, say 25 minutes into a race, when I would start getting tired. I was making mistakes and that came from a lack of racing. There were a couple of times I was leading races and made those mistakes. I needed more time. By the end of the season I was putting full races together and I did that in that one moto at the (2010) Motocross of Nations (in Denver, when he won the open class/MX2 race). I am very happy with the ride I have worked out for me in Europe. I wanted to be in a position to win races again and I think, with the CLS Kawasaki team, I can do that. Tony Cairoli is now a huge star on the world scene and a worthy world champion, but I can beat him and that’s exactly what I’m going to do in 2011.


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Photo: Andy McGechan



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Townley versus Cairoli We decided to ask a panel of judges who will win the battle between Townley and defending World MX1 Champion Antonio Cairoli. Both have the experience, speed and the determination, but only one will be the champion at the end of 2011.

Josh Coppins – Former GP winner and New Zealand Motocross Legend Ben is the guy Tony should be worried about most. He’s fit determined and has the speed to win. Ben has all the boxes ticked his only problem could be consistency and his patience, he already knows this but when the gate drops he wants to win so badly and sometimes that is his downfall. If Ben can be consistent and stay healthy I have no doubt he can win, no doubt at all. Billy Mackenzie – Former GP winner and British Champion From watching Ben's progress he made it the America last year I am sure he will have the speed to challenge Cairoli in a few races but I think the confidence and momentum Cairoli has gained in the last few years, it will be difficult for Ben to knock him off the top spot. Ben has every chance of making it happen though with his new team. Ben is fast and determined and if anyone is going to have a shot at Cairoli then Ben will be one of them. Scotty Columb – New Zealand Motocrosser Both boys are wicked dudes, Cairoli is my boy. BT is my boy as well. BT beat Cairoli in race two in Glen Helen. Cairoli was riding amazing at Nations and was matching Dungey until he cased that huge quad and hurt his wrist. BT had some amazing speed at some Nationals. Cairoli sets his fastest laps at the end of the moto's. BT is like my brother, always going to be in his corner, no disrespect Toni. KTM is strong and set up. BT has to take a little time and get set up. It will be a slug fest, can’t wait for it to begin.... backing my boy though BT 101. Davey Coombs – Editor RacerX and AMA MX Promoter There's no doubt that the last few years have been cruel on Ben in America, while Tony has really found his stride in Europe. The injuries have definitely taken a toll on Townley, but the potential is still there. We saw flashes of Ben's true speed at the USGP and the MXoN, though we also saw some he fall off at those same races. If Ben can stay healthy, I see him challenging Tony as soon as his confidence and comfort level come back, but Cairoli will have the advantage until then. Ash Kane – Motocross Historian A lot depends on Ben being 100% fit. He has had so much bad luck over the past few years with injuries it would be justice if he comes in fully prepared. Who is better between them? I would throw the form book out of the window. If Cairoli gets on a roll, I think it will be very hard to stop him. Some of the most impressive moto's I seen in 2010 from Cairoli were races he didn't actually win, like the first moto at Lierop when he came from the back. It seems that he is able to find an extra turn of speed when he needs it and always seems able to limit the damage when he has an off day. Ben was impressive at the USGP and the MX of Nations in winning a moto at each event, but they were backed up with a DNF at each event. On Ben's side he does know what it takes to be a champion and when a rider has that level of self belief and determination they can't be ruled out. Either way I think the real winners will be the fans, a rider of Ben's stature can only mean goods things for world championship. Mario Marini – Italian Journalist Ben will be a great ingredient of the 2011 MXGP series. It’s a bit premature to make predictions regarding a potential 2011 Cairoli-Townley private duel though. Tony is at the best stage for a winner’s career with potentially plenty of years to continue like this and doesn’t need to prove much else other than (if he chooses so) trying to become the best ever in the GP history. He sits in the most comfortable spot right now. Ben on the other hand, hasn’t been able to capitalize as much on that same phase of his career and probably comes back to the GPs with the feeling of not having closed his deal the way he desired in the US. He has shown good

amounts of ambition, speed and fragility as well. If any of the two should feel any pressure that seems to apply more on Ben’s side. Without even considering talent, speed and equipment, pressure will most likely play a good part if you really must expect the 2011 MX1 GP series to become a Cairoli-Townley private deal. Which I am not completely sure yet it will be the case. David Bulmer – MXILL columnist My head says Cairoli will take the crown again next year but I’d love for Townley to be battling him every step of the way. It may take a couple of rounds to get back into the GP scene, but anyone who doesn’t think BT has the speed or the competitive nature to challenge the current champ is seriously mistaken. Cairoli definitely has the advantage having ridden the tracks, and his 350 for a year, but with Glen Helen and another new track in Brazil early on, it’ll certainly give Townley a chance. And if the pair are close going into the last few GPs... I’m booking flights! Harry Van Hemmen – Veteran Journalist Ben Townley back in Europe, sure he has the talent, the speed, the experience as a 125 World Champion. He has matured in the USA so he brings back fighting spirit and stamina. Consistency is the key word in Europe, the top 5 guys finished on a close call; the difference is made by Cairoli being on the podium at nearly every race. Championships are won on a bad day, if Ben can reduce those days he will be up there. Too bad consistency that’s not Ben’s strongest side lately and how hard is it to fulfill the USA dream and then find motivation back at the old continent? Matt Allard – British Journalist It’s a very difficult question to answer for a couple of reasons. First up we haven’t seen much of Townley racing in the last couple of years and secondly I don’t really think we have seen Cairoli pushed that hard in Europe during the same period. What I don’t know about Ben is whether the injuries he has struggled with in the last five years are still causing him problems but what I do know is that I have never met anyone on the GP scene so determined, apart from maybe Stefan Everts. I really think there would be an obvious answer if Ben had stayed in Europe (although he should always be respected for wishing to challenge himself in the US) and that is there wouldn’t be one dominant rider in MX1, but rather there would be two: Townley and Cairoli. Can BT run for a whole season with Cairoli? Well recent history of course says no. But can he give the Italian something to think about? Then yes I think he can. And if he puts Cairoli under the sort of pressure he has yet to experience on the big bike then anything can happen. Andy Wigan – Australian Journalist Straight up, we all know BT won't be intimidated by lining up against Cairoli, no matter how many titles that toothy 222 Sicilian has notched up. Townley has that supreme confidence in his ability, so there's no questioning the Kiwi's will. I believe BT's race craft and pure speed is also a match for Cairoli. The questions marks will be over BT's fitness, the time he's had to set up the Kawi (or lack of it) after his Super X pelvis injury, and the stresses attached to unrooting his young family from the nest in New Zealand to a life on the road in Europe. But he's no fool, and will have undoubtedly factored it all in to what I thought was a surprising decision to return to Europe. We all saw what he could do last year at the back-end of the AMA MX season in much poorer physical condition than he's in now (and with barely 10 laps under his belt over the preceding 18 months), even if he did appear to be riding over his head to stay with the front-runners. My heart is with BT (I hope he can claim the title that Josh Coppins should have rightfully claimed in 2007) but my head says Cairoli. «

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2011 Dates ROUND 1 – 2nd & 3rd ROUND 3 – 11th

April - FatCat MotoParc R & 12th June – Whitby ROUN ROUND 5 – 27th & 28th August – Hawkstone Park ROUND 6 ROUND 7 – 17th & 18th Sep

For race entries and memberships plea

Sanctioned by:


FOR 2011!

s & Venues

ROUND 2 – 7th & 8th May – Landrake Moto ND 4 – 30th & 31st July – Canada Heights


– 3rd & 4th September – Desertmartin, Northern Ireland ptember – Wakes Colne

ase contact Claire Tye on: 01865 343666

THIS IS MY LIFE ANTONIO CAIROLI Words by Antonio Cairoli > Photo by Ray Archer



ften a negative turn of events can turn into a positive. The day after the 2010 FIM awards in Portugal they closed the airspace in Spain and our flight was canceled. Also, on that flight to Rome was my new team manager Roger de Coster. Here I was at the airport in Lisbon stuck at the airport for the next 10 hours with Roger, we had time enough to go to lunch and get to know each other better. I think Roger is a really nice guy; it is a great step for the KTM team in USA. I always like the Christmas time, we have just spent time with the family, nice food and doing nothing really for a few days! I have three older sisters and they have their kids... We have one big table where we eat with all 14 Family members, great days! A few days after Christmas I left for USA! The day we arrived we had a surprise birthday party for my teammate Marvin Musquin! We played pool and I actually got beaten by my 'little' friend Kenny (Roczen)! It was nice to see everybody again...All together just like in Europe only this time in America. A few times I went to go to dinner with friends (Kenny, Gareth and Marvin), after riding we met in a restaurant and talked about the day, the upcoming days and just about fun stuff! It’s always nice that it’s possible to have nights like this, I love it... For New Years Eve we went with friends to Vegas! It was my first time in Vegas so it was pretty impressive! David Vuillemin and his wife showed us all the good stuff in Vegas and we spent time and money in the casinos! On New Years Eve we did go and party and when it was getting late we saw more and more of our new friends from motocross... It obviously wasn't only our idea to go to Vegas for New Years Eve. The 1st of January we went to see a cool Cirque du Soleil show and that night I went to see one of my favorite DJ's, DJ Tiësto!! What a great show that was! After Vegas my mechanic arrived in the USA and I could start riding! I'm here now because our plan was to ride two SX races. First it should be the first two races, after it should be race 2 and three because the team needed there time to setup for the new SX season and all this new changed inside the team.


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After my teammate Marvin Musquin got injured at the Bercy SX my team made the decision that I wouldn’t race any Supercross races. They were thinking of all the risk of racing Supercross and that made them make this decision. I was disappointed, and I still am. Even I have to learn a lot and I still I love riding Supercross. I was thinking people who know me and know I like to challenge my borders (push the envelope), and when I do that I’m at my best! So I would like to experience this new Supercross challenge! But sadly that's not going to happen this season... at least not in 2011! I've been two days on the bike now. And I enjoy riding the tracks here so far! I'm enjoying my time here and appreciate the country and their habits more and more! Guys I’m starting to love it over here. I’m staying in the USA for a month, I like staying here! The people are so nice to me and I’m feeling really welcome! The only 'problem' is the food! As I’m Italian, and we make the 'best' food in the world, it's hard to find good food! But all my American friends want to prove me wrong and take me for dinner to all these nice places. I have to admit, they know how to produce nice meat... but I still didn't find a restaurant where I can eat a good plate of pasta?! Another important thing for me is my daily morning Espresso. I tried all these places from Starbucks to a bar next to the highway. But it's not MY-well-needed-wakeup-Italian-Espresso. Starbucks is famous and the place to go for good coffee, at least that's what Americans say! So, I took the chance and I 'search' for a Starbucks. But search is the wrong word! You don’t have to search for a Starbucks in the USA. There’s one on every corner! So I am thinking it must be really good, these Starbucks. I was still thinking that when I walk in. That thought went quickly when my big 150ml espresso was served in a PAPER cup also with my name written on it? After a long search I found a place with a real Italian Lavazza coffee machine so over-excited I went inside and ordered my Espresso... I don't know what they did wrong but with the right machine they were still not able to make a good one. I still have time three weeks to complete my mission and find myself some good hard-cooked-pasta and a good Espresso. As I always try to complete my personal missions I HAVE to complete this one before I head back to Europe. Last weekend I went to the opening AMA Supercross at Anaheim to watch a lot of friends and teammates, Kenny, Mike and Andrew! I was curious as to how it would be standing next to the line and not being able to race. Normally I’m not good at just watching, but it was fun. TC222 «

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Tony Cairoli Official website: Tony contact Facebook: Tony Cairoli fan club Twitter: Antoniocairoli

Photo: Ray Archer

Tony Cairoli_222 - MX1 WORLD CHAMPION 2010 Gallery * Image Videos Section * News & Updates * About Me * Fan Club * Contact * Links * WebTV * HOME *




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Words David Bulmer > Photo Garth Milan

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, A1 WILL HAVE BEEN AND GONE AND NO DOUBT ALL THE MESSAGE BOARDS WILL BE UP IN ARMS ABOUT WHO WON, LOST AND FAILED. AND WITH GOOD REASON, A1 IS PROBABLY THE MOST EXCITING RACE OF THE YEAR. t’s one of the few times when there is no strategy, no keeping it safe for points and definitely no quarter given as each rider looks to stamp their authority on the rest of the field for the year ahead. Thrilling times for sure, and this year even more so as it has the added element of a certain Ken Roczen making his AMA Supercross debut. If there is a more exciting rider in world motocross right now, I've yet to see him and with his performance at the MXoN at Thunder Valley still fresh in the memory; A1 really is the chance to cement his position as motocross’s brightest talent. But let’s hold up one second because this certainly isn’t the first time a GP star has made the transition in recent times and they haven’t exactly gone smoothly previously. Besides, even if he were to do well at Anaheim, there’s still a long way to go before he truly wins over the US faithful. The last two biggest names who made the transition were Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle, who finished one and two in the 2008 World Championships before heading off to the bright lights of America. Both of them sat out the following Supercross in order to fully mount a challenge on the AMA Nationals. And while both of them had successes (Tyla winning Southwick, Tommy’s second at Red Bud), both knew that they hadn’t done as well as they’d liked or expected. 2010 was meant to herald their arrival into the stadiums of America but we actually only ended up seeing them for a combined two main events as respective shoulder injuries took their toll. It was this shoulder injury that would eventually see the end of Tommy Searle’s stateside adventure as he never really fully recovered from a moto two crash at the opening round in Hangtown, which was especially disappointing as he came so close to winning moto one. The young Brit is now hoping that he can finally claim that elusive first title on the world stage, something that a lot of experts and fans thought he should’ve done in 2009. Tyla ended up missing the entire Supercross season but came back with a vengeance for the outdoors, coming second in the Championship with wins at High Point and Southwick. Despite this success, he didn’t really receive many accolades and is certainly nowhere near being bookies favourite for 2011, which is surprising seeing as Canard and Pourcel have both left the class. Before those two crossed the Atlantic, we had the dynamic duo of Ben Townley and Christophe Pourcel who between them have accounted for three Lites Supercross titles, and four podiums in the outdoors, in the space of three years. It’s an impressive list and one that would surely put them on top of any team manager’s must-sign list. Well think again because Townley is back in Europe and Pourcel is... errr... doing something, somewhere (hopefully he’ll have raced A1, but at time of press, he is completely AWOL). It’s a shame for Townley that he hasn’t been able to get the ride that he deserved and complete his American dream, because after last year’s outdoor season, he looked back to his 2007 best when fans across America got to see him battle Ryan Villopoto all season long. In fact his race at Red Bud will go down as one of the races of the decade where he held off Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey for almost the entire moto, before crashing on the last lap. He even won one of the three races at this year’s MXoN (although after the incident with Andrew Short, that may have done him more harm than good) but that still wasn’t enough to secure another year of chasing the American dream. So really, out of the last four top names to cross the pond, as it stands, Tyla is the only rider currently competing, and even he has only raced one and a half championships in two years due to injuries. While this large pot of gold may be extremely tempting, the rainbow to get there certainly isn’t smooth sailing as even double World Champion Marvin Musquin has discovered. He hasn’t even raced in anger in the USA and there is already talk that not only is his supercross season over, but the outdoors as well after his crash at Bercy. What is the secret then? Well I guess the people to ask would be Grant Langston and Chad Reed. Not only are the pair multi-championship winning riders, they have large fan bases, are popular with other riders and have even have had enough success to start up their own teams. These two guys have (almost) been perfect role models for any aspiring GP star looking to make it big in America, and if Roczen has any sense, he’ll make sure to befriend these two at A1 and try and learn as much as possible. With the risks, come great rewards, but Ken Roczen has the speed, the passion, the persona and under the tutelage of Roger DeCoster, he could be the right man for the job. How soon he makes the leap will probably depend on whether he can wrap up the 2011 World Championship but at the ripe old age of 16, he certainly has. «


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DAVID PHILIPPAERTS Monster Energy Yamaha rider David Philippaerts has not shown the same form as that amazing 2008 when he won the FIM World MX1 Championship. Many look to the Italian to return to form in 2011 and join the battle between Ben Townley and Antonio Cairoli PHOTO: MASSIMO ZANZANI


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G A L L E R Y#02.4 ANDREW SHORT Somewhat of a veteran in the AMA Supercross series Andrew Short might just surprise some people in 2011 with his KTM 350 machine. Short isn't known as an individual winner, but is always the next man standing and is also a team man, as proven at last year’s Motocross of Nations PHOTO: GARTH MILAN

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ometimes a moment in life can define a person, it can be an event in their life, doesn’t matter if it is a positive or a negative. Life is short and those who find their passion early can move forward at a fast pace, enjoying life to the maximum and eventually looking back on their time on earth as a special experience. You get the feeling that Youthstream President Giuseppe Luongo is living that life. Always smiling, talking to business partners, or in a walk through the Grand Prix paddock with his beautiful wife Ursula. I’ve never seen Luongo angry, although I have seen him make decisions that are obviously made through somebody trying to cheat him. Despite what many might think Giuseppe Luongo is a man with very high values on being loyal and not cheating him is a good idea. If you ask many of the current Grand Prix promoters you won’t get too many complaining of his company Youthstream trying to do dirty deals, relationships are often done in a very professional manner, but at the end of the day there is also a personal touch, bordering on friendship. Attending the FIM Off-Road Awards a few years ago I was lucky enough to witness Luongo in contact with his son and the mother of his son. Divorced years earlier the friendship between the two parents gave me a lot of respect for the Italian businessman. Having gone through a divorce myself I saw many things that I also tried to do as a father. The love of a past partner shouldn’t be dimmed by the loss of a relationship. We were lucky enough to sit down with Giuseppe Luongo and ask him some personal questions about life, love and the sport that has taken him to the very peak of his professional life.


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From left to right: Giuseppe Luongo, Rob Dingman, Vito Ippolito and Wolfgang Srb

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PERSONAL LIFE MXI: Giuseppe, I have known you now for nearly 15 years and the most impressive thing about you is the loyalty you show towards people who work for you. Where does that loyalty come from? Did you learn it from your parents or through life experiences? Luongo: I come from a farming family from a very remote village in the mountains in the South of Italy, in this place in the world contracts and lawyers don’t exist, a hand-shake has more value than a contract because by not maintaining your word means the loss of honour. My whole education was based on this principle. MXI: What is a typical week for Giuseppe Luongo? I’ve got this picture of you being very busy at times, a lot of flying around to many meetings, but I also have a picture of you sitting on a boat and drinking expensive champagne and smoking a big cigar. How is your life in reality? Luongo: The image of the big boat, drinking expensive champagne and big cigars is all very nice, but unfortunately it doesn’t happen very often! I don’t really have a typical week as my work is not very typical. Practically every week is different; the only thing that is very stabile and similar everyday is I do everything together with my wife, Ursula (travel, hobby, work, etc). We work between 8 – 12 hours a day, we travel a lot, and when we find time we follow our son David with football, and I try to find an hour a day to smoke my cigar with a glass of good wine. MXI: I’ve been told about the boat trips by some riders, have you been able to enjoy much personal time with riders and do you have some special moments you can share with us? Luongo: A rider, when he takes off his helmet, is a person like any other – therefore with some I may have a better feeling than with others, but anyway we try not to spend personal time with riders because it can be viewed and used badly from the outside due to my role. We often see riders who have already retired or who compete in other disciplines, and we have passed some moments on the boat with Alex Puzar, JeanMichel Bayle, Rick Johnson, Max Biaggi and others. MXI: Your relationship with Ursula seems very special, like two soul mates. How important is Ursula for you in your live, but also in your quest to improve the sport and what part does she play in helping you reach your goals? She seems like the perfect partner in life for you. Luongo: Ursula is more than my love, she’s my everything, she’s the perfect partner for everything, we do everything together, and she give me the right balance. Ursula comes from the sport (she was in the National Canoe Polo Team representing New Zealand) so she knows what we talk about. I will thank Motocross forever because it’s via Motocross that we met each other, we were lucky to have met each other but after that moment it’s not a question of luck, you have to build your happiness every day. MXI: What is the worst thing somebody can do to make Giuseppe Luongo angry? Luongo: I can’t tell you; otherwise it will be used against me!!! Ha ha ha! No seriously, the worst thing is if somebody cheats you. MXI: Where is your main home, where do you spend more of your time? Luongo: Switzerland. We love Switzerland, it’s a beautiful country, very safe, organized, clean and very discrete, and many sport federations have their offices here. MXI: Do you have a favourite spot, maybe a holiday house somewhere where you can relax and not think about work? If so what do you enjoy about that place? Luongo: My favourite places are on the boat in Formentera Balearic Islands, or if we have more time in New Zealand because it’s where Ursula


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Inset: Giuseppe’s son David Main: Giuseppe with Ursula

comes from and because it the most beautiful places in the world, I love it, we like the nature and where there are not so many people. MXI: A lot of money and unhappy or zero money and happy, sometimes the dilemma of people. Can money make people happy? What are your experiences of being financially ok, and have you had moments when you have had to struggle financially? Luongo: For me the best formula is money and happiness! Just joking – but sure for sure it’s the best! I think it’s a big mistake when people think money equals happiness, that’s completely wrong, happiness is something else. Happiness is to wake up every morning with the person you love beside you, to love and be loved, to divide everything with the person you love, to have healthy and good children, do the work you like with people you like, etc. I know a lot of people with a lot of money but who are not happy at all. In my life I’ve had money and I’ve been very poor, I’ve had success and I’ve seen defeat, and it was during my moments of difficulty where I understood a lot of things, and I see those from my family and my true friends who were there in my moments of difficulty are still there now.

MXI: You’ve had a divorce situation in your life and having been through that I know how difficult that can be. I understand you still have a great relationship with your son’s mother. How was that period of your life for you and how do you create that special relationship. Luongo: In these modern times divorce is something that happens often, but after spending 7 years of every moment of your life with someone you cannot act as an enemy. Surely when there is a divorce it means something is wrong, the love has finished, but especially when you have children you can act like a civilized person. We have a very good relationship with Dominique (my ex wife) and Patricia (my ex girlfriend), they are like sisters for Ursula and me. The good relation also helps a lot for David’s (my son) stability. MXI: Having a son, how is that for you. What special moments have you shared with him? Luongo: It’s fantastic, we share a lot of moments together, David plays professional football and loves Motocross racing and we share a lot of other hobbies, we are very close to each other. We shared a very special moment for his Birthday last year; our team (where David plays)

was playing against our direct competitor (one of us was to be relegated) and that day David scored the first goal and made the assist for the 2nd goal and thanks to this 2-1 victory the Club was saved! On the same day he was badly injured (out for 4 months) but he was so happy. He is someone very serious, professional and always gives 120% in everything he does, we are very proud of him. MXI: What is your biggest regret in your life? Luongo: I don’t have any regrets because I have a philosophy that if something bad happens it’s may happen for the better of tomorrow. Everything that has happened good in my life has happened after something bad or a defeat. The past has to be used as an experience to not make the same mistake, and enjoy the present and future. MXI: Happiest moment in your life and what makes it special? What was the emotion of that moment? Luongo: There are 2: When David was born, and when I understood Ursula loved me, it’s impossible to describe and it was unbelievable, I will remember it for all my life and our life is like the first moment. W W W. M O T O C R O S S I L L U S T R AT E D. C O M


MOTOCROSS LIFE MXI: What is your first memory of going to the Motocross? Luongo: My first memory was when I was 15 my sister gave me a Cavallero 50 with helmet, boots, etc for Christmas, and I went to a very little track in Prato near the river, it was the first time I rode a bike and for sure I had never gone off-road. There were some other guys with small destroyed bikes, who were jumping and going fast, but I, with a much better bike, was not able to ride – I think this made them crazy! But after a while I was the same as the other boys and I stopped playing football so that I could put all my energy into Motocross. MXI: Giuseppe, can you tell me what makes you still so passionate about Motocross after all these years? Luongo: It’s for many reasons: 1 Because I love the sport I manage and am proud to have come from being a fan of Motocross to today being the President of the company which manages the Motocross World Championship. 2 Because every season is different, every track is different and every country is different, it’s never boring. 3 Because I believe we can bring this sport even higher and with more notoriety worldwide. 4 Because today many people live from Motocross (Youthstream, teams, journalists, suppliers, etc) and we have the duty to continue developing to allow the people who are involved to keep their employment, and possibly create other jobs. 5 Because new internet technology is coming for the TV and we are developing this, we will have YS TV which will be broadcasted worldwide during the whole week and have a TV channel where all the fans can come together. MXI: I have talked to a lot of the American riders, legends like Ricky Johnson, David Bailey and Johnny O’Mara, riders who came out here back in the 1980’s when you used to run the Masters of Motocross and also that very first MXoN you promoted in Italy. They all talk about the friendship and respect you showed for them. There must be a big part of you that is a Motocross fan and want to show your hero’s respect? Luongo: These riders, as well as Malherbe and Thorpe, are great men, in the beginning they were my heroes but they showed to be great men also in their normal life. As I said before I respect a lot the active riders but I prefer to not have a ‘friend’ relationship, once they are retired it’s different, we even make some business together with some of the retired riders. The Masters was the best ever concept of Motocross, putting the best of the World Championship and the best of the American Championship together in a short Championship (6 – 8 events) - this was fantastic! MXI: If you had to name five people in the sport that have helped the sport grow, who would you pick? Luongo: I would chose six people, those would be, Stefan Everts, Stefan Pierer, Wolfgang Srb, Giuseppe Luongo, Mark Hall, and Roger De Coster. MXI: Which other promoters have impressed you in your time in the sport? Luongo: I don’t want to be arrogant, but nobody in Motocross, Youthstream is by far the best in Motocross. Other sports have very good promoters from who we have to learn from every day, and we will learn and we will grow.


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Giuseppe in 1983, a Rinaldi supporter

MXI: Biggest mistake you ever made as a promoter and why? Luongo: To not evaluate well SuperMoto’s potential. We lost about €5 million with SuperMoto, but also manufacturers like Aprilia, KTM and Husqvarna believed strongly in the potential of SuperMoto and made the same mistake as Youthstream. I love SuperMoto and if I had to start it again today I would because it’s a fantastic sport, but I would not invest all this money. MXI: Going back to Ernée in 2005, the Motocross of Nations. Obviously the start of this amazing run of success of the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations. What went right there? Luongo: The MXON is a great concept – the best riders in the world defending the colors of their country. This is unique. Unfortunately for several years before Ernée some stupid political games put the interest and value of the MXON very low, then when we bought the rights from the FIM in 2004 we started immediately on a big diplomatic work putting all the parties together (I personally spoke with AMA, Roger and Carmichael – who really believes in the MXON) and then when all the ingredients where in place we had the unbelievable success in Ernée in 2005, and from this moment it has been a huge success. Don’t forget that I organized the successful MXON in Maggiora in 1986, it was possibly my best and I was just 26 years old! MXI: You once called the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations a great business card for Youthstream. How important is this event for the growth of the FIM World Motocross Championship. Obviously American Motocross fans and the Industry watch this race and their interest in riders like Ken Roczen and Antonio Cairoli only grows from watching the MXoN. What is your opinion? Luongo: The Monster Energy Motocross of Nations is an important ambassador of our sport, not only for USA and Europe but for the entire world, teams, industries, media, VIPs, fans, come from all over the world to this event and this event makes the young dream. It’s the only event where you can see all the best riders in the world race together. I believe our sport will continue to grow especially in South America and in Asia, and in 20 years time I will not be surprised if Brazil, China, India and Russia will have teams as strong as USA or some European countries. MXI: To the people who might not know how does Youthstream run, it seems like you are a group of friends, and then people you also employ. How did it all start and what makes Youthstream special to you? Luongo: Youthstream is a team where everyone can have personal success only via team work. As I told you, during my difficult times I saw friends who stayed near me like Luigi, Philippe, Guido, Francis (Magnanou), and then once the company Action Group had

Giuseppe with Ricky Carmichael at the MXoN at Matterley Basin in 2006

developed other friends joined us like Eric and Nikos, and when I started Youthstream I wanted to start with only people who I could fully trust and who could fully trust me. The company became bigger and bigger, and today Youthstream has 135 people working for it and we will continue to increase over the next years. Youthstream’s vision is over a middle to long term and for this reason we invest and believe in the young and in the women, and as you see in the management of Youthstream there are young people like Daniele Rizzi and women like Mireille Briot, Patricia Maskarova, Charlotte Apparu and Marionna Leiva in key positions. Even now with many people working, the concept is the same as in the beginning – trust and mutual respect. Nobody in Youthstream calls me Mr. President but they all have a big respect for me and in my way to manage, everyone can propose their ideas or different ways (it is encouraged to do so), but I will then take the last decision, and this way works very well. I am very proud that today there are many families who live, pay the credits on their homes and raise children with the revenue of Motocross and with the management of Youthstream. MXI: If you could replay one race you have seen and watch it again, which race would that be and why? Luongo: Maggiora 1986 when O’Mara with a little 125 won in front of the 500 of Thorpe – the fans went crazy! MXI: The interest in American riders has always been something we have enjoyed. Be it Bob Hannah, Marty Smith, Jeff Ward, Ricky Johnson, David Bailey, Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart or Ryan Dungey. Which rider is your favorite and what makes those American riders so special to the whole World. Luongo: It’s difficult for me to say who my favorite is because they are all great champions and they each have something unique. • I was the first to bring Hannah to Europe with the Supercross of Charlety in Paris in 1987. • Johnson, Bailey and O’Mara is for me the true dream team because three absolute Champions in the same team is something exceptional. • No need to comment about Jeremy, his results speak for themselves. • Ricky Carmichael is a great champion, great man and a great supporter of the MXON. • James and Ryan are our current stars, I hope they will be able to take part in our US GP and in the MXON – fans from all over the world wait for this. All these riders are special worldwide, simply because they are great, like De Coster, Eric Geboers, Jobé, Malherbe, Thorpe, Puzar, Jean-Michel Bayle, Everts, Cairoli. These names are our sport and these names will be forever engraved in the big stone of Motocross

MXI: What is for you the worst moment in the sport. A rider injury or maybe a decision that has affected the sport in a negative way? Luongo: For sure the worst is a rider who is badly injured – the health and life of a person is what is the most important. A bad decision can be very bad and maybe cost money but it can always be mended but a bad injury is for life and unfortunately cannot be mended. We try to make the circuits as safe as possible and you will see that in more than 10 years that we manage this sport we have made serious evolution in the safety of the circuits. MXI: You often invite riders to your gala evenings or to the MXoN. How important is the history of the sport and the memory of those former greats? Luongo: Riders are our sport. They are the main actors. Their memory is very important, what we have today exists thanks to yesterday. Cairoli’s value is big thanks to Everts, Geboers, Puzar, De Coster... We have a very big respect of past Champions, and all current Champions have to realize and understand that in some years also they will be a former Champion so they have to act today in a manner to win respect that will remain with them forever. At the MXON in Denver, Carmichael was very busy and just had a couple of hours to come, he took a plane just to come and say hello to everyone and give his support, then he had to leave – he is a gentleman! MXI: You have spent a big portion of your life in the sport, do you think about moving away from the sport? Luongo: I don’t think so. Still Motocross has a long and bright future ahead, the economy and motorcycle markets are growing very much in Brazil, Argentina, Chili, Mexico, China, India and Indonesia, and Motocross will be important there very shortly. The World Championship still has so much to develop, at the moment we have the YS TV project which will be something new and interesting broadcasted via internet but viewed on the normal TV screen. So, until we have new things to develop I will not leave Motocross. I am looking forward to starting the new season with some new sponsor, new colors, riders coming back from America, with Monster Energy giving significant support to Kawasaki, with TEKA together with Red Bull and KTM, with Honda Martin who finally has strong factory support, with the presence of top American stars at the USGP and with the new YS TV where fans from all over the world can follow the GPs live from Saturday to Sunday with all qualifying races, European Championship races and GP races, curiosities, back-stage in the paddock and much more. There are many exciting new things for the New Year! «

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The 1977 British Championhip at Petersfield, Hants, shows Vic Allan cartwheeling in the middle of the pack, battling up front are Bob Wright (8), Steve Beamish (34), Bryan Wade (9), Stuart Nunn (15), Roger Harvey (11) and Graham Noyce (1) in the middle of the pack


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ld school Motocross is something very specia the history of our sport. Many of us got into Motocross in the 1960's, 70's or 80's. Scramb as it was known back in the day was run on circuit crossing creek beds, or running along enduro type tracks. Times have changed and as the bikes have g faster and the sport more professional the circuits a riders have also changed. Here are some cool image from British photographer Lynne Nicholas, but firs speak to Lynne about her passion in the 1970's.


al to o bles s

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Sand master Peter Herlings (father of Jeffrey) at the 1978 Hants Grand International on his Maico

"Hi, the name’s Lynne Nicholas, I was fortunate enough to be a motocross photographer in that gloriously golden era of the 1970’s. Having become interested in motocross in the early 70’s I decided to combine this with my passion for photography, soon I was hooked, travelling the length and breadth of the UK taking pictures at many different events from local club races through to British Championships and the British GPs. Eventually I became a freelance photographer for the leading UK off road paper Trials and Motocross News. I felt a great sense of achievement to become a freelance at TMX as I was the only female motocross photographer in the UK at that time. "The equipment I used was not that special at all, basically a Pentax K Series with a 50/200mm lens, that was it really, to get

the shots with this set up I realise now that I probably put myself in some rather risky situations but I got the shot and that’s what mattered! My career took another direction in the early eighties but again motorcycles became a big part of my life in the late eighties with my sons riding trials, an opportunity I couldn’t resist to combine my love of bikes and photography once again. "Today my passion is dedicated to garden photography and it was only recently that I found all my old negatives and decided to archive them, looking at the shots brought back so many great memories which I felt I really needed to share so please take a look and enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them." You can check out Lynne’s photos on W W W. M O T O C R O S S I L L U S T R AT E D. C O M


Three times World 500cc Champion Dave Thorpe(2) on the Kawasaki leads Roger Garrett (12) Maico and Roger Harvey (18) Maico at Pickwick Lodge, a UK national race


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1979 World 500cc Champion Brad Lackey gets it on its side at the 1978 British GP at Farliegh Castle

British legend Dave Thorpe on the Kawasaki, looks like Frome in Somerset

1980 USGP winner Marty Moates on the KSI Honda, 1978 British GP at Farliegh Castle

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THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Words by Geoff Meyer > Photo by Gary Freeman



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eople like Ashley Kane the well known industry guy from England. Ash can run through events from 40 years ago as though it happened yesterday, or Paul Malin who is you ask him a question about a race will rattle off corner to corner action of that event back in 1990, or maybe Davey Coombs from RacerX in America, who knows more about Grand Prix history than just about any of the European MX historians who have followed the sport from up close. Some of my fondest memories from the sport in the last couple of decades have been the relationships I have build with riders from outside Europe. The guys who have travelled the World from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or America. I guess it’s the language thing, but some of my favorites from the last 15 years have been Grant Langston, Chad Reed, Tyla Rattray, Josh Coppins, Ben Townley, and Daryl and Shayne King. Four of these guys would eventually win World titles (S.King, Langston, Townley and Rattray) and three (D.King, Reed and Coppins) would finish second in the World. What interested me about the magnificent seven was not what they did on the track, but who they were off the track. All totally different, but all linked together as open, friendly people who didn’t mind a laugh. Two South African’s, three New Zealanders and an Aussie. My first contact came with Shayne and Daryl King in the early 1990’s and while it was at first a distant contact I slowly got to know them better, and could enjoy a good laugh with Shayne, while Daryl seemed the more sensible of the two, and Shayne the more fun. Funnily enough I got to hang out with Shayne at this year’s United States Grand Prix and had a ball in the hotel bar. It was more about drinking weird cocktails than bench racing, but a lot of fun. Josh Coppins was next up, and again Josh was a quiet guy, similar to DK, but slowly our working relationship grew to the point I could probably say Josh was my favorite of the seven guys. As he got older Coppins turned into something of the spokesman for the sport in Europe. Always open in his beliefs and supportive of the progress the FIM World Motocross Championships have made. One of the few moments I have been emotional at a Grand Prix was that moment in 2007 when Josh rode back to the paddock at the Grand Prix of Great Britain after realizing his World Championship dream was over. The feeling in my stomach that day was unbearable, I can’t even imagine how Josh felt. Next up I met Grant Langston and despite only spending a few years in Europe the son of Gerald impressed everyone and until this day he is still the same guy who arrived on the scene in that 2000 125cc Championship battle with James Dobb and Mike Brown. As far as championships go this was one of my all time favorites as the two veterans went to war on the young teenager. Langston eventually showing he had a little more than his older rivals. The interview with Grant in this issue was done at the Bercy Supercross and as usual he was open, honest and smiling most of the way through. I met Chad Reed in 1999 at the MXoN, but I didn’t really get to know Chad until the 2001 season when as a teenager he started the season

by only just qualifying for the Grand Prix of Spain, and then progressed quicker than anyone in the sports history, even winning a Grand Prix and ending the season in second place in the World 250cc Championship. I have to admit the first time I met Reed I thought he was just a cocky kid who thought he was much better than he actually was, but as I got to know him I realized his personality was just a guy who said what he thought, no bullshit, just straight down the line. I was lucky enough to pen the first feature story on Chad in RacerX and the moment of giving him the issue (at the Grand Prix of Namur) will always stick in my mind. Chad was so happy to be inside the covers of America’s leading Motocross magazines. One of the highlights of working in Motocross was standing inside the Anaheim stadium with 60,000 screaming fans and Chad Reed winning his very first AMA Supercross. It was in 2003 and as Reed did his victory lap he stopped at the spot I was taking photos and screamed out my name, he called me over and we embraced. To be invited to join his celebration was really special. I made many trips to America in that period, I was the one journalist who was invited into his inner circle and that 2004 season was huge. What did disappoint me was when I arrived at the first round of the 2005 AMA Supercross and Chad totally blanked me, a working relationship that I felt was comfortable was suddenly over and for two or three years Chad went through his period of finding himself as money, and the rock star life style seemed to embroil him. I’m not somebody who looks for “friendships” with riders and Chad’s actions on that wet day in January 2005 was easy to let pass. A few years later and a little older Reed once again changed, and started acting like the Chad Reed of 2001. We talked again at the Bercy Supercross in 2008 and all is good again. Ben Townley, another of the young kids who arrived on the scene and a little like Langston wasn’t a big hit straight away. Riding for smaller teams and struggling for results in the early going he didn’t show signs of being a World Champion. I still clearly remember the first time I really met him. It was the Grand Prix of Germany and he walked into the press room with Tinus Nel (who owned the team Ben rode in). I was looking through images and Ben walked over and asked could I send him some. Townley was just a sweet kid from New Zealand, living the dream. As he got older and started winning his personality came out. A joker, always up for a laugh and very respectful of everyone around him. I once told his parents that Ben was the nicest kid I had ever met, and I meant it. Injures, his time in America made our contact different. Townley got older, had a baby and was now an adult. Those days of a young kid running around having fun are long gone; it’s a serious more professional Ben Townley now. I miss the old Ben Townley, but maybe in 2011 we will get to relive some memorial moments of the past and he will be able to fight with Antonio Cairoli for a World title. Last and not least is Tyla Rattray. While I’ve visited Tyla at his home in Belgium and done stories with him, I never got that close to him. He was a good laugh at the track, but like his older, wise countryman Langston Rattray hasn’t changed and he won’t. He is just a cool dude who likes a laugh and gives it 100% every time he goes out. All seven of these guys gave a lot to the sport in Europe and while only Ben Townley remains racing in the FIM World Motocross Championship each and every one of these champions have placed their name in the history of our great sport. We are so lucky to have seen them race and win. Thanks guys. «



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G A L L E R Y#02.5 K-DUB Having raced 17 seasons at the highest level Kevin Windham continues to surprise us. Windham has never won a major AMA Championship, and his second placed finishes have been through consistent results rather than spectacular race wins. Loved by all as a fighter, maybe 2011 can bring him a Championship PHOTO: SIMON CUDBY

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G A L L E R Y#02.6 KEN ROCZEN Red Bull KTM Factory rider Kenny Roczen is the next big thing. A future World and AMA Champion, but first he needs to show the whole world what he has shown Europe in the last 18 months PHOTO: GARTH MILAN


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he two strokes were great fun back in the day and my first year as a mechanic was in 1991 for Honda Britain’s Craig Prately. Craig was fresh from the schoolboys and was just 16 years old, he lived with me and he rode and trained so hard over the winter. The factory Mugen kit turned up ready for the season start and guess what! It was fantastic, if you were on a supercross track! We had to revert to my trusty tuning as we already had made a good setting over the winter that worked well. Craig hit the season by storm, beating the likes of experienced riders like Herring and Jamie Dobb. He won both heats of the first British championship and many more subsequent races. With two round left and a huge 40-point lead he broke his femur at Boltby on the 250. I believe that injury ended his true potential of going on to be a World champion; he had all it took to make the next step. The highlight of that year was when Craig finished third at the British GP at Hatherton Hall. After a few years on the 250 Yamaha, Paul Malin was my next 125 rider, whilst we had enjoyed success together in the British 125 class it was only seen as a bit of fun during the GP season, later in ’94 we got serious about riding the 125 because it was obvious Paul was not riding well enough to get into the Nations team aboard the 250 so we worked hard to take the 125 spot and prove to Dave Thorpe, the team manager that we had not only the rider but also the bike to compete. At that time I had worked to make a good 125 and then we then raced two races against the best British. Paul won all the races! Paul also put in the best performance in the pre-Nations training session against Herring and Nicholl even though they were on their bigger bikes. That finally clinched the place for Paul, added to that we got an offer from Michele Rinaldi to use Bob Moore’s bikes that he had just won the 94 World championship on. That was it, all set for the ’94 Motocross des Nations at Roggenburg. Well two class wins for Paul and the overall for Great Britain was a brilliant result and it was a fantastic feeling. Following that result Paul decided the ’95 season was going to be his first full 125 season, so again lots of testing with Rinaldi parts and my own tuning and DEP pipes we worked hard and the best moment came when I was stood on the last jump at Foxhill with my fist held high after Paul won the British GP, that moment will always be the best until my team wins a World championship, Paul finished 11th that year. The following year Paul was selected as one of four riders to receive full Rinaldi support; the only difference was that we were allowed to use our own DEP brand of pipes. We worked hard to capitalise on this freedom and one time I went to Craig Elwell’s DEP factory to test and I ended up


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staying 10 days straight, it was insane we were on the dyno from 6am till 12 at night. That is what I love about the small cc class; it is always non-stop looking for power! The Yamaha Rinaldi bikes in ’96 were unbelievable, they had so much power compare to the other bikes but Kawasaki had a secret weapon, Sebastian Tortelli. Unlike today’s riders like Musquin, Herlings and Roczen, Tortelli was an absolute power machine. He was very compact, strong and very muscular, his bike was not the quickest but he made up for it down the hills and around the corners. That said Paul had a fantastic year finishing second to Tortelli and he won the British championship easily. In ’97 Paul got injured whilst at the first GP in Indonesia, which ruined his GP season. He still won the British title in style. In ’98 my young signing Carl Nunn finished 3rd at the British GP held at Foxhill and later at the same track under complete muddy conditions represented team Great Britain at the Nations, but Carl fell foul to the famous hill which Everts made look so easy, and there was some guy call Ricky Carmichael riding for USA on a Kawasaki 125 that looked a complete amateur in the mud. Then in 2000 Carl hit the big time with a double win at Plomion, France. With good support from Rinaldi that year for Carl, he was flying on the 125 Yamaha and he had some great battles but somehow Plomion was one of those GPs where everything clicked for Carl and it was as if he was floating around the track. With the factory KTMs ripping the GPs apart it was a strange sight to see our bike out front, especially with the hilly and muddy conditions. With two straight moto wins it was the icing on the cake and as I ran across the start line to congratulate Carl I got stuck in the mud and fell flat on my face! That year we took a GP victory with Brian Jorgensen at Grobledonk in Belgium, this victory was really satisfying for our team as the conditions were horrendous and there was over 30 cm of water in many places so over half the riders failed to finish. We had prepared the bike like it was going to Weston beach race! The following year Brian wrapped up the British 125 title for us but not before his team mate Billy Mac tried to wipe him out on the first corner so he could take the title, as usual Billy put himself on the ground and ended third in the title race. Our last year on the 125 was in 2002 with Billy and he lead the series till the last round on his super fast YZ125. It was a pure mission night and day to keep up with the factory KTMs, we had to work so hard and at every meeting we were changing compressions and squish clearances and jetting in practice to make sure we had 100% available power. Unfortunately, Billy lost the championship tied on points to Stephen Sword after some very un-sportsman like help from other riders in the last round. This was probably the worst feeling I have had in the sport after all the genuine hard work the team and Billy had put in. The 125 bikes were a fantastic era to be a part of because it is so much about the team and the work they put it, which shows on the track more that the bigger bikes do. We would change a piston in under 10 minutes at a British round, that was fun! Then came MX2 on the four strokes…«

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Prince Grant Langston interview Words and photos by Geoff Meyer

It isn’t hard to forget when Grant Langston arrived in Europe back in 1997. Along with his father they did their best to survive, struggling from race to race and fighting for every point that came their way. A pauper in a world of legends and wealth always searching for the team or the bike that would help him progress to a World Motocross Championship. At first it seemed impossible, two years of hardships and living in near poverty, but finally he fought through, started scoring points and winning races.


still clearly remember back in the winter of 1997 talking to Grant’s father Gerald, him asking me if I thought Grant was an interesting enough story for some magazines I worked for. At the time I didn’t see the talent in this South African kid and while I remained friendly and interested in the Langston family as people it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I realized what a talent this young man was. It was nearly 24 months later and the season of 1999. I was on my way home from the 250cc Belgian Grand Prix when I got a phone call that Langston had won the 125cc Grand Prix of Germany. To many it was a huge shock, but the people around Langston knew that he was closing in on that elusive victory. Tinus Nel who had helped the Langston’s was back in South Africa watching one of his young pupils Tyla Rattray, he remembered the call he received from Gerald Langston. “Grant had been improving,” Nel said. “The race in Germany was held in sand and Grant was a good sand rider. Many people where surprised that he won that GP, but we were not, he was slowly building to it. Funny thing was the race Tyla was doing that day was an 80cc race and was also a big moment for him; he finally beat some of his rivals who had been beating him often. It was a good day for both young guys.” Slowly and surely Langston started putting together better results and by the start of the 2000 World 125cc Championship he along with England’s James Dobb and American Mike Brown were the favorites to fight for the title. Italian legend Alessio Chiodi the World 125cc Champion of 1997, 98 and 99 was gone, injured in an off season Supercross. It quickly became apparent that Langston wasn’t about to give an inch to his older and wiser rivals and by season’s end he was crowned the World Champion. Since that 2000 season the South African has created something of history by winning an American Motocross Championship, 125cc Supercross Championship and numerous other victories like the US Open and Bercy Supercross.


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Prince Grant Langston interview


owever at the peak of a career that brought far more than he could ever have hoped for Langston suffered an unexpected life threatening prognosis from his doctor. Cancer had formed behind his eye and laser treatment saved his life, but damaged his eye so badly that his brilliant career came to a sudden end. Langston did try and come back, but he always knew that with his vision problems his chances of victory and the growth of his family meant more to him than the chance of injury and disappointment.


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Motocross Illustrated: Grant, when did you know your career was finished? Langston: I think it was after I crashed at Red Bud. I was feeling pretty good that day, I was feeling good in the first moto, running up in seventh place. I was closing on sixth and fifth. I felt like I was turning it around, because until then I hadn’t had a great season. I had been through Daytona (Langston had a huge crash in the Supercross race there), and I started thinking about these things and I was trying really hard. Not having the support I was used to I didn’t think I could push the bike like I wanted to and also my visions was a problem. Motocross Illustrated: You crashed big time at Red Bud, what can you remember from that weekend? Langston: Watching video of me racing it wasn’t the old Grant Langston who found the good lines and I started questioning myself, and then after Red Bud where I had a pretty big crash, I don’t remember anything

of it and that was the second time in a few months (Daytona he had the same thing). I woke up in hospital and my wife wasn’t there, it wasn’t too serious, but because I had bruising and cuts and my arm was all swollen up, they wanted to take me in. My wife wasn’t there and my kids were not there and a part of me was saying I don’t like this, I don’t like being hurt and I don’t like struggling. At the end of the day it’s still my job, but when you are barely paying the bills, you put all those factors together and it made me realize, but the visions issue was a big part of it. Motocross Illustrated: How was that suddenly thinking seriously about retirement? Langston: I was at home talking with my family, like at the end of July, I said to my dad I think I want to retire, and I had never said that to my dad in my whole life. The longer we talked about it the more I realized that in my mind I had already realized I couldn’t compete at the level I

wanted to. I just sat there and as a group, between my wife, my mum and dad and my sister we went over things. They were like can you give it everything you got for another year, train your ass off, be on the bike I need to be, and I just told them I couldn’t. I didn’t think my vision was there, part of my motivation wasn’t there, you have to have that burning desire and if you don’t have that then you are going to get hurt, and I have seen friends get hurt and that was also a concern. I weighed everything up and the negative list was a lot longer than the positive list. Motocross Illustrated: You continued to ride, even racing in Bercy in November. Why was that? Langston: I love riding and I won’t stop riding. Coming to Bercy to put on a show is one thing, but hammering 17 rounds of the AMA Supercross Championship on the roughest circuits is a big difference. Even Jeremy (McGrath) he talked to me and said there are times when I might think I am still pretty fast and I still have it; Greg (Albertyn) said the same thing. I see these young riders who are single and doing what they want, and I just can’t do that anymore. I was once that kid and I always wanted to retire in my late 20, and I wanted to be a young dad, and those things came around. When you know deep down that you can’t win a lot anymore, and you have in the past won a lot, it sucks. To go from a winner to not winning that is when you lose the motivation. Motocross Illustrated: The moment you were told your vision was a problem, or that you had cancer, did you ever worry you might die? Langston: No, because the doctor took his time to tell me and not make me nervous. He told me first that it wasn’t life threatening, but he then went on to tell me if I don’t do anything then it will spread and if I get a tumor, then it will be too late. He told me if I didn’t do anything I could die, you get it fixed and it damages the eye and the optic nerve and you go blind in that eye later in life, so it was like do I want to die or do I want to lose sight in my eye. That was sort of the start of my career being over. Motocross Illustrated: What problems did you have with your vision when racing? Langston: My eye was a problem with shadows and ruts and stuff on the track. Motocross Illustrated: So you get it fixed, how was that? Langston: It was a little depressing, I was laying in the hospital in a lot of pain, because they cut your eye lid, pull it up and then put a plate behind your eye so the radiation doesn’t penetrate your brain, because that could cause brain damage. So I was sitting there and my wife couldn’t be in my room for more than an hour because of the radiation. I mean everything had been going so good, I had just won the Outdoors, and I won the US Open, had my contracts extended. I felt like Grant Langston was at his peak at 26 years old. On the other side of the coin I mean I was in hospital and people where dying, when you see that then a shitty eye for the rest of my life I mean it’s not the end of the World. Motocross Illustrated: People doubted you in 2007 and you went and won the Motocross Championship in America. I guess you were at your peak. Langston: I am sure there might have been people who doubted me, and I wouldn’t have bet money on myself at one stage there, but then people started clicking and people forget but the day James (Stewart) got hurt, I was riding a great moto and was ahead of him, he was chasing me down. I like to believe that James was getting beaten and that might have put him in a place he wasn’t comfortable with. I remind people who many titles I lost. I’ve gotten lucky and I have had titles lost that I should have won, so it washes both ways. Motocross Illustrated: Did having kids also make your life a little too enjoyable, outside of the Motocross I mean? Langston: I wouldn’t change having kids, I wanted kids, when I was at home and recovering from one injury or another I started really enjoying it more and more, being at home with the kids. I guess I realized that Motocross was always my priority until now and if it’s not your priority, then you are risking time and money putting in a half ass effort. Motocross Illustrated: And how is fatherhood, are you a good father? Langston: My dad told me how strict his dad was on him and he was apparently less strict with me and I am less strict on my kids. At the end of the day I am a kind person, I have a lot of patience. I know at the end of the day I spoil my kids, every parent wants to give their kids what they didn’t have. My parents struggled because everything went into Motocross, being young I didn’t realize why all my friends got new bikes for Christmas and I didn’t, but now I am older I realize they put all their money into my career. Through racing it helped me out financially. I have to remind my wife and also myself every day that we give these kids a lot of love and attention and gifts, but I don’t want my kids to be spoilt brats. I make sure that they understand, and I try and make them do their jobs around the house and picking things up. My father tried to teach me the value at an early age and I try not to just give them things, they earn things, but we still spoil them too much.

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Prince Grant Langston interview


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Motocross Illustrated: It seems like your relationship with your father is really special. I remember back in Europe you were always at each other’s throat, but you guys were really close. Langston: Absolutely, back then there was a time when I started to win and he was still yelling at me and there was a part of me that was like “shut up”. I figured I knew what I was doing, but he harped on me purely because he always knew my personality and if he didn’t do that I would do just enough. One of the things he always said to me was I always did just enough, he said I could be riding at a local French track and win by five seconds, or I could be racing the best in the World and I would still win by five seconds. You don’t realize that until you crash in the start, come through the pack and still win by five seconds, and then he would say, “You see, you still win by five seconds”. That pissed him off more than anything. Motocross Illustrated: Are you a lazy person? Langston: I don’t think I am lazy, but I am somebody who needed a carrot dangled in front of them. Like we talked about in 2007, when I was battling Stewart for the title. Once I felt like I could win that AMA National Championship I zoned in, and I was one dimensional, and I cut out the errors and the mistakes, I was on automatic. I am not lazy, because everything I got I had to earn and we started with nothing. It wasn’t like I arrived in Europe at 15 and everyone was throwing stuff at us, we got the cold shoulder everywhere we went. It was the underdog story, and that is also a reason why I seemed to be good under pressure, because once I started winning everyone was saying will I be the next Greg Albertyn, those was big shoes to fill. I mean if you ask my dad he might say I am lazy. Motocross Illustrated: How have you gone with this terrible crisis in America? Did you lose much money in investments and stuff? Langston: I lost a lot of my money; I mean Real Estate lost a lot of money; I lost money in some investments with Greg Albertyn, that was a hard hit. Even if I was to close the doors of Langston Racing I would still recoup a lot of money, enough to keep me going for a long time. Obviously that is one of those things you don’t want to happen, you don’t want your business to close down, the way I look at it we need to economy to improve in the next couple of years and I can hang in there until then. I think if business improves a little, then we are making money again and that is why you start a business to get a return on it. I hope that day comes sooner than later. I mean investing all my money into Monster stock might have been a good decision. Considering I was their first rider to sign with them and they said you might want to buy some stock, but I went home, drank a can of Monster and I didn’t like it, and I figured people won’t buy it. Everyone reminds me about that, I should have bought some Monster stock. Motocross Illustrated: So you went from being on an all time high in 2007 to pretty much having to tighten the strings? Langston: I put most of my eggs in the Motorcycle shop, also a couple of other things and to be honest nothing panned out, Real Estate didn’t work out, stock markets everyone lost their ass, investing with Albertyn I made some but most more than I lost. I mean the economy in America is pretty bad, a lot of people in a bad position. I am not in a bad position, I am not where I want to be, and I mean at the end of 2007 everything seemed perfect. My Yamaha contact was a two year deal with a third year option, but if you won the title you got an extension. I would have been making too much more than the market warranted. And then the melanoma cost me millions and millions, pretty much ended my career. Motocross Illustrated: So your eye injury cost you a lot of money also, because as you mentioned you were on a high? Langston: It cost me millions in contracts. Contracts say if you can’t ride because of medical reasons then they can rip the contract up, I mean most people are not sitting on the sidelines because of cancer or that type of thing, it’s usually an injury. So every contract got dissolved. Then you have to change your lifestyle. I just bought a house, and I had no income. There was a period of panic, but everything is good now.

Motocross Illustrated: How did you make changes in your life after those things happened? Langston: You just have to get rid of stuff you don’t need. I mean I was like ok, we have four cars, at one point I had eight cars, because I had three homes, plus a motor home, plus two commercial buildings, there was so much. As it is now we have the commercial building for the shop and the house I live in, plus two cars, and my wife has a car, also the motor home. We just sold a lot of toys. I mean I was paying $500 a month to be a member of the golf course, sorry, that had to go. Motocross Illustrated: How is that looking back on that time of being filthy rich? Langston: It’s good to look back, but I come from a simple background, so I don’t need a mansion, I don’t even want a mansion. It’s weird when you never had that it’s cool to have, but once you have had it it’s like dude it costs so much to clean, to maintain, people get lost in there, ha-ha. You know, I got to the point where I said I just want a single story home, with a nice yard where there is a place for the kids to play and have a pool. I don’t want a big house or fancy cars. I kind of like going back to this simple life, because I feel more in control and I know what I am spending each month. To be honest I am just as happy and less stressed out. I own everything I have now, the bank doesn’t own anything, and that is a cool feeling. Motocross Illustrated: So what is the future for Grant Langston? Langston: Obviously I love the sport and the industry and I would love to be involved and coach some younger kids. You know there is such a little transition period, you go from racing 80’s to racing Anaheim I, you see so many guys just out of their element. Just helping with technique, preparing guys mentally. When a former champion tells a kid something they usually listen. You know it got to a point that my dad was telling me stuff and I wasn’t listening, while if Greg Albertyn walked up and said something I listened. He could tell me the same thing my dad had been telling me for a year and I would suddenly listen. Look at Trey Canard this year how it worked when Tim Ferry started working with him. Ferry said he didn’t invent the wheel, but just a few things here and there. I would love to work with some professional riders, because I would love to see a guy go from nothing to something special. As a racer you don’t always know why you are losing time, when you are too close it’s hard to see what mistakes you make. I think just being that I have raced all over the World, in all the different series and I have been through the school of Motocross if ever there was one. I would love to pass that on. It’s different, and sometimes when you make mistakes and you need advice, it’s a lot easier the second time around to not get caught up in the same situation. Be it over training or over thinking. Sometimes you have to relax and not over do it. Some of the best guys in the World can do with some help. I mean even Antonio Cairoli came to me at Bercy and asked how should he do the whoops, I mean he is a four times World Champion and he asked me, he knows I’ve been through it. I just told him basic stuff. For a foreign kid I can put them into the right people, so many things where guys get over to America and it’s so different. I can also ride with the guys. You have to work with somebody who really wants it, because I only want to work with somebody who really wants it. I would love to take an underdog story and take him to the top that is my next dream. Motocross Illustrated: I always enjoyed your company and that of your uncle and dad, you all had a lot of respect for each other. How is that now you have retired? Langston: I have a great family, a family business; me and my dad get along great now and just hang out together. We take the boat out on the lake and drink beer and just shoot the breeze. You know when I was younger he was always on my case, but it was because he was trying to get the best out of me and now he realizes that Grant Langston go the best out of what he does our relationship is now more like a friendship. You have to remember at the start my dad was my mechanic, my manager, he had to drive me to the races, and he was everything, a one man show. Now he runs the shop, I don’t interfere too much and on the weekends we often hang out, go for a walk with the dogs. My dad is happy. You know when I was invited to Bercy he told me was I sure I wanted to do it, it’s not worth getting hurt, just have fun, be safe he told me. «

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G A L L E R Y#02.7 HARRY EVERTS With four World Motocross Championships to his name and a son who has 10 World titles it's hard to not look at Harry Everts as one of the true legends of the sport. His victories came during the almighty Suzuki era of the 1970's, but here is on a Bultaco in 1977 or 1978. It was after his 250cc victory on Puch in 1975 and prior to his World Championship domination of the 125cc class in 1979, 80 and 81


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G A L L E R Y#02.8 JUSTIN BARCIA Teenager Justin Barcia is the Ken Roczen of America. The King of Bercy will come up against Roczen many time in the future and it's going to be interesting. Roczen has himself said that Barcia is too nervous on the bike, a comment that might fire up the American rider PHOTO: SIMON CUDBY


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Terraforma MX Circuit Design





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TINUS NEL Words by Tinus Nel > Photo by Ray Archer



here was no doubting it, something that had happened on the track had left him in a decidedly unamused state. Everyone within eye- and earshot was left in no doubt about that it as he homed in on the object of his frustration. As he reached his quarry, he unleashed a torrent of abuse in language salty enough to pickle an entire pond. The interaction escalated, and looked set to spiral out of control until the victim's mother brought her frying pan, with two half-burnt pieces of bacon still stuck to it, down on the assailant's helmet hard enough to flat-spot it. The incident that gave rise to this little interaction happened on the second to last corner of the B-Final at a local event. Nothing much was at stake, just the final podium spot which would entitle the recipient to a six inch-tall trophy, the honour of spraying some lukewarm faux champagne, and a kiss from the podium girl, who could easily double as a rugby forward, in looks as well as in build. No one really seemed to be watching, but it transpired later that the aggrieved rider looked set for his first ever podium until his opponent punted him into the scenery in a very unsoft manner. Once he emerged from the undergrowth, his bike's bars had a very Harley Davidsonesque bend, his under-slung exhaust was flatter than his wallet, and his helmet peak was modified in the aforementioned manner. This little tableau is entirely fictitious, but there is little doubt that similar scenes have uncoiled numerous times at many events. Make no mistake, there may be a Grand Prix race going on in the next town and an AMA supercross in a stadium just down the street, but if a motocross rider is involved in a race of his own, that is the most important race in the world to him, however modest the level of participation may be. There is little doubt that incidents like this sow the seeds for feuds that may last a lifetime, even beyond the racing career. If the emotions can be so inflamed at a B-level club race, imagine the scope for massive rivalries at international level, where the stakes are immeasurably higher. Every sport has had its share of hostilities, some of


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which have become the stuff of folklore: Ali-Frazier in boxing, ZidaniMaterazzi in soccer, Harding-Kerrigan in ice skating, Warne-Tendulkar in cricket, Rossi-Biaggi in roadracing ... the list goes on and on. Even a game as sedentary as chess had a memorably rivalry that shook the world, the one between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky. Their headline-grabbing world championship match-up was described as the alternative to full out nuclear war. We kid you not Top level motocross racing, where bump and barge is part of the recipe, and where breakneck activities happen at breakneck speed, offers ample scope for fierce rivalries to inflame. And rivalries there have been aplenty. Joel Robert and Sylvain Geboers were at each others throats constantly, sometimes nearly literally. Motocross folklore has it that the former once famously stubbed out his cigarette on the latter's handlebar just before a Grand Prix race. Across the pond, Bob Hannah was involved in a number of famous slanging matches of his own as he browbeat his opponents into submission. Moving into more recent history, more examples abound. The tall trees attract much wind, and Stefan Everts had well-recorded rivalries with Greg Albertyn, Marnicq Bervoets, Sebastien Tortelli and Joel Smets. Jeremy McGrath's crown was coveted by numerous pretenders, and not always in a gentlemanly fashion. Grant Langston's turnaround of his world championship season in 2000 arguably arose out of a feud-induced action by James Dobb during the Belgian GP at Spa. Up until then Langston, having discovered the distractions offered by the contradictory gender, was fielding a campaign that often hovered in the direction of lukewarm. Once Dobb upended him in the first corner of the first race at the Formula 1 venue, however, the fire in Langston's belly was well and truly lit, and main championship rivals Dobb and Mike Brown were at the sharp end of his throttle hand, and often too, his tongue. Nowadays in the era of the internet and 24/7 media coverage, it seems that bland platitudes in postrace interviews are the going thing. No fear, however. Under the genteel sheen, the same old competitive spirit is alive and well. Carmichael had his Stewart, Cairoli has his Philippaerts, and Jason Lawrence has his almost-everyone-elseon-the-startline. The fans love it. As the riders draw their hostile laagers, they bring their fans along. It adds spice to an already sizzling steak. The t-shirt said it best: Motocross is not a matter of life or death. It's much more important than that. Tinus Nel is a South African that has been involved in motocross for more than ten years as team owner, sponsor manager, reporter , writer and general layabout. He has helped here and there in the careers of a few rather good riders. He maintains his interests in matters motocross and nowadays he dabbles in promoting top class musicians as well, in between occasional bouts of actual work. ÂŤ

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fter what was a bit of an anti-climax Ryan Villopoto showed the best race plan to win the Supercross class and Josh Hansen did the same in the Lites class. The opening round pretty much turned out as some expected, although the mystery of the next round remains. While Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Villopoto came back from injury to win Anaheim I and following him home was Ryan Dungey and James Stewart it isn’t possible to really know who the best man is at the moment. Despite clocking the quickest lap time of the early qualification Stewart misjudged the start and was left sitting back in the pack. The other veteran in the field Chad Reed was also slow out of the gate and had to work his way through the field. For Villopoto it was the perfect return from his crash in the 2010 series a crash that took him out of the rest of the AMA Supercross series and also the AMA Motocross series and Motocross of Nations. In a sport that produces the next best thing ever two minutes it was easy to forget


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Villopoto a little as Dungey, Stewart and Reed shared the limelight. Villopoto was also not greeted with the most enjoyable start to the night as he had to sit through his horrific 2010 crash in the introduction video before starting his night. Earlier in the night Stewart had clocked a 58.749 time ahead of Reed 59.063, Villopoto 59.672, Canard 59.673 and Dungey a 59.771. Amazingly the quickest Lites rider was AMA Supercross debutant Ken Roczen who clocked 59.609, third fastest behind Stewart and Reed, amazing!! Roczen scored a fourth place in his first ever AMA Supercross race when he came in fourth in his heat race. He followed that with a seventh place finish in the Lites main event after a poor start and many mistakes.


Ryan Villopoto comments “For a while I didn’t know what to think,” Villopoto said. “I was hoping I would be back to where I was, but sitting in surgery I got back to where I want to be. So far we all made it through the first round with major points, it’s going to be a long season and there will be some good battles. This is the best I have started the season in the 450cc class and it’s going to make my season easier. My goal is to ride 20 laps mistake free. I whole track was technical and the dirt was a little wet and as the night went on it got slippery and rough. You really had to be on your toes.”

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“I am happy,” Dungey said. “To get the first race done and try and build the momentum. I had trouble finding my groove and we tried to make the bike the best we can. It’s great, the pace is so fast and it’s good to study it and work for more. You go racing for nine months and then take a few months off to prepare for this. It’s enjoyable and I am here for that. I am always a big believer on trying to find improvement with the bike.”

James Stewart comments “I got a horrible start and almost hit my team mate,” James Stewart said. “I just needed to finish on the podium but the others got away. I had a good heat race, I was pretty happy with this. I am stoked. Last year I won the opening and didn’t win anything, this year I will take the third place in the opening.”


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450 Supercross 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Ryan Villpoto Ryan Dungey James Stewart Trey Canard Chad Reed Kevin Windham Ivan Tedesco Brett Metcalfe Josh Grant Andrew Short Kyle Chisholm Nick Wey Kyle Regal Mike Alessi J Thomas Justin Brayton C Blose M Boni Davi Millsaps T Hahn


25 22 20 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


25 22 20 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


250 Lites West 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Josh Hansen Broc Tickle Tyla Rattray Martin Davalos Cole Seely Ryan Morais Ken Roczen T Baker N Paluzzi Eli Tomac A Balbi B Evans K Cunningham R Marmont C Gilmore B Rutherford T Bright D Tedder C Craig T Inglalss

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CAN YOU IMAGINE THE PRESSURE OF COMING OFF INJURY AND MAKING YOUR SUPERCROSS DEBUT IN THE PENULTIMATE ROUND AS A ROOKIE WHO HAS NEVER RACED A WORLD CLASS SUPERCROSS EVENT BEFORE? hat’s exactly the task that Scotsman Billy Mackenzie had ahead of him before the Sydney round of the Monster Energy Super X, Australasian Supercross Championship, at the end of last year. Billy Mac had made the move over from World Motocross to the Aussie circuit at the start of 2010 for a fresh start in his career, a resurgence of sorts in a bid to return the fan factor into his career. While second in the MX Nationals behind triple champion Jay Marmont despite a nagging wrist injury during the season was no surprise, his pair of second place podiums in Super X stunned the local industry. Mackenzie, who is riding for the factory Kawasaki Racing Team down here in Australia, put in two masterful performances at the Sydney and



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Brisbane rounds of Super X to finish second in both behind eventual champion and AMA star Josh Hansen. Sydney was the major result for BillyMac in dry conditions, capitalising on good starts and consistent laps to make the most of the short, sharp Quad Challenge format that saw the main event made up of four sixlap races. Mackenzie scored 2-9-1-2 results on the night and very nearly won the overall – tying for the victory with Jake Moss after a crash during the final moto of the night. It was a shock performance that earned the 211 a massive amount of fans – not to mention respect in the stadiums – and you could instantly see his confidence rise even though he admitted he still had some work to do in order to perfect the tradition Supercross style. One week later and the rain fell hard in Brisbane, with many predicting that Mackenzie would be the one to beat thanks to his Euro background. At the end of the night he again finished second with a race victory to his credit, boosting him to 10th in the series despite contesting just two rounds.

Mackenzie has said before that he’d like to use Australia as a stepping-stone to a career in the U.S, largely because of the scale of Super X here that allows him to learn the trade without the pressures of the AMA circuit. And in reality it is the ideal scenario for European prospects, using the world class Aussie Supercross series to gain comfort on AMA-style tracks against some of the toughest competition in the world. Another top European rider we saw at the Sydney and Brisbane rounds was current World MX2 number five Joel Roelants, and he too did a solid job in the Lites for KTM despite badly injuring his wrist just days out from his debut. The Belgian rider finished sixth in Sydney and fourth in the Brisbane mud, however he was disappointed with the rain at the finale since he wanted real Supercross experience in his time Down Under. Many of the top American AMA series regulars such as Chad Reed, Josh Hansen, Kevin Windham, Mike Alessi, Justin Brayton, Jeff Alessi and

even Jeremy McGrath have used Super X as pre-season training, so it’s a bonus to see some of the Europeans come over to race too. By far the biggest disappointment of Super X in 2010 had to be the injury of Ben Townley, who made his first ever Super X appearance in the New Zealand round of the series in Auckland, only to suffer a dislocated hip in a heat race crash. So many were devastated for the likeable Kiwi, hoping that he will be fully fit to take on Antonio Cairoli and co. for this year’s MX1 Motocross World Championship. It’s been a hectic couple of months here in Australia as Super X rounded out an incredible 2010 season, and at this point the guys are beginning their initial preparations for the MX Nationals season ahead. With Marmont and Mackenzie set to resume their battle and Josh Coppins racing in Oz fulltime, something tells me that the 2011 Australian Motocross Championship will be the best on record! will be there each and every step of the way. «

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Motocross illustrated issue two  

January 2011