ISSUE 10 - DECEMBER 2015
“WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT MOVING FORWARD.”
THE BREAK UP
“HE WAS VERY BAD ON SAND AND MUD TRACKS”
RED BULL KTM
“THERE IS SOME SERIOUS POWER IN THIS ANIMAL.” ACU - STUART EDMONDS - ADAM STERRY
IT WAS NEVER EASIER OR MORE FUN TO GO THIS FAST
Photo: R. Schedl
Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations! The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.
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WELCOME Welcome to another edition of the MX Vice magazine and the final one of 2015. It has been a successful first year for our free, printed magazine and we’ll only build on that in 2016. We’re already counting down the days until the start of the season, which is actually a little closer for us than normal. By the time you read this, a portion of the MX Vice team will be basking in the Californian sun set to cover the first six Monster Energy Supercross rounds. Consequently, we’ll have a ton of coverage from across the Atlantic in this very magazine and of course our ever-growing website. Following that, we’ll be making the trip to Qatar to begin another action-packed MXGP season! There really is no such thing as an offseason anymore. With it being December, not a lot has gone on in recent weeks. Random stadiums around Europe have received a lot of attention, with events like Sofia, Genoa and Lille taking place. Although there are some big names at all of those races, the riders will be quick to tell you that their priority is not getting injured. Away from the track quite a lot has happened, as a majority of the teams have announced their riders for the new season. It hasn’t all been positive news on that front though, as Valentin Guillod actually split from the Standing Construct Yamaha squad. We actually got to the bottom of that story after talking to Valentin and team manager Tim Mathys - you can read all about it later in this issue. What else do we have in store for you? We caught up with Tim Gajser to get his take on his season, find out more about his upbringing and talk about the future. Gajser is arguably one of the hottest talents in Europe right now, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be hanging around. Paul Malin travelled to Italy recently to ride the factory KTM’s from this year too, so you’ll find his views on those bikes from page thirty-eight onwards! What about British content, I hear you ask? We finally sat down with Stuart Drummond, the man who took over the role of series manager from Brian Higgins, to find out more about him and get to the bottom of some of the issues with the series. We also caught up with Stuart Edmonds to find out about his German adventure and what the ADAC series is like exactly. Yep, it is another packed one! Enjoy.
LEWIS PHILLIPS 4 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
FEATURES TIM GAJSER 16-25 THE BREAK UP 28-34 RED BULL KTM TEST 38-47 STUART EDMONDS 52-61 STUART DRUMMOND 62-64
Lewis Phillips Andrew Conway James Burfield Jon Bolton Zacch Burrell Sean Ogden James Dunford Paul Malin KTM Images Rico Schneller Elliott Banks-Browne Adam Sterry
Cover Image: Andrew Conway
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1,449,375 PEOPLE HAVE VISITED MX VICE IN 2015, AT THE TIME OF WRITING
MORE POINTS SIMPSON SCORED IN BRITAIN THIS YEAR, COMPARED TO 2014
POINTS GAJSER SCORED IN MX2 THIS YEAR – THE LOWEST TOTAL SINCE 2009
YEARS AFTER BEING REJECTED, SUZUKI FINALLY SIGN TOWNLEY TO RACE MXGP
YEARS, THE LENGTH OF MAX ANSTIE’S NEW MXGP DEAL WITH HUSQVARNA.
LAPS ROMAIN FEBVRE COMPLETED IN THE MXGP SERIES THIS YEAR
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Shaun Simpson summed it up best in a recent interview when he said that, although he gets all the credit, a lot of people contribute to his success with hard work. The Scotsman was right and his performances in Britain this year were a testament to how good the products on his bike are, but then again we already know how good a company like Samco is.
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ELLIOTT BANKS-BROWNE Elliott Banks-Browne has had a busy month, with trips to different locations around the world and putting the finishing touches on his plans for the 2016 season. With that in mind, we caught up with him to get his thoughts on the new Yamaha deal and the new season… MX Vice: You’ll be the same team next year, but on a Yamaha. Thoughts on the deal? EBB: I’m really, really excited about our new Geartec Yamaha deal. It’s a new venture for all of us, especially Rob. He has been with Suzuki for thirty years and, you know, made a big step. He didn’t just do it because he wanted to, he really took me into account - he wouldn’t have done it without me saying yes. It’s an awesome thing for him and a massive change, so we’ll have to put in a lot of work. They do an awesome job with everything we do, so will put one hundred and ten percent into the bike. I know that when we sit on the line at that first British round we’ll be ready. MX Vice: Were you a bit hesitant about making the switch? Obviously the Yamaha is quite different to the Suzuki…
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EBB: Not really, I have wanted to try the Yamaha for a long time. I’m always searching for more power, even on the 450F. I just like that aggressive power, it suits my style. I haven’t even ridden the bike yet, to be fair, so hopefully I like it. I need to now! I’m sure I will – I’m excited to get on it. MX Vice: Some GPs are a part of your plans for next year too, right? You’ll be racing select rounds? EBB: Yeah, I’m not sure which ones yet – we need to look at the schedule. It’ll just be the closer European rounds that don’t clash with the team’s commitments. Maybe we’ll do some more, if I’m doing well, but I really want to do the GPs and think it’s a massive advantage racing them. There’s no point going there if you’re just going to make the numbers up. I won’t have pressure from the team, but I’ll want to be ready to race thirty minutes plus two laps flat out. I’ll be ready and preparing differently to how I have this year, as I haven’t been preparing for GPs. It’ll be nice to do those longer motos. MX Vice: Do you feel like you have unfinished business in MXGP and, ultimately, is that where you want to get back to? EBB: Massively. I haven’t shown my full potential on the 450F yet, so ultimately I want to be back in MXGP racing the best guys in the world. I will do everything I can to do that - the team know that. They are really helping me and if I can go with them, I’m more than happy to do that. They have put a lot of time and effort into me and I want to repay them.
The TheColumists Columnists
ADAM STERRY With the off-season in full swing and there being very little racing for a lot of guys, Adam Sterry decided to do something different for his column this month. He asked you, the fans, to send in some questions for him to answer. Here are some of the best ones… @JamesBurfield asked: Are you training differently for next season compared to the last campaign? If so, what has changed?
Carmichael and Everts – that’s what really made me want to get better and be like them. Richard William Mowbray asked: What are your main goals for next year? Adam Sterry: I had some experience this year, so I really want to go in with a bang! I want to be around the top five and hopefully be there for some podiums towards the end of the season. It’s a long year, so staying healthy is key. Moto X Decals asked: What is your favourite UK track?
Adam Sterry: I have got a new trainer now at Liverpool University and there are some facilities that will really help me next year, so that is different. I’ll just be doing longer motos, as I will be in MX2 full time – that’s about it. We have made a big step with everything that we have learnt, so hopefully that will make a big difference on the track!
Adam Sterry: That’s a tough one! When I think of UK tracks the two that come to mind are Matterley Basin and Hawkstone Park. Hawkstone is a local one for me and is such a nice, flowing track. However, if I had to pick it would have to be Matterley. We only get to ride it for the GP, so the track is prepped perfectly and with the British fans that makes it top for me. Hopefully Hawkstone can have a GP again one day, before I hang my boots up.
@Jimbobarooney_D asked: What are your goals and expectations for next year?
Jamie Neil Arscott asked: Will you be on a KTM or Husqvarna next year?
Adam Sterry: I really want to start strong, stay healthy and hopefully get some podiums towards the end of the season.
Adam Sterry: We [Wilvo Forkrent KTM] will still be on KTM’s.
Hannah Lowe asked: Who inspired you to start racing? Adam Sterry: Motocross doesn’t run in my family; my dad used to do some rallying, so he wanted me to do go-karting. He got me a bike at an early age and it just started from there, so dad was a massive part of my racing! When I got into it I looked up to guys like Bubba,
Thomas Glynn asked: Why did you turn down the Kawasaki deal? Adam Sterry: Obviously a lot happens behind closed doors that the public doesn’t see, but we thought about it and we made the decision on what suited me best. #811
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An interview with
Although Tim Gajser struggled beginning of he caught fire at the midway point and
at the the season, soon became the man to beat in MX2.
“ we’re really close and living just for motocross ” Hailing from the depths of Slovenia, Tim only finished school this year and battled the type of adversity that many riders face throughout their career. Despite all of that, he claimed his maiden MX2 world title and now has his sights firmly set on a future that most have tipped to be very bright… MX Vice: What was your background like growing up? Slovenia isn’t known for being a motocross hot spot, so how much riding did you get to do? Tim Gajser: My father was a motocross rider and he also still rides now. In the past he has ridden in the world championship and European series, so I was a motocross kid and always at the races with him. That came into my world and at two and half years he bought me my first bike. Everything at the beginning was just a game - we were having fun on the bike and enjoying riding. I became the 65 European champion, then 85, then in 2012 I was the junior world champion and it started to become more serious. When I was on the 125, it was my first time in a big
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team like Silver Action – that started my career in MX2. I came from a really small country, motocross is not at the front; it’s more about skiing and stuff like that. My father sacrificed everything so that I could live my dream and one day maybe become world champion. MX Vice: At what point did you start to realise just how good you are? Coming from a small country, I’m guessing turning pro seemed like a big dream. Tim Gajser: Yeah, it was 2007 when I became the 65 European champion. I was riding quite okay with guys who were older than me – I was two years younger than the others. My father saw that I had talent and kept pushing me in that direction. We were training really hard and had a track at home, which was a big plus. MX Vice: You mention your father a lot. It seems like you have a really close family, who are here each week supporting you. How much does that help? Tim Gajser: Yeah, for sure. To have such a good relationship with them is
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great. My father is at every race and so is my brother actually. When we go in the camper my mum and sister come, so we’re really close and living just for motocross. We can say that we’re living the dream. It was hard and a long road, but we did it! MX Vice: What is your setup like away from the track? Where do you live and who with? Tim Gajser: Actually I’m still living in Slovenia, because I only finished school this year. I had to be in Slovenia, because I was still going in every week after the race. It’s easier now that I’m done with school. We will see for the future. MX Vice: How much did school impact your riding and training midweek? Do you feel like you missed out a bit? Tim Gajser: Yeah, definitely. When you’re going to school, you have school and then training. You have two things to think about. When you have just training, it’s quite relaxed – I enjoy riding my bike and it is fun. When you’re in school it’s not in the same direction, so it’s a big plus that I’m finished with it – I’m not thinking about it anymore. It’s amazing to wake up and know that you just have to go training, then have some free time to have some fun. When I went to school there was no free time. Before school in the morning I was training, and then after school I was training also. It was quite busy, but it’s better now. MX Vice: You’re obviously stoked with the title, but your season didn’t exactly get off to a great start, did it? Tim Gajser: Yeah, the first rounds were pretty tough – we had all kinds of problems! First with the visa, then the hydration and then with my form. I was not riding well. The second half of the season was the complete opposite. I was feeling good and the riding was also pretty good. We changed something with my dad and it helped a lot – we were working the right way and started to win the GPs. In the end we also won the title, so of course I’m very happy. MX Vice: What was it you changed with your dad then? Training? Something to do with the bike? Tim Gajser: I’m now at an age where
I’m trying to go on my own, but I saw that that wasn’t good. We had a long conversation with my dad and decided that we needed to change something and it helped a lot. MX Vice: Obviously you had some big crashes at the beginning of the year too, like at Valkenswaard. Was that the scariest moment of your career? Tim Gajser: That was really, really huge! Crashes are a part of our sport, so it happens. That one was massive though, I was so high and when I realised I was off the bike it was a strange feeling. I was happy to walk away without any injuries and complete the season. MX Vice: I guess that was another point where you thought your shot at the 2015 title was over? Tim Gajser: Yeah, it was! I think at many points this season a lot of people thought we were done with the championship and couldn’t contend anymore. It shows that if you never give up and fight until the last chequered flag of the season, anything is possible.
“I have ridden a 250F at the races and a 450F in training” MX Vice: Did that help you maybe? When everyone thought your shot at the title was done, did some pressure disappear? Tim Gajser: Yeah, I actually didn’t feel so much pressure. It helps for sure and actually gives you extra motivation. After that crash [at Valkenswaard] I started to train harder. That was a week after I won my first GP too, so I went from the top to the bottom really fast. That is a part of our sport, so we never gave up. MX Vice: Was there a point this season where you felt you were at your very best, where no one could beat you?
Tim Gajser: That was after England, when I crashed. After that race we had
conversations with my dad, changed some things and then already the next week we were back on the podium. I won three straight races after that (Maggiora, Teutschenthal and Uddevalla). Those three races were pretty good; I felt awesome on the bike. MX Vice: Now obviously your sights are set on a move to the 450F, so talk us through how that decision came about… Tim Gajser: The decision was made when I became the champion. The plan was that when we won the MX2 class we would move forward. This year we didn’t expect to win the title already, so we were a little bit surprised. But, yeah, we are happy with the title and excited about moving forward. MX Vice: Was this move confirmed after the final round or when you started to fight for the red plate? How long have you known? Tim Gajser: Like I said, my Dad and I were already talking about this when we were making the plan for the future. At the start of the year it was really tough and after Matterley Basin we were already one hundred points down, so were not thinking about the championship. In the second half of the season we started to win GPs again and close on the leaders. After Jeffrey got injured there were six riders who could win, so we fought with Jonass until the final lap. MX Vice: What about staying with Gariboldi? Was there an option to go alongside Gautier Paulin and Evgeny Bobryshev? Tim Gajser: Actually, I have contracts with Gariboldi and HRC. We decided to stay with Gariboldi, as I’m happy with everything and they are a really good team. We’ll stay with them and move forward to the 450F class. We have already started to do some tests and I’m really happy with the bike. I’ll have the same bike as Paulin and Bobryshev, full factory. MX Vice: Was it important to stay with the same group of guys? Obviously the move to MXGP is going to be a big one… Tim Gajser: Yeah, actually, that is a
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“the dream is to go to the US and race supercross and motocross”
big boost that I’ll be staying with the same people who I have worked with for two years now. We already know each other and are really good together. I’m really happy, and so is everyone else. MX Vice: Was there a part of you that wanted to stay down in MX2, go for another championship and potentially battle with Herlings straight up? Tim Gajser: Actually I prefer to ride the 450F usually. My father has always planned that I train with a bigger bike, so for the past two years I have ridden a 250F at the races and a 450F in training. I’m quite used to that bike and know how it is, so it’s okay. I was quite happy to move forward; I’m not disappointed that I won’t defend my title. MX Vice: You’re quite tall too, so is it a case of the 450F actually suiting you better? Tim Gajser: Exactly! I am quite tall and also a little bit heavier than the other riders, so it helps a lot. This year I never took the holeshot, so I had some problems with the starts. Maybe that was because I was a little bit heavier?
MX Vice: Will you be changing your training programme for next year, to make sure you’re ready to race the 450F? Tim Gajser: For sure. We have already started preparation for next year and are working even harder, because of how powerful the bike is. It is harder to ride than the 250F, so you have to be even more prepared. We’re working on that and hope I can be at one hundred percent when the season starts. MX Vice: One of the things Jeffrey Herlings was worried about was spending a lot of time on the 450F. Is that something you’re worried about or do you already have a plan in place that will see you move to America? Tim Gajser: That is the plan, to try and get to the top and win the title in the MXGP class. I know that the competition is very tough with some very good riders. We will try as hard as we can to reach the top and then, for sure, the dream is to go to the US and race supercross and motocross. The plan is to reach the top in MXGP first.
BY LEWIS PHILLIPS
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W E ARE T H E U K IM P O RT E R S F OR M OTO S E AT
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The beginning of the off-season can often be problematic for riders and teams, as everyone is rushing around in a desperate attempt to finalise deals for the fast approaching season. If you can secure a contract before that period, it is a blessing. that is, of course, unless things turn sour.
he bond between Standing Construct Yamaha and Valentin Guillod appeared to be as strong as ever; the two parties have grown together over the last two seasons. Although the world title eluded them this year, securing fourth and a handful of GP wins was an impressive feat. It was only last year that Guillod first broke onto the podium, after all, although it soon became a regular affair for the grounded Swiss rider. Always thankful, Valentin ensured that everyone knew that the Standing Construct outfit, run by Tim Mathys, were a major part of his success. With a partnership built on trust, it was hardly surprising that Guillod elected to re-sign with the team ahead of his maiden season on the 450F. Although manufacturers like Suzuki and KTM presented him with substantial contracts that were sure to catch his attention, he stuck with what he knew. “It’s not about the money; I think it’s about the confidence. They believe in me, which is why I decided to continue with them. For sure I had nice offers from other teams, but I’m happy with what I have,” said Valentin about the deal. The move to the premier MXGP
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division can be a daunting one, especially now that the age restriction rule is in place. Whether you are ready or not, you must make a change that will ultimately shape your future within the sport. Familiar faces can be an integral part of ensuring the switch is seamless, hence why the new agreement between Valentin and Standing Construct seemed like a match made in heaven when it was signed on the eve of the Belgian GP. Mathys thought so too; “The only reason we would have done MXGP in 2016 was because of Valentin Guillod wanting to stay on Yamaha, Yamaha wanting to keep him and the fact that Valentin didn’t want to go to another Yamaha team.” You’ll notice that statement is now in the past tense, as the relationship broke down towards the end of October and the agreement between the two was terminated. It is a perfect example of the fact that not everything is always as it seems, as the foundation that the new deal was built on started to crumble soon after it was signed. Ultimately the team weren’t exactly thrilled with how ‘92’ performed across the season, as Tim explains: “Valentin was the king on tracks like Loket and Talavera de
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"He was very bad on sand or mud tracks though. The conclusion is that you donâ€™t have to practice on something you are already very good at you just have to maintain that level"
la Reina, tracks that are similar to where he practiced in the south of France all year. He was very bad on sand or mud tracks though. The conclusion is that you don’t have to practice on something you are already very good at – you just have to maintain that level.” With that quote we have hit the root of the issue, which is also where former MX3 champion Yves Demaria enters the frame. Valentin was very much at the heart of the title chase, prior to Lommel, but at the rounds that followed he lost touch with the leaders. Those races mainly consisted of sand and mud, of course, hence his team pointing to his skillset as the issue. The facts do support this, as at the European, Latvian, Belgian and Dutch rounds he finished fifth, twelfth, nineteenth and fourteenth. Instead of registering lap after lap in the sand of Belgium, Valentin spends a large majority of his time with Yves, his trainer, in the south of France. Hard-pack is the norm in that part of the world, hence his prowess at rounds that feature that terrain. In order to ensure he would enter the season as a better rider, Mathys put a new training programme in place: “We learnt from what happened in 2015, when we went from a title contender to ending off of the podium. That was because of his results on the sandy and muddy tracks. That is the reason why many of the top riders and teams have bases in Belgium to practice and to give the teams the chance to test – that was what we wanted to organize for Valentin. My personal idea was to find a compromise between spending time here and living in France. After the Motocross of Nations my partner sent a plan for the winter and Valentin let us know that he didn’t agree with it.” Valentin tells the story slightly differently, however, despite the fact that Tim stressed that he didn’t ask him to move to Belgium. “I decided to split from Standing Construct, because they organized a new physical trainer for me. I had to go and live in Belgium, and Yves [Demaria] would become only my riding trainer. The team said that I rode really badly in sand this year, but I accept that it’s not all about that – that’s staying between Standing Construct, Yves and myself.” To terminate a contract over a relatively minor disagreement may seem a bit extreme to some, but Guillod felt the team had lost faith in him and thus he could not progress further from the confines of the
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"my partner sent a plan for the winter and Valentin let us know that he didn’t agree with it" Standing Construct awning. “When I started making bad results they lost faith in me and wanted to change everything. They didn’t believe in Yves too, so I’m quite sad they acted like this.” Yves, who was unavailable to comment, is a part of the problem according to most. He started working with Valentin in 2012, when the Swiss rider wasn’t exactly hot property, and turned his career around. Consequently Valentin puts a lot of weight into everything that he tells him and has picked up a lot of his positive and negative traits, says Tim. “Valentin is becoming a second Yves Demaria. Yves stays Yves – people who have been around a long time know what that means… “Yves is a great riding coach, one of the best, but physical training these
days is not the same as in 1995. The training system we proposed is the one that made Romain Febvre and Glenn Coldenhoff the strong guys that they are now. You can’t just do everything by yourself anymore. Our suspension guy, one of the best of the paddock, didn’t even want to turn the clickers anymore. That is not because of Yves being of bad will – he just wants the best.” There was seemingly no way for the two parties to move past this, so one of the more promising talents in MXGP is left without a seat for the fast-approaching 2016 season. Although there were rumours of him chasing the bright lights of America, one crucial fact remains: the contract that Valentin has with Yamaha Motor Europe remains in tact. He’ll definitely be in ‘blue’ next year, but with which team is still a question
mark (at the time of writing). Yamaha Factory Racing is an option, which would make them one of the few factory outfits with three premier class riders. Smaller teams like Kemea Racing and DP19 Racing could also house him, although the structure would be a slight downgrade from what he is used to. Wherever Valentin ends up, his goals will remain the same; “I will try to learn and I know that on hard-pack I can make some great races. I think that at first the goal will be to be in the top seven, then in the middle of the year we will see where we are.” Based on his improvement thus far, who would bet against him achieving that?
BY LEWIS PHILLIPS
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37 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
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KTM have dominated the FIM Motocross World Championship for more years than their rivals care to remember. Fate, bad luck and misfortune all played their part this year, however, as injuries derailed any title hopes the Austrian manufacturer had. The trophy cabinet will remain bare as proof that lightening really can strike twice. MX2 team manager Dirk Gruebel understands how motorsport works and how cruel it can be sometimes, but is also ready for 2016: “In MXGP it was five years in a row and seven in a row for MX2, but this year injuries struck us big time. We had a good lineup, with five riders, but at one point there was only one guy in the tent. MXGP was wiped out completely, but we will try hard to come back.”
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On paper it might show different winners at the top of the championship table, but don’t be fooled. If KTM have shown anything in recent years, it is a will to win. Although the results didn’t go their way, it doesn’t mean that those on the frontline weren’t working as hard. If anything they had to work harder, whilst managing the injury situation and boosting the efforts of Pauls Jonass. But, in the end, it just wasn’t to be. With the season in the rear-view mirror, Paul Malin packed his bags and headed to the Italian track of Mantova to see just how good the Red Bull KTM’s are. The bikes that belonged to Herlings, Jonass, Cairoli and Searle were lined up and ready to be put through their paces…
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40 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
JEFFREY HERLINGS Everything about Jeffrey Herlings’ 250SX-F feels right. The Renthal 997 Twin Wall handlebars are just perfect and his levers are not too high either. In fact, if anything, they are slightly more forward. Maybe he is going more retro, as he gets older? He is also one of the heaviest riders in MX2, so his suspension is that little bit stiffer. You have a perfectly balanced motorcycle as a result. You immediately feel what this bike has to offer as you head down the start straight, and the sound is very distinctive too. It really does sound sweet! After a couple of laps of going through the motions you really start to get a feel for everything that is going on here. These bikes utilise five-speed gearboxes, but first is never used. Second gear is there if you need it, but is very rare. The real strength of this bike is third gear – you could ride a whole lap of Mantova in that gear if you had to! The power delivery is not necessarily hard-hitting, but is there in abundance as soon as you wind open the throttle. Hit fourth gear and it feels like you’ve just turned on the after-burners, offering up quite a significant boost to the overall spread of topend power. In fact, it never skips a beat; there is no lull between gear changes. There is always going to be the optimum point in which you need to change gear, talking revs here, but you are not punished for
changing up too early or too late. From that point view it is a very easy motorcycle to ride. The circuit wasn’t too bumpy, so assessing the suspension was practically impossible. Everything felt smooth on the jump faces and landings though; no bottoming and no pushing through the stroke too easily. Even when I ‘performed’ a deliberate over-jump, the front end in particular soaked up the heavy landing. From that you know a rider like Jeffrey would have the utmost confidence and be able to push as hard as he can, even if it means landing in braking bumps in order to make a pass. His Brembo front brake is a different animal altogether though. When the bike was sat on the stand I felt the tension of the front brake and thought it was very similar to that of a superbike – there was no movement in it whatsoever. Usually I will ride a factory bike how its rider rides it in terms of setup but, I must admit, I had to pull a cheeky little pit stop to wind off the adjustment. There was practically no difference though, because he is running a 10mm pump. When you watch Jeffrey you get to see where his strengths lie as a rider; corner entry speed, braking and exit speed are top of the list. You get to feel all of these qualities when you ride his motorcycle.
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PAULS JONASS There is a very noticeable difference between Herlings’ bike and the bike of Pauls Jonass right from the moment you throw a leg over the seat. The handlebars are what you first notice; Pauls prefers the Renthal ‘Fatbar’ 827 bend, which also sits considerably lower in the clamps. His levers are slightly higher, so for a taller rider there is already a slight awkwardness about it. Pauls is a whopping ten kilograms lighter than Jeffrey, so his suspension is understandably softer. According to WP suspension guru Wilfred van Mil, the internals are no different. Pauls does run a 42 spring at the rear though, compared to the 45 of Jeffrey. It, of course, has the same distinctive sound, but the softer suspension was instantly noticed. For a rider like me, who is maybe one or two kilograms heavier than Pauls, the rear shock in particular was a bit on the soft side, pushing through the stroke pretty easily. It wasn’t impossible to ride, far from it, but you could feel the difference between his and Herlings’ almost immediately.
On the day both bikes ran the same gearing that is used on Jonass’ bike (14/50), but Jeffrey will usually run 13/52 to get him out of the gate. In an ideal world Herlings would love to ride 14/50 or 14/51, which is also used, but he knows his job would be an awful lot tougher so even he has to compromise occasionally. What about the braking? Jonass runs a 9mm pump on the front, meaning it’s not as aggressive as his teammate’s, but it is still a pretty powerful tool. The other difference there is when you wind the adjustment right off there is more of a progressive feel to it, which sometimes you need. The best way to describe these two bikes would be to say they are the same, but different. Their engines specifications are identical, but the finer details in terms of riding position, handlebars and suspension are vastly different. Both riders have shown that what they have works for them – that’s the most important thing.
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ANTONIO CAIROLI 44 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
When Antonio Cairoli moved to the 450F prior to the Spanish GP, it was a major point of discussion for most. People were stating that he was clutching at straws and that it was a massive gamble, although he quickly proved them wrong by clinching two GP wins in succession and showed that the 450SX-F is a force to be reckoned with. The 2016 450SX-F factory bike that Tony used in the second half of the season was smaller, lighter and more compact than anything that KTM have produced before. This, as well as a need for more torque to get him up front off the start, was the reason behind the switch. It is not that the 350F is a bad bike, as Dirk Gruebel explains: â€œEverybody made
progress and the tracks got faster. The 350 is still a really, really good bike, as we saw, but the 450 has improved.” First impressions were that it is a small, compact bike, just as it says on the tin. Like Jonass, his choice of Renthal handlebar is the 827 ‘Fatbar’. His levers were just above level but, for TC222, this is the perfect setup. A 42 spring at the rear puts him on par with Jonass in that department, although his is harder at the front with a 4.6. The power delivery was smooth, but it had a decent amount of low-end grunt, pulling easily out of the turns and as it goes through the range the
top end really hits you. It is at this point you see another reason why Tony may have switched it up, because there is some serious power packed into this animal. With the 450 he has the best of both worlds; the power is there exactly when and where he needs it and the chassis is light and compact to give him the feel of the 350 he was used to. Tony runs the same setup as Jeffrey, as far as braking is concerned, with a 10mm pump for a stronger front brake. In the slightly wet conditions it was just a bit too powerful though. Overall the 450SX-F is punchy, but not aggressive, with a strong spread of power, great through the turns and by far KTM’s best 450 yet.
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TOMMY SEARLE When Tommy Searle joined the Red Bull KTM team he knew he would be on the 350SX-F. In an injuryhit season it’s difficult to know whether Searle would have followed Tony to the bigger bike, had he been fit, but he stuck to his guns and rode out the season as he started. Jumping from Tony’s all-new 450 to Tommy’s 350, you can feel the differences immediately. Both riders share the same Renthal 827 handlebar, but they are different in their suspension setup. Tommy runs a slightly softer spring rate at the front (4.4), which is the same as Herlings’ with slightly stiffer damping, and opts for a 45 at the rear. The 350 is still a very nice bike to ride, but you can’t help but think that the pendulum has swung in the 450’s favour. This was evident out on track. You notice the lack of torque that Cairoli was craving and instead it felt like a very fast 250. It is still a fun bike to ride; it handled nicely and turned impeccably. Mid to top is where this bike felt more at home, but compared to the 450 felt like you had to be a bit busier on it and work harder out of the turns. For the most part this bike would be more than a match against anything out there, as Tony has shown since 2010, but the reality is that the other manufacturers have upped their game and quite possibly caught the 350 a little off-guard. The new 450 therefore made a timely appearance in Spain and, with room to develop further, I’m sure we will see Tony Cairoli standing proudly on the top step of the podium on a regular basis in 2016.
BY PAUL MALIN
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An interview with
Stuart Edmonds has been a consistent fixture on the domestic scene in recent years, often occupying one of the spots on the cusp of the top ten. In what was an unconventional move, the likeable Irishman opted for a change this year and headed off to Germany to compete in their ADAC series. Stuart is back now, however, with a lot to say. MX Vice: There must be a few fans that feel you have fallen off the map this year, so fill us in on what you have been up to… Stuart Edmonds: At the end of last year I was unfortunate, as I broke my ankle. It was a pretty bad break, but I was looking for a deal at the same time. I was lucky to get something in the German series in the end, with KMP Honda Repsol Racing. The owner of that, Alex, was talking to me back and forth for a bit and then I secured the deal for 2015. I was doing the German ADAC series. I had to spend a couple of months in plaster, because of my ankle, so I have been chasing my tail all year. We had some really, really good results, but there have also been some bad ones. MX Vice: How does a deal like that come about then? Do they look to poach talent from the British series? Stuart Edmonds: Basically Reanne, who has been in the industry a long time, has a brother who races. She mentioned my name to Alex, said that I was looking for a ride and then we just spoke. I was lucky that a few of Alex’s sponsors already knew me and said it would be good to have me on the team, as I’m a good rider and am good at publicising the teams that I am on. I make it my goal to plug my sponsors. That is what our job is; it isn’t just to ride our bikes. I showed some good speed and he seemed happy enough throughout the year. I did have some very, very bad results at some races though. It was a new championship, new bike and new team, so everything kind of happened at once.
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55 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
“The social aspect of racing is lacking in the UK” MX Vice: How did the team compare to those you have been on in Britain, as far as structure and equipment goes? Stuart Edmonds: The structure and layout of the team was really, really good. Alex puts all of the riders before himself – that is one thing I noticed. He made sure that the whole team sat down as a family and ate meals. Everyone got along and helped each other out on the team, which was a big surprise to me. Alex basically accepted everyone as a member of his family. There were times where there were no seats and he would give up his for me – it is unbelievable to see stuff like that. MX Vice: Do you think British teams could improve on that and learn from what is going on elsewhere? Stuart Edmonds: I think they could learn a lot, with organisation and how they involve riders. Riders could learn from it as well, just with helping the team out. The social aspect of racing is lacking in the UK, as everyone wants
to just get food and go to the hotel. We had a chance to sit down, socialise while we were eating and get to bed early. The team and riders got to know each other, so there was never a bad atmosphere within the group. I think that all of the English teams could look towards something like that. You have to work together, because if you don’t you’re not really a team. MX Vice: Did you end up in Germany because you literally had nothing on the table from teams over here? Stuart Edmonds: I had one option here, which we were sorting out ourselves. It wasn’t looking too good, but it was still an option. Then this came about and it was fairly good. I was a bit worried as I didn’t know the team and I had never been to an ADAC round, so I had no clue what it was like. I had to do a lot of homework, which helped. After doing so much over the last few years I looked at myself and said ‘look, you have got to change’. I lost myself a bit with all of the injuries.
MX Vice: Do you think that getting out of that rut of doing the same thing in the UK each week helped you recharge the batteries? Stuart Edmonds: For sure, doing the British Championship from Ireland isn’t easy. We have to get the boat to every round, so we lose a day of rest. After a round we would get the boat just after midnight and then start again on Monday. After doing that for so long you get stuck in a rut, as you said. You lose some of the enjoyment, so I decided to try something different. I thought I might learn something and, to be fair, I did. Going to the races, trying different tracks and learning a different format made me remember what I love about motocross. It has given me a lot more ideas heading into 2016, just about what I can change. I was listening to other riders talk about how they train, whereas most guys over here keep their cards close to their chests. It is nice to be able to know what other riders do – they were not afraid to share their opinion. MX Vice: What sort of results did you have in the ADAC? Where were the highlights and lowlights? Stuart Edmonds: I had a lot of low points. I had a couple of riders try to bully me out the way, but I wouldn’t move! They put some holes in my engine and wheels, which caused me to DNF, so I had a lot of bad luck and crashes. I had some good results, like a few finishes in the top fifteen. Twelfth was the best result, I think, on the wettest track I’ve ever rode. I felt that if I could get into the top fifteen it was a good day, because there were so many good riders. A lot of the time I would qualify poorly, which gave me a bad gate pick. When I did get a good start I would ride okay, but just have stupid things happen. I felt I showed some good speed at times. MX Vice: Would you say that you are now a better rider, because of everything you learnt whilst racing in Germany? Stuart Edmonds: I don’t know if I’m a better rider, honestly, I would have liked to see myself have a better result at the last round of the British Championship. I was sick though, so I was struggling to breath. I had a nineteenth
at the Assen round of the MXGP series, which was a really tough track. I would say I am more of an informed rider. I think what I have learnt this year could really help in the future. MX Vice: Was the option to do some GPs this year something that tempted you a little more to take the German deal? Stuart Edmonds: Yeah, obviously everyone knows nobody gets anything from the MXGP series. It was nice that he said he wanted to do two or three rounds. I was a little worried at the time, as I felt underprepared, but by the time it came around I was ready. We just had a bit of bad luck in Teutschenthal; I would have had a top twenty, but I had a tyre problem. I love doing the GPs. MX Vice: Compare the ADAC series to the British Championship for us. What are some of the positives and negatives of each? Stuart Edmonds: From my point of view, I think the organisers in the UK would learn an awful lot from the ADAC. The riders get looked after and they are always looking towards the kids. You can see that a lot of championships over here are starting to bring the kids in more, which is good, but they need to get something for the pros. Prize money is a big thing; a lot of us rely on that. When you are racing for forty or fifty pounds in a top twelve position, you can’t really live. Over there if you qualify you get one hundred and fifty euros, so it motivates everyone a little more. It is a bit like America, but just on a smaller scale. I don’t think it would be very hard for the UK to organise something like that. MX Vice: What is the level like in Germany, compared to the UK? Would you say it is considerably higher? Stuart Edmonds: Yeah, I would. When I say considerably higher I mean all forty riders are very fast. In the UK the top ten are fast, then you have a bit of a gap to another ten fast guys. After that the rest are a little slower than the elite riders. With the ADAC you have twenty riders who are all capable of finishing in the top five, so it came down to how good your start was.
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"After doing that for so long you get stuck in a rut"
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MX Vice: Now that you have done it, are you surprised more British riders haven’t looked to race elsewhere? Stuart Edmonds: Yeah, I am quite surprised. I had never heard of it until last year. Put it this way; I think it would be great if a lot more people could go across or vice versa. The UK used to be the place to be, but when you see something like the ADAC it makes you realise how far off it is from where it once was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the championship or saying it is bad. I do think they can improve in certain areas though. MX Vice: What about next year? Are you hoping to secure the same deal in Germany or are you still shopping around? Stuart Edmonds: I am waiting on Alex to get back to me for next year, but I’m not sure what is going to happen. Judging by how late it is and the fact he doesn’t want to give me an answer straight away, I’m working on getting my own thing going. I’ve got to thank the KMP Honda Repsol Racing team for their support this year though. I have two manufacturers in mind at the moment, so we’ll see what deal we can do. I’ll try to get some more sponsors involved, I have some greats ones at the moment like CCM Racing, Corcoran Chemicals, Metcon, Energise Therapy Clinic, MCUI, POD, West Park Fitness, Macho Martial Arts, Flow Family Clothing, the Statt Family and Jimmy Jones. I just have to get a few more people, to make sure I can do it right. I would like to be able to focus one hundred percent on racing. I know that, if I could do that, I would be a top five runner. If I got the opportunity that some other riders get, I think people would be surprised at the speed I can produce. MX Vice: You have had your fair share of good finishes over the years, so do you feel like you are underrated at times? Stuart Edmonds: Yeah, definitely. I have shown some good speed at times, but I seem to have a lot of bad luck. I don’t let it phase me though – I just keep pushing. I think a lot of people underestimate me, because I haven’t consistently shown the speed that I have. Once I start doing that I think a few people will think about giving me a chance again. I have had some good guys backing me over the years; the guys back home have been behind me all the way. I can’t thank them enough. MX Vice: You are in the latter part of your career now, so realistically what do you think you can achieve over the next couple of years? Stuart Edmonds: If I stay in the UK I would like to finish quite high up there; I have a point to prove to a lot of people and myself. I will aim a little bit higher next year, so top ten is in my head at the moment and I’d really like to push the top five. I know it will be a little tougher though, with a few guys moving up. Maybe I’ll see if I can do a couple of GPs then, of course, at the end of the each year I want to represent my country at the Motocross of Nations.
BY LEWIS PHILLIPS
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image courtesy of Richard Blyth 62 | MX Vice - December 2015 - Issue 10
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The Maxxis British Championship has lost some of its lustre, some might say. Gone are the days of it being head and shoulders above other domestic series in Europe, as various issues have seen others catch up. Positive changes are starting to be put in place now, however, and Stuart Drummond, the new series manager, appears to be confident. MX Vice: You are a new face to most people, so tell us a bit about yourself and what your role is exactly… Stuart Drummond: Okay, I basically work for the ACU Events team. ACU Events is a part of ACU Limited, so they control the Maxxis British Championship. I hold the position of series manager and I took that role on just before Lyng earlier this year. I’m also very much a part of the Isle of Man TT, as the assistant clerk of course. I’ve been involved with motorcycles all my life really, since the age of seven, so obviously I know about racing. MX Vice: Is this a role that you have always wanted then, or did it get sprung on you a little bit? Stuart Drummond: When I was riding, probably not. It was far from what I wanted to do. Obviously when I joined the ACU it was a particular challenge that I wanted to go for within the motorcycle industry.
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THE INTERVIEW BY LEWIS PHILLIPS
DRUMMOND ACU SERIES MANAGER
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MX Vice: Everyone has an opinion on how things should be run, but you are one of the lucky ones. You can actually implement your ideas… Stuart Drummond: Yeah, I think so. Everyone has his or her own opinions and that is what makes the sport interesting and creative. There are a lot of opinions in motocross, but when things have to be made as a decision it will fall on my head. Hopefully it will always be the correct one, in my mind, but obviously that isn’t always quite true. I have the ability to listen to teams and manufacturers and implement the things that we all want to see. MX Vice: You obviously don’t want it to just fall on your head, so you are keen to involve the teams and riders? Stuart Drummond: Yeah, I think it is very important to be creative as well. It is important to involve the manufacturers, teams and riders – it is their championship. We have got to make sure that they are all a part of it or made to feel like they are. The decision making process involves getting a lot of opinions. If you go into these things with tunnel vision, it becomes your own championship – that’s not what I want. I want it to be something that everyone is very proud of. You have to listen to the teams and riders, and I think some of the riders have appreciated their input. With the team managers as well we have implemented quite a lot for 2016, which I can’t get into right now, but we are looking forward to a very, very good championship. MX Vice: Was it, letting everyone have a voice, something that was at the top of your list of things to implement? Stuart Drummond: You can have the ideas,
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but you have to listen to everyone. Honestly, the two-race format that we are going for in 2016 seems to have really gone down well with everyone. Initially the three-race format was for the spectators, but the new format will really help the teams get their bikes ready at a sensible pace and cut the demand of cost. I think everyone wants to see twenty-five minutes plus two laps, also, so I think it will make the 2016 championship a good one. MX Vice: How much of the decision to go back to two motos was down to you, or was it because of the teams demanding it each year? Stuart Drummond: I have to be honest; it was something that I wanted to bring back. I have been a part of the championship for about four years and I figured it had to be involved in the new development. I can’t take total credit; you have to listen to everybody as well. I asked a few questions to the teams, and then when we had the team meeting it was well received. It was something they were crying out for. I keep going back to it, but it is all about listening to the appropriate people. MX Vice: Why go to twenty-five minute motos and not thirty minutes, which would keep it consistent with other series? Stuart Drummond: That is very interesting. The motocross committee came up with the timings really, but I think it is sensible. It will give us thirty minutes of racing, but it is something I’m aware of. If it is successful in 2016, we could look at increasing the times. I do believe that some of the top riders could cope with more time, but I would like to see how it helps the younger riders develop. The other change that we have made is with the MXY2 class; they will feature at every
single round as the support class. I believe that is a really good step up. The MXY2 riders are the future of the sport, so hopefully they can come to the championship and learn a lot. If they can cope with eighteen minutes plus a lap, then in the future we could start getting longer races. We want to see how the longer format will work bit by bit. MX Vice: Looking back on 2015 quickly, what did you think of it all? What did you like about it? What are you looking to change? Stuart Drummond: 2015 was, at the beginning, a difficult season. From Lyng onwards I was in charge, and we started to embrace the teams and riders. We created a track walk for the team managers to go around and have their input, which they appreciated. We had Dr. Ian Dobie join the series, so he is a part of our team now and made a big difference. The whole year, I believe, went very well. It was challenging for me, because of the MXGP date changes. I again tried to talk to people to decide what the best solution was, but it came down to me. We went to FatCat on the first weekend in October and I believe that was the correct decision. There was a time when we couldnâ€™t secure the date, but it ended up going very well. Nice weather, nice racing and a good end to the season.
MX Vice: What do you think itâ€™ll take to get the Maxxis British Championship back to being the biggest domestic series in Europe? Stuart Drummond: That is basically my challenge. We will be implementing a few little changes, which I will be announcing in January. Whether people think they are massive or small, I think they will be positive. We are doing the two-race format, so behind the scenes it is about getting the general public interested in the sport. The question is, will we get the same number of spectators by going back to the two-race format? I do believe we will, because people want to go home early as well. The three-race format did create late finishes, but with the new timetable we should finish much earlier. It will create a more relaxed atmosphere, especially for the media. I want to involve the riders more with the public as well. MX Vice: You basically want to make it more of an experience, rather than there being a bit of separation with the public? Stuart Drummond: Yes. Really, at the moment, we have the cold spell around mid-afternoon and people are going home. We want to make sure they have the best experience in that time, and then they can go home and get the kids ready for school. We want to encourage families!
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SEE THE NEW BIKES AT
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Photo: S. Cudby
CRAZY FAST, SUPER LIGHT, GAME CHANGER THE RADICALLY NEW 2016 KTM 450 SX-F. NEW FROM THE GROUND UP. LIGHTER, FASTER AND MORE REFINED THAN ANY 450 MX BIKE BEFORE IT.
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Please make no attempt to imitate the illustrated riding scenes, always wear protective clothing and observe the applicable provisions of the road traffic regulations! The illustrated vehicles may vary in selected details from the production models and some illustrations feature optional equipment available at additional cost.
RYAN DUNGEY â€“ 450 SUPERCROSS CHAMPION 2015 ON KTM
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