Red Bull KTM’s MX1 factory rider and five times world champion Tony Cairoli wrote himself into the sport’s history books on Sunday when he sealed his fiftieth Grand Prix victory at the MX1 GP of Czech Republic at Loket.
Cairoli’s ride on the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F was a model of cool, calculating riding skill and allows him to join the ranks of the greats. Only three riders have ever achieved the 50-win milestone, Joel Robers in the 1970s more recently Joel Smets and Stefan Everts, the Red Bull KTM Factory Team director, who took his 50 wins eleven years ago and went on to double that number. It was a great day’s racing for the KTM factory team with Cairoli’s historic victory preceded by a great win in MX1 by Jeffrey Herlings.
Max Nagl also made a heroic return to MX1 racing on the new KTM 450 SX-F after a very long injury pause and multiple back surgeries and powered his KTM 450 SX-F into overall fourth place. The team’s third MX1 rider, Ken de Dycker of Belgium finished sixth overall on the technical, stony and very hilly circuit at Loket directly west of the capital Prague and near the German border.
Tony Cairoli: “I am very happy with this victory because it is my fiftieth so it is special. Now Matterley Basin will be nice because it will be rough and I like it like that. Even if there is a lot of people riding on it they will prepare it very well and I think it should be a good race.”
Max Nagl: Even I was not expecting to do this well today. My plan was to get some good starts and just try to follow the others but in the first heat I was fifth at the start and finished third. That was amazing for me. I had a huge holeshot and was far in front in the second race and I even led for a couple of laps. Then I started to get tires because I am still only 80 per cent fit but the speed is there.”
Ken de Dycker: “This was a difficult track for me for sure because I didn’t get the good jump I needed. Here you can’t make up ground and you can’t make mistakes. I am still happy with the result because it was very hard. I gained some points on Paulin so I think for the next GPs it’s going to be much better.
Photos by R.Archer
Brave MX2 ride by Herlings
Herlings definitely made his contribution to the euphoria of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team winning both MX2 motos in what was not only a display of great riding but also of bravery after getting injured in a traffic accident immediately after winning the Russian MX2 GP. That he was able to push through the pain barrier of riding with cracked ribs is a testament to the young Dutch teenager’s skill and his will to win.
Herlings looked confident in the first moto and then pulled out all the stops in the second moto after getting dumped off in a close encounter with British rival Tommy Searle. He scrambled back on his KTM 250 SX-F and after losing 13 seconds, put his head down and went on the attack. Just four laps after his spill, Herlings was on the tailpipe of Searle and slipped past into second behind his KTM teammate Jeremy van Horebeek. Jeremy made up for a disappointing DNF with technical difficulties in the first race to grab the holeshot and lead in race two for almost the entire race. Herlings slipped past him two laps before the flag and went on to secure yet another 1-1 result.
The team’s third MX2 member Jordi Tixier of France had a bad crash in the warm up on Sunday morning and although he managed to finish the first race he was feeling dizzy from the fall and doctor’s did not allow him to race in the second moto. Tixier will have a full medical check-up on Monday and hopefully will be fit to ride in Matterley Basin in two weeks time.
Herlings said no one, not even he had expected that he would be able to ride in Loket after the car accident in Russia and he paid tribute to his doctor who had helped him to manage the pain for this weekend’s ride. The young Dutch rider now has a 57-point lead over Searle in the MX2 championship heading to the British rider’s home race in Matterley Basin in two week’s time. Van Horebeek wrapped up the second race in style for more valuable points and is still in third place in the championship standings. Tixier of France is still sixth overall, a positive results for the rider who set his pre season goal as a top 10 place at the end of the season.
Jeffrey Herlings: “My riding was good this weekend. I had an okay start in the first moto and I managed to get up to first after a few laps and go on the win. I was back at about tenth at the start of the second moto but I got up to second and then Tommy Searle made a move on me and I crashed. I got us pretty quickly and I just wanted to pass him again as quickly as possible. After that I just had to get past Jerre (van Horebeek) and take the overall win. For sure at Matterley Basin the crowd will all be supporting Tommy but I just want to go there, put down the hammer and hope to take the win.”
Jeremy van Horebeek: “It was a good day for me even though there was the technical issues in the first moto but I put that behind me and was super motivated for the second moto. I took the holeshot and I led right up till the last two minutes. Now I am going to keep working hard and try to take second at the end of the season. Now we will go to Matterley Basin as a strong team and we will try to win with fair racing on the track.”
GP of Czech Republic at Loket – Round 12 of the World Championship
1, Tony Cairoli, Italy, KTM (Wins 50th career GP)
2, Christophe Pourcel, France, Kawasaki
3, Clement Desalle, Belgium, Suzuki
4, Max Nagl, Germany, KTM
5, Xavier Boog, France, Kawasaki
6, Ken de Dycker, Belgium, KTM
13, Davide Guarneri, Italy, KTM
14, Kevin Strijbos, Belgium, KTM
MX1 Championship Standings
1, Cairoli, 492
2, Desalle, 462
3, C. Pourcel, 435
4, Paulin, 402
5, de Dycker, 368
6, Strijbos, 319
15, Guarneri, 152
16, Karro, 112
MX1 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 542
2, Kawasaki, 505
3, Suzuki, 473
1, Jeffrey Herlings, Netherlands, KTM
2, Tommy Searle, GBR, Kawasaki
3, Zachary Osborne, USA, Yamaha
4, Jake Nicholls, GBR, KTM
5, Romain Febvre, France, KTM
9, Jose Butron, Spain, KTM
10, Jeremy van Horebeek, Belgium, KTM
12, Glenn Coldenhoff, Netherlands, KTM
15, Valentin Guillod, Switzerland, KTM
16, Jordi Tixier, France, KTM
MX2 Championship Standings
1, Herlings, 528
2, Searle, 471
3, van Horebeek, 439
4, Roelants, 367
5, Nicholls, 325
6, Tixier, 319
8, Butron, 241
11, Coldenhoff, 193
12, Febvre, 146
MX2 Manufacturers Standings
1, KTM, 571
2, Kawasaki, 541
3, Yamaha, 346