Graham Jarvis extends Husqvarna contract into 2021
Miquel Gelabert joins GASGAS TrialGP line-up
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team reveal 2021 colourway
2021 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 livery unveiled
Jago Geerts talks his number change and 2020 lessons learnt
2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Round Six – Indianapolis
2021 Racing Calendars
Madoc Dixon wins 2021 NZ Junior MX 125 cc title
He had to wait an extra year to do it but Altherm JCR Yamaha’s Madoc Dixon left nothing to chance when defending his 15-16 years 125cc title at the Farmer Autovillage Yamaha Motor NZ 2021 New Zealand Junior Motocross Nationals.
The Tauranga youngster first won his national crown in 2019 and when Covid-19 caused the 2020 edition’s cancellation, he approached this weekend’s three-day event at Tauranga’s TECT All Terrain Park doubly determined to keep hold of it.
A wrist injury meant he was forced to spend three months off the bike over winter. However, it didn’t cause any issues over the weekend and the up to three hours training Dixon puts in each day were evident as he powered through the five, 16-minute high intensity races.
Winning the first, third and fourth outings and finishing runner-up in the other two races, Dixon took his YZ125 to a three-point victory over Dylan Westgate.
“I felt pretty nervous coming into it but I’ve worked really hard and it paid off this weekend. I knew I just had to stay consistent and I’d achieve my goal.”
Hosted by Tauranga Club, this was the first national event for the TECT All Terrain Park. Yamaha Motor New Zealand ambassador and club president Ben Tonwley says it was satisfying to see everyone enjoying the summer atmosphere after a busy build-up.
The junior nationals is usually held in April, so the February date meant entants and their families were able to camp on-site which added to the overall experience.
He also had his ‘dad hat’ on as his two sons Levi and Jaggar were competing as part of the Yamaha Junior Racing Team. After a successful international and national riding career, it was a special feeling to watch the next generation sharing his skill-set, Townley says.
“We’ve only been there for about six years getting established. We’ve put in a big effort for the past few years and a huge effort in the past few weeks. It worked out really well and was rewarding for our committee – they all deserve a lot of credit. Levi had a fantastic weekend and rode in two classes. He came away with the win in the 8-11 years Pro 65 class and a close second in the 8-11 years 85cc category. It was tough going for Jaggar as he had an accident on the first day, which meant it was hard for him but good learning. I love doing motocross with them. They really have a lot of passion for it.”
Yamaha Motor New Zealand’s Motorsport Manager Josh Coppins also did dual duty at the event – ensuring that as a title sponsor everything ran smoothly for the brand and also keeping an eye out for his Altherm JCR Yamaha team rider Dixon.
“We created a bLU cRU alley for our customers and had two mechanics and demo bikes on-site to support them. Our activation section had a merchandise stand and a Yamaha customers’ platform viewing area. We did some giveaways and worked hard to ensure our bLU cRU customers felt like part of the Yamaha family. Madoc’s title defence was the icing on the cake for the weekend, where we ended up winning five out of the 10 classes. Along with his 15-16 years 125cc victory, we had Aidan Roberts top the 12-14 years 125cc competition and Levi’s 8-11 years Pro 65 success. We also won two junior women’s classes with Karaitiana Horne claiming the 12-16 years Junior Woman – 85/150cc title and Mikayla Griffiths winning the 8-11 years Junior Woman category. It was a fairly dominant performance by Yamaha, with KTM taking out three classes and one each to Honda and Kawasaki. I’m happy with how we performed and with the massive effort from the Yamaha team who worked for days to get everything set up. Now we look forward to the second round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship in Rotorua on February 21.”
Levi Townley (YZ85) – 114 (Yamaha Junior Racing Team)
Boston Scott – 98
8-11 years Pro 65
Levi Townley (YZ65) – 125 (Yamaha Junior Racing Team)
Jack Ellingham (YZ65) – 108
Ethan Carleton – 100
12-16 years Junior Woman – 125/250cc
Hannah Powell – 119
Halle Cox (YZ250) – 116
Jess Harris – 98
8-11 years Junior Woman
Mikayla Griffiths (YZ85) – 125
Hazel Lang (YZ85) – 106
Hannah Perris – 100
12-16 years Junior Woman – 85/150cc
Karaitiana Horne (YZ85) – 122
Penny Lang (YZ85) – 113
Thalia Heileson – 96
Ice Speedway Finals confirmed for Togliatti
With the pandemic continuing to close borders and the original Ice Speedway Championship calendar abandoned after organisers in Kazakhstan, Germany and The Netherlands were forced to cancel their meetings, the Anatoly Stepanov Stadium in Togliatti was left as the only possible option, with the championship to be a single event as a result.
Entries have been decided according to the allocation of places by the FIM Track Racing Commission with riders nominated by their own Federation. Some competitors have had to withdraw, and the Swedish federation were unable to send their riders due to their government’s restrictions on travel and the resulting insurance complications. The short notice resulted in a scramble to arrange visas and to make transport plans for machines as well as the riders themselves. It is a long drive to Togliatti, some 1000km east of Moscow, and time must be allowed for possible delays through document checks at borders or weather problems en route.
One of the other issues from the pandemic lockdown has been the lack of track experience for many of the riders. Apart from some practice organised in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden which some visiting riders were able to attend, it has not been possible to run the usual training camps. For the home riders only local leagues have been run as normal but without any foreign guests and many of the racers will have had no racing activity for almost a year.
Clearly the favourites for this championship will be those who have previously been medallists in this competition. Current World Champion Daniil Ivanov has held the title for the last two years and his current form suggests that it will be difficult to prevent a third win. Dmitry Khomitsevich has a collection of medals but his win in 2016 is his only individual gold.
Dinar Valeev has taken the bronze medal for the last two years and only his inconsistency has prevented him from gaining higher honours but he is currently leading the national averages so a one-event final might be to his advantage this year. Home track favourites Igor Kononov and Wild Card Nikita Toloknov are also in great form and either could be standing on the podium on Sunday afternoon.
Evergreen Franky Zorn hoping for an improvement on his 2020 scores leads the Austrian entries and will be joined by Harald Simon. Kazakhstan continues its attempts to develop ice speedway and also has two representatives in Pavel Nekrassov and Andrei Shishegov although lack of top class competition may limit their chances of success here.
Johan Weber was the best of the German riders during the curtailed 2020 season and will again attempt to steal some of the glory from the favourites. Max Niedermayer brings his experience to the meeting and former national champion Marcus Jell completes the German trio although Luca Bauer riding with an Italian licence will also be present.
Jasper Iwema from The Netherlands has been able to find a little practice and is very enthusiastic about his opportunity to compete again with the top riders. He left his home for the long drive as soon as visa and travel documents were completed, and he should arrive in good time to prepare for racing.
Aki Ala-Riihimäki has fought back from a major injury, not through ice speedway, where he was left in a wheelchair for some time. He returned to the track only last year and at 54 he is at the veteran stage but is a multiple Finnish champion. Lukáš Hutla will be the only representative from the Czech Republic.
Aleksandr Lyatosinskyy from Ukraine will be both Jury President and Referee and it is hoped that Oleg Zakharov will be available as Race Coordinator. After practice on Friday, racing will start at 16.00 on Saturday and 14.00 on Sunday.
Important Note: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) considered that in the circumstances, maintaining the FIM World Championship in Togliatti (Russia) was not in contradiction with the CAS decision mainly based on the extreme circumstances of the case, in particular considering that the FIM Ice Speedway World Championship is due to start in less than two weeks and only a few weeks passed since the issuance of the CAS decision in the Arbitration WADA v. RUSADA. WADA’s position expressed therein is without prejudice to WADA’s position in respect to other FIM events scheduled to be held during the Two Years Period (i.e. 2021 and 2022) in Russia. Among the measures taken by the FIM are, the removal of the Russian national flag from the visual elements (backdrops, race jackets, TV graphics). The Russian nationality of the riders will not be mentioned. The Russian national anthem shall not be played during these events.
Tim Gajser talks MXGP 2021 expectations
Last season Team HRC’s Tim Gajser kicked off the 2020 season by going eight-one at the MXGP of Great Britain, however this year the season will kick off in Oman on April 3, here’s how the reigning MXGP champion’s season preparations for 2021 have been going.
How has your off-season gone? What has your training schedule been?
Tim Gajser: “My off-season so far has been good. I was training hard in December and then I had a few weeks off. Now, I am in Sardinia and I will stay here for month or so, training hard on and off the bike. The plan is to do the three Italian races and then head to Oman, and I can’t wait to get started racing again.”
Does it feel different that than previous years, with the later finish from the previous season and the later start to the 2021 season?
Tim Gajser: “In some ways it feels different because usually in January I’m in Sardinia but this year I spent it all pretty much at home. Then the GPs usually start late February or beginning of March so this year all feels a bit delayed. I’m sure once we start racing, it will all feel natural again though.”
Did the travel restrictions change any of your plans at all?
Tim Gajser: “With the all the rules about staying at home, there wasn’t a lot of choice to go anywhere or do things. When I had the three weeks off, we didn’t go on holiday, and instead friends came round and we just hung out. Otherwise, it was just a relaxed, chilled time because everything is closed. I took a lot of time to recharge the batteries and it felt good to have the break but now I’m hungry to begin.”
Is it easier this year, than last year, because you are riding the same title-winning Honda CRF450RW, so there isn’t as much testing?
Tim Gajser: “The bike is quite similar to last year, with a few changes so it feels close to what I won the 2020 world championship with. A few small things but overall, very similar so I still feel very comfortable with it.”
What was the reaction in Slovenia after you won the 2020 championship?
Tim Gajser: “The reaction was huge again. It was a bit different though because I couldn’t go anywhere to do interviews or collect awards or the welcome party that we’ve done before. So it was different but still a good reaction and it makes me feel extremely proud.”
Slovenia had a good year for sports, is motocross getting good coverage compared with other sports?
Tim Gajser: “Slovenia has many good sports people in a wide variety of activities but I think motocross is growing in my country, with many young children and people wanting to start riding a bike so I’m very happy that the coverage is inspiring others to take up the sport.”
Have you been watching the SX? What do you think of the results so far and who has impressed you?
Tim Gajser: “I’ve been watching the supercross and I was impressed with Barcia who won the last three opening rounds, which is unbelievable, but Roczen seems consistent and has now won so that’s good. The class is full of really good riders though and it is good to see how the racing goes over there.”
Last year was full of ups and downs, how difficult was it mentally to keep focused and maintain such a high level of performance?
Tim Gajser: “Last year was a difficult year for everyone. A lot of new things happened to us with the schedule and the testing and the travel, but as a racer we always need to find the motivation to train hard, to keep putting in the effort and to be focused 100%. It was tough but overall, it turned out really well and I’m pleased with the effort that the whole team put in, in order to achieve the title.”
Everyone says that defending a title is harder, it seemed that way last year, but do you think 2021 will be even more difficult?
Tim Gajser: “Defending a title is always difficult, but winning the first time is very difficult too! You have to be on your ‘A game’ every week, try to be consistent, to stay injury-free and I think 2021 will be another good year of racing with a lot of top riders in the class. There are a lot of title winners in the class and I think it will be an interesting season with a lot of battles.”
How are you preparing for the MXGP season? Are you assuming the season will go ahead as normal? Or are you just planning on riding 20 rounds, wherever they are, on whatever race track?
Tim Gajser: “My preparation is going pretty normal right now, a little bit delayed as I said before but I’m continuing as usual and I hope we can race the season in the current schedule.”
Is it tough to train with the same intensity, right now, as the global situation is still very unclear?
Tim Gajser: “We all know why we train, why we train so hard and that’s because we are all trying to win so I’ve never needed extra motivation or for someone to push me. I have always found the motivation and I know how to do it and it’s been a good off-season and I’m looking forward to going racing.”
Would you mind if they went back to the one-day format?
Tim Gajser: “At the beginning when we started with the one-day format last year, I struggled with it and I didn’t feel so comfortable but now I feel it doesn’t matter to me, I can adapt to either.”
What about if they did the back-to-back-to-back races again? Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday
Tim Gajser: “Even doing three races in a week, if it is what needs to be done to save the season then I’m completely fine with it. It actually worked quite well as a system last year to do so many races in a short time so we know it is possible, but hopefully whatever happens, fans can come back and watch the racing and cheer us on and visit us in the pits. I do miss those interactions with my supporters and I hope that they can come to the races. It makes the whole atmosphere a lot better.”
Is there anything you learnt last year, that will help you in this year, in terms of dealing with unknowns?
Tim Gajser: “I learnt a lot last year, with all the changes that happened about how you need to be flexible; you need to adapt and just get on with what is ahead of you. There is no point complaining or wishing that things were different; you have to go out there and perform and trust that everyone has done their job and I know with Team HRC I can do that. We did a lot of races in a short period with very few days off for everyone, but we kept it fun and we kept the levels high and we worked through any problems that came up. It makes me confident for this year that I can cope, should things change.”
Graham Jarvis extends Husqvarna contract into 2021
Continuing their successful partnership with hard enduro legend Graham Jarvis, Husqvarna Motorcycles announced that Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing have agreed to a one-year contract extension with the British star, which will see him compete in the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship alongside teammates Alfredo Gomez and Billy Bolt.
In addition, Husqvarna Motorcycles will support Graham’s newly set-up five-rider Jarvis Husqvarna Racing team, as Jarvis fulfils a long-standing ambition of launching his own race team and developing talented future Hard Enduro champions.
“I’m often asked when I might stop racing, but as long as I can be competitive and my fitness allows it, I’m going to continue doing what I love. So, I’m thrilled to continue racing for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing in 2021. In addition, starting my own race team gives me another opportunity to remain active in the sport I love and hopefully play a part in developing the champions of the future. This would give me a great sense of achievement, as much as anything I’ve done to date. Husqvarna Motorcycles has been incredibly supportive in this venture and we hope to repay that support with some great performances. Like everyone, I’m hoping that life, and racing, will return to normal very soon, and I look forward to getting back to competition.”
As well as challenging for race wins and regular podium results himself, Jarvis is hoping the new eight round FIM Hard Enduro World Championship, together with the British Extreme Championship, will be the perfect series to showcase his new team and its roster of young stars. Passing his experience on to his team riders, Graham hopes to develop future world champions.
Jarvis Husqvarna Racing has secured some of the most exciting and promising young riders – Bulgaria’s Teodor Kabakchiev, English trio of Jono Richardson, Will Hoare and Sam Winterburn, and experienced Welsh rider Grant Churchward. All riders will compete aboard Husqvarna TE 300i machinery.
Andi Hölzl – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Team Manager
“Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing have enjoyed so much success together with Graham, continuing to support him for another year as a racer, and as he takes his first steps into team management, is something we’re more than pleased to do. Obviously, Graham’s situation is unique – there aren’t many motorcycle athletes able to consistently perform like he does at nearly 46 years of age – and that’s why Graham makes decisions regarding his career one year at a time. Knowing that he has the fitness and motivation to compete for at least one more season, we couldn’t be happier to have him race alongside Alfredo Gomez and Billy Bolt in the FIM Hard Enduro World Championship for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing.”
Miquel Gelabert joins GASGAS TrialGP line-up
Expanding the GASGAS Factory Racing Trial team rider line-up, Miquel Gelabert has joined the squad to take on the 2021 FIM TrialGP World Championship. The Spanish trial ace will compete alongside Jorge Casales as part of the well-established and successful team, with both riding GASGAS TXT GP 300 machinery.
“This is really a dream come true for me. I’m from Girona, just next to the GASGAS factory, and I’ve always wanted to be part of the GASGAS factory team. I’m over the moon to be able to race the bike I have always loved and to be in the factory team that I always wanted to be a part of. Last year I decided to race their bike under a private team, and it worked really well. I managed to get some good results and now I’m racing for the factory team! For 2021 I hope to achieve many podiums and be able to finish inside the top three overall. I know that it won’t be easy, but I believe I have the level to do it. Right now, I’m training as much as I can and once I’m feeling 100% confident with the bike I think we can accomplish my goals. Also, having Albert Cabestany as my team manager is great, I’ll be able to get really valuable feedback from him. He has been a top rider for many years so his experience will help me. I can’t wait to start competing for GASGAS Factory Racing.”
Entering his debut TrialGP season in 2016, Miquel Gelabert delivered incredibly consistent results to place 10th overall in the final standings. Following his impressive start, the Spaniard then continued to maintain solid form during his second term, placing 11th overall in 2017.
2018 was the year Miquel made his first trip onto a TrialGP podium, while competing in the UK at the penultimate round of the series. The then 20-year-old claimed third overall on the day – a result that helped lift the youngster up to ninth in the final championship standings.
Consistent results continued in 2019 and 2020 with Miquel again impressing throughout each campaign, ending both seasons in eighth overall. Three times fifth overall during the 2020 series, Gelabert has formed a strong foundation for future successes with GASGAS Factory Racing.
Now, with the newly appointed Trial Team Manager Albert Cabestany in his corner, Miquel Gelabert is armed with the support and machinery needed to progress up the world rankings and earn his place as a regular contender for podium finishes.
Albert Cabestany – GASGAS Factory Racing Trial Team Manager
“It’s a really exciting time with Miquel joining GASGAS Factory Racing. He’s a really skilled trial rider, with exceptional consistency, which is really important for success in trial. I believe that now he is on the factory team, with encouragement and guidance and the team’s support, we will really see what he is capable of in 2021. We still have some time to fully-prepare for the season and I am really confident that we can achieve great results together. With Miquel joining the team alongside Jorge Casales, I’m excited to begin working with both riders and can’t wait for the season to start.”
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team reveal 2021 colourway
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team is pleased to officially reveal its new look ahead of the 2021 MXGP season. The team made up of already acclaimed premier class riders Jeremy Seewer and Glenn Coldenhoff, with the addition of young rookie Ben Watson, is pleased to continue the partnership with world renowned clothing and protection brand Alpinestars for the upcoming season.
After celebrating a maiden MXGP race and Grand Prix win in 2020, four times FIM Motocross World Championship runner-up Seewer is going for gold. Heading into the new season in much better form than at the start of 2020 where he suffered a hefty chest infection, the 26-year-old has fully reset and is fit and ready to achieve more career milestones in 2021.
Determined to add to his incredible list of achievements, including 38 podiums and six Grand Prix wins, the ‘91’ is also focused on maintaining his astonishing record of consistency. Throughout his eight years as a professional racer, the reigning world number two has not missed a single Grand Prix – the 2021 MXGP season opener in Oman, Muscat, will mark his 129th consecutive Grand Prix start.
“I’ve had a great winter, one of the best off-seasons of my career. I’ve just been spending time at home in Switzerland, preparing physically and enjoying time on the mountains and on the ski’s and stuff like that. I’ve been really calm and relaxed, spending a lot of time with my family and have recovered well from last season and my training sessions. I like it like this, it calms me down and gives me a lot of energy. We are just taking things step by step; we really have time on our side with the season starting a lot later this year. There is no hurry at all, and I enjoy this process. I have a really good feeling about this year, we made some good improvements with the team and I have the best team of people around me, so things are really going good. As for my goals… I am back to back vice World Champion so of course I want to win.”
Joining Seewer in pursuit of the MXGP world title, Coldenhoff is an exciting new addition to the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory team. Hailing from Oss, The Netherlands, the 29-year-old will be the Dutch-based team’s first Dutch rider. Throughout his illustrious career, the ‘259’ has established himself as a regular front runner with 19 podium finishes to his credit, which includes five Grand Prix wins.
“Winter prep is going pretty good. Just started testing in January and we arrived in Sardinia yesterday for two weeks of training. We have good weather and great facilities over here. I don’t feel quite ready just yet, but I don’t think we have to be already because of the late start to the season. We still have a lot of time. The goal is to ride a strong and consistent season with as many podiums as possible. Hopefully this will lead to a great overall result at the end of the year.”
After a stand-out end to his MX2 career, where he celebrated six podium finishes and won two Grand Prix rounds, Watson was drafted into the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team for his rookie premier class season. The 23-year-old has shown encouraging signs of progress throughout the off-season, where he has quickly adjusted to the YZ450FM. Towering at 186cm tall, the Brit is well suited to the bigger bike and is aiming for a positive first season inside the premier class.
“So far my winter preparation has been going well. I haven’t done a lot on the bike as of yet but we are now in Sardinia and the plan is to have some good riding and physical training here. I spent two weeks in the south of France on the bike and felt comfortable with the new changes. I want to keep going in this direction and try to improve over the course of the next few weeks to slowly get ready for the 2021 season. Of course, it’s early to say I am ready for the new season right now, but with how things are going, and if we can keep to the plan then I will be 100% ready and excited to go for the new season very soon. I have some goals, not necessarily results based. I want to head in to the new season with an open book and just take every opportunity with both hands. I have a lot to learn but at the same time I know my own potential and what I can do. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
Boasting a perfect mix of youth and experience, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP team is excited to arm its trio of riders each with a Factory YZ450FM. Since the launch of its 2021 livery, the team has travelled to Sardinia where the riders have started an intensive training program ahead of the team’s first pre-season race, which is scheduled to take place on February 28th in Riola Sardo.
2021 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 livery unveiled
Fielding a three-rider line-up in 2021, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team is on the hunt for FIM Motocross World Championship glory, as it aims to secure the MX2 Championship gold plate while defending Yamaha’s title as the MX2 Manufacturer of the Year.
With the pre-season races fast approaching, the team is excited to unveil its 2021 look. The teams fierce new and refreshed set-up confirms an extension of the partnership with two of the most successful clothing and protection brands in motocross, Troy Lee Designs and Alpinestars.
Made up of well-established race and Grand Prix winners, Jago Geerts and Maxime Renaux, and strengthened by the addition of last years’ EMX250 Champion Thibault Benistant, the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team will see all three riders campaign the factory Yamaha YZ250FM in the hotly contested MX2 series.
Geerts, who enters his fourth consecutive year in MX2 with the Hans Corvers led Yamaha team, won the same number of races as the eventual World Champion in 2020, 14, proving he has the speed to challenge for the crown. In addition to his 14 race victories, the 20-year-old Belgian celebrated six Grand Prix wins and 12 pieces of podium finishes on his way to his second championship medal – he finished third in 2019 and second in 2020.
“The off-season is going really well. We are still taking it pretty easy because we are still two months away from the start of the championship, but I am riding three times a week. I learned a lot in 2020. I learned that the season is long and you need to be consistent during the whole season, and I also learned that everything needs to be 100% with the bike and with myself; otherwise, it is too easy to make mistakes. I have been working on these things and I feel like I am ready to fight for the title again. I had the speed already in 2020, I just need to be a bit smarter and a bit more consistent and when I can do that, I will have a good chance at the title.”
Renaux secured the bronze medal and was the winner of MXGP’s Jan de Groot Young Rider of the Year award. He won one race on his way to a maiden Grand Prix win and mounted the podium on no fewer than five occasions. The 20-year-old Frenchman is already familiar with his new team, having raced for the outfit back in 2015 – where together they celebrated the FIM Junior Motocross 125cc world title. After achieving his initial goal of finishing a season in MX2 on the podium, Renaux has gone the extra mile this winter in terms of his physical preparation and is determined to accomplish his ultimate goal of becoming MX2 World Champion.
“My winter preparation is going good so far. We have done a lot of physical training, not so much riding, but we are in Sardinia now, and we are starting to ride more on the bike. We have good conditions in Sardinia, good weather and good tracks, also the team is working with me and the bike, so everything is going well. I’m feeling really good with the team and I am really happy. I feel ready for the 2021 season for sure. I still have some things to work on, and to put more time on the new bike. I achieved my goal in 2020 of being on the podium last year with third overall, so my goal for 2021 is to do better than that. We want to catch the title; everyone is working for that. That is the main goal; there is no pressure for it. It is just something that I want to achieve. It’s my dream. I will do everything for that.”
Enjoying a successful start to his MX2 career, after dominating the EMX250 Championship with eight race wins and six round wins, Benistant made his Grand Prix debut at the end of the 2020 season. The 18-year-old instantly impressed with two top-three race finishes and a top-five overall finish during the three rounds he raced in Belgium and Italy. Having evolved within Yamaha’s own ranks over the past decade, the young Frenchman has earned his place within the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team and is eager to enter the MX2 series as one of the strongest rookies in 2021.
“My winter preparation is going really well, and I am really proud of this. I am enjoying every moment on my Yamaha Factory bike, the YZ250FM. I am enjoying time with my trainer and with all the members of the team. I can’t wait for the 2021 season. It’s my first year in MX2, I just want to learn as much as possible. There is no pressure on me, so I think I can surprise people with what I can do.”
The Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2 team is scheduled to line up for the first time in 2021 at the Internationali d’Italia Motocross Championship, which is expected to take place on the 28th of February in Riola Sardo, Sardinia.
Jago Geerts talks his number change and 2020 lessons learnt
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s Jago Geerts has been recognized for the past three-years by his professional number 193, but for 2021, the 20-year-old MX2 title contender will ditch his professional number in favour of a new number, 93.
As a youngster, Geerts carried the number 93 through title-winning campaigns inside the EMX85, EMX125 and Junior Motocross World Championships before turning pro in 2018.
“I had always ridden with 93 before I went to MX2,” he said, “so I really wanted 93 again as my race number and now the rider in MXGP who used it the last years quit racing the GP’s, so then I could become 93 again.”
In 2020, Geerts steered his YZ250FM to 14 race wins, matching the win rate of the eventual World Champion.
“Tom (Vialle) was more than consistent than me in 2020,” he admitted, “I had really good starts that year, a lot better than the last years, but just in the last few races, I made too many mistakes and I wasn’t feeling really that good. My speed was still there, but I crashed too much and made some stupid mistakes, you also learn from that and I think that it worked out as good experience for this year, for me to try to keep myself focused for the whole season.”
Geerts has power vaulted his way up the MX2 ranks since making his debut, celebrating 15 race wins and 19 podium finishes on his way to two championship medals in 2019 and 2020. Despite his evident talent and impressive results as a young star on the rise, he has already endured many frustrations.
“I learned a lot last season,” he divulged, “the season is long, and you need to be consistent throughout the whole season to fight for the title. I learned a lot about the bike and the bike set up, just that the bike needs to be 100% or you are going to make a lot of mistakes when you don’t have a really good day. So that is what I want to take into this year. I just want to focus more on the bike and focus on myself that I am always 100% ready for the next race.”
Asked whether he has made any changes to his YZ250FM in the off-season, Geerts said:
“We have done a lot of testing with the suspension and some different parts. I am really happy with the bike now and I think we made some improvements with the suspension. I think I will be ready when the season starts.”
After securing the silver medal in 2020, Geerts suffered a shoulder injury in the final race of the year at the MXGP of Garda-Trentino in Italy.
“It was a pretty difficult injury,” he said, “for sure the first few weeks I couldn’t do much and it was pretty painful, but then after 4-weeks I got a checkup, and everything was going good and I could start physical therapy. After that, it went better and better and after seven or eight weeks, I was back on the bike.”
With the FIM MX2 World Championship expected to kick off in two months’ time, Geerts is gearing up to go after his first MX2 world title.
“I think I am ready to fight for the title again.” He concluded, “I had the speed already last year, so I think when I am a little bit smarter, and I try to ride more consistent that I have a chance at the title.”
2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Round Six – Indianapolis
Justin Barcia, Adam Cianciarulo and Ken Rozen all got great drive out of the gates as the Main got underway but a clash between Barcia and Cianciarulo on the exit of the opening turn saw the Kawasaki man come off second best. Barcia emerged with the lead for all of about two metres until Roczen swept pass and immediately started to pull away.
Barcia then built up a head of steam though and closed back up on Roczen before pile-driving right into the side of him, he nearly took the Honda man down but somehow Roczen stayed upright and the aggressor came off second best. This wasn’t at the end of the race as some last gasp attempt at the win, but only three-minutes into it!
Cooper Webb moved past Cianciarulo for third place and Adam then started to come under attack from his Kawasaki team-mate and defending champion Eli Tomac. It took Tomac a couple of minutes to get by his younger team-mate and move up to fourth place behind Webb.
Marvin Musquin got stronger as the race progressed. With seven-minutes remaining he pushed Cianciarulo back to seventh place and then set his sights on Malcolm Stewart. It took him another four-minutes to chase down and pass Stewart to move up fifth.
With five-minutes left on the shot clock Roczen led Barcia by 1.5-seconds but the GasGas man was then passed by Webb. Tomac then made his move but his forward thrusts were successfully resisted by Barcia.
With just under a minute remaining Tomac and Barcia both went down while battling for the final step on the podium. Barcia got tripped up as he tried to lap Vince Friese but messed up the move and ended up on the deck. Tomac then came over a jump to find a stricken Barcia right in the middle of his line and crashed trying to avoid the fallen GasGas straddling the track. By the time they were up and running again Tomac had been shuffled back to sixth, while Barcia’s potential podium had gone and he was outside the top 15.
Cooper Webb chased Roczen hard all the way to the flag but the German had his measure and took his third victory in a row. This extends Roczen’s championship lead over Cooper Webb out to 16-points.
The demise of Barcia and Tomac promoted Marvin Musquin up onto the podium and Malcolm Stewart up to fourth ahead of Adam Cianciarulo and Jason Anderson while Tomac managed to salvage 16-points with seventh.
The Monster Energy Supercross circus now travels 1000 miles south from Indian all the way down to Orlando, Florida to reconvene next weekend for what will be round seven.
Ken Roczen – P1
“Indianapolis 3 was a fantastic night. We started off in practice with a little bit of a struggle – just not really getting along with the track very well. I felt fine out there, but I simply wasn’t fast enough. We went into the night show though, and I knew that I was a better racer and that we were going to get a good result. After that we took the heat-race win and were able to get a good gate pick for the main event; sure enough, I got a really good start. Along the way, I came in contact with Justin Barcia, who hit me pretty hard and bent my shifter a bit; I wasn’t able to shift until like half a lap later. I held my lines and focused as much as I could and we did the three-peat, taking home another win on a track that wasn’t really my favorite. Those kinds of nights are when you get another step closer to a championship run, and it was really important for us to get more points and be gaining instead of losing. I’m so happy to finish all three Indianapolis main events in first, as I’ve never gone three in a row. This is huge for me and the team, and I’m looking to continue this streak when we come back next weekend in Orlando.”
In was Christian Craig’s turn to get one over his team-mate come the Main as he pulled away to a dominant victory while championship leader Colt Nichols had to settle for third. The win narrowed Nichols’ championship lead over his team-mate back down to a slender six-points.
Nichols was actually leading the Main on the opening lap but went down and had to watch while the entire field streamed by him before getting back on the bike and going again in dead last.
Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda took a well earned podium, second place for the 18-year-old Japanese hotshot moved him up to third place in the championship.
Muc-Off Honda’s Mitch Oldenburg managed to hold off Jett Lawrence to take fourth place. Oldenburg had only narrowly missed out on taking the holeshot, starting very strongly and briefly held the lead after Nichols went down late on the opening lap. Craig was soon past him though and pulled away with apparent ease on his way to a dominant victory. Shimoda then relegated Oldenburg to third place a few laps later.
Jett Lawrence moved up to fourth place in the championship off the back of his 18-points haul from that fifth place in the Main.It was not an easy road to that fourth either as on lap one Lawrence was way back in 19th. Jett was up to ninth by lap two but he was 18-seconds behind the race leader already. That gap to the leader never really widened too much further from there though and as the laps progressed the young Aussie picked off riders one by one as he worked his way up through the pack.
By the halfway mark Lawrence was up to fourth but was eventually pushed back to fifth by Colt Nichols after the series leader fought his way back after that lap one mistake. Jett made Nichols really work for that pass though and essentially prevented Nichols from making any further progress before the flag, the two traded places a few times and Jett did well to hold him out as long as he could.
On the flip-side, Nichols kept his cool and did not resort to making any ugly passes on the youngster, in fact, it was very surprising to see just how much latitude he gave Jett. After Nichols got past Jett, the young Aussie then narrowly saved what would have been an ugly over the bars crash before settling to bring home that fifth place finish.
While there are 17 rounds in this Monster Energy Supercross Championship, the 250 category is split into two separate championships, 250 East and 250 West.
This was the sixth round of what will be a nine-round 250 East Championship. The Yamaha duo of Colt Nichols and Christian Craig have been on fire throughout these opening six round of the series and if they remain injury free it seems almost certain that we will have a Yamaha 1-2 in the championship this year.
Supercross now travels 1000 miles south from Indian all the way down to Orlando, Florida to reconvene next weekend for what will be round seven. The 250 East series then has a two-month break before heading to Salt Lake City on April 25th for the penultimate round ahead of the decider at the same location on May 2nd.
Christian Craig – P1
“The day started off crazy. I just felt off all day and then had a mishap in one of the practices and couldn’t get my bike started. I had to miss a whole qualifying session. So that kind of set the tone for the whole day. I just kept my head clear and had a decent heat race. I went into the Main Event confident in my ability to do it. Colt made a mistake early on. I was able to capitalize on it and get away early to break away with a nice gap and then ride my own race. It felt good to get another win and to end this Indy series on a high note before moving on to Orlando.”
Jett Lawrence – P5
“I was managing my injury all day, but I’m glad that my shoulder was good enough that I was able to ride. It wasn’t what I was hoping for in terms of results in the main event, but it felt good to be racing and to get a heat-race win, even if I wasn’t 100 percent. Now we get a full week before Orlando, and I’m looking forward to coming back and getting back on top.”
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