On Sunday May 25th my girlfriend Jill, my mechanics, my teammate Rui (Goncalves) and I took our flight from Europe to USA for the Grand Prix. After 27 hours of traveling, we arrived at the hotel in California late Sunday night. (There is a nine hour time difference between where we stay in Europe, and California.)
On Monday we went to see the KTM USA workshop, and after that Rui and I went to visit ‘old’ friend Tyla Rattray.
Tuesday I did go training with my teammates, and later in the night we went to Mike Alessi’s house for a BBQ.
Mike went training early Wednesday morning and I promised him I’d watch. I did. After Mike’s training I went training with the rest of the KTM MX1 and MX2 team.
Thursday we moved to another hotel that was closer to the Glen Helen track. This was also the first day I saw the track at Glen Helen. Claudio, Rui and I walked whole the track, and I was very impressed with the track! That night we went to Hollywood on a big bus, and had dinner together. After that we went to a big RedBull event in the center of Hollywood. Redbull ‘Big Tune’ – it was a battle between DJs!
On Friday Jill, Rui and I went to lunch together with Mike and his girlfriend Danielle, and we did a bit of shopping. After that we had an autograph session and a press conference in a big moto shop near Glen Helen – Malcolm Smith Motorsports.
On Saturday at the circuit, because of the strong winds the FIM decided to cancel our first free practice sessions. In the Qualification race, I started around seventh position. I climbed up until fourth position behind Mike Alessi, Ben Townley and Max Nagl. I couldn’t ride how I wanted to, and I think that’s because it’s a totally different track than we European riders are used to …. so I could of used the extra free training for sure!!
Sunday, moto 1: the first moto I had a great holeshot ahead of my teammates Mike and Max. I was leading the race, but I couldn’t really make a gap like I wanted over second place. After a bit more that 20 minutes the shift lever came off my bike!! I still had still over 12 minutes to go!
It took a lap before I was sure which gear my bike was stuck in. It stuck in third gear! Mike passed me for the lead. But I figured out it was possible to ride in third gear almost the entire track, so I continued riding! Believe it or not, I was about to pass Mike again and I won the first moto!
Moto 2: I started around fifth position in this race. I found my rhythm and could pass my team mate Max. Then it was Clement Desalle who was pushing in the back of me. so he passed me and then he passed Mike. Mike was now riding in third position. I was able to close the gap to him and then pass.
Ben Townley would go on to win the second moto. Desalle finished second. and I was third. The third place was enough to take the overall win, just a few points more that my USA team mate Mike Alessi.
It was a great week! The KTM USA team really took of all of us really well! The weekend was also great … it was not easy, but in the end I found a way to adapt myself to the really hot weather, the time difference and the totally different track! It all worked out so well!
Thanks to KTM USA, and Redbull USA! I’m happy and look forward to come back to the USA for the MX of Nations in September, and the GP for next season!!
Tony Cairoli 222
p.s. I am writing this on the plane as we head back to Europe now. We will land in eight hours in Amsterdam (Holland) and then I’m going to prepare myself for the next GP in France!!
Tony Cairoli is the MX1 World Motocross Champion, and leading the 2010 World Motocross Series points standings. He races for KTM.
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Look ma! No shifter! (Tony Cairoli on his way to winning the first moto at Glen Helen Raceway – bike stuck in third gear!)