BRAZILIAN GRAND PRIX: CAIROLI WINS EIGHTH TITLE AGAINST MINISCULE FIELD

Cairoli_MXGP_2014_R1688 Tony Cairoli clinched his eighth World Championship in the first moto in Brazil.

There are three news stories out of Brazil this weekend. Tony Cairoli clinched the 2014 FIM 450 World Championships, but that has been a foregone conclusion ever since Clement Desalle and Gautier Paulin got injured. Even healthy, neither of these highly touted contenders has ever been able to put a dent in Cairoli’s dominance of the 450 class. His title in Brazil was a foregone conclusion. He is a great Champion and worthy of all the praise he gets.

Meanwhile, in the 250 class the battle between Jordi Tixier and the injured Jeffrey Herlings is now headed to the final GP of the year in Mexico. Herlings, who broke his femur when he had a massive 184 point lead over Tixier, has seen it whittled down to 23 points with one race left. Herlings has threatened to show up in Mexico to try to stop Tixier’s charge—and since the rider turnout is so small even a guy with a broken leg could score GP points. How many points? Herlings would need 27 points (the equivalent of two 7th place finishes). KTM has to ask whether it is worth the risk of a career ending injury should Herlings fall. If Herlings can’t race in Mexico, then Tixier will win the Championship with 23 points (the equivalent of two 9th place finishes).

Of course you have to ask why the 2014 FIM World Championships are holding their final two races at minor events in countries that don’t have a single GP rider within their borders. Why aren’t the loyal fans back in Belgium, France, Holland or Italy hosting the final rounds—so that the hardcore countries could celebrate with their heroes.

Worst yet, Promoters Youthstream could only field bare bones shows in Brazil. There were only 19 riders in the 450 class and 22 in the 250 class. There were four South American riders in the 450 class, but their quality was fairly high as they finished 14th, 15th, 17th and 18th in the the GP (of course an 18th in a field of 19 is equal to a 38th in a normal race).

Tixier_MXGP_2014_R16Jordi Tixier didn’t have as good a day as he needed in Brazil, but he has still narrowed Jeffrey Herlings’ lead to 23 points. Conversely, if Herlings shows up in Mexico and scores 27 points he will hold onto his 250 crown.

There were six South American riders in the 250 class to fluff up the numbers (otherwise there would have only been 16 riders in the 250 class). And, in timed practice most of the South American 250 fill-in riders were 15 seconds a lap slower than fast qualifier Jordi Tixier. The worst was 35 seconds a lap slower (on a two minute track). Of the six, only Brazilian Hector Assuncao was not lapped  in both motos.

At what point are the fields too small to justify the attention of the motorsports world? The GP’s have gone from 40-man fields to 30-man fields to 20-man fields. When will Giuseppe Luongo have to suit up to insure a 10-man field? Yes, we know that the Youthstream defenders claim that theses 15 riders are the best and it would do no good to let more slow riders in the field, but that isn’t 100% percent honest. And if it was true, then a GP series that consisted of Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings circulating the tracks by themselves would be the true expression of an elite series.

It is true that it does no good to allow South American riders who couldn’t win a local race outside of their home country into the Brazilian GP, but there are plenty of French, Swedish, Dutch, British, German, Canadian and American riders who could fill the fields with talent at least the equivalent of what’s out there now, if it was financially feasible. But with GP entry fees approaching $1500 and no purse, start or travel money — the GP’s don’t meet the basic requirements of a professional sport…which is the ability of the participants to make money. The GPs are “professional promoting,” not professional racing. The factory teams are throwing lots of dough into the Euro fray to sell bikes, but even the European websites spend most of their space covering American races. Think about it! KTM was not a major player in the U.S. market until they started taking U.S. racing seriously — regardless of how much winning they did in Europe. The American success fueled their world-wide sales success…not the other way around. And the American dirt bike market dwarfs the European, Thai, Qatar, Bulgarian or Latvian market.

And, who does Luongo, his paid mouthpieces and the European fans see as the savior of Grand Prix motocross? An American, who is going to switch sides because he will double his already enormous salary by tapping into the neediness of the GP series.

The solution is for Luongo to pay a reasonable purse out of the money he has pirated away, quit going to Brazil twice (or even the proposed plan to go to Argentina twice in  2015), give up on the second class fairground race track in Qatar, stop sending the riders into countries in the midst of revolutions (like Thailand in 2014 or what could have been a disaster in the Ukraine), make one fly-away journey a year to Brazil, Mexico, Thailand or Argentina, but not two, expensive, separate trips that bust the team’s budgets and leave the privateers at home. Lower the entry fees to the American standard (under $250), have 40-man starting fields, open qualifying to the 80 fastest riders in each class (not the 16 riders who show up). Allow the National Federations to select and choose GP worthy riders to be entered into the events (as opposed to riders who can afford the entry fee). And stop making deals that line Youthstream’s pockets with Bulgarian, Russian, Qatar or Mexican money, but do nothing for the sport.

Until then…it will be business as usual at the First National Bank of Luongo.

BRAZIL II RESULTS: 450 CLASS

1. Max Nagl (Hon)……………………….1-1
2. Gautier Paulin (Kaw)…………………4-2
3. Antonio Cairoli (KTM)………………5-3
4. Steven Frossard (Kaw)………………2-7
5. Tommy Searle (Kaw)…………………7-4
6. Kevin Strijbos (Suz)…………………..3-8
7. Davide Guarneri (TM)……………….12-5
8. Milko Potisek (Yam)…………………10-8
9. David Philippaerts (Yam)……………8-10
10. Matiss Karro (KTM)…………………11-11
Other notables: 11. Dean Ferris; 12. Shaun Simpson; 13. Rui Goncalves; 14. Wellington Garcia; 15. Humberto Garcia.

BRAZIL II RESULTS: 250 CLASS

1. Romain Febvre (Hus)………………1-3
2. Dylan Ferrandis (Kaw)…………….2-2
3. Tim Gajser (Hon)……………………7-1
4. Jordi Tixier (KTM)…………………..5-4
5. Valentin Guillod (KTM)……………4-6
6. Arnaud Tonus (Kaw)………………..3-8
7. Jeremy Seewer (Suz)………………..10-5
8. Christophe Charlier (Yam)…………8-7
9. Julien Lieber (KTM)…………………6-9
10. Max Anstie (Yam)………………….12-9
Other notables: 11. Glenn Coldenhoff; 12. Aleksandr Tonkov; 13. Thomas Covington; 16.  Jose Butron.

450 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS

(After 16 of 17 races)
1. Tony Cairoli……………………….705
2. Jeremy Van Horebeek…………..596
3. Kevin Strijbos…………………….530
4. Clement Desalle…………………484
5. Steven Frossard…………………382
6. Shaun Simpson…………………..382
7. Max Nagl…………………………..357
8. Gautier Paulin…………………….315
9. Davide Guarneri…………………270
10. David Philippaerts……………..258

250 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS

(After 16 of 17 races)
1. Jefffrey Herlings……………….594
2. Jordi Tixier………………………571
3. Romain Febvre…………………534
4. Dylan Ferrandis…………………511
5. Tim Gajser……………………….487
6. Arnaud Tonus…………………..422
7. Valentin Guillod…………………412
8. Aleksandr Tonkov………………384
9. Jose Butron………………………345
10. Jeremy Seewer………………..328

 

Photos: Ray Archer

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