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Three Champions

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Three Champions

By Geoff Meyer

The MXGP class of 2014 has three riders with very impressive records. Defending World Champion Antonio Cairoli, 2008 MX1 World Champion David Philippaerts and 2008 MX2 World Champion Tyla Rattray are the three riders with World Championships to their name.

Ten years ago when Youthstream took over the FIM Motocross World Championships these three riders were very much the future of the sport. Rattray and Cairoli finishing second and third in the MX2 Championship behind New Zealand’s Ben Townley, and Philippaerts back in 19th position, although was quickly signed by KTM to race in their MX2 team - he finished fourth in the MX2 Championship in 2005.

Only a handful of riders still remain on the World scene from that 2004 MX2 title race, as most have retired or just race National championship level now.

Cairoli is of course the man of the moment. He has left names like Townley, Rattray, Pourcel, Searle and other former championship rivals in his wake as he dominates year after year. A legend of the sport and his status just continues to improve with every moto, Grand Prix or Championship victory.

His perfect off-season will see him come into the opening round of the Championship in Doha, Qatar, in a month’s time with a lot of confidence. The question is: will he play it safe like he did in 2013 and cruise to enough points to make him happy? Or will he want to drive the nail in his competitors’ coffins, showing them that he has once again improved?

The return of Rattray to the FIM Motocross World Championships is a bonus for the sport as he is one of the truly tough competitors in the sport. The South African battled hard with Cairoli for his MX2 Championship and for sure Rattray will want to once again show he is capable of fighting hard with the Italian legend.

Having raced in America the last few years, picked up several injures and lost track of his career a little, the signing with the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing team for 2014 give him the chance to once again produce his best. No doubt Husqvarna will also want to beat their big brother KTM for that MXGP championship.

David Philippaerts has had a tough time of late. Major injures and the loss of his ride in the Rinaldi Yamaha team cost him a lot of
confidence. Now riding for his own team the former World Champion will be wanting to return to the very top of the sport.

Philippaerts isn’t racing for minor points and you can count on him showing a little better form in 2014 than he did in 2013 when he finished 11th in the World and his best result was 28 points at the Grand Prix of Germany, when he scored 6-10 results.

Philippaerts knows that time is running out on his career and the injuries from the last few years have caught up on him. However, he also knows that with a little luck, he can again be a top five guy and fight for podium finishes.

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Husqvarna return to MXGP with former MX2 champion Rattray

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"Husqvarna return to MXGP with former MX2 champion Rattray"

By Barry Russell
Image: Youthstream MXGP Magazine February 2014

An important measure of the health of any motorsport series is the number of manufacturers competing, so the news that Husqvarna, one of the most iconic brands in motocross would bringing the number of factories in MXGP to eight in 2014 has been universally welcomed.

The venerable Swedish marque has seen more than its fair share of changes since the glory days of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The last one came in 2013 when BMW sold the company to KTM supremo, Stefan Pierer and manufacturing was moved from Italy to Austria. The move back into grand prix motocross with Antti Pyrhonen’s Red Bull IceOne team is a clear statement that Pierer has big plans for Husqvarna.

That intent is underlined by the signing of 2008 MX2 world champion, Tyla Rattray, who will be joined by former Australian champion, Todd Waters. Rattray has been in AMA Motocross since winning his world title, so the renewal of his intense rivalry with KTM’s MXGP champion Tony Cairoli is eagerly anticipated. The clash will be all the more intriguing, as along with Cairoli’s KTM, the Husqvarnas will be the only 350cc machines in the premier class.

There is no doubt that a 350cc engine places fewer physical for the riders and while you would expect them to go well on the tighter, more technical tracks, Cairoli has proved that the smaller-engined bike can win even at power-sapping deep sand tracks like Lierop in the Netherlands. And it will be no surprise that the Husqvarna engine uses the same base as the KTM.

Speaking to, Tyla Rattray explained, “The 350 can be ridden more like a 250 and you can wring its neck and push it. I think it helps when it comes to rough circuits and by the time you get to second motos at a GP the track can be hammered … my plan is to be there and race Cairoli like I was doing in 2008.”

We’ll see what we’ve got,” continued the 28 year-old South African, “I learned a lot racing in America and my fitness is probably the best it has been in my career.”

The MXGP series begins on March 1st in Qatar, with Thailand hosting round 2 a week later on 7-9th March.

Tickets for the Thai MXGP are on sale at

More info.

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KTM Thailand distributor, Kunka, announced their racing plans for 2014, which includes an MX2 entry in the Thai MXGP for 20 year-old Thai Motocross star, ‘Game’ Trakarn Thangthong.

In a surprise switch by the Dirtshop managed team from Yamaha to KTM, Game will compete in the Thai Motocross, Supercross and Supermoto series, the Asian motocross series, the Motocross of Nations as well as the Thai MXGP. He will be joined by top Japanese racer, Yoshiki Kitai, in the Thai and Asian championships, who will campaign on a 450 MXGP specification machine. Game is currently expected to stick with the 250cc bike, though this has not been confirmed.

Reflecting the team sponsorship, the team’s official name is Kunka Dirtshop Castrol KTM. There was also an interesting twist in the extreme sports energy drink battle, with Rockstar appearing to have out-maneuvered rivals Red Bull and Monster to join the list of team sponsors.

The new team is spearheading a comprehensive national race programme for KTM in 2014, providing the opportunity for all-comers to test their skills in a range of off-road and road racing championships. Working closely with R2M, Kunka is placing great emphasis on developing Thai motocross talent, providing 50cc machines for riders as young as seven. The classes will go all the way up to the professional level with 450cc motocross machines and 1290 Super Duke R bikes for road racers.

The action begins for Kunka Dirtshop Castrol KTM with the first round of the Thailand Motocross Championship will be this weekend 8-9th at the Thai MXGP track at Pingthong Industrial Estate, near Sri Racha, Chonburi.

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ThaiMXGP 2014 news on The Nation

LIVE Motocross returns to Eurosport with new Youthstream agreement

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Youthstream and Eurosport have announced that the n°1 pan-European TV channel has signed the live TV and digital rights for the 2014-2016 seasons of the FIM Motocross World Championship (MXGP) and the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations (MXoN).

The three-year agreement includes the 54 countries and 133 million homes covered by Eurosport in Europe as well as 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read more…

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Youthstream announces the Officially Approved Teams for 2014 season

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Youthstream has the pleasure to announce the list of Officially approved Teams (OAT) and their Officially approved riders to take part in the 2014 FIM Motocross World Championship.

The list of 2014 OAT can be found at

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Thailand to host Motocross GP - The Nation

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Following the success of last year’s inaugural round at Sri Racha, Chon Buri, the high-flying, hardcore FIM Motocross World Championship (MXGP) circus will return to thrill tens of thousands of local spectators as well as a massive global TV audience. It will also be throwing a very bright spotlight on the host country, showcasing Thailand’s ability to organise and host major international events, blending in its unique cultural charm and sense of fun.

Read more..

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"FIM Motocross Grand Prix Returns to Thailand

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"FIM Motocross Grand Prix Returns to Thailand"
Grand Prix motorcycle racing comes to Thailand for the second time on 7-9th March 2014.

Following the success of last year’s inaugural round at Sri Racha, less than two hours from Bangkok’s main airport, the high-flying, hardcore FIM Motocross World Championship (MXGP) circus will again be thrilling tens of thousands of local spectators as well as a massive global TV audience. It will also be throwing a very bright spotlight on the host country, showcasing Thailand’s ability to organize and host major international events, while blending in its unique national charm and sense of fun.

Hosting a world championship motorsport event places huge demands on host countries and organisers. Developing a challenging and spectacular course while meeting FIM safety requirements is just where it begins. The location of the track needs ideally to be within a two hour transfer time from a major international airport and the local infrastructure needs to consist of good roads and plenty of international quality hotel accommodation.

Thailand, with its highly developed tourist industry, meets the infrastructural requirements easily. Locating the track less than 100 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Chonburi, home to Thailand’s fastest growing commercial and tourist centres, means that convenience, comfort and good times await international visitors.

The Federation of Motorsport Club of Thailand (FMSCT) has more than three decades of experience in motocross, during which time it developed a thriving national championship and many courses all over the Kingdom. Local motocross events commonly attract 5,000 - 10,000 spectators, so the sport already has a large, knowledgeable audience in Thailand.

Combining FMSCT’s expertise with that of MXGP’s global promoter, Youthstream, produced results that surpassed expectations for the first event and have given the organisers a sound platform for 2014.

As with MotoGP, World Superbikes and Formula One, the dominance of European teams and riders led to the majority of rounds being hosted close to home. However, increasing financial demands and slowing, often stricken western economies mean that promoters have looking at their sports through a more commercial lens in recent years. The fast growing economies of Asia, and South America, together with the sheer size of their populations have created hungry new audiences and customer markets for sponsors to target. When it comes to reaching into developing countries, MXGP leads the way, with rounds in Qatar, two in Brazil, one in Mexico and one in Ukraine as well as Thailand.

One big number from Repucom’s media evaluation of the 2013 MXGP championship makes it easy to understand why it has expanded into Asia. That number is 962 million and it is how many TV viewers in the 24 countries which make up Asia-Pacific-Oceana watched the series last season. That is a staggering 77.2 percent of the global audience of 1.2 billion. In addition, thousands of motocross fans from all over Asia poured into Thailand to watch the event live. On that evidence alone more rounds in the region can be expected in the near future.

The largest group of travelling fans are likely to be from Indonesia. Irsam Soetarto, of Aneka Kartika Tours and Travel Services brought a group of 19 with him in 2013 and will bring more with him this year.

“It was a privilege to watch those amazing crossers in action at such close range. It literally blew us away and we had a fantastic time on and off track,” he explained. “This year we expect to bring around 40 people from many of Indonesia’s major cities, such as Surabaya, Bandung and Jakarta. It’s a real highlight for our year of travel and events and so much fun mixing with fans from Thailand and all over the world.

The trip is a very easy one, continued Soetarto, ”A three-and-a-half hour flight and then within two hours of landing we are in our hotel close to the track. The organisers made us feel so welcome and they really know how to put on a show.”

The local value enjoyed by sponsors was also impressive for an inaugural world championship round. Of all the participating countries Thailand was second only to France in the amount of TV coverage, at 483 minutes, with 5.7 million local viewers enjoying the season’s action.

Looking at the 2013 Thai MXGP in isolation, there was 228 minutes of TV coverage and a total of 83.6 million viewers. That coverage included more than four hours of TV ‘postcards’ which showcased Thailand as the host country.

The countdown has begun to arguably the most important event in Thailand’s sporting calendar, taking place on 7-9th January, just one week after the first round in Qatar.

ThaiMXGP Media accreditation is open until 21st February contact

Tickets are on sale at

More info.

ThaiMXGP News Released: 24 January 2014 
Text: Barry Russell,
Image: TON MotoGraphy,

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#โมโตครอสโลก #ศรีราชา #ชลบุร 7-9 มีนาคม 2557 นิคมอุตสาหกรรม ปิ่นทอง 3 - จองบัตรได้แล้ววันนี้ ^ Stay tuned #ThaiMXGP 201 7-9 March 2014, PinThon 3, Si Rach Book your tickets now at…

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#โมโตครอสโลก #ศรีราชา #ชลบุรี
7-9 มีนาคม 2557 นิคมอุตสาหกรรม ปิ่นทอง 3 - จองบัตรได้แล้ววันนี้ ^^

Stay tuned #ThaiMXGP 2014
7-9 March 2014, PinThon 3, Si Racha

Book your tickets now at

Image: Youhstream #MXGP of Thailand 2013

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ThaiMXGP 2014 tickets on sale at