Antonio Cairoli is set for opening AMA Pro Motocross Roundsby Jack Gaffney April 21, 2022 1 comment
The 50th season of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is just over a month out from now. There is a ton of excitement and hype for this season due to the rumored involvement of some MXGP riders who are not running overseas at the moment. Now it is confirmed that one of Europe’s all-time greats, Tony Cairoli, is set for the opening rounds of this year’s AMA Motocross tilt at the minimum. The Sicilian is the all-time premier-class World Motocross Grand Prix winner with 70. Additionally, his nine total World Championships trail only the great Stefan Everts as well.
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Coming to America
The aforementioned Everts is on record saying his biggest regret is never coming over to America at any point in his career. For Cairoli, this is a case of better late than never, as he is currently 36 years old. Despite being up there in age, the No. 222 can still go with the best of them. Last year, Cairoli was on the podium for seven Grand Prix’s as well as winning in two of those. Additionally, he was a part of Italy’s first Motocross Des Nations win since 2002. Safe to say he can still hang.
Grabbing a Few Words
Red Bull KTM Team Manager Ian Harrison, as you could imagine, seems very excited about this arrangement. Here is what he had to say in the manufacturer’s official press release.
“We couldn’t be prouder of having a rider and a person like Tony in our awning. He’s a true legend of the sport and one of the best riders of the modern era. His achievements are matched only by the impact he has had around the world. We know he’s been preparing to race out here, and we’ve also been readying everything to give him the best amount of support. As we saw right up until the end of 2021 MXGP he is still extremely competitive, so I think that will be exciting for the fans in the U.S. to watch him in action.”
As for Cairoli himself, he says there’s no pressure, but he’s not coming over just to ride around.
“It’s exciting to finally confirm that I will be racing in the U.S. To ride and race in America is something I always wanted to try. I like the look of the tracks. For me there is no pressure to perform and I’m not going there with the same preparation as I would have had for a world championship but I’m taking it seriously and would be looking for good results. I know this will generate some interest and it will be great to travel, see some friends and enjoy my time.”
The KTM presser states that Cairoli is “initially set for appearances at the Fox Raceway National at Pala and the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento on May 28th and June 4th respectively.” Is there a scenario where the MXGP icon could stay longer than that? Jason Wiegandt of Racer X made the perfect point of it would be very hard to see him walk away after two rounds if he is clearly in title contention/has the red plate. Furthermore, this year’s Motocross Des Nations is in the United States.
The point is, if Cairoli does well enough, the Italians would be foolish to not include him on the team again. Especially considering the event is at RedBud, where Cairoli could potentially get real race reps at in July if he stays that long. If this is just a two-round stay, however, enjoy it while it lasts. Might not be a bad time to get tickets now either if you were on the fence about going to Pala or Hangtown either. Cairoli mixing it up with Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Dylan Ferrandis, etc is going to be can’t miss.
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Main Image via KTM