TONY CAIROLI TO SAMPLE AMA PRO MX SERIES
Having notched up nine World MX titles, 36-year-old Antonio “Tony” Cairoli was understandably ecstatic about spearheading an Italian team win at the 2021 Motocross of Nationals (MXoN) late last year. It was an accomplishment Cairoli said had been the one missing achievement in his career, and came just weeks after the revered Italian announced he’d retire at the end of the 2021 MXGP season. The perfect way to cap off an illustrious 18-year racing career, right?
Well, it seems Cairoli isn’t ready to fully hang up his racing boots just yet, having just announced that he plans to make his AMA Pro Motocross debut in America this May-June. Here’s the official PR about Cairoli’s USA plans from the KTM factory’s race department, who Cairoli now has an ambassadorial role with.
Nine-time world champion and MXGP legend, Tony Cairoli, will line up for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in the 450MX gate for the opening rounds of 2022 AMA Pro Motocross in California this May-June. The Italian will fulfil a small ‘bucket list’ wish by turning his attention to the high-profile American national series and is initially set for appearances at the Fox Raceway National at Pala and the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento on May 28 and June 4, respectively. The 36-year-old stepped away from full-time Grand Prix racing at the end of 2021 after a glittering career in which he became the second most successful athlete in the history of the sport.
Cairoli will feel the heat of competition again with his #222 KTM 450SX-F; he used a previous edition of the motorcycle to claim the 2017 MXGP World Championship. He also accumulated six titles with the KTM 350SX-F and earned the remarkable distinction of winning at least one Grand Prix every season during an era-defining 18 years at the highest level of MXGP and MX2.
Tony Cairoli: “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.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director: “It’s a big pleasure for us to finally reach the stage where Tony is able to race again and to attempt one of his ambitions. Our Red Bull KTM structure means we can be fully ready for him in the U.S. and can give him all our support. Tony is an icon and still an important part of our racing program and it feels like this is the least we can do to pay back all the wins, the titles and the stories he has made with us for over 10 years. I think it will also be cool for the American motocross fans to see some of the special talent that made Tony one of the best riders in world championship history.”
Ian Harrison, North America Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “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.”