The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team on Sunday came away with 1-2 in the MX2 World Championship with factory riders Jordi Tixier of France and the injured Dutch rider Jeffrey Herlings finishing just four points apart in the final race of the season.
The MX2 title completes the set for the Austrian brand after Red Bull KTM’s Antonio Cairoli of Italy wrapped up the MXGP title last weekend in Brazil.
The opening MX2 moto saw levels of tension rarely experienced in the sport. Tixier, who received the bad news this week that his brother in France has been involved in an accident, overcame emotions to pull off a very impressive win from Romain Febvre and Dylan Ferrandis.
At the same time, Herlings, riding with a custom-made leg brace to protect a yet-to heal broken femur, managed to pick up a handful of points by finishing fourteenth and go into the final race still with a five-point lead. Both Tixier and Herlings are Red Bull-sponsored athletes.
Both riders got away cleanly in the second moto but tension levels rose when Tixier crashed into Aleksandr Tonkov a handful of laps into the race, only to be passed by a bunch of riders, including Herlings. The race then evolved into what was a tremendous performance from both KTM factory riders. Tixier turned up the heat and fought his way back into the action to finish the race in third place, take the final GP and seal the title by four points.
Meanwhile Herlings put in a super-human effort to try to retain the title and did so with immense fighting spirit. In 2014 he won 12 of the first 13 GPs then his leg fracture put him out of the next rounds while Tixier began to progressively move up the points. While the overall 1-2 was a great result for the racing team, Factory Team Manager Stefan Everts said the close fight between the two riders made it an emotional occasion for the whole team. Both Tixier and Herlings ride the KTM 250 SX-F racing bike.
Jordi Tixier: “In my head i still can’t believe it. After I crashed in the first laps of the second moto I thought the championship was over and I tried to give it everything. Then when I crossed the finish line I thought, ‘I did it’ and its really nice to win like this. I was really fast on the track, I caught almost everyone and I rode aggressive.”
Jeffrey Herlings: “For me it was like I was riding with just one leg. Every time I put my foot down or went over a bump the pain was terrible. In the first moto I was a little calmer and i thought it was already over but in the second moto I was just fighting like a warier. Obviously I came up short but that’s life and I’ll try to get the title back next year.” Herlings at just 20 years old last week is already a double MX2 World Champion.
Cairoli take podium third in Mexico to cap title winning season
With Cairoli already named 2014 MXGP World Champion – his eighth career title – the final round of the season was something of a formality. He was third in the opening moto behind Max Nagl and Kevin Strijbos and finished second in the second moto behind Gautier Paulin to end the season on another high note with a podium third behind Paulin and Nagl.
Cairoli wrapped up his season winning nine GPs and 15 individual MXGP races on his KTM 350 SX-F machine, to finish with a 119-point lead over second overall Jeremy van Horebeek of Belgium.
Antonio Cairoli: “I’m happy how everything went, especially with my bike and the team and everything, I think it was a great season. “I liked the track here and I think it was one of the best of the season.”
The season concludes with the Motocross of Nations in Kegums on September 28.
More at www.mxgp.com
Image courtesy KTM