Insight: Red Bull Give Me Five

Insight Red Bull Give Me Five

October 7, 2013 9:40am
For all the desire to jump on a plane and get home directly after an underwhelming Motocross of Nations there must have been one side of Ryan Dungey that wanted to get straight back on the bike on European soil and seek some reaffirmation. Thanks to Red Bull and some determined and ambitious promoters in the Spanish capital of Madrid the ‘Give me Five’ one-off novelty gave the 23-year-old that chance and in front of a surprisingly bustling crowd that almost hit a figure of 10,000 for the one day gathering. In short, this was a variation on the Monster Cup without the Monster Million and located at a grandstand-flanked motocross track a short distance outside of the capital. Like the Monster Cup, the same lure of a prominent energy drink sponsor influence and sense of exhibition were duly in place.

The build up to ‘GMF’ had been slightly haphazard. The Red Bull KTM team – both AMA and FIM factions – were the star-billing but the event was barely spoke of outside Spain and the factory KTM crew were expressing non-committal noises less than a month before the race was due to happen. Some other Grand Prix regulars like Dylan Ferrandis and Jose Butron (Spain’s most successful FIM rider with third place in the MX2 category in 2013 and one of just two riders to beat Jeffrey Herlings from fifteen rounds and thirty motos) as well as Jonathan Barragan were on the card for an unusual format that saw a series of qualification heats all adhering to the ‘five riders, five laps’ until the field whittled down to the core group of Dungey, Tony Cairoli, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musqin and Ferrandis.

Ryan Dungey captured the win in Spain over the weekend.
Juan Pablo Acevedo photos

Tony Cairoli finished second behind Dungey.

The biggest news of the qualification races occurred when MX2 Championship runner-up Jordi Tixier and Butron suffered a heavy collision in the Semi-final that knocked both out the running. “I had the holeshot but made a couple of mistakes and Butron passed me,” recounted the Frenchman, Tixier. “He then started to cut the line everywhere and we eventually had a big crash together. I was lucky not to hurt myself.”

Before the all-too-brief Main Event the many races and rapid turnaround of qualifiers seemed to keep the crowd entertained and the riders responded. “There were a lot of ‘first times’ today what with being in Spain, the event format… it was fun, we don't really get the chance to race sprint stuff, so for a one-off it was quite amazing to be able to come and do it,” said Dungey.

“It is very short and everybody is very close,” said Cairoli. “I’m not used to these kinds of races whereas the guys doing supercross are normally so aggressive right from the beginning. But I was riding well and my feeling in the last few meetings has been perfect.”

In the main, Cairoli fluffed his start and Roczen had the holeshot but the German crashed. Musquin was overtaken by Dungey and then the resurgent Cairoli, and the 2012 AMA Champ held on for the chequered flag. Cairoli was second, while Roczen suffered from the crash. “With five laps there was not much I could do!” said Roczen. “The fans were unbelievable. I really liked being in Madrid. We had a good night and it was a cool experience. The format was totally different and it would be cool to have more events like this.”

Ken Roczen had the early lead, but a crash would end his chances at a win.

Marvin Musquin would round out the podium.

It was an all Red Bull KTM podium.

“It was a mix of motocross and a bit of supercross,” summarized Dungey. “The soil was very slippery and hard underneath and that made it tough. The lap-times were short, less than a minute thirty, and it meant for us those sprints were hard but the racing was cool for the fans. Between the track, fans and being here in Spain it has been a blast and a lot of fun.”

That GMF went down as a reasonably successful experiment is clear but there are questions over its future and whether it can became part of the international motocross schedule in the way that the Monster Energy Cup has evolved as a vital testing outing for AMA teams ahead of Anaheim as much as for the obvious payday. A slot one week after the Motocross of Nations might tempt those plying their trade in other series and considering the majority of Nations fixture occurs on European soil, then GMF has potential.

International Open Overall
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Antonio Cairoli
3. Marvin Musquin
4. Dylan Ferrandis
5. Ken Roczen