We received this interview from MX Large’s Geoff Meyer:
Team Italy rider Antonio Cairoli finally got his hands on the Chamberlain Trophy and led his countrymen to their third MXoN victory, but his first, in the history of the event. For Tony himself, it was a tough day with crashes and drama, but the MXGP legend came through with his second-place finish in the final moto of the day to clinch the win.
It wasn't the best performance for the nine-time FIM World Champion in his MXoN career, as he has picked up plenty of MXoN moto wins personally, but to hold that famous trophy in his hands, well, it doesn't get any better than that.
After the race, we watched this storied veteran celebrate with the young Mattia Guadagnini, who was like a little puppy in a school playground, celebrating with all the youth and vigor of a teenager, while King Cairoli went along for the ride. They were laughing, screaming, and taking in the applause of the media room and the fans who had circled the media tent during the post-race press conference.
We won’t see another like him, and his contribution to our sport in the last 18 years can only be matched by the greatest of all time, Stefan Everts, whose son Liam was also at the press conference picking up his Ricky Carmichael award as the youngest and best results from the weekend.
We caught up with Tony Cairoli after his win, and while it won't be the last we see of this amazing sportsman, it will be hard to top what he and Team Italy did in Mantova last weekend.
MXLarge: Tony, finally the Chamberlain Trophy to add to all your other victories. How does it feel?
Tony Cairoli: I have always wanted to bring this trophy home and now after 10 years I am really happy. That crash in the first moto, and I got run over and I was still sore from last weekend’s crash. I hoped I didn’t make it worse, but I got up and it wasn’t too bad. I started, but the feeling wasn’t there with the mud and rain, and I didn’t have a good feeling on the bike, and I thought, 'okay, we need to skip this moto for sure and we try and get a good start in the last moto and get a good result.' I knew Jeffrey [Herlings] was really good in these types of conditions and I said, 'Okay, I settle for second and let’s hope [Alessandro] Lupino is doing really well.' I then heard on the speakers something about a penalty, but in the end, he made it up and he did a good job and also Mattia, a young kid, he also rode really well and without the penalty we won by a big margin and even with the penalty we did the job.
It was a tough day from your crash last week, to your crash on the first corner of the opening moto. How is the body?
The body is very painful and also after the race everyone was squeezing me after the race, and I have pain in my ribs! I don’t feel much with the pain killers, but okay, I hope we are a bit more fit for next week.
|Antonio Cairoli||2||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||KTM|
|Mattia Guadagnini||5||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
|Mattia Guadagnini||6||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Alessandro Lupino||7||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Alessandro Lupino||17||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Antonio Cairoli||21||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||1||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Jeffrey Herlings||1||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||3||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Glenn Coldenhoff||15||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Roan Van De Moosdijk||18||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Roan Van De Moosdijk||20||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||Kawasaki|
|Ben Watson||3||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Ben Watson||4||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||MXGP||Yamaha|
|Shaun Simpson||6||Race 3 (MXGP + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Shaun Simpson||12||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||Open||KTM|
|Conrad Mewse||14||Race 2 (MX2 + Open)||MX2||KTM|
|Conrad Mewse||22||Race 1 (MXGP + MX2)||MX2||KTM|
When you went down in that first moto, did you think there was any chance you could get the victory?
I was very disappointed, and it was difficult, because we went into the corner and we [he and Coldenhoff] were one and two and I thought, "Okay, we are one and two," and in one moment I don’t know if somebody came from the inside, but he was up on me and then we both crashed. At the moment I was very angry. They were coming here for the win, and you couldn’t recommend that type of move on the start, and it is a bad corner for the start. The second moto we scored a good result, and I could skip the first moto result.
You did it after a big crash the weekend before, but finally it was a good decision to come here.
I really wanted to come and race, and because it is in Italy. With this team, we are all in good shape and have good speed and that isn’t always the case. Mattia is one of the fastest in MX2 and Alessandro is also riding really well in MXGP.
Even if you don’t get your 10th title this year, what a way to finish your career!
Yes, I am really happy, but this isn’t my last ‘Nations. I will do more, and I really enjoy this race and one race a year is possible, you don’t need much fitness.
You said you will race the nations again next year, so now you have to defend the plate.
For sure, I am ready to do the race again next year and put that #1 plate on the MXGP class bike.
So, the missing trophy is now on your property.
Of course, this was missing from my trophy cabinet, and it was a risk coming here to ride after the crash last week. With the wet conditions I was struggling, and I couldn’t have a good feeling and I just needed to put one decent start and race and the other guys did the hard work, Mattia did an amazing job, and he did make some rookie mistakes, but he handled it good. I was nervous about the announcements of the penalty and when I cross the finish line, I asked what it was and they told me he gets a 10-place penalty and I said, 'Oh, Jesus, that isn’t good.' We won by one point, and I was so happy about this.
It wasn’t a big crowd, but the atmosphere was still very good.
Yes, it was a small crowd with these COVID[-19] restrictions, and they were really on fire. We could hear them, and they were great on the podium, it was a very warm feeling, and the atmosphere was great.