HRC rider Tim Gajser isn’t just another World Motocross Champion, he is a three-time World Champion and joins just 18 riders in the sports 62-year history of World Championship Motocross, who have achieved such success. Adding the 2019 MXGP Championship to his victories in 2015 (MX2) and 2016 (MXGP) he joins the greats. So three titles in five years, now that is a pretty good record, isn’t it?
Gajser joins British legend Dave Thorpe (who also has three titles) and what is amazing about Gajser and Thorpe is the fact both have very similar GP wins, 24 to Gajser and 22 to Thorpe, and both have three World motocross championships for Honda.
He also joins six other men, Greg Albertyn, Alessio Chiodi, Guennady Moisseev and Gaston Rahier, Paul Friedrichs and Andre Malherbe who all took three championships in their careers. Just ahead of him are four more legends, Jeffrey Herlings, Harry Everts, Heikki Mikkola, and Torsten Hallman. And then you have names like Eric Geboers, Georges Jobe, Roger DeCoster, Joel Smets, who all have five, Joel Robert who has six, Antonio Cairoli with his nine, and the King, Stefan Everts, with 10.
We all know how these men are looked at in our great sport, and now for Gajser at 22 years of age to join such company is something very special. Just like the great riders before him, Gajser will be put away into our folk-law and revered for years to come.
We spoke to Thorpe this morning (for an interview later today) and he told us he expects Gajser to join the likes of Eric Geboers, Roger De Coster, Georges Jobe, and Joel Smets as a five-time champion, something that would be incredible for the 2019 champion. Just as Thorpe mentioned, Tim Gajser belongs with the legends, and at such a young age, that is very special.
The way Gajser won his championship in 2019 was impressive, impressive for the fact Antonio Cairoli the nine-time World motocross champion had ridden so well early in the season, and most of us, me included were already handing the gold plate and a 10th world title to the Italian legend. But Gajser came back from a very poor Mantova GP and started racking up GP win after GP win. It wasn’t easy at the start and let’s not forget that Gajser has come through some really rough times in 2017 and 2018. A badly broken jaw, personal issues and many had written him off to ever get back to his glory days of 2015 and 2016.
Hail our new champion Tim Gajser, and we all know 2020 is going to be another classic MXGP championship, with nine-time champion Antonio Cairoli, four-time champion Jeffrey Herlings, three-time champion Tim Gajser and soon to be two-time champion Jorge Prado battling for the biggest prize in motocross, the MXGP championship. Damn, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
So, here is how the Slovenian won his championship in his own words.
A three-time World champion. How does it feel?
It was crazy. I am super happy, and I couldn’t wish for a better season or a team around me. I am just so, so happy. I didn’t sleep a lot at all. It is a big day and I try and take this race the same as all the others. I was super-fast in the first race. I didn’t have the best start and got to second and tried to win the race, but then had a big one and I finished fifth or something like that. I knew starts would be important and I tried and take a good start and enjoy it. I mean yesterday I was relaxed, but when I went to bed, I thought a lot and I could hardly sleep. I went down in the first race but felt okay, but then I made another mistake and lost my rhythm and I was really tired after the first race. Second race I was better. Really happy to finish on the podium. I want to thank my girlfriend and my family. Also, all the fans, you see so many people when I was on the podium.
How did you feel in the qualification race?
Saturday was a good day, with a good result in front of a large number of Slovenian fans. I didn’t quite get the holeshot which meant I spent a lot of time in second place looking for the pass to take me into the lead. Eventually, near the end of the race, I made it stick and I was able to make a little gap and take the win. The track was quite difficult with some sketchy parts but overall, I had a good feeling and I’m very much looking forward to the races tomorrow.
It has been a good season, but tell us how this season was?
Definitely one of the best seasons I have had since I started Grand Prix. I made many changes during the winter, with preparation, we changed things on the bike and also the personal side I changed many things, and everything is paying off and I made the right decision. Coming here I didn’t feel the pressure and I felt relaxed, but from Saturday until Sunday I couldn’t really sleep. So, after the first race, I was really done. Still, the second moto I put together a good solid moto, I was not 100%, but anyway, Glenn was really fast and Jeremy also. To win in front of so many people who came from Slovenia. I am so happy for everyone who came to support me and also to the team, we made an amazing job, and everyone in the team is playing their rule and we all deserve that. I am thankful to everyone. We still have three GPs to go and we want to do well there.
You were still pushing today, despite the championship being so close. You still want to break some more records.
Of course, the first race I was too aggressive at the beginning and I made a crash and was ninth or 10th. I couldn’t find my rhythm again and I was fighting with the bike. The second one I was better, and I was fighting with Jeremy and we passed each other a few times. Three GPs to go I want to give my best and try and win some of them. I can now go to the race and have fun. Focus is 100%, but I want to do well, for myself, for the team and for myself.
What did you think of the track?
For me, compared to last year, it was different. Last year it wasn’t flowing as much and more 180 corners but this year we had a flow and this year a lot of stones and overall it is the same for everyone.
Photos by: MXGP