Courtesy of Infront Moto Racing
While Stefan Everts stands atop the statistics list for most of the Motocross World Championships and Grand Prix victories, Antonio Cairoli follows in stats. Of course, Everts has 10 World titles while Cairoli has nine. In GP wins its 101 for Everts and 89 for Cairoli, so not a lot of difference in those stats.
Of course, Everts came from a motocross family, his father Harry a four-time World motocross champion, and he debuted on the Grand Prix scene with the factory Suzuki team. Cairoli had to work his way up from the South of Italy, a non-motocross area and fight hard to make his way into a top team, firstly with the Paolo Martin Honda team, and then eventually the Claudio De Carli Yamaha team in 2004.
We asked current MXGP points leader and four-time World motocross champion Jeffrey Herlings his opinion on the two legends and just like so many, he was a difficult question to answer.
“It is hard to say,” Herlings said. “I mean if you look at where Tony came from, to where he is right now, that is just amazing. For Stefan, his father was a World champion, he grew up in the sport and always had good connections because of his father, because his father is also one of the best in the history. Talent wise, it is hard say, if you look at both their good years, they dominated in those years, I think at the time Tony was racing the competition was stronger, the racing got more professional, although Infront made it more professional, the riders were making more money and the teams were stepping it up, so a lot of things happening. Coming back to the question and it is hard to judge, but if you look at the record books, Stefan is the leading guy, but if you look at Tony, he also deserves a lot of respect.”
Of course, one man that has a good feeling for the difference between the two is Everts himself, who saw a young Cairoli arrive at KTM back a decade ago, and quickly saw the difference between himself and the Italian.
“What I noticed,” Everts said. “When we brought him to KTM, his game, what he has sorted it out, how he worked and dealt with everything. It took me so many more years to get to that point, but I saw Tony had that organized much earlier and for me it took a long time. When I won my fourth championship, I still didn’t have my system figured out, but the last years I had figured out the system, how to prepare, how to ride and also mentally, but Tony had that very quickly organized. That is also one of the reasons he got so many championships.”
So, do you go with the statistics, or do you go with where one or the other came from. Both belong right at the very top of the motocross history books and both have done more for the sport than just about anyone else involved in the sport. Author: Geoff Meyer