The FIM Motocross World Championship enters a five month European phase this coming weekend with round four taking place at Arco di Trento for the second ever Grand Prix of Trentino in Italy. The first GP on European soil means a special occasion for the likes of world champion Tony Cairoli and fellow native riders David Philippaerts and Alessandro Lupino.
As in 2013 Trentino will be the first of two fixtures of the current campaign to take place in Italy with the sport enjoying a mini-boom in the wake of Cairoli’s continued success and extra TV exposure thanks to the fresh deal with broadcaster Mediaset.
While Cairoli will be the main draw for Italian fans at the scenic circuit in the Dolomite mountains, Philippaerts and Lupino will also have their pockets of fans. Philippaerts is officially launching his race team on Friday afternoon at the circuit, and at the Brazilian Grand Prix last week was talking about some interesting plans for the rest of 2014 that will involve some special one-off bike and clothing liveries; one believed to include homage to former Belgian legend Georges Jobe.
The late former world champion mentored Philippaerts in his rise from a promising and aggressive MX2 racer to be Italy’s first MXGP/MX1 world champ in 2008. The design could make an appearance at the Belgian GP (still unconfirmed in terms of location) for round 15 on August 3.
Philippaerts, who receives technical support from the works Rinaldi operation with whom he was a factory racer from 2008 to 2012, has also spoken of his desire to remain on Yamaha equipment in 2015 at the age of 30 and expand his fledgling racing effort to include another rider. He is examining the possibility of investing in youth and promoting some of Italy’s up-and-coming athletes – including Lupino who must move to MXGP full-time in 2015.
The current CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki representative made an early move to the big bore class after an unsatisfactory start to the MX2 series and is definitely confirmed to put the team’s KX450F on the gate at Arco. The Italian’s place on the KX250F will be taken by new recruit Thomas Covington with the American forming a quartet for CLS for the rest of 2014 once Searle has recovered from a broken wrist (and likely to be back for the Spanish GP on May 11).