Clarified: MXGP of Russia

Orlyonok will run on Monday

Thursday, 26th April 2018

The sixth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Grand Prix of Russia, is just days away, but why is it being run on a Monday and Tuesday? The move has been made so that the event coincides with a major holiday in Russia, known as Labor and Spring Day.

A majority of banks, public buildings and educational institutions are closed on this day. So, with that in mind, there is a chance that some fresh faces will be attracted to the event that takes place alongside the Black Sea. The holiday takes place on Tuesday, the day that the points-paying motos will be run.


Jeffrey Herlings - Phenomenon


Jeffrey Herlings goes into next Tuesdays Grand Prix of Russia with a lot of pressure on his (still) young shoulders. At 23 years of age, no single rider has had the records that the Dutchman has at the same age. Not Stefan Everts, not Antonio Cairoli, not Roger Decoster, in fact, the Red Bull KTM Factory rider is something of a phenomenon when it comes to what he has achieved in the last eight years.

When you consider at 23 years of age Stefan Everts had just a single world motocross championship and maybe a dozen GP wins (at best). Antonio Cairoli had two world motocross championships and 21 GP wins to his name. Herlings who won't turn 24 until after the season ends has every chance to have four world titles and a bunch of extra GP wins to his name, while still 23.


Like Herlings, both Everts and Cairoli struggled injuries in the early part of their careers, and both could have won so many more GPs and titles with a little luck.

Herlings has three world titles and a stunning 71 GP wins. He can score his 72nd in Russia on Tuesday, and that old 72 number of Stefan Everts while not important in terms of GP wins, is a number we all relate to SE72, the greatest GP rider of all time.

While Herlings started his 2018 season with a DNF in the opening pre-season race in Italy, and we all thought, “oh, no, not again”, he has proven that he isn’t the crasher of his previous seven or so seasons. A very much polished performer now, and with pre-season and GP weekends combined, his race results are DNF-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-2-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1. I can tell you, without even having to look at the record books, NO rider has started a GP season (in the premier class) in such sensational form, and for sure not as a 23-year-old.


I do know in 2006, Stefan Everts at the age of 35, was nearly unbeatable, and his was only loss that year was to Josh Coppins in the GP of Ireland, but even the great Everts GP season started with a second place finish in the opening GP at Zolder (beaton by Seb Tortelli) and a third in the next round in Spain (beaton by Kevin Strijbos and Tanel Leok). With all respect to the King, he wasn’t racing a nine-time world champion, and his biggest rival, Josh Coppins missed the opening seven rounds due to injury. Up until now, Herlings has only lost to Cairoli, a much tougher opposition than anything Everts faced.

Yes, be sure, we are seeing something special with these performances of Herlings. In my opinion, he will become the greatest Grand Prix rider of all time. His championships and GP wins will easily pass both Cairoli and Everts, and his domination will be Ricky Carmichael like for the next 10 years.

All I know is for now, that victory number 72 awaits him, and that fourth world title, while a long way off, another world title will place him along the likes of Harry Everts, Torsten Hallman, and Heikki Mikkola. At the age of just 23 years old, that is just amazing.

If I had to bet my house on the form Herlings is showing, he might even end the season (and before his 24th birthday) with more than 80 GP wins, and be right on the tail of Cairoli in the all-time GP winners list. 


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Russian MXGP Histroy

The Russians - Their History



While it is multiple Motocross World Champion Guennady Moisseev of Russia, who is best remembered by the motocross historians, it was Victor Arbekov who made history for his country by winning the very first 250 motocross world championship in 1965 for his homeland.

Interest in the sport in Russia was big throughout the 1970s, with thousands and thousands of fans attending the Grand Prix rounds and a handful of very good Russian riders competing.

Not surprisingly, the 250 class, of which the Russian riders mainly competed, held 18 Grand Prix from 1962 until 1985, and while Torsten Hallman picked up wins in 62, 67 and 68, it was often a home rider who would steal victory in those early years. Four Russian riders won at home in the 250 class, Viktor Arbekov in 1966, Vladimir Kavinovin 1969, Anatoly Ovchinikov in 1976, Guennady Moisseev in 1977 and Kavinov again in 1980.

Ove Lundell won the first 500cc GP in Russia in 1963, and names like Jeff SmithPaul Friedrichs, and Roger De Coster had multiple success there. Smith won in 1964 and 1967, Friedrichs in 1966 and 1970 and De Coster in 1972 and 1975.

Only one 125cc Grand Prix was ever held in Russia, and that was in 1983, with Italian legend, Michele Rinaldiwinning at the Leningrad circuit.

With three Motocross World Championships, and 14 Grand Prix victories, Guennady Moisseev is without question the greatest rider to come out of Russia. When you think of current KTM heroes such as Antonio Cairoli, and Jeffrey Herlings, then you can imagine that Moisseev fits right in with those two legends.

Moisseev won the 1974, 1977 and 1978 World 250cc championship riding for KTM, and in 1976, he narrowly lost the 250-world championship by one point to Finnish legend, and three times world motocross champion, Heikki Mikkola.

In 1978, Moisseev was a member of the winning Russian team in the Motocross des Nations. Moisseev won a race for the last time in 1979 when friction developed between the Russian Motorcycling Federation and the KTM factory.

Moisseev, like many Russian sports stars of his era, was enlisted in the Russian Army, rising to the ranks of Major during his racing career. His extreme fitness combined with team tactics made him a fearsome competitor. After retiring from competition, Moisseev became a motocross coach. In 1977, Moisseev was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and, in 1978 he was given the honorary title of “Honoured Master of Sports.” In December 2000, he was elected president of the Russian Motorcycle Federation.

Russia also won the Motocross of Nations on two occasions, the first time in Kishinev, Russia in 1968 and again in 1978.

Russian riders disappeared from the motocross world championships for many years, and in recent times riders likeEvgeny Bobryshev, Alexandr Tonkov and Vsevolod Brylyakov are having some success. Of course, Bobryshev finished third in the world in 2015, the best result for a Russian rider in decades.

Russian GP winners

Guennady Moisseev 14

Victor Arbekov 10

Vladimir Kavinov 8

Anatoly Ovchinnikov 2

Igor Grigoriev 1

Pavel Rulev 1

Eugenij Rybalchenko 1

Evgeny Bobryshev 1


MX/SX Legend Bob Hannah Joins Tag Metals As Technical Advisor 

MX/SX Legend Bob Hannah Joins Tag Metals As Technical Advisor