Has there ever been a child who hasn’t, at least once, rolled around in the mud or jumped up and down in a puddle, knowing full well the punishment that was to come?
As we grow up, this primal instinct fades, so much so that we grow to actually avoid the mud at all costs since, as adults, we generally prefer to keep our clothes clean and dry. But is that always the case? Not really. Some of us, even as adults, love to splash and slip and slide in the mud, getting covered in filth from head to toe. This is certainly true of every motocross rider, both professionals and amateurs of this motorsport that most frequently takes place on dirt tracks, some permanent and some created specifically for a single race.
Mud, dirt, sweat, fatigue and true grit are all constantly at play in the FIM Motocross World Championship, the premier motocross event, which has been held since 1957 under the aegis of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). Motocross has been good to Pirelli over the years, bringing the company unparalleled success with 64 world titles since Pirelli joined the world of off-road racing beginning with the 1980 FIM Motocross World Championship. Wins came thick and fast right from the start, and in all classes, with great competitors like André Malherbe, Georges Jobé, and Harry Everts, father of the 10-time world champion and Pirelli rider Stefan Everts. And let’s not forget, in recent years, the partnership with eight-time world champion Antonio Cairoli and with emerging talents like Jeffrey Herlings and Romain Febvre.
Pirelli’s commitment at the highest levels of racing has been crucial to the growth and constant improvement of all the company’s off-road racing tyres. Thanks to the tyres of the SCORPION™ MX line, which are sold to the public just like all Pirelli racing products, anyone can experience the thrill of championship motocross racing.
The SCORPION™ MX32™ in particular is something of a legend among fans of motocross and has, for many years now, been the most used tyre in FIM Motocross World Championship racing. Designed specifically for soft surfaces like mud and sand or intermediate terrains like grass and dirt, they can be used in virtually any situation, from racing and race practice to just having fun. These tyres perform reliably even under the most extreme racing conditions and offer excellent traction on any surface, transferring maximum power to the ground with V-pattern of tread blocks, which also optimises braking stability and handling in curves. As Tony Cairoli said, “I’m extremely happy with the reliability that Pirelli tyres have given me over all these years, without forgetting the performance they provide on all terrains and in all situations, beginning with their grip. That’s the difference from the competing tyre brands. And choosing between one model or another isn’t even hard thanks to the exceptional range of applications of the SCORPION™ MX32™, but even on hard surfaces or in the sand I always have the right tyre. Mentally, that’s a great strength.”
Motocross is gaining in popularity around the world, and in some countries, such as in Asia and South America, it is even more popular than faster track racing. Unlike asphalt tracks, a motocross track is constantly changing. Dirt is an ever-changing substance, making it easy for a track to be altered from one race to the next. In 2015, for example, 1,500 trucks full of sand and a week of hard work was all it took to transform the end of the Assen TT Circuit, a global cathedral of speed and battleground for the FIM Superbike World Championship, into the Grand Prix of the Netherlands for the sixteenth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
And even when man does nothing to add a bit of flair and creativity to a track, rain can turn a circuit into a hellish temple of mud, that same mud that evokes the primordial instinct in children and turns a few of them, when they grow up, into champions on two wheels.