Now an eight-times Motocross World Champion after being freshly crowned the 2014 MXGP king in Brazil on Sunday evening, Tony Cairoli knows a thing or two about what it takes to become a legend in the sport.
Here the Italian gives some essential advice on what it takes to develop oneself into a dominant force in motocross …
1. Training: You have to enjoy it!
“Training, of course, is a massive part of being a pro MX rider and becoming a champion. It’s really important first of all for helping you to avoid injuries, and also for improving your skills on the bike.
“MX is a sport that requires a lot of riding to get better, compared to other sports.
“The more time you spend on the bike, the better a rider you become.
“When you’re young, physical training isn’t so important at that age, you just need to enjoy riding.”
2. Nutrition: Keep it simple
“Nutrition is another really important aspect. I’m lucky that as an Italian our diet is already very good for athletes! I enjoy cooking, which makes taking care of the nutrition side more fun, and I like to take the time in the kitchen with my girlfriend to prepare food.
“I don’t take any supplements as part of my training, just some mineral salts for hydration when it’s very hot, because that is extremely important.
“Some athletes use vitamins more than others, and some use supplements, but for me I’m lucky my body reacts well to training.”
“The team I am in, De Carli racing, is like a second family for me. I’ve been with them for almost 10 years, I feel fantastic with them and they help me with everything. I trust my mechanics and everyone in the team 100 percent, they know me very well, and that makes everything much easier.
“When you’re young your family supports you and takes you training and everything.
“When you decide you want to become a pro it’s really important to find a team that you feel really comfortable with and who you can trust.
“Your family has to step aside a little bit because they don’t always know exactly what’s best for your racing career. They love you, of course, and they think you’re the best! Sometimes, the eye of people who know more about MX is more important though, and this is where the right team is key.
“My family always supported me, then when I joined my team they were happy with everything I did.”
4. Lifestyle: Focus and dedication
“Dedication is top too – you need to train with passion, because when you love what you do you improve all the time.
“Being able to relax is just as important. When I’m on the bike I’m focused on what I’m doing, but off the bike I enjoy time with my family and friends. I like to do other sports too.
“I think it’s good for your mentality to stay focused on what is important and to have free time to be able to relax and clear your mind, to find that balance.”
5. Just be yourself!
“I love spending time with my friends and family, and also at the track with people I don’t even know. When I was small this was what I was doing, and I enjoyed it, so I keep doing it to this day.
“It can be difficult because at a GP you need to be focused during the weekend, but even at the track I try to spend time with the fans and be nice to them.
“My overall advice? Do what you like doing, live your life, and enjoy it!”
© Photos by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
Find BikesportNZ.com on FACEBOOK here.