Antonio 'Tony' Cairoli entered his first FIM Motocross Championship in 2002, after growing up riding bikes. He wasn't immediately successful but the Italian showed real promise and, as the season progressed, it was obvious that Cairoli was biding his time, learning the ropes and enjoying every single minute of it along the way.
Two years later and his patience paid off. The young Sicilian won his first MX2 championship race at Namur, widely regarded as one of the toughest tracks in the series. His impressive victory was backed up by a third place finish overall, and his solid performance throughout the season put a championship win firmly in Cairoli's sights.
He wasn't to be disappointed. In 2005, just three years after his debut, Cairoli took his first world championship with six wins under his belt for the season – despite an injury and a disqualification. Aged 19, he was the youngest Italian to have won a major motocross world title.
After just missing out in 2006, Cairoli won the championship again in 2007, with two rounds to go and 10 GP wins in the bag. In the same year he also had the chance to race in an MX1 GP, and joined the class permanently in 2009. Suffice to say, he exceeded expectations and won his first MX1 championship with aplomb. Since 2009, Cairoli has continued to dominate the premier class of the World Motocross Championship – claiming the title every year up until 2015, when an injury ended his hopes for another victory prematurely.
Nevertheless, with an astonishing eight world titles to his name, Cairoli has already cemented his position as the current undisputed King of Motocross and one of the sport's all-time greats. And he's not done yet. Currently fighting for the 2016 MXGP World Championship, title number nine could well be heading Cairoli's way later this summer.Read more