Gajser rues lost chance for supercross race mileage

MXGP talks early end to Monster Energy Cup debut

HRC’s Tim Gajser had a rough maiden taste of American supercross at last weekend’s Monster Energy Cup that prematurely ended with his crash in the first of three ten minute Main Events in Las Vegas.

The twenty one year old attempted the season-ending Invitational for the first time and a year later than planned after injury forced him out of competing in the 2016 edition and after he had won the MXGP FIM World Championship. Gajser was running as high as third in the restarted first sprint on Saturday night until he lost control in the rhythm section and crashed.

The Slovenian was temporarily winded but the extent of the damage to his CRF450R meant there was not sufficient time to make the gate for the second outing.

“It didn’t end like we wanted but I’m just thankful we could walk away without any injury,” he described. “It was amazing to have a good start and to be at the front with the top guys. The pace was actually quite normal and I could follow them until I made a little mistake and Dean [Wilson] and Broc Tickle passed me and I lost a bit of concentration. I was too short on the triple and went over the handlebar. Overall it was good and I’m happy we tried the race just to get an impression of how everything looks in the US. It is completely different to what we are used to but it was fun.”

Some American press were able to spot that Gajser’s suspension settings were on the soft side for the hard landings of the Sam Boyd layout. #243 had apparently tried fellow Honda rider Christian Craig’s supercross configuration at the test track in the days leading up to the ‘MEC’ and found the suspension too hard for his liking. Despite the extra handicap as a result of his inexperience, Gajser was still able to find positives.

“I watched a couple of past Monster Cups and the track didn’t look so technical and this year there was a lot of rhythm sections with many triples and doubles where you really hard to be precise and perfect,” he says. “I think in the past it was more of a motocross track. It was a bit of a shame that I crashed in the first race and could not do the second and third one. It was a good experience and now I have the picture of how everything looks here. I want to come here and do a season and I don’t think I was too bad after just two days of supercross!”

The MXGP star is the first high profile international Grand Prix rider to have attempted the Monster Energy Cup. He believes the mid-October date is one of the biggest deterrents for other curious FIM World Championship athletes to take part but his first reaction was to make the gate for 2018. “This is the reason why many MXGP guys don’t want to try this race and the season gets longer and longer: the Nations is now in October,” he opined. “We don’t have a lot of time to prepare because there is only two weeks between Nations and here. I think we will be back next year.”

Photos by Ray Archer & Taku Nagami

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