Marc de Reuver on MXGP retirements

F&H Kawasaki team trainer and former MX2 and MXGP Grand Prix winner Marc de Reuver believes ex-rival Tony Cairoli will be able to calmly transition from racing to retirement. The Dutchman made the comments at Mantova in Italy and after Cairoli’s final GP in a glorious eighteen-year career that yielded nine titles and 93 victories to place the Sicilian as the second most successful rider in the history of the sport.

Cairoli stepped away from full-time MXGP at 36. De Reuver, 38, raced the KTM stalwart in both the MX2 and MXGP classes and retired in 2015 through injury accumulation. “I felt I was too young to retire but Tony is OK with it. He’s at peace. It’s a different way to stop. He’s still on the top and if he rode next year he’d still be top five.”

De Reuver hobbled away from Grand Prix after tremendous flashes of form but also some heavy physical hits. He represented works efforts from KTM, Yamaha and Honda. “I was always in factory teams and in 2009 I had a really big crash and lost the factory ride for 2010, then it started to go ‘down’ a little bit and I went into a bit of a depression.”

De Reuver recently opened up about his career and his struggles for a revealing personal memoir called ‘Open’ which was launched in his native country in November with an English version arriving in March 2022. “I went completely ‘off-road’,” he says of his post-racing personal struggles. “I had panic attacks and had to take anti-depressants. I had to push the subject away. I did some stupid things when I was racing but I also came into situations that were s**t for my career.”

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De Reuver quickly reinvented himself as a no-nonsense trainer and steered Pauls Jonass to the 2017 MX2 World Championship, despite the lingering repercussions of the Latvian’s concussion from 2016. He has been marshalling the F&H team’s roster for the last four years. “I rode since I was five so I thought ‘I cannot do anything else apart from ride a motocross bike’. I had big problems about what I was going to do next that would give me enough satisfaction,” he recalls. “I started as a trainer, got involved with Pauls Jonass and when he won it gave me the same adrenaline. It’s the same feeling.”

F&H Kawasaki will field Kevin Horgomo in MX2 and Jed Beaton in MXGP in 2022.

Words: Adam Wheeler