Rene Hofer will be remembered off and on the track
The Motocross world is currently mourning the loss of the super talented, Rene Hofer, who tragically lost his life after getting caught in an avalanche whilst skiing with some friends in the Salzburg region.
Andy McKinstry: Off the track, you would struggle to find a nicer rider in the paddock, despite being blessed with a lot of talent he was very grounded and humble – his family clearly did a fantastic job raising a super nice guy who always had a smile on his face.
I’ve been lucky enough to have known Hofer since his 85cc days, I am always on the look out to see who the next up and coming talents are. It was clear from pretty much day one that Hofer would go far in the sport. In 2016, the Austrian won the EMX85 title as well as clinching the 85cc Junior World Championship – it’s never easy to do the double.
The next step for Hofer was then to make his entrance into the GP paddock as he was old enough to contest the EMX125 championship and in 2017 he finished fifth despite being a rookie – not bad at all. The year after he was on fire and had one hand on the title before injury meant he missed the final three rounds meaning Thibault Benistant clinched the title. At the time Hofer was gutted to lose the title but he quickly focused on the future and moving up to the EMX250 class.
Despite being an EMX250 rookie, Hofer impressed and finished fourth in the championship. His smooth and precise riding style meant he really suited the bike. He could have easily stayed in the EMX250 class for the 2020 season as he’d have been favourite for the title but it was decided with KTM that he’d made the move up to the MX2 World Championship as a full factory rider.
2020 was really the start of his professional career and I’ll never forget how impressive he was on his Factory KTM MX2 GP debut at Matterley Basin. Being a factory rider there’s a lot of pressure but Hofer in that second moto was superb as he led for ten laps in his first experience leading a GP race. It was clear that day that if he continued to work hard he’d have a great future in the sport. Unfortunately, that season was cut short after an injury ended his season.
This was the year that Hofer really caught everyone’s attention and the casual fans started to take notice. After missing a lot of racing in 2020 he needed to get some rounds under his belt before we really saw him at the front but the potential was there from the get go.
The 27th of October was the best day of Rene Hofer’s career and maybe even his life as he went 4-1 to win his first GP overall and did it in style in that second moto. A lot of hard work and sacrifice goes into winning at the top level and I am so pleased Hofer got to stand on that top step of the podium this year and experience that winning feeling. He was the fastest 250cc rider in the world that day and that was the moment the team, the rider and everyone else in his corner had been working for.
There’s no doubt that Hofer had everything it took to become a future world champion and he was the best Austrian talent since Heinz Kinigadner in the 80’s. It was a unique situation for Factory KTM to be working with an Austrian and the decision they made to support him from an early age was clearly paying off.
The MXGP season gets underway in February at Matterley Basin which was Hofer’s favourite track on the calendar. It won’t be the same without him there – it was a real pleasure to have known such a nice guy who always had a smile on his face who will be missed both off and on the track.
Rest in Peace! ❤️
Jonathan McCready: Andy has covered everything really but just from a personal perspective, Rene, for me, will always remembered first and foremost as a nice, calm and friendly kid. He was clearly brought up well and was always respectful and friendly in the paddock and willing to say hello or stop for a chat. He has always been one of the best in the world for his age but if you met him and didn’t know he raced motocross you would have no idea because he was so down to earth and humble seemingly devoid of ego while still having confidence on the track.
His end to this season was fantastic and he was fulfilling all that talent. But for everyone close to him, his family and his KTM team, his friends and anyone that has interacted with him, it was his friendly, smiling, down to earth personality that will be missed most. His eyes lit up when we mentioned there were rumours that Matterley Basin might host a triple header at the end of the 2021 season, he loved that track and the opening GP of the year at Matterley Basin will be a tough one for everyone.
It’s still hard to take this in but thoughts and prayers are with Rene’s family and friends at this devastating time.
Pic: KTM Images/Ray Archer
Learn more about Rene’s journey to a factory Red Bull KTM ride in his own words and get an insight into his smiley character below in this interview we did only a couple of months ago. RIP Rene.