Tom Vialle: From EMX250 to MX2 World Champion!
In what has been only his second season in the MX2 World Championship scene, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle claimed his very first world title in style, with an impressive 14 race wins and matching podiums, along with 7 overall victories and an outstanding 21 Fox Holeshots!
Vialle’s love for bikes came as a result of watching his father, who was a pro rider, competing in various events including Supercross, which inspired the young Frenchman to start riding. And at the age of 5, Vialle got his very own bike, entering his first race around the same year.
In 2018, Vialle entered the EMX250 series where he showed promise from the opening round in Red Sand, Spain. The youngster finished the races second and fourth that time around to claim the second spot on the box. At the following round in Portugal he was not so lucky as he only scored three points, though was able to fight back with a race win in Russia. The following few GP’s the Frenchman struggle with consistency, as he battled well within the top three, to finish some races in second and third, but could not put two consistent heats together for a strong overall. Eventually he finished 8th in the Championship standings, before being picked up by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for the following season.
Vialle then made his MX2 World Championship debut at the MXGP of Argentina in 2019 as part of the factory KTM squad, alongside Jorge Prado. He had a steady first GP to finish well inside the top 10 with a 7-8 result which was still pretty impressive. At the following GP in Great Britain, Vialle continued to surprise as he got himself onto the podium with a strong 3-4 race result and then followed that up with another podium in Trentino.
The following GP’s in Lombardia, Portugal, France, Russia and Latvia saw him struggled, before making a comeback in Germany, Indonesia and Asia with a string of 2nd overall finishes. The Frenchman also claimed his first overall that season, as a consistent 2-2 handed him the overall in Sweden, while his teammate celebrated his MX2 title.
In the end, Vialle finished the season 4th in the standings with an overall victory and 7 podiums, which placed him among the favourites for the title in 2020.
And as the gate dropped for the first race in Matterley Basin, Great Britain, this year, there was no doubt that Vialle was the man to beat. He started with second overall at the British Grand Prix, before turning things around in the Netherlands where he took the GP win, as well as the red plate.
Then the racing stopped for 5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though as things picked back up in Latvia, with what was the first triple-header of the season, Vialle was able to pick up exactly where he left off, going 1-2 for the top step of the podium. Though at the following race in Kegums, the Frenchman struggled and would not make the podium, but he was able to recover for the last Latvian race to go 1-2 for second.
Vialle then followed that up with two overall wins in Faenza, as he took his first double race win of the season, during the MXGP of Città di Faenza. He followed this up with 7 more podiums, which by the end of the season put his tally up to 14.
All season long, Jago Geerts and Vialle traded at who would win the races, along with a couple of other riders who were victorious too, though despite the close battles, Vialle was able to claim the title a round early, during the MXGP of Pietramurata. The day wasn’t easy for the Frenchman who had to start the races from outside the gate, though he was able to get the job done and get that gold plate with a race win in the opening heat. The second race was unlucky for Vialle who had an issue with his bike and could only fight back to 23rd. Despite missing out on the podium, Vialle didn’t let this dampen his mood, as he picked up his championship winning plate!
Now with his maiden title in his back pocket, it will be interesting to see if Vialle can handle the pressure of being a defending World Champion in 2021 and once again show his dominant force that we saw this season.
“It was an incredible season for me. To take my first world title was just amazing” shared Vialle, adding, “I tried to be as consistent as possible and I tried my best every time, get a good start and ride like I do in training. I really want to thank all the team, my family, Joel Smets, as riding with the team for the last two years has been amazing”.
For more details on Tom Vialle’s world title read our MXGP feature: ‘The Road to Gold’ by clicking HERE
PLACE OF BIRTH: Avignon, France
RACING NUMBER: 28
BEST RESULT: 2020 MX2 World Champion
FIRST GP RACED: 2019 MXGP of Patagonia – Argentina
FAVOURITE TRACK: Neuquen
FAVOURITE FOOD: Steak Tartare
FAVOURITE MUSIC: Rap
DREAM HOLIDAY: USA
HOBBIES: Video Games
RACE WINS: 14
OVERALL VICTORIES: 7
LAPS LED: 328
FOX HOLESHOTS: 21
Words: Infront Moto Racing
Pic: Ray Archer