FIM Awards Pre-Event: Sharing the Passion

As the Sunday afternoon sun was going down over Andorra-la-Vella, the FIM Awards were only hours away. But the Champions were nowhere to be seen in their hotel; instead, all 35 FIM World Champions were meeting up with their fans at the Congress Centre next to the Christmas market for an all-time first Autograph Session that was open to the public.

This year the FIM took on the challenge of giving the local people the unique opportunity of having an official programme signed by all the featured Champions at the Pre-Event. Over 1000 visitors, young and long-time fans, stood in line to receive an early Christmas gift, autographs and selfies that will be treasured souvenirs of the time they met all those special sportsmen and –women they had been cheering for all season. The Champions greeted their fans and were met with cries of joy, happy faces and even hugs that were later shared on social media by the delighted fans of motorcycling and its extraordinary sporting elite.

The Champions all enjoyed the moment, sharing the passion with their fans. Whilst some were more used to signing autographs, others – especially in the youth and junior categories – discovered the precious moment of meeting people who could only dream of how it felt to race against other top-ranked riders in a thrilling world class motorcycling Championship.

For two whole hours programmes, hats, photos and other personal items were handed out, receiving the long-awaited autograph, a lasting memory of a face-to-face encounter with the heroes and heroines of the motorcycling world.

Check out the pictures!

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Andorra hosts first ever FIM Awards

The annual season closing prize giving ceremony welcomed a new era as the first edition of the new FIM Awards was realised in the stunning ballroom of the Andorra Park Hotel in Andorra la Vella. Almost five hundred guests including 35 of the 2017 FIM World Champions gathered for a very special evening that was hosted by British broadcaster Gavin Emmett.

Watch the FIM Awards video highlights!

Mr Vito Ippolito, FIM President and the 2017 FIM World Champions

Mr Vito Ippolito, FIM President and the 2017 FIM World Champions

Gavin Emmett was joined on stage by a number of high profile celebrities from the mountainous principality and others as he wove a tale of recognition and reward for the many champions and award winners that was interspersed with some more light hearted and humorous moments. These included an impromptu guitar solo by 2017 FIM AMA Supercross World Champion Ryan Dungey.

Following a new format the Next Generation category got proceedings underway proper after President of the FIM, Mr Vito Ippolito had officially opened the ceremony. Thirteen-year-old Eddie Wade who won the FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Championship perfectly defined this catergory. In the aptly named Lumps, Bumps and Jumps category it was Andorra resident Toni Bou who was the stand out recipient as he collected an FIM X-Trial World Championship medal for an eleventh consecutive time.

The Long Haul category was all about endurance and saw Chile’s Pablo Quintanilla pick up the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion for a second year in a row. Russia was well represented in the Ice to Asphalt category with Dmitry Koltakov being declared the 2017 FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champion. The Stepping Stones category included those champions who have made important strides in their sporting success, and this was illustrated by Josep Garcia who received his medal for becoming 2017 FIM Enduro2 World Champion. 

Finally it was the Elite category, which brought the highly applauded ceremony to a close. The female side of the sport featured strongly in this category with 2017 FIM Women’s TrialGP World Champion Emma Bristow and 2017 FIM Women’s Motocross World Champion, Kiara Fontanesi picking up their medals together with 2017 FIM MXGP Motocross World Champion, Antonio Cairoli, 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Champion, Jason Doyle, 2017 FIM Superbike World Champion, Jonathan Rea and 2017 FIM MotoGP World Champion, Marc Marquez.

Alongside the champions, other successes were also recognised during the ceremony. Marc Marquez was very happy to present this Environment Award to the German Motorcycling Club, The MSC Grevenbroich. Whilst the FIM Road Safety Award went to The Norwegian Motorcycle Union for its ‘Full Kontroll’ initiative leaving The Motoclub do Porto to rightly pick up the FIM Fair Play Award for its kind actions. Finally the 2017 FIM Women in Motorcycling Award went to Motorcycling Western Australia’s Women’s Committee.

President of the FIM, Mr Vito Ippolito closed by saying. “I want to say thank you to everybody who is here tonight, to all our great FIM World Champions, our other award winners and to Andorra for hosting this beautiful ceremony that has marked the first edition of the FIM Awards. We are very proud and we would like to invite you to come back here with us next year.”

Mr Ryan Dungey & Mrs Lindsay Dungey - 2017 AMA Supercross FIM World Champion

Mr Ryan Dungey & Mrs Lindsay Dungey - 2017 AMA Supercross FIM World Champion

Honouring our Champions, Honouring the Motorcycling Community

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In Andorra-la-Vella, on 26 November 2017 at the FIM Awards, 36 champions and 4 awardees will be rewarded by the FIM for their World Championship title and remarkable work accomplished for the Motorcycling world. All have achieved incredible performances; all have reached for the stars and managed to touch them. In a room packed with the motorcycling community’s most distinguished guests, who better than legendary sportsmen and sportswomen, as well as members of the prestigious host-country political authorities, to honour our Champions with their medals?

The FIM is grateful and proud to present its 9 FIM Awards 2017 Prize-Givers!

Luc Alphand

Frenchman Luc Alphand initially started his sports career as a skier. Specialising in Super G and Downhill racing, he achieved a one-of-a-kind historical performance in 1997 by winning the World Cup overall title, only competing in the two speed disciplines (both of which he won). The triple Downhill World Champion then switched to car racing, taking part in numerous 24 Heures du Mans races and Dakar rallies. He finished 3rd in 2006 at Le Mans, finishing second in the Dakar twice (2005, 2007) and claiming 1st place in 2006.

Emilio Alzamora

The Spaniard is an exceptional man in a number of ways. By winning the 1999 125cc World Championship he established a world premiere, ending his season with the title but no race victories. He is also an exception when it comes to a rider’s life after racing.  Currently CEO of the Monlau Repsol Technical School (a reference in training drivers, mechanics and specialised engineers in the world of automobile and motorcycle competition), he is also Marc Márquez’s mentor amongst many other riders, always by his protégé’s side, the one who led Márquez to where he is now.

Cyril Despres

The second Frenchman amongst our Prize-Givers, Cyril Despres is a Moto and Auto Rally driver with multiple Dakar wins to his credit. The 5-time motorcycle winner switched to auto rallying in 2015 and finished 3rd in this year’s edition. Cyril Despres’ relationship with Andorra is strong, as the French rider organised the Andorra 500 Rally, a 500km ride in a unique environment created by a man of passion for the passionate, in 2015 and 2016.

Olga Gelabert

After a 4-year term as General Councillor, Vice Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Economy, member of the Legislative Committee for Education, Culture and Youth and member of the Parliamentary Permanent Committee, the Hon. Mrs Olga Gelabert is currently Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports of Andorra.

Marc Márquez

Multiple record-holder and 6-time World Champion Marc Márquez will attend this year’s ceremony for two important reasons. Not only is he the 2017 FIM MotoGP World Champion, but he is also an FIM Environmental Ambassador.

Conxita Marsol

Mayor of the Andorran host-city Andorra-la-Vella, Mrs Conxita Marsol has been working closely with the FIM management and staff to make the FIM Awards happen. Mrs Marsol and her City Council have been of great help to the FIM in the run-up to the Awards ceremony.

Taru Rinne

Starting as an 85cc karting championship competitor, this Finnish sportswoman made her two-wheel debut in 1988. The first and only woman so far to have led a Grand Prix (in Hockenheim) and nicknamed “First Lady of Fast”, she rewrote history by being the first female point-scoring rider in the FIM 125cc World Championship. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident ended her promising career. Today, she is a role model for women in the motorcycling world.

Joaquim Rodríguez

Former road racing cyclist Joaquim Rodríguez has won multiple podium placings, in the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France. The Spaniard was an archetypical climber, achieving some spectacular victories such as the Tour de France mountain stage at Plateau de Breille. After a 16 year career as a professional cyclist and one of Spain’s most famous riders, Joaquim Rodríguez is now a team ambassador for Bahrain-Merida.

Rubén Xaus

Retired 11-time SBK race winner Rubén Xaus became the first Spaniard to win a FIM Superbike World Championship race in 2001. Competing in the Superbike categories most of his career, he moved to MotoGP during 2004 and 2005, scoring regularly and winning the 2004 “Rookie of the Year” title. Nick-named “Spiderman” for the way he hung his tall frame over his bike, he eventually returned to Superbike in 2006. Rubén Xaus can still be seen on the circuits nowadays, in particular as a SBK adviser.

Better together!

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In a vast majority of two-wheeler motorsports, championship wins are achieved solo, aside from the Nations, Teams and ISDE. But a few specific championships stand out by virtue of the direct relation between several riders and one motorcycle. In such a situation, winning is no longer just a personal matter; instead, riders depend on their partners and their performances. They are not masters of their own destinies.

The 2016-2017 FIM Endurance World Champions David Checa and Niccolò Canepa won 3 of 5 out of the season’s races, along with latecomer team-mate Mike di Meglio. Victory in this category goes beyond winning the race. For three different riders to be able to mount one single motorcycle, the settings must be universal and inclusive for all sizes and driving styles. A compromise has to be found, as there is very little time when riders come in to change places at the stand in just a few seconds. Furthermore, if the rider on the circuit ends up off-track, not only does he disqualify himself but he also penalises his fellow team-mates, helpless in the stands. Disappointment and anger are shared in an Endurance event but so are joy and triumph. The long hours on the track put the riders’ bodies to the test. They can make them ache and hurt, but in the end they tie bonds between the riders even tighter.

Whilst Endurance is all about three riders alternating on one motorcycle, Sidecar and Sidecar Motocross put both rider and passenger on the same bike all along. It all comes down to team-work: a passenger cannot win without a rider (obviously) but a rider cannot win a race without his passenger on board. Curbs are very complicated to negotiate with a sidecar. In order to pull off such technical manoeuvres, passengers have to put all their weight on either side of the machine, holding on by just a thread, playing with the boundaries of what is possible. This year’s FIM Sidecar Motocross World Champions are rider Etienne Bax and passenger Nicolas Musset. With a superb start to the season and a fantastic end of season comeback, the Franco-Dutch pair won their first FIM World Championship together as well as their last, the physical distance separating the two men’s home bases being sadly too great an obstacle.

Distance is less of a problem for FIM Sidecar World Champions, Birchall brothers Ben and Tom. Because trust and a perfect feeling for the partner’s movements are crucial during the race, the family link is definitely a big plus for both siblings. Mastering all their races except the final gold race, the Birchalls showed a perfect symbiosis throughout the entire season, combining their talents to form an ideal duo and allowing them to oust 2016 champions Pekka Paivarinta and Kirsi Kainulainen.  After this second World Title since 2009, rider Ben and passenger Tom will surely defend their title once again with the same vigour shared this season.

When all is said and done

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As the ABBA song goes, we are still striving for the sky, but for this year all 2017 FIM Awards Champions are now standing calmly, their titles well and truly won! After this weekend’s action, newly titled Maikel Melero (FIM FreeStyle World Champion) and Marc Márquez (FIM MotoGP World Champion) both complete the list; the FIM will proudly reward 36 World Champions, 12 teams and 4 awardees at the 2017 FIM Awards Ceremony in Andorra-la-Vella.

Some highly prestigious guests will be among us and celebrating our Champions in the Andorran capital. Well-known faces will be there for the umpteenth time like Toni Bou (22 times FIM Trial and X-Trial World Champion), Emma Bristow (4 times FIM Women’s Trial World Champion), Jonathan Rea (hat-tricking FIM Superbike World Champion) and Marc Marquez (4 times MotoGP World Champion) as well as “newbies” Eddie Jay-Wade (FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion), Franco Morbidelli (FIM Moto2 World Champion) and Frenchman Mathieu Tresarrieu (FIM Long Track World Champion). Also a regular at the FIM Awards, Ryan Dungey (AMA Supercross FIM World Champion) will sign off after a superb hat-trick of FIM World Titles (4th title overall), leaving the spotlight at the height of his glory.

This year’s edition will be marked by a newly conceptualised ceremony, with Stage Director Rodolph Nasillski bringing a fresh and creative impulse to the FIM’s traditional sports and entertainment bill. And because, with (almost) nothing left untried, the show must now go on, who better than World-class sports broadcaster and experienced Brit Gavin Emmett to bring it all to life and officiate as FIM Awards host.

Before the curtain goes up on the ceremony at 10pm, riders will please their fans with an autograph session in Andorra-la-Vella congress centre in the afternoon before donning their suits and bowties and their gala dresses. Although the FIM Awards Ceremony is an invitation-only event, the FIM is eager to share this magical moment with the entire community by offering a LIVE-streaming feed during this glamourous night on www.fim-awards.com and through multiple live stories on social media. So, now that all is said and done, don’t miss a single news-feed and stay tuned on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest updates!

 

ENDURO CATEGORY

FIM SuperEnduro World Champion – Colton Haaker – USA
FIM Junior Enduro World Champion – Bradley Freeman – GBR
FIM Youth Enduro World Champion – Andrea Verone – ITA
FIM EnduroGP World Champion – Steve Holcombe – GBR
FIM E2 Enduro World Champion – Josep García – ESP
FIM ISDE – World Trophy – France – FFM
FIM ISDE – Junior World Trophy – France – FFM
FIM ISDE – Women’s World Trophy – Australia – MA

 

TRIAL CATEGORY

FIM X-Trial Champion – Toni Bou – ESP
FIM TrialGP World Champion – Toni Bou – ESP
FIM Trial2 World Champion – Iwan Roberts – GBR
FIM Women's Trial World Champion – Emma Bristow – GBR
FIM Trial des Nations – Spain – RFME
FIM Women’s Trial des Nations – Spain – RFME

 

TRACK RACING CATEGORY

FIM Team Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champion – Russia – MFR
FIM Ice Speedway Gladiators World Champion – Dmitry Koltakov – RUS
FIM Team Long Track World Champion – Germany – DMSB
FIM Team Speedway Under 21 World Champion – Poland – PZM
FIM Speedway World Cup – Poland – PZM
FIM Long Track World Champion – Mathieu Trésarrieu – FRA
FIM Speedway Youth 250cc World Champion – Jonas Knudsen – DEN
FIM Speedway Under 21 World Champion – Maksym Drabik – POL
FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Champion – Jason Doyle – AUS

 

MOTOCROSS CATEGORY

FIM SnowCross World Champion – Adam Renheim – SWE
FIM 85cc Junior Motocross World Champion – Eddie Jay Wade – GBR
FIM 125cc Junior Motocross World Champion – Gianluca Facchetti – ITA
FIM Women's Motocross World Champion – Kiara Fontanesi – ITA
AMA Supercross FIM World Champion – Ryan Dungey – USA
FIM MXGP Motocross World Champion – Antonio Cairoli – ITA
FIM MX2 Motocross World Champion – Pauls Jonass – LAT
FIM Sidecar Motocross Rider World Champion – Etienne Bax – NED
FIM Sidecar Motocross Passenger World Champion – Nicolas Musset – FRA
FIM S1GP SuperMoto World Champion – Thomas Chareyre – FRA
FIM Motocross of Nations – France – FFM
FIM SuperMoto of Nations – France – FFM
FIM FreeStyle Motrocross World Champion – Maikel Melero – ESP

 

CIRCUIT RACING CATEGORY

FIM Endurance Team World Champion – GMT94 Yamaha – FRA
FIM Endurance World Champion – Niccolò Canepa – ITA
FIM Endurance World Champion – David Checa – ESP
FIM MotoGP Grand Prix World Champion – Marc Márquez – ESP
FIM Moto2 Grand Prix World Champion – Franco Morbidelli – ITA
FIM Moto3 Grand Prix World Champion – Joan Mir – ESP
FIM Superbike World Champion – Jonathan Rea – GBR
FIM Supersport World Champion – Lucas Mahias - FRA              
FIM Supersport 300 World Champion – Marc Garcia – ESP
FIM Sidecar Rider World Champion – Ben Birchall – GBR
FIM Sidecar Passenger World Champion – Thomas Birchall – GBR
FIM Moto3 Junior World Champion – Dennis Foggia – ITA

 

CROSS-COUNTRY RALLIES CATEGORY

FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion – Pablo Quintanilla – CHL

 

AWARDS CATEGORY – You’ll see… LIVE-Streaming on www.fim-awards.com 

FIM Fair Play Trophy Awardee
FIM Women in Motorcycling Trophy Awardee
FIM Environmental Trophy Awardee
FIM Road Safety Trophy Awardee 

Promoting a new Motorcycling Generation

Hundreds of riders have been proclaimed Champions; hundreds had to start somewhere, someday, young and unexperienced. Agostini, Doohan, Rainey, and more recently Rossi and Marquez; all started at the bottom and gradually made their way to the top. With today’s competitions being so hard to crack, new riders may not always have opportunities to pierce the veil and show to the Motorcycling community their talent. These youngsters just need the opportunity and space to do just that – like Jonas Knudsen (FIM Speedway Youth 250cc) and Marc Garcia (FIM Supersport 300), both crowned as the first ever FIM World Champions in their respective categories. Every year, the FIM rewards youth and junior categories in order to ensure a regular renewal of the two-wheeler elite. This year the FIM Awards will honour 8 Champions and 2 teams, some of them born after the year 2000!

Being a Youth or Junior rider does not mean things are simpler on the motorbike, far from it. In what is described by some as the toughest Enduro Championship, FIM Youth Enduro World Champion Bradley Freeman had to fight until the last race to secure the title. Regardless of age, riders can achieve brilliant records, like Andrea Verona with his 9 consecutive wins or Facchetti and his astonishing comeback after his pelvis injury. Facchetti’s feat is all the more surprising when you realise he is only 17! Other riders are even younger, like Dennis Foggia or Jonas Knudsen, both 16 years old, but this year’s youngest FIM Awardee is Eddie Jay Wade (FIM 85cc Junior Motocross), aged only 15 – talk about youth!

As if being born in the years 2000 and competing like a pro wasn’t pressure enough, some riders have a big legacy to live up to. Knudsen became FIM Speedway Youth 250cc Champion nearly 32 years after his coach Erik Gundersen was proclaimed FIM Speedway World Champion (the 1st of 3 World Titles). No doubt, when the master teaches the pupil, expectations are in order when it comes to winning the title. Foggia also has a special entourage; being the protégé of no other than 9 times FIM World Champion Valentino Rossi, the Junior Team VR46 Academy rider has some big shoes to fill, but his appetite for victory is not anywhere close to stopping short of his goal. As for Maksym Drabik, maybe talent is a family gene after all. Son of former Polish Champion Slawomir Drabik, he has talent running in his veins, like father like son.

CHAMPIONS

Andrea Verona – FIM Youth Enduro (ITA)
Bradley Freeman – FIM Junior Enduro (GBR)
Jonas Knudsen – FIM Speedway Youth 250cc (DEN)
Maksym Drabik – FIM Speedway Under 21 (POL)
Eddie Jay Wade – FIM 85cc Junior Motocross (GBR)
Gianluca Facchetti – FIM 125cc Junior Motocross (ITA)
Marc Garcia – FIM Supersport 300 (ESP)
Dennis Foggia – FIM Moto3 Junior (ITA)
 

Over half of the Champions are now announced!

With less than two months to go, the FIM Awards 2017 Champions’ list is unscrolling a little more each day. Whilst several events are still on the go until early November, close to three quarters of the names are now known. With only weeks left, who will be the next name to feature on the FIM Awards Champions’ list?

Quintanilla retains his world title in Morocco.

Quintanilla retains his world title in Morocco.

Freshly announced champions are young Italian Dennis Foggia in the Moto3 Junior World Championship and World Champion Pablo Quintanilla in Cross-Country Rallies. The rider from Chile is thrilled to be back at our sports entertainment ceremony this year.

The 2017 FIM Awards will have the honour of rewarding defending champions Toni Bou – for his 11th titles in X-Trial and TrialGP, Jonathan Rea (Superbike), Ryan Dungey (Supercross), Emma Bristow (Trial), Thomas Chareyre (S1GP SuperMoto) and Colton Haaker (SuperEnduro). Several new faces will shine on the Awards stage this year including Italian motocross trio Antonio Cairoli (MXGP), Kiara Fontanesi (WMX) and Gianluca Facchetti (125cc Junior).

PRESS CONFERENCE BRINGS CHAMPIONS AND LEGENDS TOGETHER

This afternoon once again saw the largest press conference of its kind as over thirty 2016 FIM World Champions and seven FIM Legends from Enduro, Track Racing, Trial, Motocross, Cross-Country Rallies and Circuit Racing gathered inside the Sheraton Grand Hotel Esplanade, Berlin for this now annual and unique occasion. The assembled group of elite and great two wheel heroes and heroines were each introduced to the audience before being posed a relevant question by the two hosts –  Lisa Leyland and Gavin Emmett. After having answered further questions from the floor the FIM World Champions and FIM Legends then rose to their feet for the all-important family picture. 

REA ARRIVES IN BERLIN

2016 FIM Superbike World Champion Jonathan Rea is the latest FIM World Champion to arrive in Berlin ready for tomorrow’s seventh FIM Gala Ceremony. Rea is a returning FIM World Champion having successfully defended his maiden title that he sealed in 2015. Rea who has been testing in Jerez, Spain earlier this week, the scene of last year’s FIM Gala, arrived in Berlin earlier this afternoon.

Rea will be joined by more than thirty other FIM World Champions and seven FIM Legends both at tomorrow afternoon’s unique press conference and then at tomorrow evening’s FIM Gala Ceremony at the Tempodrom on the outskirts of city of Berlin.