With the popularity of Formula One’s ‘Drive to Survive’, in its wake, the Red Bull racing team announced the launch of its own documentary series, ‘MX World: The KTM Diaries’.
Nine-time motocross world champion Tony Cairoli spoke to Insider Sport about what it is like to be on the other side of the camera and how the show can boost fan engagement within the sport.
Divided into six separate episodes, Red Bull KTM’s new ‘all-access’ docu-series gets up close and personal with some of motocross’ biggest stars, including none other than Cairoli, who is within touching distance of setting a new record.
The series, which is already available in full on Red Bull TV, will be released in weekly installments on the Red Bull Motorsport YouTube channel for fans’ viewing.
“It’s a very interesting series because you see a lot of things that you don’t see watching the races,” he explained. “Some parts are very personal so the fans can see it from the inside.
“In some parts, it was quite demanding because you have to do a lot of interviews during the race weekends when you normally don’t want to talk with anybody, but sometimes, it was fun and it was nice to get away from the racing routine. They were in the back all the time but when you’re in the race you don’t really think too much about that and you just get on and do your thing mostly.
“It’s not really what we thought in the beginning when they started with the project and they said, ‘you’re going to be busy and everyone is going to want to film you’, but in the end, it was nice that they showed this side.”
The 35-year-old is no stranger to the limelight, either. Cairoli was the subject of his own film which was released in October 2014, charting his progress to the top.
“I’ve actually had a documentary-type movie made about me a couple of years ago which is called ‘Tony Cairoli: The Movie’,” he continued. “We chose to get it out in the cinemas mostly in Italy, of course, but in some cinemas even in Europe.
“That was also very difficult to film because it was during the season. I also got champion of the year so it was a very nice experience, but Tony Cairoli: The Movie was more about myself but the Red Bull series is more for the team and the riders so it’s not so personal in some ways.”
Starring alongside teammates Jeffrey Herlings, Jorge Prado, Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer, the new docu-series has raised awareness of the sport, not just among Red Bull followers, but the wider motorsport community.
And the Sicilian, who extended his association with the racing team last summer, reaffirmed that the project is ‘crucial’ to the growth of the somewhat niche sport.
He added: “It’s very important to expand motocross and you want other people to know about this sport. It brings motocross to the channels that you don’t normally see motocross on. It’s key to show other faces within the sport that are not only winning but there are a lot of sacrifices and sometimes you lose so it’s really important to feel this.
“It helps our sport to get more interest outside of our group, let’s say. So, other people can discover motocross in general and it’s what we need to do to make our sport bigger.”
Drawing a comparison to Formula One’s hit show, he commented: “It’s crucial and you can see now with Drive to Survive from Netflix and Formula One, a lot of people who had never ever followed Formula One are now watching it and everybody’s watching it because you see things that you never see just watching the race. It’s nice in some ways to get that extra content in these documentaries.”
Cairoli first cut his teeth in the sport over a decade ago, however, the motocross landscape has changed dramatically since he started out in 2002, claiming his first FIM world title in 2005 in the MX2-GP class.
“I’ve been in the sport for so many years and I’m trying to push it as much as I can myself with the media etc. Now, a lot of riders are more reachable with social media than it was when I started riding which was more than 15 years ago. In one way, it’s easier to get to know people better now than before.
“It’s changed a lot and it’s changed because you have social media. It’s getting huge now and 10 or 15 years ago it was more difficult for an athlete to promote himself but now, it’s a matter of how good you are on social media!
“I really enjoy it because you have your own broadcaster on your hands so you can be closer with the fans.”
Going in search of his 10th title and a historic record, Cairoli expressed his excitement ahead of the 2021 FIM Motocross World Championship after a tumultuous 2020 campaign blighted by injury woes and the coronavirus crisis both on and off the track.
“I’m really looking forward to this new season. I had some injuries last year that bothered me a lot during the season which got worse and worse so I couldn’t really hang on with the guys in front so I had to slow down a little bit but still, top three is a good result. And now I feel better. I don’t want to dwell on the problems but I feel better.”