Sébastien Tortelli

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Sébastien Tortelli
Nationality French
Born 19 August 1978 (1978-08-19) (age 38)
Agen, France
Motocross career
Years active 1994–2006
Teams Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, KTM
Championships 125cc - 1996, 250cc - 1998
Wins 20

Sébastien Tortelli (born 19 August 1978 in Agen, France) is a two-time World Champion motocross racer.[1] A longtime factory-sponsored rider, Tortelli has been a top ranked rider in both AMA National and Supercross competition, as well as the European-based Motocross Grand Prix World Championships.

Early European success[edit]

During his early career in Europe on the Grand Prix motocross racing circuit, Tortelli made his Grand Prix debut at the last GP of the 1994 season, just few days after his 16th birthday. In his first GP season, Tortelli claimed some race wins and finished 3rd of the championship. He won the 1996 125cc FIM World Motocross Championship and to this date is still the younger World champion. He was riding for Jan DeGroot's factory Kawasaki team. Tortelli had caught the eye of the motocross world with his aggression, incredible cornering speed and legendary fighting spirit. He graduated to the 250cc ranks of the GPs in 1997. While that year was plagued by some frightening high-speed crashes, Tortelli claimed several overall victories against perennial Grand Prix champion Stefan Everts. The next season would be much different.

In January 1998, at a one-off Supercross appearance in Los Angeles, Coliseum, California, Tortelli showed his incredible speed to the American public with a surprise victory. Tortelli planned to move to the United States to contest the AMA circuit in 1999, but first, he had a World Championship to win that summer.

In an epic, season-long battle, Tortelli and Everts (most crowned world champion of all time) traded the points lead multiple times, with one rider typically finishing just ahead of the other. The title fight went down to the final round, last race of the Greece GP, and it was Tortelli who shouldered the pressure, won the race and claimed the 1998 250cc World Championship. Everts was left reeling from the defeat, and several seasons would pass before he would again see the same level of success.

American career[edit]

Sebastien followed his long-time career goal and emigrated to America for the 1999 season, as a full factory rider for Team Honda. He struggled somewhat through that supercross season, saving himself for the outdoors. At the season opener in San Bernardino, CA, Tortelli came from behind in both motos, passing Jeremy McGrath and Kevin Windham to sweep the 250cc National in his very first try. He led the points standings most of the summer until he was injured in a crash with Doug Henry at Unadilla.

Tortelli improved further for 2000, scoring a strong 6th in Supercross and battling with Ricky Carmichael tooth-and-nail through the outdoor season, where he eventually finished second. It is Tortelli's best overall season in America to date. The next five full seasons would produce similar results, with Tortelli consistently placing top 5 in both Supercross and Nationals. He raced for Team Suzuki from 2003 through the 2005 season, and was so stricken with knee and wrist injuries that he was unable to complete an entire season. Whenever he was at the racetrack, Sebastien Tortelli's speed was always incredible. He was one of the few riders that could battle and pass Ricky Carmichael known as the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Times).

Return to Europe[edit]

Tortelli signed with KTM for the 2006 and 2007 season. The aim of his new deal was to beat his old rival Stefan Everts in the MX1 World Championship, and claim KTM's first World title in that category. After some early battles with Everts, Tortelli's 2006 season came to abrupt end when he crashed during the Portuguese round of the championship, dislocating his hip and ruling him out for the remainder of the season. Whilst Everts rode on effectively unchallenged to his final world title, rumours linked Tortelli with a move back to America in 2007. However, with Tortelli struggling to regain fitness, he announced his retirement from professional motocross in December 2006.

In 2007 with the desire to share his knowledge and passion of the sport, Tortelli created his own motorcycle school: ChampFactory MX School With riders like Justin Brayton, Ryan Sipes, Will Hann... Tortelli became the official riding coach for KTM North America until early 2009. In the mean time he developed his own simple way to explain riding techniques to all age and level of riders and build some international MX, Off Road school.

Tortelli still races occasionally in fundraiser and charity events but actively focus his time to his school and coaching pro and amateurs riders like Blake Wharton, Jason Anderson, Tommy Searle, Jace Owen... to bring them to the highest level of Supercross and Motocross.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sebastien Tortelli career profile
  2. ^ Petit Futé Limousin Dominique Auzias, Jean-Paul Labourdette - 2009 - 64 "Elle réunit plusieurs centaines de passionnés de motos tout terrain, en toute convivialité, auxquels se joignent les plus grandes vedettes parrains de la manifestation comme Mickaël Pichon, Sébastien Tortelli,