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Gabor Talmacsi ´Hungary´ for success
The MotoGP 2001 season will be noted in certain corners of Europe as one of the most important for years. Not because Valentino Rossi could become the youngest ever 500cc World Champion, or because Kenny Roberts Jr. might take the next step in his quest to emulate his father´s three consecutive World titles - but for Gabor Talmacsi, the first Hungarian rider to make the entry list of the World Championship for two decades.
The last Hungarian rider to complete a full Grand Prix season was Janos Drapal, who contested his last championship in 1981 in the 125cc class. Drapal made his debut in 1969 in the 350cc class, and reached the pinnacle of his career in 1971 when he won the Czechoslovakian GP in the 250 series. Unfortunately he died in a TT crash and the popularity of motorcycling in Hungary has suffered accordingly.
That is something Talmacsi is looking to put right this year however, after a difficult battle to get into the illustrious world of MotoGP. ´Hungarians don´t tend to get the same opportunities in MotoGP as perhaps other riders because the level of interest in Hungary is so low,´ he explained. ´It´s vitally important for me to be successful this year so that I can raise the profile of the sport in my country and maybe give other riders a better chance of making it´.
Talmacsi has ridden motorcycles since he was four years old - starting out on a mini-bike in a school run by his father - and raced in 50cc and 80cc events before receiving special permission to make his 125cc debut in the Hungarian Championship at just 14 years of age. Incredibly, the youngster finished 4th and two years later, in 1997, he was offered the opportunity to compete in the European Championship. His best effort that year was a 4th placed finish, in a season dogged with problems.
Things didn´t improve much in 1998 or 1999, although he did pick up the Hungarian Championship, and a frustrated Talmacsi decided to start 2000 with a completely new team. After two excellent performances on an average bike, he was approached by the German team Ivetra Seel Racing, who offered him an improved machine for the rest of the season.
Continuous podium appearances earned Talmacsi a wildcard ride at the Czech GP, although he was ordered to revert to his old bike - a 20 year old standard Honda - for the race, as Ivetra Seel Racing were supporting a different rider. A 20th position at his first ever Grand Prix signalled the end of his 2000 season, and despite not contesting the final two events of the European Championship, he still ended up fifth in the overall standings.
Gabor gets his Grand Prix chance in 2001 after receiving various offers to race in the 125cc class - the most attractive of which was put forward by the Italian team Racing Service. ´I was delighted to take up the offer from Racing Service to race in Grand Prix.´, he revealed. ´It is the dream of any racer to compete in MotoGP and I am very excited. It has been hard for me to get here, so I´m just enjoying everything about it at the moment. All the tracks are new to me so my first year will be one of learning. I don´t think I will match the achievements of Janos Drapal just yet, but I will try my best and I hope the people back home in Hungary will be proud of me´.
17 years ago