Remy Gardner joined famous father Wayne as a motorcycle grand prix winner with an emotional victory in his 97th race start at the Portimao Moto2 season finale.
It marked the culmination of a long road to the top littered with injuries and often uncompetitive machines, following Remy’s grand prix debut as a Moto3 wild-card in 2014.
“When I crossed the finish line it was a big relief, a big weight off my shoulders,” said Gardner, who had dropped to fourth in the middle stages of the race, before fighting his way back to the front ahead of title contenders Luca Marini and Sam Lowes.
“It’s been two good but tough years, especially last year, and a win had always eluded us. When I came over the finish line, I sat up really fast and nearly fell off the back of the bike!
“There were definitely a few tears in the helmet. Lots of hard years have gone by, so the victory hit the heart.”
It was also the perfect farewell for the 22-year-old Australian to the ONEXOX SAG team, which he joined in 2019 without a podium to show for four seasons in Moto3/Moto2.
Gardner corrected that statistic in only his second SAG appearance and unsurprisingly thought a victory would soon follow. Instead, Gardner wasn’t seen on the podium again in 2019 while seven DNFs dropped him to 15th in the world championship.
Still riding a 2019-spec Kalex this season, Gardner ironed out the previous mistakes and delivered a strong campaign of four podiums (including the Portimao win), two pole positions and sixth place in the world championship.
“There were definitely a few years in the beginning where I struggled a lot, whether it was me or the machinery the results weren’t coming and just to score points back in the day was like a victory for me,” Gardner reflected.
“Then Edu [Perales, SAG team principal] gave me the opportunity to ride a top machine and last year I thought I could [win], but it didn’t come as easy as I thought!
“But after two years and in the last race of 2020 we did it. Definitely a lot of hard work and pain along the way, but a lot of lessons as well. There’s still more to learn but super happy.”
Gardner’s breakthrough season saw him seal a move to the Red Bull KTM Ajo team for the 2021 Moto2 World Championship, when SAG will start a new partnership with the Mandalika Racing Team.