Friday
Nov032017

Boise Endurocross Up For Grabs

211302 Cody Webb 4

Photo credit: Tanner Yeager

The 2017 AMA Endurocross championship heads to the Ford Idaho Centre in Nampa, west of the city of Boise, for the sixth and penultimate round of the series.

FMF KTM Factory rider, Cody Webb will come into the Boise event as favourite, but anything can happen in EnduroCross. Colton Haaker, the defending EnduroCross champion, is still suffering from injury and is not expected to participate but there is a long list of riders eager to challenge Webb.

Twenty-year-old Trystan Hart has stepped up this season and earned three podiums in five events. The Canadian challenged Webb at the most recent round in Scottsdale and wants to earn his first win.

Kyle Redmond has earned several podiums over the years and he too, is looking for a win. Ty Tremaine, the three-time Junior EnduroCross champion, still only twenty-one years old, finished third in the championship in 2017 and looks poised to challenge Webb as well.

GasGas backed Noah Kepple, another twenty-one-year-old, also shows amazing skills that could earn him a top spot. Cooper Abbott, son of off-road motorcycle racing legend Destry Abbott, is quickly becoming one of the stars of EnduroCross.

There will certainly be plenty of action in the pro class as well as the other classes, Amateur, Vet, Women and TrialsCross.

211313 Kacy Martinez 6

Photo credit: Tanner Yeager

The Boise EnduroCross will also include one of the Friday night Destry Abbott, DA8 training sessions on the track. The two-hour EnduroCross training session is very hands on with several of the top pro riders assisting Destry in providing instruction on how to tackle the obstacles.

The session is open to all riders (even those not competing at the Boise event). For the $100 entry fee, you will learn how to tackle the difficult obstacles found on tough trails and EnduroCross tracks. This will be limited to the first 20 entries so sign up quickly to hold your spot.

211315 Scottsdale AZ

Photo credit: Tanner Yeager

EnduroCross includes a class for everyone with the Amateur, Vet, TrialsCross, Women’s and Super EnduroCross (Pro) classes. And for 2017, there is an Amateur B Main, which allows more riders to make it into the night show. If you want to give it a shot yourself, now is the time to sign up.

 

Thursday
Nov022017

A Sad Day...Tom White Passes

RIP TOM WHITE | MOTORCYCLE INDUSTRY ICON PASSES AT 68
 

November 2, 2017

Tom White, famed motorcycle racer, business owner, philanthropist, and historian, has passed away after a courageous battle against cancer. He was 68.

Tom was raised near the ocean in Huntington Beach, California, where he grew up surfing before discovering his life-long passion: motorcycles. He soon found his niche in flat track racing, eventually earning national number 80 as a professional.

Tom’s last ride. 

In 1976, White founded Tom White’s Cycle Specialties, which would later become White Brothers Cycle Specialties when White partnered with his twin brother, Dan. Over the next 25 years, White Brothers would grow into a nearly $40 million-a-year company that employed nearly 200 employees at its peak. White sold White Brothers in 2000, and turned his attention towards restoring and collecting vintage motocross bikes.

Over the next decade, White’s collection grew to over 170 motorcycles, including a variety of unique models from brands such as Husqvarna, CZ, Maico, Bultaco, BSA, and others. White believed his efforts were but one piece of a greater industry initiative to ensure the history and legacy of motorcycle racing in the United States remained intact and relevant for future generations of racers and fans.

Tom was loved be many.

White’s Early Years of Motocross Museum, located on his family’s private property in Orange County, California, is not open to the public, but it has played host to motorcycle industry events including product launches, professional racing media gatherings, as well as numerous charity fundraising efforts.

In addition to his role as a motorcycle historian, White discovered another passion over the past few decades: announcing motorcycle races. White became the announcer of the weekly REM motocross series at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California, one of his greatest joys. In 2017, White was honored with a monument along Glen Helen’s Walk of Fame. White also served as the announcer for many professional races throughout the United States, reveling in the thrill of all disciplines of motorcycle racing.

In 2014, White was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame. And in 2018, White is due to receive the prestigious Dick Hammer lifetime achievement award from the Southern California Trailblazers Motorcycle Club.

 

Tom in his hey-day.

“While we mourn the loss of an incredible human being, we also celebrate his life, his achievements, his passion for motorcycles, and his love of friends and family,” says the White family. “We hope that Tom’s life story serves as inspiration to everyone that fierce determination and good will can yield a life extraordinarily well lived.”

Tom White passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by his family, along several of his favorite motorcycles. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, dear friends, and motorcycle enthusiasts around the world.

White will be honored in a memorial service to be announced at a future date.

Wednesday
Nov012017

A MOTOCROSS STORY OF BRAVERY AND GENEROSITY

Tuesday
Oct312017

Crashes plague Nick Schmidt in South Australia

 



It was a tough weekend for Wilson Coolair Motul Factory Suzuki’s Nick Schmidt and Luke Wilson, with bad luck at Round three of the Australian Supercross Championship at Virginia in South Australia proving costly.

With both riders making solid progress at the team’s recent outing in Melbourne, the pair headed in to the weekend looking to better their performances, however both Wilson and Schmidt suffered one of the most difficult outings of the season.

Schmidt who has consistently been one of the fastest SX1 riders in the field since his arrival from the USA suffered one of the biggest crashes of the weekend on Saturday night.

After qualifying in an impressive fourth position, Schmidt was confident ahead of his first race of the evening. Unfortunately, a first lap crash which saw him go down hard placed him in sixth at the conclusion of the race, but despite being battered and bruised Schmidt took to the line for the final and salvaged a tenth place at the conclusion of the round.

“The weekend started off really well – I was fast all day and I just made a stupid mistake in the heat race and hurt my knee a bit,” Schmidt explained.

“It was a massive crash that I had, but I knew that I could ride better than I could walk so in the main I gave it my all. I had a good jump but I got hit by another rider and went down so I had to get back up and I eventually got back to tenth.

“Although it doesn’t look great on paper, there were a lot of positives to take from the weekend. We certainly have the speed so now it’s about putting it all together. I’ll have a couple of days off to let the body rest and then and come out even stronger in Sydney.”

 


Luke Wilson was unable to line up for the nights SX1 main event. - Credit: Aaryn MInerds
 

Unfortunately, fellow SX1 teammate Wilson did not line up for the main event in South Australia on Saturday night.

 

Tuesday
Oct312017

Cody Webb Extends Points Lead with Fourth Straight Win

 

 

 Cody Webb Extends Points Lead with Fourth Straight Win

SCOTTSDALE, AZ. – Cody Webb kept his hot streak alive, taking his fourth straight win at the Law Tigers Scottsdale EnduroCross. The FMF KTM rider had a perfect night, winning the qualifier, bracket race and main event for maximum points. Trystan Hart put in another solid ride for his second consecutive runner up finish on his SRT Husqvarna. FMF Maxxis KTM’s Ty Tremaine rounded out the podium.

Webb took the win in the Super EnduroCross gate pick qualifier to get the night show started off right. His only problem was that he smashed his fingers on a course marker and was concerned about how that might affect his grip as the night wore on. The SRT Racing backed trio of Kyle Redmond, Cory Graffunder and Hart finished second, third and fourth respectively. In addition to the main event gate picks, this race sets the match ups for the bracket races.

The top 12 riders face off in the single lap brackets races and the crowd was treated to a great show in the second round when Hart beat Webb to the first turn and the two battled all the way to the finish with Webb making contact to push Hart out and take the win. That put Webb in the final against Redmond and Webb, again, took the win for his second bonus point of the evening.

The short start straight made for a hectic first turn and Webb came away with the lead. He was closely followed by Hart and those two had a race of their own for the win. Hart kept Webb honest for most of the main but started to lose touch and ultimately finished nineteen seconds behind Webb. For Webb, it was his fourth straight win and he opened a large lead in the championship due to Colton Haaker missing the Scottsdale event due to injury. For Hart, this was his third podium in five races and he took over second from the absent Haaker.

The battle for third was intense as Redmond held the spot early but he was passed by a charging Tremaine on lap three. Tremaine finished lap one in seventh, so his podium finish was an impressive result. Redmond held on for fourth and Graffunder put in a good ride to round out the top five.  

Spain’s Joan Pau Segura rode his GasGas to sixth position. Fellow GasGas rider, Noah Kepple, moved to seventh after completing lap one in eleventh position. A broken foot peg in the qualifier race put him on row two for the main event. Beta’s Max Gerston and Ty Cullins finished in eighth and ninth. Cooper Abbott rounded out the top ten on his Purvines DA8 Yamaha.

Eric Rhoten, Spenser Wilton, Wally Palmer, Quinn Wentzel and Geoff Aaron rounded out the main event finishers in 11th to 15th respectively.

Cody Webb:

Regarding Colton Haaker missing this race and likely the rest of the season, Webb had this to say. “No, I still want to charge hard and it is a bummer Colton could not be here because we were putting on a good show for the fans.” He continued by saying, “In the main, I really wanted to sprint right away but then Hart kept holding the gap the same, so everyone is stepping it up.”

Tuesday
Oct312017

Chad Reed Update

 

Chad Reed Injury Update

 

Chad Reed underwent surgery this week to repair two fractures in his ankle (talus) sustained at Red Bull Straight Rhythm last weekend, he announced in an Instagram post. Despite the setback, Reed, who has yet to officially announce his plans for 2018, said his goal remains the same—to be ready for Anaheim 1.

Reed was expected to compete alongside Ryan Villopoto in the Two-Stroke Class at the one-off event, but wasn’t able to race after sustaining an injury to his ankle. Gared Steinke went on to win the event over Ronnie Mac.

In his post, Reed said he’ll be unable to race the upcoming AUS-X Open in his home country Australia, but will be in attendance. 

"I've been slow on the unfortunate news in respect to @ausxopen The one race on my calendar I look forward to most is the Sydney @ausxopen This years race was always going to have its challenges but nothing I wasn't up for Unfortunately my slight over jump last week resulted in two fractures to my ankle (talus) I saw my specialist and the best chance at a healthy fast recovery was to do surgery So unfortunately I won't be able to compete in ?? in two weeks time BUT I'll make the trip down to see as many fans as possible As for 2018, The goal remains the same! A1"

The 35-year-old spent last year with factory Yamaha, but will not return to the team in 2018. He told our Steve Matthes prior to Straight Rhythm that he’ll likely put together his own deal for next year.

"Yeah, there’s a chance that I don’t race, which is something that would suck, but it is what it is. I put myself in this position. I only want to ride probably two bikes for two teams. You definitely put yourself in a small window. That’s kind of where I’m at. If I’m honest, the new Honda is nice. The Husky I like a lot. So, there’s a chance that something could come together. I think the whole TwoTwo Motorsports concept has failed. I think I made it clear that that’s not an option. There’s a chance that I could go alone and do something, but it won’t be along the lines of how I did it before at all. It will be very, very different. I want to race. If I’m honest, out of all the bikes that I’ve rode and I’ve rode them all, the Husky, I really enjoy it. It’s fun. I like it. It’s light. It seems like it could be a really good race bike. Watching on the weekend the top five bikes being all the same makes me think that they’ve got something figured out. Definitely riding it makes me feel that I could achieve what I want to achieve out of it. So, we’ll see."

Tuesday
Oct312017

Muddy Gotland Grand National

Gundersen

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

Kjetil Gundersen has won the 2017 edition of the Gotland Grand National cross-country race – one of the toughest in the history of the event.

The Gotland race, if you haven’t heard of it before is the largest dirt bike event in Sweden, if not the world.

Held on the Swedish island of Gotland itself, which lies in the Baltic Sea, East of the country, the event attracts thousands of riders. The combined entry for 2017 totalled 3144 competitors – it really is huge.

Conditions are often tough, but the 2017 edition proved to be one of the most extreme ever. During the day of the race, the rain did not stop – turning the two-point-two-mile course into a wet, slippery mess.

The course is a mixture of fast tracks over limestone and clay based terrain, but with the rain and the passage of thousands of riders, this simply turned to slop.

Brownie holeshot

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

Husqvarna’s Mike Brown turned up to race the event, unfortunately his suspension and exhaust did not. Luckily Husqvarna Scandinavia put a bike together for Brown and he made the start. The American actually took the holeshot, and was racing for a top-five position when he was forced to retire from too much mud in his eyes – a problem shared by a lot of riders.

Last year’s winner, KTM’s Kenneth Gunderson was aiming for his second win when a crash whilst leading and further mechanical issues caused him to retire.

The ‘King of Gotland’ 48-year-old Mats Nilsson, an eight-time winner of the event, took the lead on the second lap and looked set to increase his tally of wins. A crash and time lost in the mud holes eventually cost Nilsson the win, but the Swede battled on to finish a creditable third.

“This is probably the happiest I’ve been over a third-place finish”, told Nilsson after the race.

GGN2

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

The fight for the win went down to two riders, Albin Elowson - who finished third in this year’s Enduro Junior world championship, and Kjetil Gunderson – younger brother of last year’s Gotland winner, Kenneth.

The pair fought closely throughout the race, but it was ultimately a mistake by Elowson that cost him a chance of victory.

“I almost forgot I had to enter the pits to refuel,” admitted Elowson. “When I changed my line in the mud I hit a deep hole and got stuck. The bike was deep, deep in the mud, I had to dig for it with my hands and probably lost more than two minutes.”

Albin Elowson

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

Kjetil Gunderson was then free to take the win, his first at the event. The Norwegian was over the moon with his result.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time,” smiled Gunderson. “This year I’ve been working towards the Gotland Grand National since early summer. I rode the Six Days with the Norwegian Team, but for me it actually preparation for Gotland.

“I’ve been here so many times, I’ve seen my brother win four times and I’ve been in the lead myself a couple of times. This time I got it all together. It’s probably the biggest win in my career.”

Podium

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

Fourth place went to Rikard Hansson, son of Peter Hansson with Kevin Olsen completing the top-five.

In the women’s category, Martina Reimander took the win, her sister Emilia was second with Emelie Borg Nilsson third.

Women Podium

Photo credit: Kalle Lundstedt / racemagazine.se

Results

  1. Kjetil Gunderson (NOR)
  2. Albin Elowson (SWE)
  3. Mats Nilsson (SWE)
  4. Rikard Hansson (SWE)
  5. Kevin Olsen (SWE)
Tuesday
Oct312017

GNCC 2017 Season Final

Ricky Russell start

Photo credit: Ken Hill

FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Kailub Russell has taken the win at the final round of the 2017 AMA GNCC series, held in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

It was a bittersweet day as the 2017 series came to a close, the Ironman Raceway hosted over 2,398 riders over the course of the two-day Ironman GNCC event. At the conclusion of Sunday’s pro bike race, it was 2017 champion Kailub Russell who stood atop of the podium and earned his 47th career overall win, making him the all-time most successful GNCC bike rider.

“I’ve worked super hard up until this point, and I have a lot of people around me,” told five-time GNCC champion, Kailub Russell.

“It’s just the attitude that I bring to the race track that allows me to be so successful and never give up. To take the most wins away from Scott [Summers] is pretty awesome. I grew up watching those guys race so it’s pretty surreal.”

Kailub Russell

Photo credit: Ken Hill

XC1 Pro Race

It was N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell who snagged the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award once the race started, but Kailub Russell quickly stole the lead and headed into the woods in first. R Russell wasn’t ready to settle for second and took back the lead after K Russell made a small bobble.

After a three-round hiatus due to injury, all eyes were on Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing’s Thad Duvall who had worked his way into third. When the Russell duo reached Twin Hills, they were wheel-to-wheel and had a small gap on Duvall.

R Russell was the first to check into timing and scoring, with K Russell not even a second behind him. K Russell worked his way back to the front during the mid-way point of the second lap, but R Russell remained in the hunt and kept K Russell honest.

Duvall secured the second-place position on the third lap and the top-three contenders became a little more distant until the very last lap when Duvall increased his pace. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make the pass on K Russell who ended up claiming the last win of the season. This victory marked K Russell’s 47th career win, breaking Scott Summers’ all-time bike wins record.

Although he finished as the runner-up, Duvall’s comeback ride proved that he will be back in full force next year as he makes his bid for the title. R Russell rounded out the top three overall.

Thad Duvall jump

Photo credit: Ken Hill

“I’m a little disappointed in second, because I thought I had the win in me,” explained Duvall. “It took me a couple laps to get going, I was pretty timid with my wrist at first. I haven’t ridden that pace for a couple months now, but once I got going I just kind of stayed even.”

Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/ Husqvarna’s Grant Baylor had one of his best rides of the season, where he narrowly missed the podium in fourth, and Josh Strang raced his Rockstar Energy Factory Husqvarna Racing backed machine into the top five.

XC2 250 Pro Race

Indiana native and RPM/KTM’s Mike Witkowski found himself in a favourable position after the green flag waved on the XC2 250 Pro start to earn the $100 Hot Cams Holeshot Award. JCR Honda’s Austin Lee led the first two laps, until Austria’s Pascal Rauchenecker made the pass for the lead and continued leading until the chequered flag – marking his first career GNCC win.

Pascal Rauchenecker

Photo credit: Ken Hill

The 2017 class champion, Josh Toth, placed his N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha in the runner-up position, while Coastal Racing’s Craig Delong rounded out the class podium.

Jimmy Jarrett shot off the line to earn the $100 Wiseco Holeshot Award in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class, but at the conclusion of the three-hour race it was Coastal Racing/Husqvarna’s Jack Edmondson standing in the middle of the box.

Chris Venditti and Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/KR4/ Husqvarna Team’s Hunter Neuwirth finished second and third.

With a 23rd overall finish, Levi Keller was awarded top amateur honours and the Open A class win. After a hard crash, Coastal Racing’s Alex Teagarden recovered to finish second overall, and Cody Barnes held the third-place position on the afternoon amateur overall podium.

*Overall National Championship Standings:

  1. Kailub Russell (320)
  2. Thad Duvall (227)
  3. Ricky Russell (220)
  4. Steward Baylor (207)
  5. Josh Toth (192)
  6. Grant Baylor (180)
  7. Trevor Bollinger (152)
  8. Craig Delong (141)
  9. Layne Michael (140)
  10. Josh Strang (130)
Sunday
Oct292017

Brayton On Win Streak

Brayton wins in OZ

 

American Justin Brayton has won the latest round of the Australian Supercross Championship and now has a commanding lead in the SX2 points race. Brayton led home Dylan Long and Kade Mosig.

SX1 Final
1 Justin BRAYTON
2 Dylan LONG
3 Kade MOSIG
4 Dean FERRIS
5 Daniel REARDON
6 Nathan CRAWFORD
7 Todd WATERS
8 Jesse DOBSON
9 Daniel HERRLEIN
10 Nick SCHMIDT
11 Robbie MARSHALL
12 Joel WIGHTMAN
13 Luke CLOUT
14 Warren CARROLL

SX1 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 3
1 Justin BRAYTON 75 Points
2 Dean FERRIS 62 Points
3 Dylan LONG 54 Points
4 Daniel REARDON 52 Points
5 Todd WATERS 50 Points
6 Kade MOSIG 43 Points
7 Nathan CRAWFORD 43 Points
8 Luke CLOUT 40 Points
9 Nick SCHMIDT 33 Points
10 Daniel HERRLEIN 32 Points

Saturday
Oct282017

Stefan Everts on Suzuki's decision

Following the announcement that Suzuki have opted to stop running a team in the FIM Motocross World Championship, most have been eager to hear how Stefan Everts feels about the situation. Everts took control of the Suzuki outfit at the start of last year and, since then, has elevated the programme into one of the most professional within the paddock.

MX Vice: Obviously the news dropped on Monday that Suzuki have pulled out of MXGP. When did you find out and what was your initial reaction?

Stefan Everts: We were informed a couple of weeks before. We already knew the news from MX2. We knew a few weeks before, so informed our people inside of GRP and the riders. It is shocking news for everybody; the whole group here at GRP and us personally. It is a tough call and decision for us. We have to accept this and respect the decision of Suzuki, as that is the way that it is. I am thankful for the chance to run the team, although it only lasted two years, as it was a great experience. I was happy to go through it.

When you were first told about the MX2 team, did they tell you that MXGP would definitely be running as normal? Did they hint that MXGP would potentially be pulled as well?

No, we just got the news that MX2 would stop and no other news. We were not informed that MXGP might stop. I mean, it is a yes or a no. There is no in between with the information that we get.

Suzuki had some of the best personnel in the MXGP series (Suzuki Racing)

I guess there was no opportunity for you to convince them to stay around, because of that, by working with less riders or sticking to a smaller budget? Their decision was the final answer, right?

We had the possibility to continue as a private team, but eventually it was tough to get the budget together and I had to say no. We tried for some weeks, but I knew from the beginning that it would be very difficult to find that kind of budget to run a full MXGP season. I knew it would be tough with twenty rounds, plus bonuses and salaries for the riders. We gave it a chance and I was hoping that something would fall out of the sky to allow us to continue with the crew that we have here and the riders. In the end, we did not have the budget and I did not want to put my private money inside of the team. 

Obviously we know that you have not had the greatest budget to work with over the last two years, but did you ever go over that? Were Suzuki calling you to find ways to spend less money over that time? 

No, we had our budget and we worked with that. We did not go over the budget at all over the last two years. We tried to stay within the lines even more than possible, but it was tough to do a good job with that budget. We managed to do that in the best way and had some good results, in MX2 more than MXGP, but again we managed. It was definitely not us running over budget that influenced this decision that they have now made.

I know a few people were concerned that you had lost some of your personal money through this, but I guess that means that you never had to go that far and sink your own money into the team?

That is something that I don’t like to discuss. With GRP I think that, at the end of the day, we will be fine. There are many assets, tool and vehicles there. We will manage.

Kevin Strijbos has spent a majority of his career with Suzuki (Suzuki Racing)

The statement that Suzuki released on Monday was really short. They did not go into depth at all really, so did you get told more than that? Did they miss out a crucial piece of information?

No, mainly it was that they were reorganising their racing activities and budgets. For budget reasons, they had to stop racing. That is what we have been told, along with the fact that they will continue the development of the motocross bikes and sales. They introduced the new 2018 RM-Z450 and that will continue. It is not that they will stop producing bikes, it is not the case, so they will continue on the production side with the business and development.

Do you get the impression that this is going to be just a short break or do you think they are gone for good? Obviously Yamaha pulled their factory effort in America, but now they are back.

I don’t know. I have no clue about this. It all depends on how bike sales and things will go in the future. I know that in the past they stopped for five years, but at the moment I do not know.

One thing that really stood out about the unit you created was there were so many tight relationships within the team. Arminas [Jasikonis], Hunter [Lawrence] and Jeremy [Seewer] all got along great. Even Liam [Everts] was involved with them! How tough was it to break the news?

For everyone it was a big shock. It was not the best news to give to anybody. I think that moment is something I will never forget in my life. There are some crew members here at GRP who have been here for more than ten years! It was not a good moment for us. For Arminas and Jeremy it was a big shock, but Hunter already knew that news some weeks before. Everyone takes it differently, but at the end of the day it is a big change for everybody. You have to regroup, see what the future will bring and what direction you will go. It is also the same for us.

Stefan Everts has helped turn Arminas Jasikonis into a star (Suzuki Racing)

At the ‘Nations, there was talk of you even working with a different manufacturer next year. Maybe setting up a small Husqvarna team with Jeremy or something along those lines. Did you even come close to that? Is there still a chance of you doing something else? It sounded as though Jeremy really wanted to stay with you, rather than go to America with JGR or something.

Yeah, it was also like that with Jeremy. His first option was that we could run a private team and continue like this. He was very happy here the past two years. He would have liked to continue, but we set a date on that. We reached that date and then we had to make a decision. It was a nice group, so it is a pity to see it go that way. I think in some ways we showed good things and good results. That is the way it is now, so we have no choice but to accept it.

I have no plans to go with any other team or manufacturer at this moment. Mainly I want to take some time off, think about what happened and where to go. This year for me will be a year of taking it easy a little more. I will try to finish off everything in the correct way with Suzuki and also the people who are still here for the next few weeks and months. We will then see what the future brings. I’ll have some more time for Liam and be able to go with him to the races, some more time for the family and that is what I am going to do. I need to some time to regroup and, to be honest, my motivation at this moment is very, very low.

The RMZ-450 was all-new this year. Now, after a season of working on it and developing it, what do you think of it? I noticed that it is not faring too well in bike shootouts.

I think we had a great bike this year. We only had a chance to really show that a few times. There were some nice starts for AJ and that podium in Portugal. I think there is some good potential with the bike. It is a new, fresh-looking bike. I was really pleased. We had to continue to work to make it better and that takes a lot of time, but I was very happy with that. After taking over the Suzuki team, it was nice to start off with new material. It was a really good step and direction for everybody. 

Hunter Lawrence has blossomed with Suzuki this season (Suzuki Racing)

Have any of your riders from this year approached you about working with them as a trainer or manager? Even if you do not go to the races, have you been asked for some advice? Would that be something that you are interested in doing in the future?

I don’t know yet. I just want to take some time, like I said, see what comes towards me and what I want to do. Next year I want to be busy with Liam, more than what I have been, then we will see what the future brings. I want to have some time off. Like I said, motivation is low at this time. I need time to deal with the feelings and then move on.

To sum up, what do you think of the way that MXGP is developing? Next year we will have two rounds in Indonesia and one in Turkey, then the year after it is off to China. Do you feel like that contributed to Suzuki’s decision?

I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I think they made their decision on other reasons. I do not think it has anything to do with where we are going over the next few years. It is important that we go where there is a bike market for it – that is very important for every manufacturer. Qatar, for example, there was no bike market. When we went to Indonesia this year, I saw good things. There is a big bike market there with scooters, so I think it is good. It is good to go to these countries with people who are motivated to come to the race. This is an important thing for manufacturers. I hope that where they want to go in the future is where the markets are. 

Jeremy Seewer was very comfortable with the Suzuki team (Suzuki Racing)

Finally, just talk about how Liam is progressing. Obviously he is over in New Zealand at the moment, but what do you think the next few years will look like for him? When is he going to move up to EMX125? 

Liam is doing well! He has been there for a month now and will stay until Christmas. He said the tracks are awesome, so it is good. They are technical. He likes to work with Ben, has made some new friends and is doing the local races there. He is working really hard with his studies, because that is important for us. That is the priority, then it is his riding. Everything is going good. With Ben, we talk and he sends me movies. We can see what is happening and what he is doing. It is also nice that someone else can work with him. Everyone sees something and some of the feedback that Ben has given has been very positive. Just to give him that experience is something great.

Where will he be in the future? Next year he will ride a KTM 85. We will focus on the Dutch Championship, then hopefully we can do a lot of the ADAC. Then, if everything goes well, we may go to the world championship. He has to earn that from our side. After that, it depends how he will grow. At the moment he is still quite small for his age, so we have to see how he will be.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Suzuki Racing

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