Cancelled: Junior WC

Infront Moto Racing just announced that the 2020 FIM Junior Motocross World Championship has been cancelled. Although this is bitterly disappointing, it is undoubtedly the right decision. Official communication is below.

Press Release

(MONACO) Principality of Monaco – It is with great regret that Infront Moto Racing and the FIM must inform the 2020 FIM Junior Motocross World Championship, originally scheduled to take place on August 08/09 in Megalopolis, Greece, will not be taking place this year.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global restrictions put in place for safety reasons, many of the 2020 events have been forced to be rescheduled to a later date.

Regarding the FIM 85cc and 125cc Junior Motocross World Championships and the FIM 65cc Junior Motocross World Cup organised for young riders from all over the world, the event could not be rescheduled beyond the end of August, as many of the riders aged between 10-17 years old will be back at school/college, and it was considered that their education remains the absolute priority.

We look forward to 2021 when we will see the return of the highly anticipated youth event. We would like to thank the FIM, the local organiser, as well as all participants and our fans for their continued support during this difficult period.

Words: Press Release | Lead Image: Ray Archer

Viewpoint: Carl Nunn

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The Grand Prix of Great Britain at Matchams is looked back on with fondness by most, thanks in part to the track that ticked countless boxes. The fact that there was British success on the day obviously did not hurt either. Carl Nunn romped to the win in the first MX2 moto on that day, then led the second one too before a crash restricted him to fourteenth. What does Nunn remember from the weekend that will go down in British motocross history? MX Vice editor Lewis Phillips caught up with the former Champ KTM rider to discuss the weekend and pivotal points from his career.

MX Vice: Amazingly, the first (and only) Grand Prix at Matchams was 15 years ago exactly. What do you remember from that weekend? It was obviously an amazing one for you, but there was some heartbreak in it as well. 

Carl Nunn: The main thing was that we had been in Japan [at Sugo] the weekend before, and I had an absolutely shocking race there. I did not even score points. I struggled to even knock on the door of getting points whilst on a factory team, so it was just unacceptable. I do not even know why – I was just banging my head on the wall the whole weekend. Flyaway races were never that good for me anyway, even though I did have a good one in South Africa a little while later. We obviously went to Matchams, that being the home Grand Prix. Everyone was buzzing about the track, because it looked amazing before we even went out and rode.

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Ray Archer

It turned out amazing too – it just rode brilliantly. I cannot remember what I got in time training, but it must have been quite good. I was confident going into the heat and had a decent gate pick as well. I holeshot the heat race and won that, so I got pole. Qualifying was never a strong point of mine but when it changed to heat races, instead of times, it definitely suited me better. I just got my head down once I got out of the start [in the heat] and the crowd was buzzing – I believe we actually had good weather on the Saturday too. Everything went well. I got pole position and was buzzing that evening.

I felt confident as well, like I said, because the track was great and everything about myself felt perfect. Knowing that I had pole on Sunday morning was just a good feeling. You do not have to rush down to the line and start prepping your gate. If anyone is in your way then you just tell them, and then they have to move over [laughs]. That is pretty cool! We did go down to look at the gate on Saturday night and stuff, because I had a good start in the heat on Saturday. I holeshot the first race on Sunday. I remember that [Andrew] McFarlane and [David] Philippaerts were really pushing.

Both of those guys were pushing hard, and I remember them being there for pretty much the whole race. I may have got a little bit of a gap at the beginning and then they kind of reeled me in. I just stuck with my lines and the rest is history, I guess. There was a bit of rain, but the track did not get wet. It was just perfect. Getting the win in the first race was massive for me – it had been five years since I won in France. Generally, if it has been that long then no one expects you to win again. I remember sitting in between the two motos though and I was just… I was not physically tired as such, but I was mentally drained.

I was completely and utterly finished. I was wondering what on earth was wrong and people were saying jet lag. I do honestly think that was the first time I really experienced jet lag, because I just had nothing. I could not get up and walk about. Once I sat down in the camper to have a cool down and a drink, I just started thinking about how tired I was. I could have shut my eyes and instantly fallen asleep. It was not something that I had experienced before, but I just put it to the back of my mind. I just thought that it was only one more race and I could do it.

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Ray Archer

I think I took the holeshot again in the second moto, and rather than just settle I went all out for the win again. I actually watched it recently, but I thought I had stalled it on the first lap. I think we had done a few laps from what I saw though. I remember going into a corner that had rollers leading into it, and it was just a stupid mistake on my part. I had my foot on the rear brake as I entered the corner without even realising. I lost all of my momentum, then went to get on the gas and all of my revs had dropped because my foot was on the brake. It just stalled and was fully my own fault. I hold my hands up – I knew exactly what I had done straight away.

I fell down, then my bike would not start and everyone went by. I pushed the bike up the next jump face to bump start it on the landing of the tabletop. I was way back. I just rode as hard as I possibly could, because I knew that every position would be a bonus. I came through to fourteenth and was just one point away from getting on the podium. It was such a perfect weekend that was destroyed by a stupid mistake, but no excuses. I definitely felt like I was absolutely finished between the two motos though. If I had just settled in after getting the holeshot instead of going all out for the win, it would have been a lot easier to make the podium.

I would imagine that winning the first moto would go down as one of your career highlights, if not the highlight. Perhaps leading that second moto was an even bigger thing in the moment though, because the realisation set in that you could go 1-1 at your home Grand Prix. Do you remember there being that rush of emotion?

You obviously sit on the start and want the holeshot. If you do not want the holeshot, then you should not be there. I got the holeshot again and thought, “I’m in the lead again!” I was possibly running a little bit high on the first moto. That mistake that I made, dragging the foot on the rear brake, was just absolutely ridiculous. I do not drag my rear brake anyway. I just had my foot in the wrong place, because of mental fatigue or whatever. I guess that I was putting more and more pressure on the brakes as I hit those rollers, which stalled the bike. It was gutting. It was nice to know that I got the first race.

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Ray Archer

It was not like that one was easy either because, like I said, Philippaerts and McFarlane were on me the whole time. It was a good battle as well. Looking back, is that a highlight? Yeah, of course. For sure. Was it my best race? I do not know if it was. It was definitely a moment to cherish, I guess. The ones in France were a different story really – that was unexpected. I had not done it before. I won both of those races, so I was possibly thinking that I could do that again at Matchams. Being at home would have made that even better as well, but it was not to be.

Had you been to Matchams as a practice track before the Grand Prix? I ask, because everyone goes crazy about that race. It is weird to think that a practice track was transformed to become one of the greatest British Grand Prix tracks ever in the eyes of most.

Yeah, but you have got to look at the place. It has got everything. It has not got massive hills, but it has ups and downs. It was not a flat area. Not putting anything down, but I guess that was like the end of the era of having tracks that were in decent locations. Tracks that had a natural infrastructure, if that is the word, and then creating whatever is needed around where you are. It was the beginning of the jumpy tracks and stuff like that, but it was not particularly fast like it is nowadays. Everything is really fast now, and shorter as well it seems. We had the Isle of Wight in the same year and that was an amazing track as well. Those two were definitely standout tracks in that season.

What you are up to now then? The last thing that I heard was that you were working with some younger guys in Britain, so is that still happening?

Yeah, I have had an academy for the last couple of years now. I have got guys who work with me regularly. Some started at a very young age on 65s and 85s, then there are other guys who started a little bit later. I have got two groups and they train together every other weekend throughout the winter – the groups alternate through the winter. I have the older riders, who started with me at a young age and are now stepping into the adult ranks. Sam Nunn, Callum Mitchell and guys like that. It is good to see those guys entering into the MX2 class in the ACU British Championship and starting to score some points, which is cool. That is where they all want to be, so it is nice to see them get to that point and get up there.

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Ray Archer

A guy who you raced a lot, Stephen Sword, is back in the Grand Prix paddock as a trainer now. Could you see yourself doing a full season of GPs as a trainer or are you not into the travel thing nowadays?

I have to be honest here: I just do not see myself doing that. I did a year of schoolboy rounds with my riders, but unless the guys are really asking me to be there then I do not feel like I am helping as much as I want to. You have to have the feedback from the riders and stuff like that, but I know it is different at the Grand Prix level. I had it with Graham Noyce, Jeff Walker and guys like that who came with me. That can help. Graham was definitely a big help with line choice when I won in France. Graham is a bit special with his mental approach as well – there is just one way and that is flat out.

I felt like I needed to know more but the way he put it was, “Get the holeshot and f**k off.” That was what he used to say [laughs]! That will stick in my mind forever. He was very clever with line choice and would see things for me, which was great. The Grand Prix season is so long now with a lot of flyaway races. I can get my fix through the youth riders who I am working with and watching them progress from club riders to a national level and then into the adult ranks. I have got enough going on to keep me busy, put it that way.

I don’t want to keep you too long, and we have covered some positive points here. It is always interesting to find out what you look back on as regrets or what you wish you could differently, whether that be a specific race or taking a certain deal. Is there anything that sticks out in your mind? I imagine there are a few things.

Yeah, there would be. I think about it a lot more now than I used to. I am a person who likes to say that I have no regrets. I cannot change it, so what is the point regretting it. I am still like that, but I do now think about things that I maybe did soon or too late more now. I think that I possibly moved to the MX1 class too early. The ball was rolling. Everything was going well when I was on a 125 in 2000! I got injured as well that year though and the year before too. I did not have a solid season, other than 1998. I possibly moved to that class too early, but then I was gelling well with the 250. I was just not confident enough at Grand Prix level.

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Ray Archer

I remember taking the holeshot at places like Valkenswaard and Ernee, but then I just suffered with arm pump around the 25-minute mark a lot. It was only one moto as well and I was always better in second motos anyway. Apart from at Matchams actually! The rougher it got, the better I was. The mental state in qualifying was never really my strong point, so I think I should have spent more time being able to ride out of control. That is what you have to do. When I was growing up and going through the schoolboy ranks it was all about being smooth, which does work. Smooth does not work when you need that all-out speed for one lap though. It is obviously a different story during the race.

KTM actually offered me a ride in 2000, but I stayed with Steve [Dixon]. I was happy with Steve! KTM were just becoming dominant at that time and it was not a proven thing yet. There were a lot of mechanical problems going on as well, but they still managed to win the world title every year for about 20 years [laughs]. I just looked at that and thought that my bike with Steve was good, plus I was comfortable in the team. My Dad looks back on that and says that me not doing that is something that he regrets, because he thinks he influenced me. I remember it clear as day though and it was my decision – I was old enough to know what was going on.

If he had told me to go with KTM then I think I would have stayed with Steve anyway. That is one thing, then Jamie [Dobb] went with that team and had great success. The one-moto format was never going to suit me anyway. The last moto was always the longest when we had three British Championship motos back in the day. Everyone would sit there and be like, “Here we go again. What is the point of this race?” Especially on a 125, because you would just eat roost off of 500s and get your teeth knocked out. It was horrible. I would always be strong in those races though, so the one-moto format did not do me any favours. You have got to deal with what you have got to deal with though and things change.

I guess that not taking the KTM deal is not too much of a regret, because you ended up on the factory team eventually. That box was still ticked in your career and I would imagine it was a much better team five years on then if you had gone there initially.

It was a strange situation with how that came around. I had gone back to MX2, just because I had a bad year on a Kawasaki in 2003. I wanted to go back to MX2, and a Honda team had started up. The bike was not the fastest thing in the world, but we had great suspension and it was a good environment. It was a privateer team and I think I ended eighth in the world that year. My first daughter was born that year as well, and I just thought that it was a good team so I would go again.

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Ray Archer

They offered me a deal and I took it, but then we got to December and the team folded. That was not great, because there are obviously never any rides about in December. KTM UK stepped up though, luckily, and spoke to either Austria or the guys in Holland, and they provided me with the 125. It was possibly the last full-factory 125. The 250F was so new at that point that they did not have enough bikes. Tyla Rattray and Marc De Reuver were their two riders, so they said I could have the 125. I got on the 125 and could not believe how fast it was.

It was unbelievable and I was like, “Now I can see what I possibly missed out on.” Tyla and Marc both got injured before the season started. I did a supercross in Cardiff on the 125, possibly one more and then the first British round at Canada Heights. I holeshot both motos there on the 125 against the 250s. Swordy passed though, but he was running strong that year. Both of the guys got injured, like I said, so they asked if I wanted to ride the 250F. I was like, “Yeah. Let’s get on that then!”

There was no practice bike for me to have at home at that time though, so I had to fly to Holland once a week to practice. They just did not have enough bikes available, but eventually one did open up and I could bring it home. Philippaerts got on that bike too through the fact that both guys were injured – he obviously really liked that bike as well, because he had a strong end to that season. I am sure he was winning races and it obviously set him up to eventually become a world champion.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer

MX Vice Show: #34

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

A new episode of The MX Vice Show! Your questions are tackled this week, as well as some Monster Energy Supercross talk and the latest on the FIM Motocross World Championship. There’s also some intense debate about the best Grand Prix venues from the past, hot spots on the current calendar and a lot more. Get this podcast on Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud, iTunes and Google Play.

Hosts: James Burfield and Lewis Phillips

Insight: Louis Vosters

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

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Louis Vosters may not be a name that most fans are too familiar with, but he is a powerful figure within the Grand Prix paddock. Vosters has supported countless riders and teams through his company of Wilvo, and now heads the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP squad. Gautier Paulin, Arnaud Tonus and Jeremy Seewer currently sit beneath his wing. Vosters explains how he ended up in that position and offers up an opinion on the current situation in his first appearance on MX Vice.

MX Vice: Where did the desire to get involved with an MXGP team come from? You did not own a team right out of the gate. You were first involved as a sponsor and that gradually grew, so where did the idea come from? 

Louis Vosters: The story is actually a little longer and more complicated than that. After I stopped racing myself, as an international rider for 15 years, I sponsored several riders and teams with my company, Wilvo. I think it was ten years ago that I got involved in two teams, one in MXGP and one in MX2, as a title sponsor. I was really close with Aleksandr Tonkov for several years as well, so there is a history for me in motocross.

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Ray Archer

Well, that is the thing. One of my first memories of Wilvo is that you seemed to follow Tonkov. Thinking about it now though, a Russian and a Dutchman is quite a weird combination [laughs]. 

I was involved with Jacky Martens and his team for, I think, 15 years. I was also a personal sponsor for some riders and teams before, so I was involved as a sponsor for a long time after I stopped riding. I met Aleksandr when he signed for JM Husqvarna Factory Racing. I helped Jacky with his team and everything for several years, then the relationship with Aleksandr became more intense.

When you got involved as a sponsor then, did you always plan on owning your own team one day? Was that always the plan or were you happy with just being a sponsor to begin with?

No, it was not the goal at all! Not at all! I met my wife, Lia, in high school, so she was with me when I was racing myself. She knows the motocross life and world. She always warned me to never start a team on my own, because she knew how complicated it would be and how much energy that it would take. The opportunity came at the right moment and I just jumped on the train!

Yeah, so 2017 was your first year with your own team. How was that? You just said that you knew that it would be complicated, but was it made easier by the experience that you had with Jacky [Martens] and Tim [Mathys]. 

Yeah, actually. Yamaha and Tim approached me in 2015, so we started in MX2 in 2016. I owned 50% of the team with Tim in 2016. I was really involved there and organised myself as a team owner. I was already quite surprised by how much work it was at that point, especially in the winter. Afterwards, when I was completely on my own, it was even more work. I am even surprised by how much work it is now, especially during the wintertime! It was quite a smooth transition though.

You knew you were going to become a factory team as far back as 2018, so you had time to plan for this. Were you told that you had to have certain things in place in order to become the factory team though? 

Not at all! I was running my team, as well as being the CEO at Wilvo, for several years. The company grew to 240 employees, so I was always busy with the team and busy with Wilvo. When I got the news that I would run the factory team from 2020 on at the British Grand Prix in 2018, I decided to stop as the CEO at Wilvo and only focus on the factory team. I am still connected to the company as a shareholder and I am in the supervisory board though. I am happy.

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Ray Archer

Once you had started to focus just on the team, did you wish that you had done that sooner than that? Did it make your life a lot easier?

Not really. I also enjoyed the period before, and I had the feeling that I was not ready with Wilvo. It was the right moment for me.

Being a factory team, how much does that change things? I would imagine you are more involved with the Japanese now, plus the Rinaldi guys are in the background. Do you have the same amount of control and freedom as before?

We were an official team before, but this has not changed stuff for us too much. We have bikes that are completely factory, of course, and 15 team members. The relationship with Yamaha and Rinaldi is really intense. It just feels like a Yamaha family, with professional people in the background. The collaboration with Michele Rinaldi is also really positive.

I guess that is the thing. You could not ask for more experienced people in your corner. If a problem comes up, then chances are that Michele has dealt with it in one way or another!

Yeah, that is true. I am happy with the current situation and the people who support me, both from Yamaha and Rinaldi.

What did you think of the first two rounds and how your three guys performed? Gautier [Paulin] was solid and exceeded expectations, Arnaud [Tonus] came in a bit injured so it is what it is, and Jeremy [Seewer] was on fire at Matterley Basin. Were you happy?

Not really. We have only had two rounds, with tough circumstances at Valkenswaard. Matterley Basin was quite solid. Jeremy did really well there, especially in the second race without a rear brake. Arnaud was struggling with the thumb injury that he sustained in the pre-season as well. Overall, it was a little bit up and down. I am not really happy, but we have to deal with it. It was only two rounds.

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Ray Archer

Jeremy was on your team in 2018, then moved to the factory team last year where he gained a lot of experience and confidence. Have you noticed a difference with him this season? Has he returned to you surer of himself compared to the rookie that left your team?

I see and feel that he has more confidence – he is stronger on the bike and on the technical side he made an extra step. For me, he has improved a lot. It is really good when I see him riding now and I am happy that he is back.

We would already be halfway through the 2020 season now. There have been a lot of rumours about what is going to happen, like double headers or only racing on a Sunday. What would you like to see to finish out the season?

I would be really happy with 12 rounds, and the idea about two races in one country would be positive. No overseas races. It is really important for the brands, riders, teams, promoters and of course our sport that we can do some races this year. It has to be safe and justified though.

It is not like money is the issue for you, with going overseas, but you still think that not having those races is the right thing to do, right? Twelve rounds in Europe would make you quite happy. 

Yeah, that is true. It is not like I am only looking at myself or my team. For me, it is about the sport overall and the other privateer teams. Staying in Europe for 12 rounds would be perfect for everybody. It will be a busy end to the year – I want it to be that! To be honest, I cannot wait until we start up again. I really hope we do that. I am looking forward to it.

Finally, what about the idea of handing out points at the MXoN? That is actually big for you, with Gautier being on your team. The MXoN is really important to him and in his home country too. It is complicated!

Yeah, but I cannot just look at my riders or my team. In my opinion, it is not a good idea. It is too complicated to make it fair. It would not be my choice, to be honest.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer

New Issue: OTOR 199

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

The fifth issue in 2020 of a monthly motorcycle sport magazine with some of the best interviews, features and blogs from the heart of MotoGP, MXGP, AMA Motocross/Supercross and WorldSBK as well as tests and reviews of bikes and products from the motorcycling industry. There are some great pieces inside of this issue, hence the reason for sharing. Make sure that you don’t miss the features on electric bikes and Alberto Forato. Forato is arguably the most exciting and puzzling character in the Grand Prix paddock.

Debrief: Dirk Gruebel

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Dirk Gruebel is in charge of leading Jeffrey Herlings, Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer into action. It was obviously a strong start for his side of the orange awning, which made the COVID-19 break even more heartbreaking. How has an operation so mighty handled the time on the sidelines? Gruebel discusses that in this exclusive MX Vice interview, as well as the proposed changes to the rest of the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship.

MX Vice: This break would have helped you in 2019 – Jeffrey [Herlings] could have used that time to recover and make a run at the title. The same goes for 2017. If there is one year where you and your team do not want to have a break like this, it is when both of your guys have red plates. Not great timing!

Dirk Gruebel: Of course not, like you said. It definitely would have helped him in 2017 – he would have got to grips with the 450F and done a lot of testing. It would have helped us a lot and helped him get back on track. It would have been the same thing last year. You can cure an injury in a time like this. Guys like [Romain] Febvre who hurt themselves in the beginning can heal up and come back strong. We hold the red plates in both classes though, so this is definitely not doing us a favour. It’s not great to park two guys who are ready to go and fit for who knows how long. This is not good, for sure not!

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Ray Archer

Did either Jeffrey or Tom [Vialle] take this news about a break especially hard? Was part of your job to just keep spirits high at that point?

Well, Tom went home to France first. They wanted to be in their mother country but after a while they figured out they may be better off in Belgium than living in France, because France was pretty strict with lockdown. They saw more opportunities to do things like workout in Belgium and they could do that with Joel and Greg Smets – he has a good sparring partner there. They kept themselves busy and fit, which is a good thing for the mindset. Jeffrey was cycling like hell and training however else he could.

Everyone struggled to begin with though, like you said, as everyone thought that this would be a thing for two or three weeks and then we would be back on. Time told us differently. Even now we don’t know when we are going to return. It’s a severe virus though, so we just need to deal with it. You cannot just jump onto the next plane. That’s not even possible, because there have not been any planes flying lately. It is all very difficult.

Had they said that there would be no racing until August back in March, I guess both guys would have used March and April to rest so that they would not peak too early. It has just been a guessing game since Valkenswaard. 

Yeah, but they pulled a plug at a point. After two weeks they realised that this was not going to be over in a couple of days or weeks, so they put their programmes back and operated on normal fitness levels. Jeffrey started riding this week and he said that it was like old times when he came back from an injury, as he had to start fresh. Jeffrey had ten weeks off of the bike and his hands hurt after riding, plus you just don’t have the strength to hold on. You have to get yourself back into business slowly. They had a break, for sure, otherwise if you continue until the end of November then the end of the season would be tough.

How has it worked with Red Bull KTM in this break? You are not one of the smaller teams, obviously, so do not have to worry about pulling budgets together. Has there been much going on though? Has there even been work to do for the last ten weeks?

We all got parked a bit, you could say. KTM went very early, because Austria was one of the first countries within Europe to make a lockdown. We shut down on the motorsport side around March 15, so have not been into work for two months. Slowly now we are starting to come back and do some stuff. Hopefully in June we will start all over again. Our production is back up and running, which is a good thing, and it also looks like sales have picked up at dealers.

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Ray Archer

Everyone has been sitting home doing nothing, so now it seems that they are going out and buying motorcycles. That’s a good thing that I didn’t think would happen! Everyone is sat at home and some people have been laid off completely, so the last thing that you would think is that they would go out to buy a motorcycle. It’s obviously the opposite way around though, which is a good thing to hear.

The last MXGP calendar that came out was a bit confusing. Giuseppe [Luongo] then sent that email around to all of the teams, which cleared things up. It looks like we are going to have ten to twelve rounds and only race on Sunday. Those are good things, right?

That whole calendar thing with all of the venues that are still on, like Russia and two times in Indonesia… It looks like they still have contracts and as long as the government doesn’t say that you cannot run your event like they did in Belgium or Germany, then they are still on the schedule otherwise somebody would lose some money. If the government pulls the plug then nobody would lose anything, because there are no hard feelings or anything.

It is just what you have to deal with. That is why Teutschenthal went off and St. Jean too, as everyone knew that it could not happen in May or June. That email afterwards was pretty good. They need to consider things like whether they are allowed spectators if we run later in the year. There was a rumour that France will have events with up to 5000 spectators soon, but things change every day. We are living day-by-day.

It would be good if we only have Sunday races or visit the same track two weeks in a row, on a Saturday or Sunday (whenever they want to hold it) with small spectators or something like that. That would avoid the expensive travel for everyone. It came out at one point that we would have ten races in a row so the teams freaked out and the riders freaked out – it would not be logistically possible.

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Ray Archer

Having MXGP and MX2 on the Sunday only would actually make a big difference then and for the entire team, not just the riders? You would be all for that?

Well, we would manage. They do it in the nationals and it’s still good racing. Now, for us with MXGP, you turn up on Friday at the latest and stick around until Sunday or Monday with not so many hours of racing. If we could compact that into one day, then we would rock up on the Saturday to build the structure and race on Sunday. It would be two days less of contact with other people, which keeps the risk down for any possible infections. I hope no one will get anything, but you need to minimise the risk.

Yeah, and if there is one thing that people say about MXGP it is that there is too much riding. We have seen that this can work when we have had wet-weather schedules in places like Charlotte too.

For sure. It works in the AMA and we have had it at some overseas in the past. You would like to ride more at some points, for bike set-up or testing, because you can use a free practice to test some new stuff. We have that race on Saturday though, and a race is a race. You don’t want to take a gamble and throw something on the bike that is not going to work. It is not fair for anyone.

The rider does not want to take that risk either. I could live with one-day events and I would favour double events at one venue as well, like two at Lommel and two at Teutschenthal or St. Jean. That would already be six races. If we can get eight or ten races under our belts, with the two that we have already, then twelve races would make us all happy this year.

The strangest thing that came from the email to the teams is that the MXoN is probably going to count for MXGP points. How do you feel about that? The two problems that everyone has with the ‘Nations being in the middle of the season is that no one would want to go and everyone there would not race hard. This fixes that but opens up a lot of other problems.

Yeah, I don’t really know how they want to do it. Everybody is out twice, but how does it count? If Jeffrey is in the MXGP class and Tim [Gajser] is in the Open class, then they could both win their classes. If they were both in the same class though then one would win and one would be second, which would mean that there is a points difference. I do not know how fair it can be or how they want to run that whole thing. I don’t know!

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Ray Archer

You also have the problem of gate pick. If The Netherlands qualify first, [Roan] Van De Moosdijk could take the first pick and then Jeffrey has to go to the outside and try to fight for MXGP points.

For sure! Everyone would think about their own thing there. If Jeffrey is in the title hunt, then he would favour his own result. That is just normal in the brain of a racer – they are going to favour themselves. In the big picture I do not think it is any good, I don’t know. There are way too many open questions, like you said. You could sit for a whole day and discuss things, but I do not think you would come to a conclusion where everyone is happy with that scenario.

Back to MXGP. Everyone is pushing for no flyaway races, but then that confuses me because everyone is kind of paid up for Argentina. Indonesia and China are obviously a little more open. 

Yeah, well that depends. Everyone likes going to Argentina – it is such a lovely track that has a great layout and is well organised. Everyone would like to go there, and to have a world championship you have to go internationally. In circumstances like this it just depends how much they do. It’s not that we need to cull money at the moment. Luckily, we are a factory team with a big company behind it. The private teams or half-supported teams with whatever brands already struggle sometimes, when we have four or five overseas. In a year like this where some sponsors maybe back out then I do not know if it is possible to go overseas five times.

This is a positive thing to end on. There is a lot going on, but you have two red plates, and everything is looking good. You will be able to go back to normal and chase two world titles eventually, so I guess that is the light at the end of the tunnel for you.

Yeah, hopefully! We are in a good position at the moment, like you said. If we race again and keep going like that then I will be more than happy, of course! If worse comes to worst, then I do not know what the decision would be. Is it a valid championship with two races? Is it legit? I do not think so, but that is for somebody else to decide. I am positive we will go racing again though.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer

Virtual Studio Show: #8

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

Gautier Paulin featured on the latest virtual ‘Studio Show’ from the fine folks at MXGP-TV, and covered some intriguing topics in the hour-long discussion. It’s not the smoothest of episodes, unfortunately, as there are countless technical difficulties. You will still find nuggets of information in the video below though. Paulin currently sits fifth in the premier-class standings, with a season-best moto finish of fourth at Matterley Basin in the United Kingdom.

Video: MXGP-TV | Lead Image: Ray Archer

Details Video: Jeffrey Herlings

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

What makes Jeffrey Herlings so great? Take a closer look at how he negotiates tough conditions in this new video series on MX Vice. Closely watch his technique in the never-ending ruts of Matterley Basin and power-sapping sand of Valkenswaard, the two circuits that hosted rounds one and two of 2020 MXGP. This is an opportunity to really assess how Herlings tackles certain obstacles.

Video: MX Vice | Lead Image: Ray Archer

MX Vice Show: #33

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

Following information on the proposals to award points for the Motocross of Nations, as well as put MXGP and MX2 riders on a one-day schedule, hosts James Burfield and Lewis Phillips do a lot of bench racing on this episode of The MX Vice Show. The ideas are broken down, along with the upcoming return of 2020 Monster Energy Supercross. There’s suddenly a lot to discuss! This podcast is available on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play and Stitcher. Remember to submit questions for next week’s show on social media!

Hosts: James Burfield and Lewis Phillips

Analysis: Alterations

GreenlandMX is known as one of the most specialised retailers for off-road motorbikes in Europe. Their online store offers an impressive catalogue of the highest quality brands in the industry, with the best pricing to match! The company has experience of more than 15 years in the internet e-commerce world and has now become the go-to company for European customers. Visit GreenlandMX.com to check out their impressive range of products!

Presented by: GreenlandMX.com

The 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship calendar has been revealed, yet again. COVID-19 has forced Infront Moto Racing to unveil another amended version of that schedule and, truthfully, this is not the end. The fact that there are three TBA events at the end of the calendar should confirm that. What is the current state of play in MXGP?

July is off the table completely now, which means that the first weekend in August is the date that everyone has their sights set on. The Grand Prix of Belgium at Lommel would typically occupy that date and signalises the beginning of the end of the term, but instead it will effectively be round one. Crazy! Russia will kick the season off on that date, and some would like to see that one either move to later on in the year or disappear completely. The fact that it has held strong through the last couple of revisions indicates that it is not going anywhere though.

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Ray Archer

This could all change though, and it is known that alternatives have been assessed behind the scenes. David Luongo has admitted that double headers have been looked at and, although no venues have been officially mentioned, both Lommel and Uddevalla are rumoured to be possibilities. There isn’t a free weekend near either of those events though, so room would have to be made in order for that to become a possibility. Double headers were the talk of the town at this point last week – one week on and they are already an afterthought. Things are changing so quickly.

Two things came to light in an email to team managers last week – one of those is straightforward and the other is a minefield. It is highly likely that the MXGP and MX2 classes will run a single-day programme for the rest of the year and therefore include a single timed session on Sunday morning that encompasses both practice and qualifying. Think of how the Grand Prix of Americas was run in 2016, as that is the most recent example of this. It does work and, hey, most guys would argue that they spend too much time on track in the current format anyway.

From a selfish point of view, there could be good things that come of this. A lot of MXGP and MX2 guys will still be at the track on Saturday, one would presume anyway, so this could open the door for some different content ideas that could expose the personalities of the Grand Prix riders a little more – a factor that needs desperate attention. The other side of that coin would be that the EMX guys could benefit from more attention, with both media coverage and hits on MXGP-TV. It would truly not be surprising if a lot of teams and riders demand this format in the future.

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Ray Archer

The much larger change at play here is that the Motocross of Nations could count for Grand Prix points for the first time in history, meaning that there would be a lot happening at Ernee in September. The traditional race between countries will still be in action, but now there will be more incentive for the riders to race hard. Those who are not picked to race for their nation would be thrown into the mix under the title of a wildcard, so wouldn’t miss out on points. Those guys could end up stealing points from their own country, in a strange twist.

This fixes a lot of the issues that would come with running the MXoN in the middle of the season, but there are questions that need to be addressed here. How will gate pick work? Would the 450F and 250F guys be scored separately now? Would the Open guys, who typically have an easier class, benefit when it comes to Grand Prix points compared to the MXGP riders? The three-race format would have to be altered, it seems, and maybe even the idea of having three classes. The mind boggles when thinking about everything going on here.

There is actually another interesting point to consider. There is typically some back and forth between the federations and teams on who should pay for what at the MXoN, as there is no clear answer. The sponsor-logo drama has also been a by-product of that. The debate would become more of a talking point now, as it is still an inter-country competition yet the teams need their riders there for Grand Prix points. How does that play out? One would think it is just going to operate as a Grand Prix, with that in mind, but this is uncharted territory.

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Ray Archer

Although it is a tough pill to swallow that the Motocross of Nations will not be the race that everyone is in love with this time around, this is undoubtedly the best option. It at least ensures that riders will be pushing hard and have a reason to be there. Team USA is an exception to that rule, of course, as the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series is set to run until the first weekend of October. There is a fairly high chance there will be an outdoor race on the same weekend as the MXoN, so the American riders will obviously not travel to France. It sucks, but what can you do?

2020 is quickly becoming about salvaging something for people in all walks of life, and that is exactly what the powers that be are attempting to do with the aforementioned changes. Will it work? It has to, because the various constraints that have come with COVID-19 really leave us no other choice. Take comfort in the fact that normality will be restored in 2021 though.

Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer