USGP: What The Teams Are Saying

Kit Palmer | April 2, 2010

When it was announced on March 31 that round six of the FIM World Motocross Championship was coming to Glen Helen on May 30, it caught a lot of people off-guard. A premature April Fools’ Day joke, perhaps? No, it’s really coming.A World round coming to the United States will impact many people, but probably none more so than the FIM team members themselves. It takes a lot of muscle, phones calls, coordinating, e-mails and, most importantly, money to suddenly pack up a full-on race team and travel to a race venue “halfway” around the world, but the sudden bombshell seems to be accepted remarkably well by some of the race teams in Europe.Geoff Meyer, a motojournalist in Europe who follows the GP circuit closely and whose work can be found at, spoke to some of the teams, team managers and riders regarding the upcoming Grand Prix of the United States, and he shared some of his findings with us.Stefan Everts – Red Bull KTM team manager and 10-time World Motocross Champion:”We are very excited about this; it is great for the sport and the riders. Also, for Red Bull, it is a good step, and something they are supporting. For KTM, it is the chance to go to America and show our new models, and show our riders. I think Glen Helen is a really good circuit, and it’s really a good move for us – very positive for the sport.We will do everything we can to make this a really special event. Of course, we also would like that Tommy Searle and Mike Alessi race this race. Alessi has been out, and all the extra riding he can do is good for him. KTM supports this event 100 percent and are excited to go.For me, I remember racing the USGP and it was always a big deal; America is a big market, and to race there was always a pleasure. I also think, with the event being on the West Coast, there are more fans than on the East Coast, so the chance of a good support from the spectators is possible.”Sylvain Geboers – Team owner Rockstar/Teka Suzuki”I look forward to it, I support a Grand Prix in the United States, and it is needed. I think it is exciting to go back to the United States; that must be above any negatives. The news comes quickly, we all have our budgets decided and for some of the teams it is a problem. For those teams that have an American sponsor, it shouldn’t be a problem. We are happy there is a Grand Prix in America; for the sport, it is a necessity to have a Grand Prix in the United States. It comes so quickly, and unprepared, so suddenly out of the corner, at a moment when we are starting the Grand Prix season.”No doubt, Suzuki in America will help us; we are an official team and we are in the area of Suzuki, just as Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha are in that area and will support the teams. I have no clue if there is an event on the same day, and what type of support we will get.”Whatever is possible, I will have, our cooperation with Roger [DeCoster, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team manager in the United States] is very good, and he will support it 100 percent, there is no doubt about that. It is no problem for our team to go there. Both Rockstar and Teka are happy to have a Grand Prix there.”Nobody knows what will happen, what I do know is that, because it is so early in the season, all the teams will go, otherwise they can forget being World Champion.”Dave Thorpe – CCM team manager and three-time World 500cc Champion”I’ve had contact with the directors at CCM and they are very positive about it, obviously we had a budget, I want to talk to Giuseppe [Luongo, Youthstream president] this weekend about that. If you look at the schedule, we have to come back to France the weekend after America, so that is tough. We can’t call Roger up and say, ‘Give us some Suzukis.’ I mean, we have plenty of bikes, so that isn’t a problem. CCM has welcomed the chance to go to America really.”Obviously it is nice for the team and the company to be seen in America, but I was bitterly disappointed that the British GP dropped off that date, but with it being now put into the calendar later in the year, and then I am okay with that. As always, Giuseppe will have a plan.”I did Carlsbad, I did Glen Helen, and also Hollister Hills. I even won a race there. From a rider’s point of view, it’s good to race there and go and show what they can do. As always, there is always the politics and this is going to be a big event, well-organized.”Josh Coppins – Aprilia factory rider”It’s great, bloody good – wicked track. I am wrapped. I mean, I always wanted to race at Glen Helen, and to now have the Grand Prix there it is great news. We do a World Championship and we need to race all around the world. I know some teams will have difficulty with the budget, but for Aprilia they are excited to have their bikes shown in another market. For our team and myself, it is a win-win.”California is the biggest market in the world, so it’s the place to be. You are there for the sport, and Giuseppe has pulled something out of the bag, and what the AMA Nationals has lost is Grand Prix’s gain.”Red Bull [is] involved, and I am sure they are trying to get James Stewart involved, then maybe Red Bull [will] push to have the Honda team there, if that happens then maybe Monster says, ‘Let’s also get our riders there.’ Anything is possible. Maybe all of a sudden, everyone will be there.”

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.