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Interview with Michele Rinaldi Europe Yamaha on Junior Motocross Championships

Michele Rinaldi

Photos courtesy: Yamaha Racing Europe

Yamaha Factory Racing

Interview with Michele Rinaldi Yamaha Europe Factory Team Owner and YRRD Director (Yamaha Rinaldi Research and Development)

This Media Release is Part One of Two Interviews on Junior Motocross Championships in the 2 largest continents in the sport: Europe and USA.

The Interviews are with two of the most respected persons in World Motocross: Michele Rinaldi Yamaha Europe Factory Team Owner and Director of YRRD (Yamaha Research and Development) and USA RacerX Editor in Chief and President of MX Sports Pro Racing Davey Coombs.

Both Interviews offer insight on two differing Junior Motocross Championship systems in place in Europe and USA with the European Motocross Championships taking place at selected MXGP Rounds and AMA’s annual Junior Motocross Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s.

Part One: Michele Rinaldi

As former Grand Prix Motocross Champion (125cc 1978), Factory Motocross Team Manager (Suzuki and Yamaha) and founder of Yamaha Rinaldi Research and Development, Michele Rinaldi commands impressive credentials within the sport.

Michele Rinaldi has not only guided Yamaha Europe Factory Team to win eight World Championships, most notably Stefan Everts with four consecutive Titles 2003-2006 but also guided NZ’s Josh Coppins winning seven Grand Prix’s from 2007-2009.

Equally, Rinaldi’s (YRRD) established partnership with Yamaha has provided invaluable feedback on technical research, ideas and innovation to Yamaha’s HQ’s in Japan.

Josh Coppins Photo Courtesy Yamaha racing

I asked Michele Rinaldi for his thoughts on Europe’s Junior Motocross Racing: EMX Championships at selected MXGP’s along with America’s AMA Junior Motocross Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s.

The consolidation of the European Championship EMX 65cc, 85cc, 125cc, 150cc, 250cc and 300cc at selected MXGP Rounds has altered the traditional schedule of MX1 and MX2 GP Rounds. (This includes WMX and Vets Championships)

SC: What are your thoughts on this organization of European racing Senior and Junior combined at selected GP Rounds?

Michele:‘In terms of promotion and support for Youth Motocross (excluding Vets and 300cc class) I think it works very well. Having EMX 125cc class and EMX 250cc class included in MXGP Rounds is especially motivating for young riders to compete on the same weekend as MX2 and MXGP classes. The only problem is having too many classes per event. In my opinion one or two of the smaller bike classes should be deleted’.

FIM and Youthstream have confirmed partnership in this pyramid type organization with MXGP Academy and European Championships at the bottom tier (EMX 65cc- 300cc) to MX2 and finally MXGP at the top.

Josh Coppins MXGP Courtesy Yamaha racing

SC: Do you think this type of tiered system will enable as many as possible talented Junior Motocross riders to race at Amateur turned Professional level given the economic constraints of racing at various GP circuits?

Michele:‘It might be like you say in theory but in practical terms the financial situation is not good for travelling. The costs are too high for many Teams and Riders. Although the Teams and Riders aim and desire to reach the top is clear, the tools to get there are not fully in place. Personally, distances to MXGP tracks and venues are too far away in some cases’.

In comparison, USA AMA hosts the annual Junior Nationals at Loretta Lynns whereby various states hold Area and Regional qualifiers over a period of 4/5 months for up-coming Amateur Junior Motocross riders to gain entry to race at the country’s Junior Nationals.

SC: What are your thoughts on hosting a Junior National which gives Amateur Junior riders an opportunity to showcase their racing talents to Professional Factory Teams?

Michele: ‘America, Europe or the rest of the World all have different systems in place but the spirit is the same. I’m always positively working to make the gap between Amateur and Professional closer as it makes people love the sport in a more modest and humble way. For me, this is a good message for everyone, especially for top Factory Teams who keep an eye out on new talent coming up from lower competition’.

With 2 different systems in place either side of the Motocross World, both would have advantages for Junior riders seeking a Professional career in Motocross. FIM Europe provides the opportunity for Junior riders from 65cc to 300cc to compete in the European Championships at selected MXGP Rounds.

USA AMA provides a level platform whereby Junior riders from various states compete for rank and entry to race the Country’s Junior Nationals seen as a stepping stone to a Professional Motocross career.

SC: What are your thoughts on providing an equal opportunity for as many talented Junior Motocross riders from the 2 largest continents in the Motocross World to move through the ranks of Amateur racing to Pro?

Michele: This is too extreme and I don’t see any real advantage for either. We have to be realistic and keep costs affordable and under control. For example MXoN which is a huge event is already not affordable for some of the National Federations including some European’.

Part Two: Davey Coombs to come…

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