Following months of uncertainty, Evgeny Bobryshev has finalised his plans for the upcoming season. Those are not quite what one would expect though. Rather than compete in the FIM Motocross World Championship, which is where he has made a name for himself, Bobryshev will be based in Britain and competing in the various national championships that run there.
What is first on his agenda? The AX World Tour, which in itself will be a new challenge for the former Grand Prix winner. Starting in Manchester on the first weekend in January, Bobryshev will race in high-profile locations across the UK and then venture over to Europe for the final two rounds of the series. Those will be hosted in Belgium and Germany, a first for the series, so there will be a chance for European fans to catch him in action. We won't explain anymore though, as that would just spoil the exclusive interview below.
MX Vice: You finally got a deal! Just talk about how all of that came about and how happy you are to secure your future.
Evgeny Bobryshev: Yeah, you know, it took a long time for me to get the right deal to do all the races in MXGP. Finally, I got a pretty good deal with Suzuki UK though. I’ll be running with Neil Prince, so I am quite happy. We are slowly making some plans for 2018.
Was Britain one of your first choices then or did it come up after you got told no in MXGP, no in Australia and no in the United States?
I had some offers, but nothing went the right way. I was really pushing to stay in the FIM Motocross World Championship, but I just did not have the right deal. We just could not figure out with the teams because there were some, shall we say, strange agreements. I cannot say too much about that, but it was not fair to my side from the teams. I had a deal with Suzuki UK in the end though to race there.
There were a few rumours about you signing for BOS Suspension KTM. Did you even come close to doing that deal?
Yeah, we spoke for like a long time with BOS [Suspension] KTM. I tried the bike and components over there, so I was pretty much happy with everything. The owner is a nice guy too, so it was looking positive. Unfortunately, when we came to the contract, there were some difficult points and I just could not do it. We just could not make an agreement between us and that was a shame.
In one of our previous interviews, you have said that you are not willing to ride for free and cannot bring a big sponsor to a team. I guess this is one of the problems that you ran into with a lot of teams?
Yeah that was a problem. It is like we have talked about before. When I spoke to a lot of teams it was about me bringing a big sponsor, which I do not have. It was really difficult. That is right though – it was just difficult to make it. I do not have a guy who can bring a lot of cash.
Did you approach Neil Prince when your options were drying up elsewhere or did he come to you? How did that come about?
We have been in contact since I rode for him in 2010. Every year we keep in contact! He offered me a deal riding for Suzuki and it was a good one for me, so we tried to work it out in the right way. Neil is a really good guy and clever with setting a bike up. I had a good feeling with him when we last worked together and I am happy to be back with him.
Do you actually know much about what the AX World Tour is like now? Have you seen videos of the tracks and racing?
Yeah, I do! I raced it in 2010 and had a lot of fun, so I just thought we should do it. I enjoy this stuff quite a lot. I can do some racing to get fit quicker and also learn about the bike, so that was the decision that we made. It is actually going to be quite interesting for me.
Are you happy about having a deal to race outdoors in Britain? Obviously you are a former champion, so you know what to expect.
Yeah! I like England, first of all. It is good to race there. There are a lot of good people there and a good crowd. There are lot of nice tracks too, so that is one reason why I am so looking forward to it. We will do several MXGP rounds too, for sure, but we are still working with Neil on a budget to get to more. It would obviously be good to do all of them, but we need to find the right partner and make it happen in a good way.
Was it important for you to get some MXGP rounds into the deal, so that you do not get forgotten about?
That is what I wanted. It is just what I want myself. I belong in MXGP and have been racing there for so many years. It would be a shame to just stop and not do any of it, as I have a lot of fans over in Russia who follow me and want me to race there. I want to race the whole series, because I can still fight and I want to do that. I guess it would be seven rounds at the moment, but I hope that it ends up being more.
What would happen if someone got injured and an MXGP team calls you to be a replacement? Would you be able to get out of your Suzuki deal?
I do not know, as I was not really thinking about that. It is a difficult question. I would need to have an agreement with the guys over there, because I cannot just leave if I am riding a Suzuki. It would not be nice of me. If something comes up like that, then I need to discuss it with Neil first of all and then Suzuki. We would have to see what the possibilities are.
Although you are going to be in Britain next year, I guess that your goal is to still get back into MXGP on a full-time basis in the future? You have not completely given up on that, have you?
That is right, yeah. I want to still race there, do my best and the whole series. We’ll see what the future brings. I am still doing my job, as I always do, and getting myself ready to race. I am becoming fit to get out there, so we will see what happens in the future.
Now that time has passed, are you still mad about how everything played out with HRC? Can you believe that this has happened?
I am not mad right now, but it is definitely a shame that everything happened so late. That is the bit that I was sad about. I cannot blame Honda, because we had a lot of years together and I am happy that I got to work with that company. It has happened and it is a shame. I am not putting my head down though – I am still trying to make everything work in a good direction.
Were you surprised when you found out that Brian Bogers is your replacement? Obviously it is quite likely that you would have beaten him next year.
It was not my decision and Honda made it. They believe in Brian [Bogers]. I was expecting another rider, for sure, but I knew what was going to happen when they made the deal with HSF. It was their decision and I was not mad. It happened, so what can you do.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation