Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider Kevin Strijbos, currently at the Brazilian MX1 GP, talks about his and team-mate Clement Desalle’s trip to the USA to race two AMA Pro Motocross Championship races.
We are seven GPs into the season now and I’m fifth in the world championship here, just before the Brazilian Grand Prix, and that’s OK but of course it could be a bit better. I was ninth in both motos last time out in Portugal but Sunday night I had a big headache and then was sick on Monday so I guess this illness was already in my body over that weekend. I was happy that we found the problem at Agueda and now we can move on. I hoped I would have a couple of podiums by now and would have been a bit more consistent but I’m reasonably pleased. I need to close the gap a little bit to fourth place in the standings.
So, the news about Clement and I going to race two AMA MX Nationals in America is now out. I first heard about the possibility after the Grand Prix in Bulgaria. I had already asked the team about going there when we heard that the Mexican round was cancelled and they said it would be pretty difficult but then Davi Millsaps needed his operation and we had a call from Rockstar. Eric [Geboers, Team Manager] told me about a potential plan of doing a whole season there but it turned out to be too difficult and that changed into making one or two race appearances.
Going for the whole season would have been a big change and I was told not to get too used to the idea initially but it was impossible not to think about it. There would have been a lot to organise and would have been something new. Anyway I was fifth in the world championship and I felt uneasy about switching halfway through the series. It wouldn’t have been easy, but I would have done it if I needed to.
I’m excited and also a bit nervous. I’ve been talking a long time about going there to try a race and it is actually happening…at the age of 28 this year! I love America and whenever we go there for a GP; and I’ve been twice for training and preparation.
I really do not have any expectations. My aim is to make this as much of a fun experience as possible. This might be the last time I can go to the U.S. with this level of support so I want to make the most of being there and enjoy it. I think I’ll need the first race just to take everything in and see how the event runs and then maybe be a bit better for the second meeting in Tennessee. Of course they are fast there, but we are not slow here and I don’t think Clement or I will be going to fight for 15th place. I’ll go to make my laps and battle where I can.
We’ll be taking our suspension and exhausts with us and I think it is good that we’ll be using their Suzukis over there, simply from the point of resources. I don’t have a problem riding the RM-Zs in the U.S. to see how they might feel, especially at the altitude in Lakewood.
We leave Brazil Monday and arrive in California on Tuesday and I think we will even ride that afternoon and also Wednesday before flying to Denver on Thursday. Back to LA on Sunday and then more prep before Tennessee. I don’t think there will be the chance to do more races later in the season. I checked my calendar and my only free weekend through the summer is at the end of July and I’m already committed to the Everts and Friends event in Belgium.
Missing a round of the Belgian Championship is a shame and particularly racing at Kester which is one of the few old traditional GP tracks left in Belgium but this is a good opportunity and I cannot leave it on the table. I will probably race in Belgium for a few more years yet!