Rasmus Jorgensen interview
Back in 2009, young Danish rider Rasmus Jorgensen had been given a wild card ride with Factory Suzuki to make his GP debut. At 17 years of age, had finished sixth in his debut GP at the tough Lommel circuit, just three points behind a kid named Ken Roczen, and a long successful career look to be on the horizon.
Heading back home to get some surgery on a knee injury, so he would be well prepared for the 2010 season, he was involved in a traffic accident, an accident that ended dream of being a world champion.
With damaged nerves in his neck, he lost all feeling in his left arm. Still struggling with use of his arm, he knew his goal to one day become world motocross champion was over. He continued to race, but he would of course never be the same again.
A determined young rider decided to search for something else that might give him enough satisfaction to stay involved in the sport he loved.
Now some seven years later, the 25 year old Jorgensen is the riding coach for the powerful Husqvarna MX2 Factory team, and has already had success, helping fellow Dane, and good friend, Thomas Kjer Olsen to victory in this years EMX250 championship.
On holidays in Thailand with his girlfriend, and enjoying some relaxation time, Rasmus took our call and explained how his motocross career has taken another turn, and that maybe that experience in 2009 can motivate him and his riders to one day claim that elusive world motocross championship.
MXlarge: Rasmus, can you tell me how it all came about getting the new roll in the Husqvarna team?
Jorgensen: It all started with me working with Thomas Kjer Olsen, the training and being with him all the time, also helping him get a ride for this year. When I started he pretty much had nothing, we had to find him a ride for 2016, but it all worked out in the end and he got a factory ride with Husqvarna. I have a pretty good relationship with Robert Jonass. Through Robert and getting the deal done with Thomas, they asked me if I liked to be part of the team as riding coach. Tp be somebody who is always there, and the riders can trust, going cycling with them, going running with them, going to the gym with them, going on the track with them. Just to coach them as much as possible.
MXlarge: Thomas had a pretty impressive year, and then moved to MX2 and it just continued. Are you pretty excited about how its going with him?
Jorgensen: I am really excited, to where we came from, with no ride and getting something sorted in September last year. I am really happy for him, and we have known each other a long time and I told him he needs to make 2016 work. we made a plan, stuck to that plan, and he stayed healthy and stayed focus.
MXlarge: What type of character is he, because he came into MX2 for those last few races and really impressed? He didn’t seem bothered that it was a rise in class.
Jorgensen: He does, he is really shy, but when you get to know him, he is really, really strong. I think it all came at the right time. Moving from EMX to MX2 is a big step. You saw his brother doing it after battling Pocock in the EMX, finishing second in the EMX, and staying with Jtech. To move into the MX2 class you need confidence. I mean he looked up to those guys, but many of the MX2 guys he had been racing before. He has raced and beaten a lot of those guys before.
MXlarge: How old are you, because you are very young to be dealing with this type of stuff?
Jorgensen: I am, I just turned 25. And I really believe that is a positive thing. As you know being around the sport for many years, how much the riding styles have changed, and so much has changed. I have been a part of all that, the new generation of styles, the mentality of the younger riders, I know all that. Being that young it’s easy to build a relationship with the riders. You need to build a personal relationship with the riders, at least for me, that is important. I need to know how Thomas thinks and in every way, and not just about racing, but also about daily life.
MXlarge: I mean for me you are a young guy, but I guess for many of the younger riders, you are not a young guy, you are just a guy with experience?
Jorgensen: For sure, and definitely with Thomas. From me being from Denmark, he knows my story, about the injuries and stuff.
MXlarge: How did it come up that you would also work with the other riders under the Husqvarna tent?
Jorgensen: Obviously, Thomas and I build up something special this year. The main focus was to give him the tools he needs. The team agreed on that and then they approached me about doing it for all their riders. We came to an agreement, spoke to the other guys and they were really happy. Now my job is to make that equal for all three guys, because I can’t be there more for one guy. I will have my work cut out for me, but I am really excited, and I know the riders and team are excited.
MXlarge: I have to be honest, when speaking to you, you remind me a lot of Antti Pyrhonen and that is a big compliment, because in my opinion he does a really good job with Husqvarna and their riders. When I speak to Antti, its like he has everything under control, and the way he runs the team, everything is so clean and done correctly.
Jorgensen: Its funny you say that, because I actually do look up to Antti. We talk time to time, and it’s pretty clear, you can see what he has done with the team, it’s perfect and I look up to him. Really early in my career I have some goals and this is part of my learning curve and I would love to do something like what he does. I think working with the riders, you need that experience to develop into a team manager.
MXlarge: There seems to be a lot of retired riders, who are not that old, coming in and being trainers, from Marc de Reuver, Brian Jorgensen, yourself and so many more. It’s a little like a new era of the younger guys coming into the GP paddock and taking important jobs.
Jorgensen: I think it’s like I said before. The sport has evolved and things are changing, you have been around a long time and you can see it. For sure I wouldn’t have the respect from somebody like Cairoli, to tell him what to do on a bike, or to coach him, but the young MX2 guys, it’s important to be part of that new generation. Not to take anything away from the older guys like Smets, or Everts, they have a lot of knowledge around the sport. It’s great that I get this chance from Husqvarna. You don’t need a bunch of world titles to be a good trainer, and it is important that there are different ways to get success.
MXlarge: Speaking to Marc De Reuver last week, and he mentioned working with Pauls Jonass helps him maybe reach his dream of a world motocross championship, something he missed out on in his career. Do you also think that, because your career was really cut off badly?
Jorgensen: It does. When the contract was done, I said look at this kid and we made everything happen in our plan. When he crossed the finish line to win the EMX championship, I was so proud of him and felt so much emotion. I told Thomas, my dream got crushed in that accident, and I told him my dream now lives through him. Things didn’t go the way I wanted in my career and I really enjoy it and work my butt off for these guys. The hardest part is when the gate drops, I am probably more nervous than them.