Brian Jorgensen interview – Training
Denmark’s Brian Jorgensen has seen a lot in his life. Tragedy and the thrill of a Grand Prix victory. The highs and lows of live and his sport. Always professional, and having worked for a handful of Factory teams, the rider known as Jorgy in his racing career has moved into the field of trainer/rider coach.
This year he will work with Russian rider Vsevolod Brylyakov of the Steve Dixon Kawasaki outfit. It’s a working relationship that sees some parallels with his own climb to the GP scene. We caught up with him and asked about what he expects from his young charger.
MXlarge: It’s amazing how many leading former GP riders are working with riders at the moment, be it you, or Marc De Reuver, or Jacky Vimond, Stefan Everts, Yves Demaria, Joel Smets, Rasmus Jorgensen, Antti Pyrhonen and so many more. That is obviously a good thing right?
Jorgensen: I think, let’s say from when I was riding, and the world was different. You had teams who took a chance with you and my first contract in 1996, I was paid enough to basically take care of myself. In those days it was different. It’s more difficult now for a team to believe in you, and give you the money where they think this rider we can take to the world championship. In my day I learnt it all myself and it wasn’t well known to have your own trainer. Basically I did it all on my own, I went to my first training school in 2006 when I had retired, that was with Jacky Vimond. Its changed now and maybe people are taking more from the US how they have it there with Supercross and outdoors. People say if we invest this money, we need the riders to know how to train, the technique is important. The whole industry has grown and the bikes are going faster and its different from when I started. You need a trainer to do it right from the start.
MXlarge: It seems like it doesn’t always work with trainers, a perfect example is Aldon Baker and Ken Roczen, that clearly didn’t work for either guy. When you look at Marc de Reuver, you would nearly say is Marc a good trainer, but he is working with Pauls (Jonass), who is a little like Marc, and Marc seems to be able to give him advice more about what not to do. A bit of a busy guy, who needs calming down. What is your strength in training?
Jorgensen: We work a lot with the technical side, to be a more trained rider in the technical side, so you have more tools in your rucksack. So you can go anywhere on the track and ready for a different situation. We go training, but what do we focus on, like simple things like getting him in a good place to live and he has good people around him. Make sure he has a structure in life. It isn’t just about going to a track and riding around. It’s like we go and ride 30 minutes at Honda Park (in Belgium), but what did we learn? We burnt some fuel, but did we learn anything. We need to work on the weaknesses and that is what I try and teach him.
MXlarge: I remember being a small kid and my father was having a talk with the greatest speedway rider of all time Ivan Mauger. Mauger said that some riders would never make it, because they didn’t have the right structor. He would always prepare the same, have his tools in the same place at every race meeting, or have his tools always in perfect order, and do everything with structor and focus. Is that what you mean? Just being well organized? I guess in many ways a teenager kid hasn’t always learnt to have that structor or be organized.
Jorgensen: I think that is right for sure. It’s funny you brought that up, because that is what we are working on a lot. I have told him, everything I did on the weekend was the same, structor, so I was already knowing what my weekend would be like, visualized what to expect. When I look at the track I don’t just walk around and take Instagram or social media images and put them online. I look at the track and try and work out what we need to do. If you ask a lot of riders today, they don’t even really look at the track. They haven’t seen the track with their eyes. It is about what you eat, what you drink, how your week has been, with a lot of structor. Because if you do it well during the week, then on the weekend all you have to do is race.
MXlarge: The MX2 class is just stupid how many talented riders are in there, but all very inexperienced. I don’t know if you saw it on my site, but only Covington has won a GP, and only Covington (two motos) and Jonass (one moto) have won races in the world championship. Yet there is so much talent, I think 10 or 15 guys could win a GP. What can you tell your riders going into Qatar? Does he go in and slowly build, or get confidence and go for big points?
Jorgensen: I mean, of course it’s a lot different to what a rider has achieved the previous season. If I look at Vse (Brylyakov), I have no doubt in my mind he will be one of the top guys. I think he can be very good, but for him it’s about building confidence. A trainer like myself or Marc de Reuver, we know how long the season takes, unless you have won a world championship, then you don’t really know how to play the game yet, and a young rider like Vse, he has been on the podium and a sixth to 10th rider. There is no point telling him he can win the first rounds, it would be great if it happens, but I want him to be smart and we have changed a lot of things in his technique. I tell him if I can give him four or five tools to work with, he can do that corner every single lap perfect. He was so fast in one lap, but the next lap he was so slow. The first time I went riding with him I took him to a small track, and what a mess he made out of the track. It is about being patient and technique and you can ride faster without using as much energy. For me the first rounds are about being patient. You have to tell him that, because if I tell him to run 100kl without shoes, he would do that. He wants it so much.
MXlarge: What about the GP’s at the moment. You are from the era where a lot changed, back in 2004. What is your opinion of the whole set-up?
Jorgensen: Oh, I don’t know. I had a lot of questions about this, because I don’t know how to comment and I have my opinion of course. Things have change a lot since when I rode of course. The only think I can say what is sad, is for a rider like me, in a situation like where I came from, it would be hard now to get into the GPs. When I was 16 I lost my dad to cancer and we didn’t have a lot of money, we were just working hard. That probably wouldn’t happen today with the new structor. In my time we had this structor, and maybe a different level, we didn’t have Facebook or Instagram, and people can show how professional they are now. We didn’t have that.
MXlarge: I remember Joel (Smets) and Josh (Coppins) maybe also saying the same thing you said. As somebody who never raced, or at least never races at a GP level, or high calibre rider, I don’t understand how you can say that? I would imagine now with the EMX 125 and EMX 250 and EMX 300, and Honda 150 races and the women’s classes, that it is easier to get into a team at the GPs, and be seen by the MX2 and MXGP teams. If you have talent, and you are racing in Denmark, surely a team would know about that and you would get into one of those many teams in the GP paddock? I mean all the teams want fast riders, and maybe even a rider has to pay, which happens, but Josh also did that way back in 1993 or something like that. So I don’t get how its changed for the worse? You could say prizemoney helped, but a young rider running around in 20th place wouldn’t be making much anyway.
Jorgensen: Basically, all the riders now know how to train, they know the technique they need. When I was racing in Denmark, before I came to the GPs, I was pretty much dominating, but when I came to do the world championship, even though I won the European championship in 1994 against Sebastien Tortelli, you can say, it was more difficult. I won the European championship in 94, beat Tortelli in every race more or less, and I didn’t have a ride for 1995. I didn’t get a professional ride, I rode as an amateur, it took me more time to get into the teams.
MXLarge: I think now, because the European championship is run within the MXGP series, you would have been noticed and gotten a ride. I have to be honest, I never saw Herlings or Roczen race before they came into the GPs and now I know all the EMX riders, as do all the team owners and managers. Look at guys like Febvre, Jonass and Olsen, they all got factory rides after their euro success. I guess for riders like yourself that era when the prizemoney stopped it left some riders not happy?
Jorgensen: I didn’t really care. My career was nearly over and I really retired because my pride. I had a good motivation factor because when my father passed away, I wanted to prove to him that the time he put into me wasn’t wasted. I made it a positive thing.
MXlarge: I know when my father passed away that motivated me to improve my website and build my e-magazine. You don’t want them to not be proud of us.
Jorgensen: When you see something, and that is what I have always learnt. I appreciate things. We were a happy family until I was 14 and a half. We won everything, then suddenly in one and a half years everything was taken away. I think in those moments you either sit down and cry, or you take control of your life and work harder. I choose the first one. I wanted to show Denmark, show myself and show my father that I was going to be one of the best in the sport.