Paul Malin interview - Once In Time
Interview Thursday 11th August 2011 By Geoff Meyer
We mentioned yesterday about the amazing victory by Belgium at the 1981 Motocross of Nations, held at the Lommel circuit in Belgium and how Team USA hadn't lost for 13 years in a row after that win.
One of the men who helped stop the American domination was British rider Paul Malin. Malin rode for Team Great Britain alongside Kurt Nicoll and Rob Herring at the 1994 Roggenburg event and together they scored a surprising victory against the World powers of Motocross.
Malin was the star of the show leading Team GP to their first victory in something like 30 years. Team Great Britain haven't won since.
Q: Paul, what was the atmosphere like coming into the MXoN in Switzerland in 1994?
Malin: Coming into the event Team Great Britain was the furthest from being the favorites. Herring was injured; he tweaked an ankle at Gailforf at the last round of the series. I was on the 125cc (despite racing the World 250cc series), so I was probably the weak link, and Kurt was back on 500's after a couple of years on 250's, so were we a bit of a bits and pieces team. When you looked at the teams on paper there was no clear favorite. The Americans you always strong, for 13 years straight they were victorious, didn't matter who was in the team.
Q: What about the other teams, how were they looking?
Malin: There were other problems for other teams, some sponsorship problems in the Belgian team, Jacky Martens went as one of his personal sponsors also sponsored the Belgian team, Stefan Everts didn't go, and many thought he should have gone. The French team I think there were problems between Pichon and Demaria, one said if the other went he wouldn't go, and there were problems there, so Demaria went and Pichon didn't, so that team was Demaria, Vialle and Bolley. The Italians put Chiodi on the 250cc bike, despite the fact he had just finished second to Bobby Moore in the World 125cc championship, so it was kind of like we couldn't see any team which stood out.
Q: What made you stand out in that event?
Malin: I believed in my ability on a 125cc machine, we had one of Steve Dixon's tuned bikes, and we also had the opportunity to ride one of Rinaldi's bikes, the same bike that Moore had won the 125cc World Championship on, so for us it was about testing both, but I had done some pretty good times on my own machine, and we tested the Rinaldi kit, but it was a different machine all together.
Q: Did you also have some luck in the drawing of the gate positions?
Malin: After the practice sessions, they drew the teams out of a hat for gate positions, team Great Britain picked gate one, and I don't know where the American were, middle of the gate from memory. As you know the 125cc riders usually got the inside gate, and then the 500cc or 250cc rider would start from the middle of the start gate somewhere, so Rob Herring started in the middle. Being on a 125cc the chances were that I would get beaten into the first corner.
Q: How did your races go?
Malin: I had shocking starts, like 35th in the first corner in both races. We had a bolt on engine, but we didn't have a bolt on rider, but I was just clicking with that circuit, it wasn't the best I ever felt, but there was a lot of adrenaline and on some circuits you can attack the circuit better on a 125cc bike, but saying that we also had some long straights and the 250cc and 500cc bikes maintains a similar speed around the circuit. I was able to pass a lot of riders that day.
Q: Obviously your biggest rival in that race was American rider Jeff Emig?
Malin: I started behind Jeff (Emig) in both races and passed him on both occasions. Obviously it was then up to him to follow me around. I had a lot of respect for him before he arrived; he was a proven rider in America and maybe the fastest 125cc rider in the World. He was picked ahead of Bobby Moore, who was World 125cc Champion. They decided to go with Emig and Moore didn't get the chance. Roy Jansson and I spoke after the weekend and he said they thought they had the 125cc class covered. No Bob Moore, because he wasn't there for America, Chiodi was riding in the 250cc class, and they looked down the list and thought there is nobody else. They didn't count on the performance of me, some of it was the bike, and some of it was down to me. I was carrying a lot of momentum in the corners and a lot of guys were going tight.