Michael Leib interview - Motocross Illustrated Feature
Interview Friday 17th March 2011 By Geoff Meyer
It’s been a while since an American racer can call himself a World Motocross Champion. Nearly 20 years ago, way back in 1994 Bobby Moore swept the World’s best 125cc riders to capture America their seventh World MX title.
Following in the footsteps of Brad Lackey. Danny Laporte, Trampas Parker, Donny Schmit and Moore many Americans have tried to claim that eight World title, but all have come up short.
Names like Scott Sheak, Jeff Dement, Mike Brown, Zach Osborne and Jimmy Albertson are just a handful that crossed the Atlantic Ocean to take on the Europeans; they all failed in their attempt to win that elusive World title, but many times the American riders left Europe as better riders and more matured as people.
Brown was probably the most capable of the recent bunch of American’s racing on the FIM World Motocross Championship and his third place finish in 2000 behind Grant Langston and James Dobb set-up his victory in the 2001 AMA 125cc Championship. It was the experience of his Grand Prix venture that built Brown up to compete at the highest level in America. Another young American Michael Leib is hoping that the same mentality can help him achieve what Brown has achieved and then a whole lot more.
It seems like there is no better education than one of travel and adventure. For 19 years old Leib the experience of travelling around Europe has given him enough experience both in life and as a racer and with that experience he can achieve a lot in the sport of Motocross.
Having already put in the hard miles in his debut year in Europe the former American amateur champion has his goals set high and isn’t scared to work hard to achieve those goals.
Holed up in a small village in Italy and with a Husqvarna factory machine at his service Leib has every chance to shock the World in 2011. He might not win a World title, but there is every chance that he will position himself as a contender in the very competitive FIM World MX2 Championship.
Motocross Illustrated: I remember talking to Ben Townley many years ago and he mentioned how he used to cry a lot when he first came to Europe. He was something like 16 years old and riding for a German team. He didn’t know the language and was 20,000 miles away from his parents. Have you experienced anything like that?
Leib: I don’t want to sound like a spoilt kid; I mean for sure I can relate to that. It’s difficult, everything is good with the team and I am surrounded by really nice people, but at the same time I ride, train and then after that you pretty much do your own thing, cooking and stuff. I miss my family and girlfriend, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Motocross Illustrated: Has it been as I mentioned how Townley found it?
Leib: Sure, I have gone to bed with tears in my eyes. There have been some moments. It puts you back into the question of why you do it and why you love to do it and what will you sacrifice to get where you want to be. For sure there are moments when it’s negative and you would rather not be here, and some things seem so stupid, why we put ourselves through this, why do we do this to try and reach our dream, but at the end of the day I would rather chase my dream than anything else. I will put that before anything.
Read more of this interview below in the latest issue of our e-magazine Motocross.