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American in Europe

American in Europe

Jun 5

  • News

The MXGP of Germany marked the start of a new chapter for American Gavin Towers. After an impressive stint with Star Racing Yamaha in the USA, where he celebrated two podium finishes at the start of this year in the SX Futures qualifying rounds before finishing third in the championship finale, Towers made the bold decision to jump the ditch and head to Europe to test his skills against the best EMX250 riders in the MXGP series.

Few Americans make the journey to Europe to race motocross, perhaps due to language barriers, cultural differences, unfamiliar tracks, and logistical challenges. However, an opportunity arose for Towers, and he took the plunge. "It's exciting to experience these big changes," he said, "moving from outdoors in the U.S. to outdoors in Europe is already a big step, not to mention transitioning from supercross."

The adjustment period has been intense, as he only switched his focus from supercross to motocross at Thanksgiving – November 28th. "Everything still comes at me a little fast, and there's a steep learning curve," he admits. With just three days on his new GYTR-kitted YZ250F, Towers needs to adapt to multiple new countries, new food, and new cultures—a true immersion into the European way of life. "It's really a big culture shock, especially living in France where they don't speak English. It's very challenging, but fortunately, I have great people around me who speak both French and English, which has helped a lot."

Towers has been drafted into the VRT Yamaha Official EMX250 team to fill in for the injured Janis Reisulis. "The bike is awesome!" he raved, "I've loved it since day one. We're going to keep building, keep getting better, and keep dialing in everything. It should be awesome." In terms of bike changes, Towers' new mechanic Scott Lillis said, "It's been pretty easy getting the bike set up for Gavin," Lillis said, "We only changed the handlebars really, but he runs the same suspension front and rear, same gearing—pretty much everything else is the same."

The race format in the MXGP series also differs significantly from what American riders are accustomed to in the AMA Supercross and Motocross Championships. The MXGP series features a two-day format per event, with each race, or moto, being longer than those in the American series, whereas the Promotocross series in the USA is typically one-day. "For Europe versus America, it's it's just different. Like the Europeans that go over to the U.S., they're going to struggle for a little bit at first. No matter how good you are. Yes, it's still racing and you're still riding a bike, but it's just different. You know? Like here in Europe, this is a whole weekend event; in the U.S., it's a Saturday only, so it's different."

While hard-pack tracks on either side of the Atlantic are similar, the sand in Europe is said to be brutal. A lot of interest surrounds how Towers will fair in the sand, "In the U.S., I would say I am decent in the sand, but over here, it's a different challenge—more bottomless, so I guess we are going to find out how good of a sand rider I actually am." He laughed.

After an impressive debut at the MXGP of Germany, where he went 6-2 to finish fourth overall, narrowly missing the podium by a single point, Towers' next test will be in the sand at the ninth round of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Kegums, Latvia, this weekend - June 8-9.

Yamaha story

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