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Mike Pelletier interview - Team USA

Mike Pelletier interview - Team USA

Jul 8

  • Interview

Mike Pelletier is very much a major part in the fantastic relationship between AMA and FIM. Pelletier, who is a regular visitor to the MXGP scene as the American representative for the FIM and joined the MXGP paddock for the two Grand Prix’s in Indonesia this past week.

The American Motorcyclist Association promoted Pelletier to director of racing from his role as AMA Supercross manager, back in 2020 and its a move that has proved to be a master stroke for the sport Worldwide.

Pelletier who manages the AMA’s domestic amateur and professional competition operations and continued to oversee the AMA’s responsibilities for the AMA Supercross Championship. Pelletier grew up racing motocross and held professional licenses from 2011 to 2015 in the United States and Canada. He graduated from New Hampshire’s Plymouth State University with a bachelor’s in business administration.

MXLarge: First of all, welcome the Indonesia and the GP. We haven’t met before, but I know your face from being a big part of getting Team USA as strong a line-up as possible in recent years and I can imagine, it isn’t always easy. Firstly, how are you enjoying being in Lombok?

Pelletier: I have been to a few of these and actually 2022 I visited Sumbawa in Indonesia as the FIM delegate. This is my first double GP here and I am really enjoying myself.

MXLarge: Sumbawa must have been something of a culture shock? (Sumbawa is very much a third World Island and while I love it, it isn’t something many westerners get to visit).

Pelletier: It was for sure, but I really enjoy being here. We are learning as we go, and we have a great team here at the FIM and they have helped me with the changes and how they do things here. It is a good experience and a learning curve.

MXLarge: As far as the GPs you have enjoyed and this whole Lombok experience with two GP and the culture here. Can you explain how you have found it?

Pelletier: I mean I did Latvia in 2019 I believe, and of course I do the Nations. I did Sumbawa and this one, with back to back Grand Prix’s has been exciting and the FIM team have experienced the culture and we went to the Gilli Islands in between and really tried to take it in, hired some scooters, went and saw the monkeys and the people around here are so supportive and friendly and its been enjoyable with the riders and hanging out during the week for sure.

MXLarge: Is that the reason for you to come here, to look how they do it, because I think in general American’s do as great a job as anybody in running sporting events, but there are a lot of things the MXGP does really, really well. What can you learn from Infont?

Pelletier: I think we can learn from each other, and I have taken a lot back to the United States and hopefully I brought some things here as well. As my CMS roll, I try and do a few GPs a year and I am thankful I can do that, as the FIM delegate position.

MXLarge: The pyramid structure here at the GPs, with the EMX running side by side with the Grand Prix riders, which is something you don’t really do in America, with your amateur. Obviously, you have a good system in America, but is there anything you would want to implement from the system they have here in GP?

Pelletier: Sure, I think we have a pretty strong amateur scene (in America), and we are starting to do our combines and our futures, and I think we have found what we can learn from here. They have a very strong amateur scene here and I think their amateur scene goes all the way up to the Nations now with that talent level. Hopefully we can keep on improving and I think we are making those strides in America to get to that level.

MXlarge: Obviously the push for Team USA racing the MXdN has often been on and off as far as who wants to or can race for their country. It is a pretty complicated job, because you have so much racing and little time to prepare for the following year. You guys had the streak, and everyone wants to race and then you started losing and getting riders and teams involved was more difficult, but you have been pushing hard and from what I understand, the support for this year is pretty good. Of course, the financially situation doesn’t help with sending a team, but how is that his year with Star Racing, are they willing to allow Deegan to come to Matterley in October?

Pelletier: Yes, we have a lot of support in the paddock, believe it or not. They have always been really good, and the teams have been really nice. Last years was complicated, because we had a lot of riders switching brands and not having a lot of time on the motorcycle and asking them to do an even of that magnitude, we want the riders to be successful and comfortable. This year, we have a lot of interest and absolutely, with Star and the way Chase is riding right now and unfortunately Jett just got injured (he will be back for Nations), and Australia will be tough, but I think we will have a very strong line-up this year.

MXLarge: Obviously Eli (Tomac) is coming back, will he be in the mix? You would assume it will be Eli, Chase and Haiden or not?

Pelletier: Eli should make the last couple of outdoors and Cooper Webb is also returning, and we will see how that goes, but just the way Chase is riding, and Justin Cooper is riding well, Deegan is riding well. A lot of the PC guys are riding well. We will have a good, good turnout and a strong team for Matterley.

MXLarge: Normally you would announce the team at Unadilla, will that be the case, or later because of the situation with Eli and Cooper Webb?

Pelletier: Yes, normally, but it will be later and hopefully around the last couple of Nationals. We want these guys to come back and see how that goes and make a decision as it gets closer with those three SMX rounds at the end of the season. We have a little more time now than we did before. We want to make it as quickly as possible and get these guys ready and do the fund raise and things like that.

MXlarge: Obviously, because America have won the Nations more than any other nation and people generally like to cheer against Team USA, or at least, there is always the rest of the World wanting to beat the American team. When riders don’t want to go, or can’t go, you guys get a lot of stick. Do you think people don’t really understand how difficult it can be to fit the Nations in for your riders with the schedule you race?

Pelletier: It is a lot to ask and all the riders who do go, want to ride for their country. We do have a lot of races, but we are starting to see that they want to go, and it is a misconception that it is too long. It is difficult for the riders, but there is interest there and people don’t see behind the scenes, but this year, for sure, we will have a very strong team.

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