Motocross - Why I love It
Posted on March 25, 2020
It isn’t difficult to remember why motocross has become a part of my life, and your lives. I have told the story many times over the last 25 years, or my first memory of a major motocross event. I had been to a couple of Australian motocross championships with Dad beforehand, but it was back in 1972, when Roger De Coster, Joel Robert, Adolf Weil, Bengt Aberg and many others came to Australia to take on the Aussies. Now Australia was very young in the sport, and like America in the early 1970s, we were no match for the European Grand Prix riders. From memory De Coster won it, riders didn’t get paid because the spectator turn-out wasn’t enough and we never saw those legends in Australia again.
In later years Gaston Rahier, Neil Hudson, Danny Laporte, Hakan Carlqvist and a bunch of middle of the road Americans rode in Australia, but nothing took my fancy as much as that 1972 event.
I moved to Europe in 1993, pretty much exactly 27 years ago, as I arrived in Amsterdam on March 8, 1993. Having a Dutch girlfriend, who had decided she wanted her Australian boyfriend to join her as she departed her two-year holiday in Australia. It would be the start of my adventure in Europe, one that has taken me to having four beautiful children, a divorce, many lovers, and plenty of fun times.
Through motocross I have lifelong friends, who I have worked side by side at the races since 1993. Many great colleagues and I have a long history in the sport. As the years get longer, and we lose many of the old names, my spot in the media room becomes more of a veteran, or just an old guy.
I wanted to share some of my special memories, just a few as we have not a lot to write about in this time, but these memories are special to me.
I had been to Europe before, as a tourist/working, visiting the Motocross des Nations on a handful of occasions, or the USGP at the famous Carlsbad circuit in 1984, or AMA Nationals in the 1970s and 80s, but my first real full time season working in the Grand Prix’s was 1994, and my first race the British Grand Prix. After taking a bus to the races and hitching to the track, I had set up my tent on the hill, and I remember Bobby Moore winning the 125cc class, pretty sure it was a double GP that season, and Yves Demaria won the 250 class. It was a big deal for me, and despite already being 32 years of age, I felt like a kid in a lolly shop. I was part of the GP scene.
As I worked my way up the media tree, I went to more and more Grand Prix’s, usually taking the train from Holland and hitching to the races. Sleeping in a tent, or sometimes hide in the media room and sleep on the floor there. Yes, it was an adventure for sure. As I got more work, I would take the train, hire a car near the track and sleep in the car. After a couple of years, I was able to actually fly to the races, get a hotel and rental car. With four children and fortunately a wife that worked full time during the week, it was easy to get my business up and running. I did the kids during the week and my wife would do the kids on weekend.
I will never forget those early years, getting to know people better, making a name for myself and working for all the leading magazines in the World, from Cycle News and RacerX in America, Motorcycle News and Dirt Bike Rider in the England, Garrrr magazine in Japan, Australian magazines, German magazines, Spanish, Belgian, Dutch and Swedish magazines, you name it, I worked for them. Building my business up to be very successful, but my real stroke of luck came at the end of 2003, some 17 years ago.
Bernd Dietrich, who owned the first ever motocross website www.mxlarge.com decided he had had enough. Struggling with advertising, and the workload of a daily website just wasn’t his thing anymore. I had had websites in the past, but really struggled to get advertising myself, and Bernd asked me if I was interested in buying mxlarge. I was in the midst of a divorce, and paying out my ex meant I was more or less broke, but fortunately one of my clients (who I won’t name, but will always appreciate) lent me the money, and the rest is history. I owned the biggest website in the sport in Europe.
Being able to buy mxlarge was what got my business going, and I learnt quickly that mxlarge had big respect in the industry and getting advertising wasn’t a problem. Within a short period, I had stopped working for print magazines as my whole focus went into mxlarge. I loved it, bringing the latest news to the motocross World, and doing a lot of it from home during the week and selecting which weekends I would travel. I didn’t need to fly to America five or six times a year to get content for the print magazines or cover every single pre-season and post season race. I started going to less races, as my kids were at an age, they needed me, and a divorce meant they needed me more than ever. Family always comes first, and that won’t ever change, no matter what problem the World sits in.
Less travel meant enjoying the racing more and picking and choosing which rounds of the Grand Prix series has always been a fun part when the calendar comes out. I love the fly-aways, and I always thankful to Infront for making these races possible. Riga in Latvia I love, Winchester in England, La Rochelle a small village close to the French GP at St Jean d’Angly, or Valkenswaard, close to home, but a great little village.
Travelling the World, and covering the sport was a dream as a child, and I know my father (who was a famous motorcycle racing photographer in Australia in the 1970s) would be looking down with a big smile, as his rather uneducated son made his dream come true. I am not a hard worker, I am clearly not educated in my own language, but what I do have is more passion than most and a lot of enthusiasm. I love live and people, and with mxlarge I have met the greats of the sport.
I interviewed the first ever World champion Bill Nilsson of Sweden, and I think maybe 90% of the World champions that followed the great Swede. It has been my honour and delight to work in the motocross industry and once we are out of this coronavirus situation, I am sure the sport will only be better for it. Like all sports, it is the passion of the people involved and those watching from behind the fence, and as we all know, once motocross is in your blood, it is pretty hard to shake it.
I still love what I do, and every day appreciate that I can work from home, and travel the World. I owe that to my clients, companies like Infront, Alpinestars, Leatt, KTM, Husqvarna, FOX, Polisport, FMF, Scrubdesignz, DEP, CISport, RaceFX, ProCarbon and Vertex. Without these companies, MXlarge wouldn't be around.