Interview: Tim Mathys – Standing Construction

It’s fair to say that Tim Mathys is an incredibly busy person. Not only is he running an MXGP World Championship team with three riders under the awning but he’s also running the construction family business.

Mathys left the paddock in 2017 but missed Motocross so much that he came back in the paddock last year. In the past, Mathys had focused on the MX2 World Championship but wanted to make the step to the MXGP class.

We caught up with Mathys recently to discuss his construction firm, his team and much more. You can read part one of the interview with part two coming later in the week.

Gatedrop: Tim, you’re part of a construction firm, would you be able to tell us about it?

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Tim Mathys: Well I am the fourth generation. My family have been in the construction business for more than 100 hundred years. In 1999 I started my own construction firm. Those years I wasn’t too much involved in Motocross anymore because I literally worked day and night, Saturday and Sunday. Then the son of a good friend of mine, Damon Graulus, started riding a bike. With him I got back into the sport.

With the construction company, I dare to say I still work a lot within the company. That’s also the reason why I wasn’t in Argentina for example. What we do is that we build houses, we build approximately 80 houses a year, all style of houses.

Gatedrop: It must be a busy week for Tim Mathys if you have an MXGP at the weekend and then running the construction business during the week?

Tim Mathys: For sure. You know in construction, you start in the morning at 6 o’clock, now that the weather is good and summer is coming, even earlier.

I still have a lot of contact with the clients so it means having also appointments in the evening which means I usually have very long days. Then with managing the team, that’s usually in the evening after the work for Standing Construct is done or at night.

How do I do that? Well, I have to say I have got a really good crew. I have guys that will take a lot of the work, in other teams I think the manager does. They are taking a lot of my duties let’s say. I make very long days but you know, the one year that I was out of Motocross for some different reasons, I discovered that I missed Motocross to keep my motivation in the construction company. The days are even longer now but I feel that the team and motocross, besides all the publicity we get, keeps me motivated in the construction company.

Gatedrop: The team has been going since 2009, you started on KTM then switched to Suzuki, then back to KTM, to Yamaha and now back to KTM. Would you say you’re in a happy place with the team now getting some factory support from KTM?

Tim Mathys: You know, I can compare, and working with KTM is the way I like to work.

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In my construction company there’s no nonsense, when I send an email in one hour I have an answer and I don’t have to wait two or three months before having a final and clear answer. It’s the same working with KTM. Robert Jonass at KTM is amazing to work with. I don’t know how he does it dealing with so many team’s in Europe and the US. Besides the fact that working with them is very professional, the bikes, also the stock ones have 2 or 3 horsepower more than a stock Japanese bike. We are here to do some good results so we want the best bikes and that’s an orange or a white one.

Gatedrop:  Two seasons ago you were out of the Motocross paddock, the year before that coming up to making the decision to leave the paddock. Was that a difficult decision to make or did you have no other options at that time than to leave the paddock?

Tim Mathys: Let’s say it was a combination of both. The construction company grew so much, in two years, it grew by more than 30%, so it was very difficult at that time to combine the construction company with the team. Also, the fact that I wasn’t too happy anymore in MX2, I wanted to do MXGP, was a reason.  I had to do something because the life I was living then was just too busy and secondly I fell not too happy about the fact that Yamaha wanted to do a budget cut, after the great results we got with Guillod, Lieber and Tonkov.

At that time I was having the team together with Louis Vosters of Wilvo. Louis decided to continue with Yamaha and bought the team which went very correct and very well.  

Louis was 100% correct towards me and I was 100% correct towards him and when I got back into MXGP he even gave me advice about the sponsor budgets in MXGP etc…

Gatedrop: I’m quite surprised you say you weren’t happy in MX2 because I always seen you as a guy that enjoyed working with the younger talents. What was the reason you wanted to move to the MXGP class?

Tim Mathys: Well, to be honest, I miss two things from MX2.

The first thing is exactly that, working with the younger riders and get them to another level.

The second thing I miss from MX2 is the passion for tuning. When I rode myself in the 125cc days, I was very passionate about tuning and working on the bike, looking to find that ½ Hp more. That in MX2 is more similar to a 125cc than what we are doing now with the 450’s. Now it’s more about making the bike more controllable with electronics, mapping, etc…

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But I also discovered that in Motocross, MXGP is “the” category. You are taken serious when you are in MXGP. When it comes to sponsors, budgets, the market and manufacturers, MXGP is just another category in that respect, I didn’t know that when I was in MX2 but thanks to Louis Vosters and the past year and a half now I do.

Gatedrop: For the future, you will focus in the MXGP World Championship from now on?

Tim Mathys: That’s the main idea. You know, we work very closely with KTM. We are their official satellite team in MXGP and we signed a multiple year contract. How I feel now is that there is respect from both sides so yes, I think MXGP is where we will continue.

Gatedrop: As you mention you’re getting support from KTM, just how much support are you getting as a team and are you happy with it?

Tim Mathys: Yeah, we are happy with what we get. It’s a decent support, it can always be better but it’s a decent support. Without them we wouldn’t be here like we are here now, that’s very simple. Also with riders like Ivo, Glenn and Max who are used to full factory bikes, if we didn’t have the support from KTM now it would have been difficult to satisfy them.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Shot by Bavo