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Carmichael and Villopoto on RJ Hampshire’s Ernee MXoN track comments

Carmichael and Villopoto on RJ Hampshire’s Ernee MXoN track comments
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RJ Hampshire had some interesting comments from his American viewpoint regarding the track at Ernee on Lewis Phillip’s Vital MX interview saying: “Dude, my qualifying crash, I kid you not, it didn’t matter if I had four wheels or not, I was doing a 360, a track shouldn’t be like that. I’m not going to complain about the track because I know I’m going to get a lot of hate from the Euros. Even the riders are like, ‘ you guys have it spoiled over there in the States.’ We aren’t spoiled, we just have water in our tracks and it’s tilled! I definitely think it played in France’s favour.”

Ryan Villopoto and Ricky Carmichael then had their say and weren’t in agreement with RJ, with RC saying: I saw an interview with RJ and he was talking about the track on qualifying day, I think the best riders in the world find a way to adapt to it. I’ve been there, it’s a super narrow track, a fun track. I think you would have loved it. It’s one of those tracks you can make up a lot of time, it’s gnarly, a lot of steep uphills and downhills. Some great corners, tight corners, you can come in harder than your competition, come out harder an faster than your competition.

At the end of the day you have to find ways to be better than guys. You watch Ken Roczen do it, Jett Lawrence do it, France didn’t have a problem with it, a lot of guys from other countries didn’t have a problem, you just have to figure it out.

RV chimed in: It’s tough, I watched the comment. The one thing that is a little short sighted, is these guys go around the world, and race so many different conditions and that’s just one of them. The US we see about three or four different types but a lot of those are really similar.

I only got to do four rounds of MXGP, from Qatar to Thailand, Argentina to Arco di Trento, drasticallly different soil conditions and track. As a racer coming from the US, you have to have an open mind, everybody has to race it. I’m not going to say they are better riders but technically on different condition from Lierop to Lommel, I think technically they better than we are. They basically live on a rock sheet in Europe, I just got back from Foxhill, it’s flint hard and blue groove, it’s a very unique track. That’s what Europe has to offer.

RC: You have to perform in all of them.

RV: The tracks are completely different, we have to adapt.

We caught up with Darren Lawrence who said he felt you have to have more technicality on GP tracks than America since the tracks are all more similar outdoors in the States, which makes sense when thinking about RJ’s view as that’s all he really knows – ripped tracks with traction!

Darren said: Suspension was not good, Showa didn’t allow us to bring our suspension guy for some reason, some political thing, so we just had what we had.  The first thing Hunter said was, ‘Whao its the first time we felt we have an American motorcycle now, just really snappy, really responsive.’ Obviously for supercoss, and our tracks are so soft and so ploughed, so you want that response. And that’s what he said,’whao you have to be so good on the throttle’.

It’s a bit of a boo boo on our behalf, but you just gotta ride the best we can and remember how to ride euro hard square edge. It made me realise that our tracks in America our motocross stuff is really consistent. They’re all ploughed there, all soft bumps, Washougal is really about the only one that matches this one. 

I often say to the boys I’d love to come back to Europe every year for two or three weeks. Because Supercross, that’s our main thing but it wrecks your motocross, its a different riding and it takes a while and I’d love to come back to Europe for the base where you have to ride technically good, I wish that.

So it was good for us to look from a distance and go okay, we are getting Americanized because Supercross is just so important.

While son Jett said Americans are spoiled with track prep:  

“I think in America we are pretty spoiled. The tracks are always ripped pretty deep so you have options and stuff. I mean I think for the fans it was good racing because to make a pass you had to be aggressive. “It was fun but a little bit sore for the wrist and ankles but we put up with it. I was able to finally battle for the win in the last race. For us we just had to get used to the different kind of style, technique and flow again.

“I was able to find that European flow again and go back to the old days and ride like how I can ride. We definitely get spoiled in America with the track prep.”

We also caught up with Tom Vialle who emphasised this point when he said about the major differences between the tracks after his day of domination: The qualifying race was nice I had a good race behind Simon, I could see his rhythm. It was a little bit different to outdoor (US) we have way more intensity in outdoors but also the track, you can put so much intensity outdoors, the dirt is way better. The track (Ernee) was awesome but it was super hard and slick, you cannot ride like as aggressive as you can in the US, so that’s the biggest difference I think.

So, was RJ right? From a US view, yes he was, that’s all they know in the States in this era, that is motocross there. But motocross shouldn’t be one type of condition, certainly not in a world championship anyway. In MXGP you have to be good on everything to be the best, from slick, loam to mud and be able adapt to different countries, maybe that’s the biggest difference in MXGP and AMA motocross racing.

(RJ should watch Luxembourg GP from 99 or 86 for slick or San Marino in the 90s or even Carlsbad back in the 80s in the US)

Get the full RV & RC show on MXoN here:

Image: Full Spectrum

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