plan cul gratuit - plan cul marseille - voyance gratuite en ligne

Interview: Eric Peronnard on the US GP in Charlotte

Interview: Eric Peronnard on the US GP in Charlotte
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Font size Print

Eric Peronnard has been involved with putting on successful major dirt bike events for years. From the creation of the US Open of supercross in the late 1990s to Endurocross and Red Bull straight rhythm to name just three of an impressive portfolio, the Frenchman, who has lived in the US for the last 30 years, knows how to put on an event!

His latest project is the inaugural MXGP of the Americas at Charlotte Motor speedway that takes place on the 2nd and 3rd of September. Despite some unnecessary negativity the event is looking like it could be a huge success. Star names like Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia and Adam Cianciarulo lead the charge for the US riders as they take on the best international riders in the world within the home comforts of their own country but on a brand new track that no-one will have ridden before.

It is a mouth-watering prospect and has the potential to be a highlight of the world championship calendar. so we sat down with Eric to get his thoughts on the upcoming event.

Gatedrop: With about five weeks to go until the GP how is everything going, is it all on schedule?

Yes, we had a very late start due to road block and challenges but now we are on track and things are moving quite briskly.

Gatedrop: What were the main challenges?

EP: It’s a first time event, so there are a lot of new things and not necessarily pleasing everybody, nothing surprising, it is the way it is in our motorsport world. Every time something new is happening you have a lot of naysayers with people that are not happy with newness, but it’s like that not just in motorsport but life. I am used to that so you just have to navigate the treacherous waters and we ended up getting everything on track and now it’s work as usual.

Gatedrop: From your point of you with the US industry and media being so concentrated on US racing does that make it more difficult to promote the GP and within Charlotte?

EP: It’s difficult to say. It’s kind of the perfect storm. The American racing scene is overworked, there is a lot of racing in America, it doesn’t make a GP being overly welcome, and rightfully so there are 33 mandatory races, that’s a lot of racing. Having the supercross season followed by the motocross season, that makes the season a bit too long. Like I always say, if you are worried about the GP you should try and cut your season first. You can’t be complaining about having 30 races when you want 25. It’s complicated, it’s not easy to have everyone on the same page but we are trying out best with the Charlotte motor speedway people to expose the talent of the GP riders and obviously the GP riders are doing quite well.

The US Monster Kawasaki team are doing it so Eli Tomac will be there and he is racing Roczen right now, so as long as we have a top gun American to measure the speed against the World riders I think it’s going to be successful and the most exciting thing for me, it is going to be the first time in recent history where American and MXGP riders are racing each other that doesn’t have home advantage. If you go to Glen Helen the US riders have 1000 hours of time there, they can ride those tracks with their eyes close, so yeah they can dominate but it’s difficult to measure. The US riders go to Europe for MXON they end up in Ernee that has been used for GPs, there is always an unfair advantage.

For me as a sport’s fan, it’s exciting to know the first lap for Eli Tomac is the first lap for Cairoli or Gajser.

Gatedrop: You have experience putting on a variety of events from the Endurocross to the US Open and more, how does the Charlotte GP compare so far? Is it easier or more difficult?

EP: It’s a little bit of both! In some ways it’s challenging because the excellent Charlotte crew has never dealt with motorcycles but they are so professional and knowledgeable about motorsport. Some days it’s more challenging because motorcycle culture is not the number one at the motorcycle speedway but they are so good at what they do with four wheels that makes it a really positive experience.

Gatedrop: Do you feel their background and location with help attract non-motocross fans?

EP: I would say yes. We have been toying with different locations and at the end we selected the dirt track because it seems the most suited with 15k sitting specators. Going to the speedway would have created a Daytona supercross feel which is 100,000 seats but not 100,000 spectators. We wanted to do it on the drag strip but logistically it was too tight on time, there was a drag race just two weeks after the GP and we couldn’t take the chance.

Gatedrop: Is this a long-term adventure by Charlotte motor speedway or a test to see how it goes.

EP: I would say it’s a long-term with a first time experiment. The intention is to be in the motocross business, they really want to be in, they are all fans and they love it. Hopefully the challenges and difficulties won’t damage the finalised product and we will have a very good success.

Gatedrop: If it is successful this year do you think the US industry will get more behind it and that momentum will make it easier for you?

EP: Absolutely. You always need to do a new race once. I did a brand new amateur race, the junior MotoX, and it was the same – very stressful. But you have to build the foundation and when that’s built that tells you how many stories you can go.

Gatedrop: It is interesting that there are so many US based companies supporting the world championship now…

EP:I will disclose that I am an advisor to FOX racing so I am in a position to say honestly. It is simply because American motocross and off-road has been flattening the few years due to economy, land-availability and simply cost. But the rest of the world has been really blooming and it’s crucial now for an American company to be involved in the planet instead of the just the American continent. The numbers are really phenomenal, there are a lot countries really exploding for motocross and doing quite well.

Gatedrop: On a personal level, how exciting is it to have virtually all of the best riders in the world at an event your involved with?

EP:I was the architect of the project, I was hired by Charlotte motor speedway a couple of years ago to basically put all the best players together. We did studies, surveys, visits and concluded that the MXGP would be the best product and I am very excited. I was born in Europe, but I have been in the US for 30 years. my heart is European culture with American knowledge. It doesn’t get much better for me than having an international race in America as far as excitement.

Gatedrop: Just finally, who do you think will win the MXGP class?

EP: I’m excited because I don’t know! I honestly think the top few GP guys like Gajser, Cairoli and Febvre are so fast but it’s going to be judgement day to see a guy like Tomac or Barcia who are the top Americans racing the top GP riders on a neutral track – that’s the magic of it.

More motocross news