Interview: Evžen Zadražil – Motosport Chynov and Czech Motocross
With the opening round of the Czech Championship taking place last weekend and kicking off the Motocross racing in Europe again we got in touch with Evžen Zadražil from Motosport Chynov. Zadražil is involved in bringing Tom Vialle, Rene Hofer and Liam Everts over to contest the Czech series as they use it as preparation for the GP’s to get back underway in August.
We discuss a rang of topics with Zadražil who’s looking forward to round two of the series taking place this weekend (Sunday the 5th of July).
Gatedrop: Evžen, Motocross action got underway in Czech Republic at the weekend. With so much uncertainty, it wasn’t that long ago we were questioning if we’d even see Motocross racing again this year. How happy were you for the Motocross season to get underway in Czech Republic?
Zadražil: Yes, the Czech Republic was perhaps the first European country after the forced Coronavirus break to open it’s international motocross championship. We are in the middle of Europe, we have nice natural tracks and motocross has a long tradition in our country. After all, ČZ and Jawa machines in the 60s and 70s of the last century claimed world quality! That’s why it’s no wonder that the world’s leading motocross riders have now found their way to us.
Gatedrop: There were huge entries and looked like great racing at the first round – what was it like, did it provide good entertainment and racing?
Zadražil: Not only many leading riders from the World Championship came to Dalecin, but also the complete Czech top motocross riders, so they were great races. It is unprecedented in the modern history of motocross in the Czech Republic that the leader of the World Championship series competes here.
Gatedrop: You are involved with Motosport Chynov – can you tell me a little bit about them and what they do and how you’re involved?
Zadražil: I am the chairman of Motosport Chynov. This motocross club was founded in 1990 by my father and I took over it about eighteen years ago. Currently, in addition to Czech riders, we mainly cooperate with Austrian riders. Today, the club is also the head motocross unit in South Bohemia.
Gatedrop: You are involved with Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer with regards to them racing the Czech series, how did the opportunity all come about?
Zadražil: We have been cooperating with the Austrian Rene Hofer for more than 10 years, who regularly competed in the Czech Junior Championship for our team as a junior and won several junior championship titles. He contacted me a few weeks ago with his coach Didi Lacher and KTM sports manager Joel Smets, and together we arranged the start of several Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders in the Czech championship.
Gatedrop: You must be really happy to be able to see/attract two of the best MX2 riders in the world to race in your home country?
Zadražil: In essence, my life dream came true that I could work with a legend such as the Belgian Joel Smets, whom I admired in my youth when he won the World Championship in the Royal class 500cc. I am very pleased that together we were able to combine the names of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Motosport Chynov club for the Czech Championship 2020. It’s a huge honor for my team. At the same time, I am very pleased that I helped Czech motocross fans to have an opportunity to watch the performances of World Riders on Czech tracks such as Frenchman Tom Vialle, Austrian Rene Hofer or Belgian Liam Everts.
Gatedrop: The opening round couldn’t have gone much better as they went 1-2, you must have been happy with the result and speed they showed?
Zadražil: It was expected that Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer would be on the podium in Czech Championship, but the Belgian Jago Geerts, for example, did well in the MX2 class in Dalecin too. I was also really surprised by the great starts and introductions of both races performed by the young German rider Simon Laengenfelder.
Gatedrop: I believe you’ve been with them during their training moto’s during the week. Is it good being close to them and seeing what they do differently compared to the Czech riders? Do you think the Czech riders can learn from them?
Zadražil: Yes, during the week between the races in Dalecín and Kaplice, the riders trained on tracks like Pacov, Jinin and Horazdovice. We wanted to give the riders privacy so not much was known about their training days among the public. But the stay of world riders is definitely a great motivation for Czech motocross riders and I think that thanks to the interest of the media, the number of fans of this beautiful sport has also increased a bit.
Gatedrop: What’s Motocross like in Czech Republic at the moment and do you think GP riders racing the series can help long term?
Zadražil: Czech motocross had its greatest glory in the 1970s, when riders such as Falta, Churavy, Baborovsky, Velky and others won GP races. Unfortunately, we haven’t been at the top of the world since then, but motocross still has a relatively strong background in the Czech Republic, there are nice tracks and some of our riders and teams take part in the World Championship series. The participation of current GP leaders will show a difference in performance, but it certainly has a strong motivating effect.
Gatedrop: At the moment the JD Gunnex team are the only GP team from Czech Republic – do you think we can see more teams come from your home country in the future and if so what teams do you think have a chance?
Zadražil: The JD Gunnex KTM team of manager Jiri Jankovsky has long been the only Czech team to represent the Czech colours in the World Championship series. I would be very happy to see more teams, but it is very difficult to manage financially, and so, frankly, I don’t really expect their number to expand in anyway.
Gatedrop: Round two of the series takes place this weekend – you must be looking forward to that?
Zadražil: All motocross fans in the Czech Republic are looking forward to it, and many fans are also going to Kaplice from nearby Austria. However, their rider Rene Hofer will fight for the front position. Because the Grand Prix will not take place in Loket (CZE) this year, it is basically the only way to see GP riders in the Czech Republic.
Gatedrop: Anything else you’d like to add?
Zadražil: I would like to thank you for your interest and for the promotion of Czech motocross in the world and I would like to see Czech motocross riders fighting for the highest places in the GPs sometime in the future. And I also wish that skilled Czech engineers can produce top motocross machines again, as it was the case with our brands in the past – ČZ and JAWA!
Interview: Andy McKinstry