Interview: Janis Reisulis – wonderkid and EMX125 champion
Watching Janis Reisulis riding at his best is a really something to behold. The young Latvian talent is very smooth and doesn’t even look that fast at times but then when you look at the times he is super fast. At the final round of the EMX125 series at Matterley Basin, Reisulis not only won the title but he put on a clinic in the EMX125 class destroying the opposition and his rivals are fast!
For 2024, the immensely talented, Reisulis will move up to the EMX250 championship and he is so good don’t be surprised to see him running right at the front of the pack – he is that good and if he can avoid injury should have a very bright future.
We caught up with Reisulis after he won his EMX125 title at Matterley Basin to discuss a range of topics.
GateDrop: Janis, an amazing season and an amazing weekend for you. How much does it feel to win that EMX125 title and crossing that line in the first moto knowing you had done the job…
Reisulis: Yes, it felt amazing for everyone and me also. We just worked a hard way for this moment, a couple of years of not being first and only getting silver and bronze medals. I tried to just do a consistent season. It had up and downs but I managed to get this and it means a lot to me.
GateDrop: Here at Matterley Basin, I mean that was just utter domination and probably the best you have rode all season. Can you talk me through your races?
Reisulis: The first moto, I still had a little bit of pressure because the championship was still not over yet. I just tried to do my best and get to the front as fast as possible, I did that and finished a mot without making any mistakes and won the championship. In the second moto, I didn’t have any pressure and felt how I do in training because the championship was over. I rode fast and every lap like a sprint lap, I think it was the best moto of my career.
GateDrop: Last year you were a rookie but this year coming into the season it was different as you were the heavy favourite for the championship. Did you feel any pressure coming into the season?
Reisulis: Yes, last year, I had no pressure as it was my rookie season, it was just about seeing what I could do. Coming into this season I knew everyone always expected me to always been in front so there was a little bit of pressure attached to that but I managed it. I think that sometimes when I was under pressure I did crash and make mistakes but it ended well.
GateDrop: At the start of the year the speed was already good but I think you were struggling from arm pump, have you ever struggled with much arm pump in the past or was it just this year sort of thing?
Reisulis: When the season had just begun, the pressure was more and from pressure I usually get arm pump more. The first couple of races I did get more arm pump but at the same time I was feeling really good with the track and the arm pump wasn’t there at times.
GateDrop: This season should really help you for the future, you now know you can perform and win under pressure and to have this championship under your belt, the future looks very bright…
Reisulis: Hopefully, yes and that this is just the beginning. I hope I can do my best in the future and work a hard way for that.
GateDrop: Just on Latvian Motocross, Pauls Jonass won an EMX125 title and sort of started this new Latvian generation. Now we have you and your Brother so it looks good for Latvian MX and the MXoN as well in the future…
Reisulis: In Latvia, the top riders are getting better and better. The Latvian team at the Motocross des Nations looks stronger and I am very happy to compete there also in France. I am really excited for that.
GateDrop: I assure you are mainly based in France with the MJC Yamaha team? What is that like being away from Latvia?
Reisulis: MJC Yamaha is French based team but I also work with Hamstra Racing team which is based in the Netherlands but I usually do my trainings in Latvia. Sometimes I go to France or Italy for engine tests.
GateDrop: How do you find racing all across Europe with different languages and cultures? In the future you’ll be all around the world as well…
Reisulis: It is a great feeling to travel all over the world. Different languages, seeing all the food and all kind of different things. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do this so I get to enjoy it as much as possible.
GateDrop: You work very closely with Roberts Justs a former MX2 GP rider, what is it like working with him and how much of a role has he played in your development?
Reisulis: He is probably the main reason why I am here at the top. He has helped me a lot already when I was a child riding a 65cc. I think he is one of the best trainers in the world, he has really helped me a lot.
GateDrop: Have you rode with a 250cc much in training yet to prepare for the MXoN and next year?
Reisulis: Yes, after Sweden I directly started to ride with the 250cc. You know, the first training was just riding, riding and after some trainings I was feeling a lot better on the bike. I am just getting ready for the Nations now and just stepped on the 125cc for the final round, this was my last race on the 125cc so now I’ll get back on the 250cc and train for the MXoN again.
GateDrop: How are you feeling on the 250cc so far? You are actually quite tall now compared to last year so the 250cc will probably suit you…
Reisulis: Yeah, the 250cc is a strong bike. It is something new, always when you get something new you get excited for that. I think the first race is going to be really good for me and especially the MXoN, I am really looking forward to it. During the trainings and looking at my Brother, I am fighting with him sometimes. I think I am not so bad (laughs).
GateDrop: For next year, have you any expectations for the EMX250 series? Even though you will be a rookie if you ride to the best of your ability I don’t see why you can’t challenge at the front…
Reisulis: You know, maybe not as much pressure as this year as I was obviously going for the title but I will also try my best to go for the title next year. It is not going to be easy, there are still a lot of strong guys there. Especially my Brother, I will do my best and see what I can do.
GateDrop: You didn’t battle with your Brother this year but next year are you looking forward to banging bars with him again and also as team mates again probably…
Reisulis: Wait for that… This year it has been fun seeing him on track and being at the front. Yes, he is at the front but the best way to see him is at the back, when he is being you (laughs). But it is really cool to fight with your brother.
GateDrop: You are so good you are probably itching to race the MX2 World Championship. Ideally when would you like to make the move up to MX2?
Reisulis: Probably if I have a good next season I will try and jump up to MX2 and race there. Maybe in the future also I will go to USA and race there. We will see what the future holds and how it turns out. I will do my best wherever I will be.
GateDrop: You mentioned America there, for the future what would the preference be – GP’s or America?
Reisulis: At the moment, it is too fast to think about that but now I probably want to race GP’s. When you look at the tracks in USA, it would be cool to race there.
GateDrop: And Supercross, do you watch that and be interested in racing it in the future?
Reisulis: I don’t really watch Supercross daily but there are some good and interesting fights between the top guys. I mean Supercross looks fun but also dangerous at the same time. That can affect your career but I will see about that.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Images: Nigel McKinstry