Interview: Josse Sallefranque comments on the Rubini split and plans for 2024

Since now a few days, Stephen Rubini is not anymore member of team Ship To Cycle Honda Motoblouz SR. The French vice champion wanted to go racing in the United States of America, and the team released him from his contract after the last round of the French championship.

Josse, it’s not often that a rider leaves a team in the middle of the season, what happened with Stephen Rubini?

When we signed Stephen, who had to move to the 450 class this season due to the age limit in GP, the deal was to compete in the Elite first, then the GPs not falling in competition of dates. He competed in a few MXGPs but in fact he had a lot more fun in Elite than in GP. On the other hand, he dreamed to go to the United States one day, and as he did not take pleasure in MXGP, it was more and more in his head and he wanted to move there as soon as possible. He asked us if we could help him, but with our commitments in Motocross and in sand racing this was not possible. That said, we were accommodating in terminating his contract early once the Elite ended, so that he could live his dream. We had an excellent relationship for almost two seasons and there was no question of blocking him.

As a former rider you understand this American dream?

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I understand his dream, but it won’t be easy because it’s very hard to make a living from it in the United States, especially if you don’t race supercross. Going to do some races there is one thing, staying there seems more complicated to me, but once again, it’s his choice.

The team is now focusing on Valentin and Emil in the World Championship?

Yes, it’s true that with our busy schedules, concentrating on two riders in GP is more stable, three riders was complicated. We should stay next year with two riders in the GP’s, and maybe we will have a youngster to compete in the European Championship.

A quick word on the Elite Championship?

Super happy, the goal was to be champion and we did even better, since we finished first and second with Valentin and Stephen!

Let’s talk about the sand, the championship will start in less than three months, who will race for the team?

Cyril Genot and Lars Van Berkel stay with us for the sand, like last year. Some may have some questions seeing Lars riding in other countries under other colors, the deal with this ‘globe trotter’ that we cannot follow in all his adventures is that he will join us in August to start the preparation for the French sand championship.

Words: Press Release

Image: Mediacross