Interview: Larissa Papenmeier talks the level of WMX, her career and future

Larissa Papenmeier has been racing the WMX series from the very start and is still in the paddock racing doing what she loves which is great to see. The German hasn’t had the best start to the season for her standards but the latest round of the series in France was a big step in the right direction finishing fifth overall.

We caught up with Papenmeier to discuss the level of WMX, her career and how long she may continue racing for.

GateDrop: Larissa, it hasn’t been the best start of the season for you but not a complete disaster either, probably average but here in France was a big step in the right direction. You must be happy with how you rode at two very different tracks?

Papenmeier: For sure, I mean the beginning of the season wasn’t good at all. It was a tough pre-season, let’s say it like that so I was happy I could even start the first two rounds. I didn’t expect anything there but then everything started to get better and the results are coming. The speed is there but I just need to put it together. I mean the starts were good this weekend and I felt good on the track. For sure, yesterday the track was tough, so you needed to know what line to take. Today, it was completely flat so it is a bit of a pity that we are always riding Sunday morning on a flat track but I guess it is the same for everybody. I wasn’t too happy with today but am happy with the overall result. The riding is getting better so now I am looking forward to Arnhem in the sand, we have almost a three months break so we’ll get ready for that one.

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GateDrop: You touched on a tough pre-season for yourself, can you just elaborate on that?

Papenmeier: It was just with the weather here in Europe, I mean we went to Spain and then came back but it was almost impossible to ride anywhere. We tried to find some tracks but every time we rode it was just survival because it was so deep and wet. You couldn’t get the speed, just looking for lines and sure, you get some fitness but you aren’t getting the speed you have to have for the GP’s.

GateDrop: Just on WMX, watching from the side-lines, it looks so fast this year and a lot of young talented kids, maybe the most difficult it’s ever been?

Papenmeier: For sure, I mean back in the days it was also pretty fast. If you look back really far back there were big names but for sure this year it has gotten faster. It is good that the young ones are coming because they have been missing the last years. It was also the older ones let’s say, riding at the front. It’s good for the young ones but it has to be, the Women’s need to make a step forward.

Image: Infront Moto Racing

GateDrop: With it being so tough, it makes the start more important than even and fortunately they were good here in France for you but you’ll keep wanting to get good starts…

Papenmeier: For sure, it can only get better I guess (laughs).

GateDrop: Anything to work on with the big break – a lot of sand riding, I guess?

Papenmeier: I am going to ride almost all sand I guess because in Germany for the German championship we also have sand races so that fits pretty good. I will do some hard pack but mostly sand.

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GateDrop: You’ve been racing WMX since the very start and you aren’t getting any younger, in terms of motivation, do you just try and have fun now or what is your outlook like?

Papenmeier: For sure I am motivated. If you aren’t motivated you are on the wrong place here I guess. It’s not like we only take it for fun but we have to have fun riding because if you don’t have fun it doesn’t work. Sure, it is tough, I am not getting any younger, I agree but go out there to have fun and just make the best out of it.

GateDrop: When you look back at your long career, what stands out and are you happy with what you achieved in the sport? You never won a WMX title but it isn’t exactly easy and you had some amazing days too…

Papenmeier: Well, I am happy with what I achieved, for sure. We do it off by heart, we aren’t doing it like any other background because we go to work. It is tough to ride against the top ten that just race and that is all they have to think about. I always thought about the future and have been thinking about it, work is important. In German the sport isn’t supported that good so that you can just ride a dirtbike because the tracks aren’t open anyway in the morning. So that is why I go to work and then in the afternoon I try to find a track that I can ride and do my fitness programme. With that, I am happy with what I achieved and the support that I have from my family, mechanic, his wife and my boyfriend supporting me. That is the most important thing.

GateDrop: Just looking ahead to the future, could there be a few years left yet or just taking it year by year?

Papenmeier: (laughs) I just take it year by year because I think it’s already eight years ago since I said: one more year… so, I am not saying anything anymore. I will see. The problem is that always at the last race I do good, so then you won’t stop, you know. If I am doing not good, then I will probably think it’s okay now. But every time at the last race like last year in Turkey, I am finishing second or third, then you think, let’s carry on!

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Images: Infront Moto Racing