Interview: Marcel Hartman (MXGP Rookies)

It’s clear that Youthstream really do care about the kids in the sport and helping there development. With opportunities such as the EMX150 championship and the YZ125 National Cup where the winners of these championships can secure a rider in the GP paddock.

The MXGP Rookies project is also focused on the talented kids of today and helping with their development. They are currently working with top EMX125 and EMX250 riders to get them ready for the season ahead.

We decided to sit down and catch up with the MXGP rookie coach, Marcel Hartman to find out exactly what goes on within the academy behind closed doors.

Gatedrop: Can you tell me more about the MXGP rookie’s academy and what they’re all about?

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Marcel Hartman: The MXGP Rookies program is a program that is run at Papendal, an olympic training centre in Arnhem. At Papendal there are a lot of programs in different sports, where the athletes live at the training centre.

The athletes train, eat, sleep and go to school at Papendal, so this is very efficient. Because of this system a lot of sports that are run like this, have good results because of that. So we wanted to try if this system is also usable for motocross. At first it was a program through the KNMV, but then there came the connection with Youthstream, FIM, FIM Europe (MXGP Academy). With a German and a Belgian rider we are looking for the possibility in the future for creating a training program for riders from abroad.

Gatedrop: You must be happy that the MXGP have selected you to coach the next up and coming stars?

Marcel Hartman: They chose the KNMV for running this program and I am the head coach for the KNMV, but it is very nice to be leading a program like this. I am very curious to see what will happen in the future.

Gatedrop: When you are coaching the kids, what areas do you try to work on?

Marcel Hartman: It is a total package were we are working on (school, sport, personal), but the biggest area for the kids at this age is the physical development and to prepare them for riding a dirt bike effectively.

Gatedrop: The MXGP Academy have worked with the likes of Rene Hofer, Jago Geerts and Ivano Van Erp etc do you predict a big future for these kids?

Marcel Hartman: I personally did not work with Rene Hofer or Jago Geerts, until the MXGP Rookies project I worked only with Dutch up and coming riders. I have worked with Ivano van Erp and I think he shows some potential at this moment, but there are a lot of steps to take. But hopefully he can develop himself in the next couple of years and become a great rider.

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Gatedrop: Out of all the kids that you have worked with, who do you think that can go on and achieve the most in their careers?

Marcel Hartman: The riders that the KNMV is working with or have worked with, most people will already know I think. But riders that the KNMV worked with are Herlings, Coldenhoff, Bogers, Pootjes, Vaessen, Vlaanderen, vd Vlist, Corneth, vd Ven, vd Moosdijk etc.

At this moment we work with boys and kids like Dankers, Meuwissen, Conijn, Karssemakers, de Wolf, Smulders, van Erp,etc. I think that these kids, with the right steps, can achieve a high level.

Gatedrop: Youthstream have made big changes to the paddock, are you a fan of what they are doing? (talk about good and bad things)

Marcel Hartman: I think in general, Youthstream is doing a good job with the structure and exposure of MXGP, but it is a shame that the costs for the organisers, teams and the public are so high.

Gatedrop: They are trying to bring new people into the sport by having races like Assen, are you a fan of these kind of tracks/facilities?

Marcel Hartman:  I am a fan of old school racing, but for bringing new people into the sport it is important to have races like that. The facilities at these kind of circuits are really good and it also brings a kind of excitement with it. For me, if it is one or two times a year then I am fine with it.

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Gatedrop: The level is very high in MXGP, do you think this is the highest level we have ever seen?

Marcel Hartman: A GP is always on a high level, also back in the old days, but for this year the MXGP is really on a high level. But I think it also has to do with the development of the sport itself, everything is more professional (bikes,physical,mental,etc) and the gaps are small. A rider has to be on his ‘A’ game, if he wants to be little bit better than the others.

Gatedrop: What is your opinion about the age rule in the MX2 World Championship?

Marcel Hartman: I would prefer no age limit in the MX2 series. Some careers are ended because there are riders that have a big difficulty in adapting to the MXGP bike.

Photos: Jarno Schurgers