Interview: Mark Yates on EMX250 age rule and Pocock situation

The Revo Husqvarna team might have only just had their second year as a team but they’re already making the jump into the MX2 World Championship in 2019 with the signing of Dylan Walsh.

Mel Pocock is also staying with the team and was set to contest in the EMX250 series but due to the age rule he’s now too old to race in the series.

We caught up with team boss at Revo Husqvarna, Mark Yates to get his thoughts on it all.

Gatedrop: Mark, the news has come through about the EMX250 U23 rule change, that has left you and others in a difficult situation having signed riders over 23 for that class, what is your take on it all?

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Mark Yates: For sure, we have already agreed and signed a deal with Husqvarna AG to run Mel Pocock in 2019 and this has definitely thrown a spanner in the works!

Gatedrop: Where you given any notification, and what would your thoughts be on changing it to no age rule in MX2?

Mark Yates: The first rumour I heard was at Lyng on Sunday during the last round of the British Championship and then the confirmation email from Youthstream on Monday! With regard to the rule I believe it makes sense, but I don’t agree with the reasons. The 17 year old limit on 125 and now the 23 year age limit on 250 is ok but I think the MX2 ruling should be lifted and both the MX2 and MXGP classes should be treated as premier classes in their own right and not just the MXGP. Some top riders never transition to 450 and don’t carry the same success as they did on 250 (take Searle, Van Horbeek etc) so do you right them off? The concerns around MX2 being open age is that smaller teams would take a safer option on a mature rider opposed to a risk on a new and up and coming, thus hindering new talent but I don’t believe it would be as bad as people may believe.

Gatedrop: The most frustrating part about the rule must be that they’ve decided in October, if they announced it in June or July at least you’d have known well in advance?

Mark Yates: Exactly, you need a one year (season) notice period and not Mid October when plans are already confirmed and signed up!

Gatedrop: Obviously, you’ve just found out about the rule but would you say that restricts Pocock to only doing the British Championship and MX Nationals in 2019?

Mark Yates: It does leave us in a position with Mel. For now, there will only be the Maxxis as we do not have any plans for any other Domestic championship as a team. Having just completed plans for competing the 2019 World MX2 of 20 rounds, along with 8 rounds of the Maxxis creates a hectic schedule and little down time.

Gatedrop: Would you consider another rider for the EMX250 series since Pocock is too old for it now or is that a no go for you?

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Mark Yates: No, is the simple answer as our goal is MX2.

Gatedrop: A decision has also been made to create an EMX 2s class which is said to be for riders too old for MX2 but not quite good enough to be competitive in MXGP. What’s your thoughts on that? Considering you’re a 4 stroke team I guess it’s not ideal and a 4 stroke class would be better in terms for your team.

Mark Yates: You may as well call it a 2 stroke Vets Class! We cannot compete a British Championship on 250 four stroke and then go testing for the European on a 2 stroke. And let’s not forget, not all manufacturers make a 2 stroke!

Gatedrop: Overall the season has been very good statistically. Top three for Mel in MX2 British and EMX250 plus Martin Barr top five in MX2 and EMX250 and beating US champ Aaron Plessinger and his factory Yamaha on your Revo Husqvarna at the MXoN! How do your assess the year?

Mark Yates: We for sure have had a successful year with many podiums in both the British and European Championships which includes 3 of 7 overalls at the Maxxis. We have a solid team, a well-developed bike and motor which showed its worth at the MXON. Success comes from the commitment of the team members and riders, investment and maintaining focus on the plan set out! I could not be more proud of the entire team.

Gatedrop: You had been appearing to go to the MXGP class next year but have went to MX2 with Dylan Walsh instead, what caused the switch in focus?

Mark Yates: Focus hasn’t been switched. If both current riders were to stay involved, then MXGP would have been the only option due to age limits. During discussions for 2019, Husqvarna UK wanted us to stay focused as an MX2 team and along with the amount of time and money spent in development, it was the only way forward. Then discussions with KTM/Husqvarna AG started to take place around them wishing to place certain contracted riders with us so we naturally focused on MX2. We had previously had discussions with Dylan (Walsh) and his manager and felt Dylan had a lot to offer and we could support him for the next two years in MX2.

Gatedrop: Dylan Walsh made a good debut with the team at Lyng even winning a moto, you must be happy with how his debut went?

Mark Yates: Yes, very pleased with Dylans debut. We had one day in the week to get a suspension set up for him thanks to Karl at KAS and he thoroughly enjoyed and was pleased with the bike. He qualified sixth and went into that first moto with only 7 laps of Lyng under his belt. For him its placed a stake in the ground to show his ability to fellow competitors going into the 2019 Maxxis series!

Interview: Andy McKinstry/Jonathan McCready

Pic: Nuno