Interview: Max Vohland on EMX125 and MXGP

Young Max Vohland decided at the last minute to travel over from America to race the opening round of the EMX125 championship and honestly credit to him and his dad (Tallon, a former AMA and GP rider) for making the trip to race against the best youngsters in Europe. More young American should consider doing the same as riding the technical tracks in the GP’s can really help them when they go back to America.

Vohland didn’t have the best of debuts in the EMX125 championship but crashes didn’t help, he did show he had pretty good speed and will want to improve in the next two rounds of the series he’s set to race. The American won’t be going home in between as he’ll be riding tracks all over Europe which should help him become a more round better rider which is his goal.

We caught up with Vohland after Matterley Basin to discuss the EMX125 series as well as the MXGP class which is super stacked.

Gatedrop: Max, you’ve just made your racing debut in Europe racing the EMX125 class at Matterley Basin, you picked a wild one to start out on with the weather! Can you talk me through your races?

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Vohland: It was definitely an experience and an eye opener this weekend. Being here in England, I was expecting some rain. The track was super muddy for practice on Saturday and even in the first race. I had a pretty decent jump off the start in my first moto, I just got hammered with mud. I had to throw my goggles away before the first lap was even over, I even lost a glove as well. I was riding in sixth or seventh and got up to fifth battling for fourth. I just got backsided from a lapper at the back side of a jump and it roosted my eyes. I couldn’t see but I held it wide open until I went down. That was the end of the good run that I had going, I ended up finishing seventeenth. In the second moto I got off to a pretty good jump but made a small before going off the start straight, it hurt me but yeah, that’s racing.

Gatedrop: How did you find the track out there and how long have you been in Europe, have you rode many tracks like that since being here?

Vohland: No, we had three days of riding before we came here. I didn’t have much riding and I’ve never had anything like that. Especially the first day, that was the heaviest mud I’ve ever ridden and then today (Sunday), the track was super rough. There was pretty much two lines around the track and I’ve never ridden anything like that especially from the States.

Gatedrop: The tracks later in the year might even be rougher! But is that the whole idea of coming here, to ride the rougher tracks and to improve technically as a rider?

Vohland: That’s the whole goal of being over here, to ride super tough tracks in super tough conditions. When you ride something so gnarly and you go to America and you have some mud races, the mud races here are definitely gnarlier than the U.S. It’ll make it easier for me, the whole goal of being here is to ride rough tracks, really long moto’s and tough competition. I want to work on getting better.

Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: What’s your thoughts on the EMX125 class and the Amateur racing in the U.S., how does it compare?

Vohland: I would say the EMX125 is the top, the top of you can be. The competition is a lot stiffer here, longer moto’s and track conditions are way gnarlier.  You are racing the same track as the top guys so it’s pretty much a GP but a 125cc. There’s 125cc pro riders out there pretty much.

Gatedrop: There’s not really been any official plans but do you know yet how many rounds of this series you’ll be doing this year?

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Vohland: I will be doing Spain and Portugal. We will see about doing France or not but those are the two we are focusing on doing.

Gatedrop: If you like the series and do well, will you consider doing the full series or have you commitments back in the U.S.?

Vohland: We are pretty committed with America. Supercross is number one priority for racing so most likely we will be in America. I think even after this year and we get on a 250cc, we might come back and do some MX2 races before Hangtown to prepare myself for the Nationals. The goal is to go pro, not this year but next year in 2021.

Gatedrop: There’s an EMX250 round at Valkenswaard this weekend, have you any plans to race it?

Vohland: Yeah, EMX125 only. We’ve barely had enough time to organise this program. It would be cool but we just don’t have the program in place.

Gatedrop: You’ve just watched the MXGP class – what’s your thoughts on that series? It’s stacked!

Vohland: Yeah (laughs). You watch those guys and man, you can’t even believe they’re going that fast around the track. Hopefully I can be there some day.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry