Interview: Miro Sihvonen on his injury, recovery, career so far and the future!

Martin Plesník decided to catch up with Miro Sihvonen after the talented rider got injured earlier in the year which ended his season.

The young and talented Finnish rider Miro Sihvonen who was leading EMX250 earlier this year speaks through the season, the reason why we can’t see him at the tracks at the moment, about no contract for the next year.

Miro, it‘s obvious that the season has ended earlier for you, tell us why we won‘t see you at the tracks even on trainings for a while?

Miro Sihvonen: So, obviously it’s been a while since you guys have seen me and the reason for that is that unfortunately I picked up another bad injury again caused by bad luck. It happened straight after the round in Portugal – I hurt my knee but the recovery is going well and for sure you will see me next year going for it!

This article continues below

But the 2017 started pretty well, didn‘t it?

Miro Sihvonen:  The season started quite perfectly I would say. After two rounds of the EMX I was twice on the podium and had a solid points lead in the EMX250 class and I was also leading the ADAC Younsters Cup by max points until the fatal second moto of the second round in Jauer. Everyone knows that I dislocated my shoulder there but what people don’t realize is that it wasn’t the serious part. The serious issue that i was struggling since then all year long was the nerve injury that i got from it which basically meant that my other arm was almost “paralized” and I couldn’t use it but i was still able to knock on the door of top ten positions as it was healing slowly. That was for sure the toughest injury that i ever had, physically and mentally because no one understood what it is.

This information isn’t new for me but I guess so that some people will be pretty surprised and will truly understand how tough it had to be for you. But let’s come back in time for a while. After a not so great start in the 2nd heat during the MXGP of Europe in Valkenswaard you were able to come from behind and at the end of the race you pretty easily passed Jago Geerts and got the heat win (also overall), at the finish line you sent some kiss, for who was it?

Miro Sihvonen: Do i have to answer that? (laugh)

No you surely don’t have to answer, so let’s go for another question.

(Interrupted by Miro): Naaah, okay it was like…you know something else, not always the same fist pump or things which everyone does and i thought it would look cool. It was kiss for the crowd, I should say.

You also had to do some interviews after the race, is it difficult to make an interview and find some words just a few seconds after you finish a really tough race in a deep sand?

Miro Sihvonen: Well it should not be that big problem because you just tell how the race went from your own perspective, but that’s why it’s also difficult cause I don’t remember those things straight after the race (laugh) and also because on a heavy track like that you are just out of breath.

This article continues below

This I can understand, But in Valkenswaard you went 1-1, it must have been a very difficult decision to not ride the next round in Kegums when you were the red plate holder…

Miro Sihvonen: It was not difficult at all because it was simply impossible! The week before Kegums i did pretty much 24/7 rehab and that physio stuff with all different exercises, massages, heat therapy, electric shock device, but nothing helped…and also the ligaments of my shoulder were so loose after only one week so it wasn’t stable at all without any strength in it. In Kegums my whole arm was just completely paralized as I wasn’t even able to shake a hand with people. Despite all that with the finnish SISU and craziness i started my practise bike at 6.00 am on a track near Kegums to try if i could ride. I tried for so long but was worthless. I remember I was just screaming and crying inside my helmet.

Pic: Martin Plesnik

My god, that’s quite emotional story. I have to ask you, do you feel any different when you can’t ride? What‘s a week for Miro Sihvonen like when he’s an MX rider and how is it now?

Miro Sihvonen: I feel so empty all the time…like a piece of me which is more than half of me is missing. Normally my week basically looks like: eat, sleep, train, repeat and hangout with friends when I can a bit. Now I cannot even train properly and it’s all about the rehab…I also got a small job now in my home motor clubs cafeteria just to do something and get some money.

As I know you grauduated earlier this year, what type of school did you study? How difficult is it studeying especially when you spend most of the year in another country?

Miro Sihvonen: Yes, I graduated last spring from a business college and to be honest it wasn’t that difficult cause in this school they were so understanding and flexible. During the first year I was put into a special class where all the real athletes can go, so actually I didn‘t have that much stress from school and could focus on what’s important. I owe a big thanks to this school

What are your hobbies and interests (Even though I know there isn´t much time for them)?

Miro Sihvonen: I like to do just all kinds of sports and I do quite a lot of enduro riding for an MX guy. But honestly I don’t even follow any other sports or stuff than motocross, I just don’t find it that interesting. But yea it’s not just for fun (enduro), I also do it as a real bike training during the winter time.

This article continues below

That´s what I had on my mind – as I know in Finland there is a really big tradition in enduro, haven’t you ever thought about this discipline? Have you ever tried any race just for fun?

Miro Sihvonen: I have thought about it but I want to make it in motocross cause that’s my passion number 1. And no I haven´t tried.

Well now its impossible to not ask, why is a motocross the best sport for you?

Miro Sihvonen: Well, I guess because it was the first real sport I ever tried when I was only 3,5 years old and I just had the passion for it before even trying it just from watching it. Back then it was just so much fun but nowadays I just love the adrenaline and “spanking” my body (laugh).

In every class when you were a rookie in the EMX classes you did a really good job (2014: EMX125 – 12th, JWC – 10th, 2016: EMX250 – 6th), a lot of guys struggle during the first year in a higher class, but you don’t seem too? Did you make any special winter preparation for the new classes or was it only because of you were already too big and heavy for a smaller bike?

Miro Sihvonen: I guess a simple reason for it is that I have had some experience with those bikes before moving up. But I wouldn’t say I wasn’t struggling though (laugh) and also good old hard work and good preparation help a lot.

In 2015 you scored 2 heat wins (Arco di Trento, Valkenswaard) and one overall win in the 2nd round – Valkenswaard. You finished the EMX season in 5th. In Valkenswaard you had 2 awesome battles with Jorge Prado when you were in both heats seperated by less than 1,5s; do you remember these fights? How does it feel that this guy is right now fighting for MX2 wins?

Miro Sihvonen: Yes, I do remember those funny battles on the 125 when I had to work so hard on the bike to keep it moving cause of my size and weight (laugh). When I see these guys who were/are my rivals I’m not like, oh shit he’s already there, it just gives me the confidence and kind of “permission” to do it by myself. Cause if those guys can do it, why can’t I?

At the JWC you finished as a 7th, but at this part of the season you were already too big for 125cc, was it difficult to handle 125cc there, especially on really tough track?

Miro Sihvonen: Well, I was still almost the same size but I remember that I had so good speed in the preparation for that race but in the race then I was riding so bad. I was like blocked cause I wanted to win so bad so it turned around and wasn’t good at all. I think back that I let the stress get the better of me.

When we talk about stress, most of the people dont trust me (outside of MX) when I say that this sport is a lot about the head, what do you think about it? Do you have any mentally preparation or psychologist?

Miro Sihvonen: This sport is so mental, that’s for sure. But I think that’s normally my strength. I prepare myself by imaginating different race simulations and laps.

In 2016 you started the EMX250 series with not the best of results at one of your favourite tracks in Valkenswaard, but then it was a really consistant year and 6th place overall at the end was really impressive during your rookie season, were you satisfied with your results? All the guys who finished in front of you (except Kevin Wouts) got an MX2 ride for 2017, was it a bit demotivating?

Miro Sihvonen: The reason for the bad result back then was the injury in my wrist so I couldn’t ride for four weeks and I had to race without time on the bike and injection in my arm so considering that, it was good. Yes I was really satisfied with the result in the championship but actually I didn’t even wanna move up yet after that year.

Ah…I see, thanks for an explanation! Last year you rode for the first time MXON. I guess that’s the dream of most of the riders, how did it feel to race on such a big event as a teenager?

Miro Sihvonen: As a matter of fact I’ve raced in the event twice already! The first time was in 2015 as a 16 years old 125 rider on a 350sx-f. But yes, everything about that event is unreal. The track is always on point, the crowd is amazing and just the atmosphere over there. Such a bummer I cannot represent my country this year on one of my favourite track of the whole world.

Oh thanks for correcting me, we are only people. Well, when I look back on your results around Europe you’ve scored your best finishes in a deep sand tracks, do you like them most? What are your favourite tracks? Are there any tracks where you’ve never been but you would like to ride?

Miro Sihvonen: Yea I guess that’s true, but my favourite type is midsand and I like loose and grippy hard pack with alot of ruts. So I’d say one of my favourites are Kegums and Matterley Basin. I want to ride on the GP track of Argentina in the future.

Is there any rider that you look up to and why?

Miro Sihvonen: There are few of them. Like Cairoli, Herlings, Roczen. But I guess the one who I look up to the most is Ryan Dungey. I just admire his pure hard work and humble personality.

What is the highlight of your career? I mean the moment, the special moment which you won‘t ever forget…

Miro Sihvonen: For sure there are somethings I’m proud of and won´t ever forget but I think my highlight is still coming up.

What are your plans for 2018? What would you like to ride (series/s) and what are your goals for this season? Have you got any team to ride for or are you a free rider?

Miro Sihvonen: At the moment we have no clue about it so I’d say I’m free. I want to do MX2 but if it’s not possible I will just have to stay in EMX250. If I ride the same class my goals are the same as this year.

And that’s?

Miro Sihvonen: To win? (laugh) What do u think?

Well that’s quite high goal but you are surely able to make it if your health is gonna be alright. You have got your birthday soon, what would you wish to get?

Miro Sihvonen: I will be able to achieve it if the rehab goes well and I can get soon enough on the bike. And yes I do but I have no wishes… other than that I hope everything is gonna be alright and I´m gonna get on bike asap.

That’s what I thought so. Thanks a lot for the nice and deep interview, wish you the best of luck for the next season and future career, mainly stay healthy. Now is the time when you can say thanks to the all people who you would like to say it.

Miro Sihvonen: Thank you and yes, that’s the most important part. I’d like to say big thanks to those people who have supported me in these tough times and not forgotten me (you Martin – laugh) and the doctors who have put me back together. In the times like this you see who the real friends are, there ain’t many of them.