Interview: Nathalie Fasé on F&H Racing and 2019

There’s not too many women involved in teams within the GP paddock. However, Nathalie Fasé who’s the daughter of the team owner at the F&H Racing team has seen her step in as team manager of the team.

The F&H Racing team kept things small at the start but gradually every year they get bigger and bigger. The team managed to secure support from Kawasaki in 2018 as they go from strength to strength.

The team also have an exciting rider line up for 2019 with Henry Jacobi and Adam Sterry contesting the MX2 World Championship with Roan Van de Moosdijk taking on the EMX250 series – he’ll want to win that title before moving up to MX2 in 2020.

We caught up with Nathalie so she could tell us more about her role within the team, how the team has grew and much more.

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Gatedrop: Nathalie, there’s not so many women in the GP paddock involved within teams etc. Can you just tell me your role within the team and explain what you do for the people that aren’t aware? What’s a GP weekend like for you – busy I can imagine?

Nathalie Fasé: No, that is indeed true but that makes my role maybe even more special in this mx world. I am the daughter of the team owner. I grew up between mx bikes and next to my own company in the wedding industry and our family company where I work for I am the team manager of F & H Racing Team. For me the team is a company where we set high goals and requirements to realise our dream and not it’s not just a hobby.

I coordinate the entire team from rider to staff every day, from closing deals/contracts with sponsors and riders, purchasing products, scheduling the agenda together with our mx and physical trainers, booking flights and hotels, arranging the flight cases, transport, make sure we keep testing, looking for improvement with my brother who is also a mechanic, to guiding the entire team during the races and events.

Gatedrop: The F&H Racing team started quite small and continues to improve each and every year, do you think that’s the correct approach? As sometimes teams can do to much too soon…

Nathalie Fasé: Yes, of course, that has been a very conscious choice. As I indicated, my family has been active within the motocross since day 1 and many years before we started the F&H Racing Team we have supported many riders who participated at the Dutch Masters and GP’s. When we started the team we knew immediately: it is all or nothing, for us there is nothing in between.

We started in the EMX125 class with the main goal being one of the better GP teams in the future in the MX2 class on the paddock. With the aim of competing for the title. That is the only goal you have to have otherwise you don’t even have to start and invest so much time and money. Every year everything becomes more professional, bigger, better within the team and we show more and more that our Kawasaki can be at the front! This was our first official year in the MX2 class and we were on the podium with Jed (Beaton) after only 5 races and we were constantly in the top 10.

Pic: Ray Archer

Gatedrop: The team have announced an exciting rider line up for 2019 with Henry Jacobi and Adam Sterry in MX2 with Roan Van de Moosdijk in EMX250. You must be excited for the 2019 with such an exciting line up and what’s your goals from the riders?

Nathalie Fasé: Yes, we can’t wait. The first tests are done with the riders and everyone is very motivated. It is very nice to see how enthusiastic the riders are about our new engine and bike set ups and the boys just started their heavy training program for the winter in RedSand. If all puzzle pieces fall into place this winter we will hopefully surprise you guys.

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We have gathered a lot of great people in our team, a great tuner, good trainers, a fine group of mechanics who are fully committed to it and together they are chasing our dream!

Gatedrop: I’d have quite liked to see Van de Moosdijk race MX2 but the team made the decision for him to contest EMX250. What’s the reason for that and will he get the chance to race some MX2 races that don’t collide?

Nathalie Fasé: Roan is still young and has enough time for the MX2 GP class. We are a new team for him, with a new structure and give Roan in his first year the chance to fight what he has worked hard for last year already. If the schedule allows us, we will ride an MX2 GP with Roan, but our goal is to have as many EMX podiums as possible and try to fight for the EMX title together with Kawasaki.

Gatedrop: Towards the end of the season, Ruben Fernandez left the team, from your side what was the reason for that?

Nathalie Fasé: I do not think it’s appropriate to talk about this online. Our roads are separated in good consultation. We have achieved great things together, like being 3rd overall in the EMX250 championship in 2017 and some nice podiums, but sometimes the roads separate, and that is better. There are no hard feelings and we wish Ruben all the best in his future career.

Gatedrop: Marc de Reuver started working with the team this season. How did that all come about, and he looks to be doing a great job. He helped Beaton before his injury and Sterry improved with him in just a few months!

Nathalie Fasé: For a long time we were looking for a good trainer, and we had our eye on Marc De Reuver, who at that time worked together with Pauls Jonass where they won the world title that year. You understand that we considered our chance small that he would leave there, but nothing was less true and Marc was on the phone to come and talk. It did not take long before everything was fixed. We are very happy with Marc’s commitment and professionalism. The entire team must be a winner, and he certainly is, because if someone is driven then he is. Marc is one of the many pieces that have to be on point to get the best out of our boys. When the boys surrender to it and trust in our plan and we all work hard, you see that they are making great progress!

Pic: Ray Archer

Gatedrop: Just on Sterry and Jacobi – next year it’s their last year in the MX2 World Championship, what do you expect from them in 2019?

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Nathalie Fasé: We expect podiums from our MX2 boys in their final year. They have what it takes and it is time that it comes out! With a good winter, motivated attitude and our new bike, all ingredients the are in house. They have to give 200%, and show what they’ve got. It is not easy to get an MXGP ride in 2020, but if they show what they’ve got, I am pretty confident!

Gatedrop: Not only do you have to worry about the F&H riders during the races but also your boyfriend Davy Pootjes too! Watching must get quite stressful sometimes?

Nathalie Fasé: Yes, 4 men to take good care of during a race and to watch. That is sometimes quite busy, but that is my job. I love this sport, of course my heart goes wild when the boys start, and I am full of adrenaline and I want them to ride well, but the greatest gift is take everyone back home safely after a fantastic weekend with good results!

Gatedrop: Davy has had a tough times with injuries and picked up yet another injury towards the end of the season, how did he cope mentally with the injury? It must have been tough to deal with!

Nathalie Fasé: Yes, that’s right, Davy hasn’t had it easy since 2015.  There was a lot of pressure on his shoulders and unfortunately he was unlucky with a lot of injuries so the pleasure in riding was hard to find. That has been a mental blow, but since the beginning of this year, he has only become stronger mentally.

He was for a long time 9th in the world championship and showed good results this season. His talent and willpower are still there and he is still very young,  which ensures that there are still plenty of beautiful years waiting for him.  Davy has gathered a group of good and professional people around him, so we look forward to the future and can’t wait for the season to start in 2019!

Gatedrop: What’s the plans for the team for the future? Do you always seem the team being in MX2 or could MXGP be an option for the team too?

Nathalie Fasé: Our plans are pretty clear, competing every weekend for the podium and in the future for the title in the MX2 class. We don’t go for less. It is a long way, but certainly achievable with the right people and material. MXGP is currently not something we are working on but you never know what the future will bring.

Gatedrop: What’s your thoughts on the 2019 MXGP calendar? There’s a lot of oversea GP’s, as someone involved within a team what’s your thoughts on them? They’re expensive and tougher for the lower down teams..

Nathalie Fasé: To be honest, I have no problems with it. We have arranged everything pretty well, F&H Crone, BTSI, Kawasaki, Merwestaal, van Noordennestaal and a lot of other great sponsors are behind us and we do not have to worry if there is a oversea GP more or less on the calendar. I can imagine that some of the smaller teams are getting it more difficult, because it is a decent financial budget that you should have available to make it all possible. But as I said, as a private team we look forward to the new season, we are happy to start 2019 with our boys on a beautiful track where we finished 5th overall this year in Argentina and we look forward to a fantastic year together with our entire crew!

Thanks for this interview Andy!

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Ray Archer