Interview part two: Sébastien Pourcel on Christophe, the FFM, coaching and more

Part two of our interview with Sébastien Pourcel is here as he discusses what it was like to have such a talented brother (Christophe Pourcel) racing during the same time, if he has any regrets about his career, the job the FFM are doing, his coaching and much more.

If you missed part one, you can read it here.

Gatedrop: Having such a talented brother in Christophe Pourcel, in a way was it tough having a brother so good?

Pourcel: Of course it’s never easy, because it’s your little brother, you want to be there at his side to take care of him and you are not focused enough on you. He was strong and a lot of people talked about him more than me so you are a little bit disappointed for yourself and happy for him – that’s life. You must fight for yourself and be the best as possible even if you have to fight against your little brother, that’s the more difficult bit but when you race together this guy must be only a rider like the other ones otherwise you’re not focused on your race. It came easier when I switched class in 2007, riding MX1 but my brother won World Championship and AMA Supercross 250 2 times so he’s better known than me and you are “the brother of”.  Now it’s done but never easy for 2 brothers to ride at the same time.

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Gatedrop: Your brother had a serious injury in Ireland, Moneyglass. At the time how difficult was that to take and did it scare you knowing those sort of things can happen?

Pourcel: You never think of that when you are riding at a top level otherwise you will lose 1 or 2 seconds a lap and that’s why I stopped my career. I was scared to crash and be paralyzed or tetraplegic. Before each jump I was saying “if you brake your engine, what happens?” then you know you have to stop. I can see so many riders have died got paralyzed or tetraplegic these last years and we have to find solutions for our sport and our passion because life is not only riding, you have a second life when you stop riding and it’s almost as exciting.

Gatedrop: Looking back at your career would you say you have any regrets and if so, what?

Pourcel: As I told you before I made so many mistakes and I was not strong enough in my head to be a world Champion. My career was too much “up and down” and it’s not possible at this level, I could win 2 moto’s one day and the day after have 2 DNF’s. After looking back on this, I think I needed somebody close to me to help me and a personal trainer to kick my ass when I was looking down because I didn’t want to listen to my dad and I can see now that was an error.

Pourcel in action at Desertmartin. Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: The FFM do a really good job these days, there’s so many young French riders coming through. Do you feel you got the same support as now a days or have they improved?

Pourcel: The FFM do a really good job, the Frence team could not win the Nations 5 times in row (2014 until 2018) without big support from the federation and really good work from Pascal Finot and his team working hard during all year for this event. And on the other side they work a lot on supporting young riders for the future and work is paying as you can see in the MX2 class with a lot of French riders and also in the European class. The support from the Federation changed the lasts few years, they changed plans and after a few difficult years you can see the results now.

Gatedrop: You focus on coaching now, how do you try and help the younger riders?

Pourcel: Yes, it’s a completely different life, I really enjoy it and try to help as best as possible the young riders with my experience. I am coaching some riders during all year and I do some coaching during different weekends.  As I described before I try to help them on the bike with a technical and physical training. I was a good technical rider and it helps me to teach this and I can still take a bike and show exercises. On the other side, I try to help with my experience from the high level and we work on the settings on the bike, lifestyle and people you need to reach your goal. You know you have to have a strong team with people you work on it. Everybody needs to be together in good and bad times. When your rider doesn’t win and it was the goal expected, everybody needs to question ourselves and then you grow up.

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Gatedrop: Looking at the MXGP world championship at the moment, how would you describe it and the job Infront are doing?

Pourcel: The level is wooooowwww! So many riders were world champ’s and the fight for the title is incredible. I really like to follow and watch all the GP’s. It’s fantastic, to watch racing all those world champions fighting together. It’s a shame that we’ve only had 2’s GP this year at the moment but there is something more important in our life and that’s to be healthy.
Concerning Infront, I think they are doing a really good job. You can see the level of the world Championship now, it’s unbelievable and I am sure they are also really happy to prove European riders are the best in motocross. A few years ago, American riders came to the Nations and won all the races, now it’s completely the opposite but they are still the best in Supercross.
They also try to develop our sport and go to  different countries and continents and that’s good for the motocross.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry