Interview: Paul Malin – voice of MXGP
Off Road Pro racing caught up with the voice of MXGP, Paul Malin, a couple of weeks ago to find out how the former GP and MXoN winner got into the sport and into commentating. Tune in this weekend to MXGP TV as Malin leads the world championship into another year of fantastic racing with his expert commentary for the 15 consecutive season.
A passionate father, a practicing older brother, a similar beginning to many, how old were you when you started?
“My first motorcycle arrived on a Christmas day, I was 3 years old and it was 1975. It was a small Italjet 50cc automatic – we called it ‘Bambino’, but I’m not sure if it was called that in Italy too. I ran the first race 24 hours later, on Boxing Day. I won three 50cc national championship titles in a row, 1978, ’79 and ’80 in motocross and grass track. By now I was racing with an 80cc Yamaha frame and with a 50cc Fantic engine. At the end of 1980, Kawasaki UK contacted my father to say they were setting up the Team Green program, and they wanted me to be a part of it. This determined the direction my racing career would take. If Kawasaki had not contacted my father with this sponsorship proposal, then for sure we would have followed the grass track route and into speedway. Financially, it was not possible to continue with both MX and grass track, so the timing of this deal was perfect.”
With Kawasaki you built your youth career, how did you continue?
“During my schoolboy career between 1981 and 1988 I was fully supported by Kawasaki, winning multiple championship titles. From 1989 to 1992, my professional career continued with Kawasaki. In 1990 I rode my first season in the 500cc World Championship, aged 18, finishing 11th overall. In 1991 I finished 4th overall in the 500cc world championship. Getting 3 victories and 2 podiums, winning the French GP, becoming the youngest ever winner in 500cc. In 1992 I was racing in the 250 and suffered many injuries during the season; in 1993 I signed for Yamaha and in 1994 I won the Motocross of Nations with Team Great Britain and I went 1-1 in 125cc. In 1995 I moved up to the 125cc class full time and it was a proud moment to win my home GP at Foxhill – possibly the best track in Europe at that time. I retired from racing in 2000 with a back injury after a crash in a pre-season race. But, every cloud has a silver lining, and at the end of 2000, I entered the world of TV as a co-presenter and co-commentator of the UK Arenacross series.”
Hanging up your helmet, you got behind the microphone, continuing to collect successes there too.
“From 2001 – 2007 I was announcing the national youth championship races from the tower at the circuit, as well as presenting the British Championship in front of camera. I also made some guest appearances for the world championship on Eurosport, as the ‘expert’ ex-rider; like a pundit, if you like. In the middle of 2008, the opportunity came to work with Youthstream (now Infront Moto Racing).