Interview: Philip McCullough – Ireland’s new team manager!
Former British championship competitor and multi-time Irish and Ulster champion, Philip McCullough, is Ireland’s new MXON team manger for 2016. McCullough of course has represented Ireland at the Nations a number of times himself as a rider as well as being team manager for his Moto One race teams a few years ago.
It gives McCullough experience from both sides of the fence and the respect from the three riders who saw McCullough’s speed and determination during his career. In fact, McCullough was on the Irish team at Martin Barr’s MXON debut at Ernee, France in 2005!
We caught up with Philip to get his thoughts on his new role, and discover the various responsibilities that come with being team manager for team Ireland.
Gatedrop: You are team manager for Ireland this year, how did that come about and did you instantly accept the role?
Philip McCullough: At the first Irish motocross commission meeting I attended after being selected as one of the five members from the north, one of the first topics was to select a new MXON’s team manager and all other nine members of the commission were agreed that they would like me to fill the position and I agreed to it. After representing my country at all levels throughout my career I guess the only accolade I hadn’t got on my CV was to manage my country which has to be my proudest achievement being Ireland Team Manager.
Gatedrop: What are your expectations for the team in Italy?
Philip McCullough: I would have to say this is my ‘Dream Team’ and with the form all three riders are in at the minute I’m looking forward to a safe and successful result in Maggiora.
Gatedrop: What is involved in your role and what do you feel that you can bring to the team?
Philip McCullough: I’ve taken on all roles for the trip just so I have no-one else to blame if things aren’t done, from booking flights, accommodation, car hire and sorting out all the itinary for the trip. Also, I’ve been working very closely with FOX Europe and they agreed to make full kits for the riders as all of them are supported riders this year. Helmet design was also a task I took on alongside Ryan Burnside from RBD as well as ordering, not just the teams paddock wear but also Team Ireland clothing items that will be available and for sale to the public in Italy, I must thank Timmy and the crew at Moto Graphix for their help and involvement. I like to liase closely with any riders I’m involved with, I’ve had great discussions and feedback with Graeme, Martin and Stuart leading up to this event to make sure they are happy with my ideas. At trackside I hope I can also help them in any way possible but I know the three guys are true professionals and are honoured to represent their country. I would like to thank all the support and sponsorship I have received for the team as this is invaluable to make the trip possible.
Gatedrop: How is your relationship with Graeme Irwin after a bit of a public fall out before Latvia two years ago?
Philip McCullough: Graeme and I have a massive history from my years managing and sponsoring him when I ran my MotOne team back in 2007 and 2008. People only get to hear the negative publicity but myself and Graeme have nothing but respect for each other and obviously now after hearing the true story and facts about what happened with the Latvia situation I can understand Graeme’s decision and admire him for this.
Gatedrop: At the moment do you know if this will be a one year thing or is there a chance you will remain the team manager for 2017?
Philip McCullough: If the commission members and people involved in the selection of the team manager are happy with the way I manage the team this year and conduct myself, I’m sure I would consider doing this position again. I’m well below my budget which is good. Let’s just hope my ‘Dream Team’ have a safe and successful result in Italy.
Interview: Andy McKinstry / Jonathan McCready