Irish MXoN Stories: Stuart Edmonds

Stuart Edmonds has represented Ireland many many times at the highest level – nine times he’s contested the event so he knows a thing or two about the Motocross Des Nations. If it wasn’t for injuries the Irish rider would have more than likely been at the event on more occasions as well.

If selected this year, it’ll be Edmonds tenth time racing the event – what a milestone that would be. We decided to catch up with him to get his thoughts on the event and more.

Gatedrop: What year(s) did you represent Ireland at the Motocross Des Nations and at what tracks/countries?

Edmonds: I have been lucky enough to represent my country a few times and also to be picked consecutively every year since my first MXON’s. It’s a great feeling of achievement but the years I didn’t attend were due to injury. The races I contested the event are as follows:

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2008 Donington Park
2010 Thunder Valley, Colorado, USA
2011 St Jean D’angely, France
2012 Lommel, Belgium
2014 Kegums, Latvia,
2015 Ernee, France
2016 Maggiora, Italy
2017 Mattery Basin, UK
2019 Assen, Netherlands

Gatedrop: The first time you got the call to represent Ireland at this event, how did it feel to get selected?

Edmonds: The first time I got the call was an amazing feeling and believe it or not I still get that wonderful feeling to date, it never gets old. It’s possibly one of the greatest calls that can come to represent your country in motocross. It’s a childhood dream that all kids in motocross want to achieve. Some get used to the call up over the years but for me I still get the goose bump feelings in the arms and rush of blood to the head with a second wind of motivation added onto the year, it’s just great!

Pic: Adriano Dondi

Gatedrop: What top riders were you up against from other countries to give people an idea of the level – do you remember which nation and individual riders that won (also who were your Irish team mates)?

Edmonds: I couldn’t tell you who won last year (laughs). My main focus is always to do my best and to get the team the best position we can so anything else I kind of disregard as important. I am really focused on team Ireland only.  I have raced against a lot of the worlds top riders in many years at the Nations – from Carolli, to Dungey, Herlings, Dean Wilson and many more its always a stacked race weekend of the worlds best riders. I have had amazing team mates every year, the good thing is we all get along great, it’s a massive effort for the whole team and everyone pulls together to do the best. We also have a good laugh to make sure to keep our moods high. I have been teamed up with Gordon Crockard, Martin Barr, Graeme Irwin, Richard Bird and Jason Meara.

Gatedrop: What were the tracks like at the MXoN you rode and did you feel you were well enough prepared for them?

Edmonds: I remember getting to my very first race at Donington Park and I don’t think I had ever seen jumps these size before but I am always the rider that loves jumps and challenges so even though seeing the jumps and how the track was laid out I was very excited to attack the track and make sure I had it dialled in nice and early in practice.

I think the most challenging track for me was Thunder Vally in Colorado. The jumps were big but it was the altitude that made everything hard to judge because the bike didn’t sound the same, under powered and riding was harder than normal due to being so high up. I always found the bigger the event the easier it was for me to pick up my speed and rise to the occasion, I’m not sure if it was because of the pressure due to riding for your country and having to make sure you produce good results or that big tracks like that suit me better but I always enjoy them and the challenges they bring on the weekends.

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Gatedrop: How did Ireland do at the events you represented them for?

Edmonds: There are some really great weekends we have had for team Ireland but there was also some that disappointed me too. Even though we always give it 100% there has been times when I was very unhappy with my riding on Saturday or Sunday due to making silly mistakes or crashes. Obviously the times we didn’t qualify upset me! I remember coming back from the paddock with tears in my eyes because I felt I messed the race up and pushed my hardest. Even to this day I still get that emotional because I am so invested passionately to do well. Last year in Assen I crashed on the qualifying race and I was so bloody annoyed at myself when I came in I literally got to a point of tears – obviously I contained myself because big boys don’t cry (laughs). But that’s how much I am focused on doing well! I regrouped and went through some things on the Saturday evening with myself and then turned it all around for Sunday making sure I didn’t make those mistakes again.

Edmonds at a muddy Assen! Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: Individually how did you do and were you happy with your results?

Edmonds: I’ve not really kept a note on my results but probably my best race was when I got a chance to ride the Factory TM 250F thanks to Nick and Gavin Craigie. They managed to get me the bike with the support from Patrick who is a great mechanic and someone I learned a few things from with regards to riding and feedback over the weekend. That was France 2011 and I think I finished 8th overall in MX2 even after the B final. (Edmonds beat the likes of Ratsep, Tonkov, Butron, Olsen and Seewer that weekend to name a few)

I always rode to my best and gave it all I could but I have had my fair share of madness with regards to getting caught in pile ups or bad starts from down the line on gate pick. Italy was an interesting B final, I was caught up in a first turn pile up and the bike was stuck in 3rd gear and I managed to get back to the top 10 and we beat Germany –  that was definitely a squeaky bum time race (laughs) my poor bike got death.

Edmonds at Maggiora. Pic: Adriano Dondi

Gatedrop: What memories/stories from the event stick out for you when you look back to the event? There must be some things that happened not too many people know about!

Edmonds: There are so many stories and memories of the event with racing and even the after parties that make for good listening. Probably my favourite race story was Cooper Web thinking I was another rider and picked on the wrong person to lose the head with (laughs). Half of the altercation is on video but the first half isn’t, lets just say I wasn’t happy with him and my fuse blew because I was 12th and just crashed two laps before the chequered flag and managed to salvage 18th I think, so he got an earful.

Away from racing the two that stick out the most for me was when we where going to the monster after party and a friend of mine Aaron works with monster was waiting for us to pop down and get us in and when we arrived there was a queue with a lot of drunk messy riders in it (lauhgs). We walked straight up VIP style and Chad Reed goes “who the f**k are they”? (laughs). A few Americans in the line shouted “TEAM IRELAND” and I’m sure Shaun Simpson was trying to get in and I had to drag him with us too. It turned out to be about 10 of us all going in at once and if I remember that night Shaun ended up on my shoulders dancing to Stefan Everts on the decks while Evgeny Bobryshev was clinging to a group of guys not able to stand.

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Another time was the connecting flight to Colorado the whole team nearly missed the flight, we all ended up sprinting down trying to catch the flight because it took us so long getting through security.

Gatedrop: When you look at the Motocross Des Nations now, do you still think it’s still as special as it used to be?

Edmonds: Yeah, it’s 100% as special if not more than when I started racing it. It grows on me even more every year because you are constantly trying to better your results from the year before and to try help get Ireland higher in the overall. So, it’s special to me.

Team Ireland at Assen. Pic: Nigel McKinstry

Gatedrop: What advice would you give to any young rider who might be lucky enough to get selected for the event for the first time?

Edmonds: My advice is to always ride your best, make sure you prepare for the weekend in advance with regards to training and to enjoy it because every rider is at his best when he is having fun. Don’t allow outside negativity dishearten you or doubt your abilities because you have been picked for a reason!

Gatedrop: At a domestic level, what were your biggest achievements and what good memories do you have outside the Motocross Des Nations?

Edmonds: My biggest achievements are the goals I have managed to tick in motocross, rode a GP race, scored GP points, picked to represent my country and win an Irish championship. Those are my special achievements I think and I have a few more still to go.

With regards to races and memories I think the Double Irish championship in the same year was a special memory to me and racing the 2 stroke weekend in Glen Helen was a really cool experience too. I have so many memories if you asked me next week I could probably tell you other memories but those are the ones that stick out to me at this time.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Nigel McKinstry/Adriano Dondi