For the last eight months or so, Davey Coombs has been working hard as his AMA Nationals has been running around the country, stopping off at some of the most beautiful race circuits in the World. As the series ends, and the American industry get a small rest before the Monster Energy Motocross of Nations, Coombs is also thinking about quality time with his family and looking at what the next step is in a series that continues to bring many fans in America and around the World a lot of entertainment.
We caught up with DC and asked him about his series and of course the MXoN.
Davey, how’s it going over there?
It’s going well. One round to go, we finished Budds Creek, it was a fantastic race and we have one champion crowned and another on his way.
We talked about it earlier in the year, but you must be pretty happy to have the rest period coming up after a long season?
Definitely. Its fun to go to the races all summer long, but at this point I am just looking forward to grilling out in my backyard and focusing on my kids. They don’t get to go to many races with me, although they do have the summer off, but I will have my own chequered flag come Saturday afternoon in Indiana.
You will be at the Nations though in October?
Of course, I haven’t been able to go the last couple of years in Europe, but this one we will take all the staff up and help out Youthstream or Redbud as much as we can. Hopefully this one will be bigger than Italy in 2009, which is the biggest one I have seen.
Team USA has been picked, and its probably your first A-Team since 2011 when you had Dungey, Villopoto and Baggett. Would you say that?
Well, I would in the sense that Justin Barcia is pretty good, but it sucks that Jason Anderson wasn’t healthy enough to be considered. He was just back last week, but it seems like so long ago that he wrapped up a supercross championship and him not going would be like McGrath not going in 1993 when he won the supercross championship. I would say its our B+ team, and no offence to Justin, but Jason did beat Jeffrey Herlings straight up when he raced him last. It would have been good to see Jason in the team.
True, AMA SX champ, AMA MX 450 and MX250 champion would have been pretty much perfect.
I will say though, the US, like France, we have an embarrassment of riches and just because one guy can’t go, doesn’t mean we don’t have a very strong team. Barcia goes very well at Redbud and giving that he is getting on in his career and hasn’t won a major title, I think he will be very motivated. The cool thing about Justin, let’s not forget last year in October, he was riding a privately-owned Honda he bought with his own money in Morgantown Honda, right here in my own town. He has come a long way in a year and nobody would have pegged him to be on the team this year, but he will be wanting to go out there and show the World he is still one of the elite riders.
Team USA are the favorites, but with this event its anyone’s guess who wins it. France have picked a team again that nobody agrees with, but they did that last year and still won. The big talking point is obviously Herlings vs Tomac. We the GP fans are watching him every week and feel like he is unbeatable, and I am sure you guys in America, who watch Tomac and saying to us, hold on a second. What is your feeling on it?
I think we are lucky as fans, that right now, you have an ascendant, Jeffrey Herlings, who is still getting better by each race, and you have a peak Eli Tomac. Tomac has been doing unbelievable things this summer and while he isn’t as dominant as Jeffrey, he is doing some amazing things coming through the pack. So where I am sitting, we see Eli every week and at times we wonder how anyone can go faster and then boom, Marvin Musquin does. I don’t see that right now in Europe. Tony has had injuries, Gajser is up and down, Febvre doesn’t seem to have the pure speed of Jeffrey. Jeffrey is having one of the most dominant seasons in the premier class since maybe Everts in 2003 or 2005. I remember this time last year and we were all scratching our heads and wondering if Jeffrey was going to reach the potential he had, because he struggled early, but around this time last year, and he started turning it on, he has been amazing.
Obviously the Nations is about the country winning and not individual honours. Team USA has a great shot, and if you look at the AMA 250 champion Aaron Plessinger, he has a great chance of winning the MX2 overall, and if Tomac doesn’t win the MXGP overall, he has a great chance of going 2-2, and Barcia will be reliable as he always is and has won a moto at Nations. As a fan you must be going there with a lot of confidence.
You know, I am like you, I love motocross and I will be pulling for Ken Roczen, or Jeffrey and of course I want to see good racing, and I also want Team USA to win and get some momentum, but don’t look at America, look at France. Apart from that 2001 win, when Team USA didn’t go because of 9/11, they had never won, and now they are looking at five in a row. The des Nations is such a complex event, you have Max Anstie dominate two motos and the French pick an enduro rider and he does enough, or we sent a factory Honda over and the shock breaks twice. That is the kind of up and down stuff you don’t expect, and we have had a lot of bad luck over the last few years, but sure we have just been straight up beaten. With it being a Redbud, and if the weather works out and knowing the motivation that Eli and Aaron have, let alone Justin, then I would be surprised if we don’t win. Individually, it’s a toss up between Eli and Jeffrey. I just want to watch it.
2007, in many ways I don’t want to talk about it, because that was one of the worst beat downs the GP riders have ever had. The AMA and FIM riders are much more level now in talent, and you guys don’t have RC and Villopoto.
Think about that. I mean we have seen RV all summer long and nobody knew he had that all out speed, and he did have some things going his way, like Townley banging his head, and Cairoli’s bike arriving late because of the cheese wheel, and all those things, but when they dropped the gate, Villopoto became somebody else, and stayed like that for the rest of his career. It was something to behold that 2007 event, and everything came together. He even beat Carmichael in the middle moto.
Talking about 2007, as I mentioned, for us, it was horrible, but how was that for an America. The racing, well there was no racing, because RV and RC just dominated, but was that as enjoyable for you as a fan watching that type of domination?
Well, for us it was what was Lommel for you guys.
Yes, but Lommel there was racing and you guys didn’t get smashed.
You know, when Belgium win in Belgium, it’s a big party for the red devils and when the yanks win in USA, it’s the same. It happens everywhere. We got so used to winning in the 80s and 90s and that run from 2005 until 2011, we got used to winning. So it was hard (Lommel). We have had more bad luck in those years than we had in all the years we were winning, back in the day. The closer the racing the better, but 2007 was a double celebration, because we hadn’t held it for 20 years (Unadilla in 1997), it was Carmichaels last race and it was Villopoto’s coming out party. I wouldn’t want to see that every year, but I wouldn’t mind see it this year. I think there is a good chance we go into the final moto just needing to clinch it.
What about the whole thing around Marvin Musquin. Should he have been picked for Team France?
Absolutely. I know the French sent the team coach over, he was at Redbud when Marvin went from dead last to second in the first moto and then won the second moto, and he also saw Ferrandis get beat handily. So he goes home and says we will take Ferrandis, Paulin and Febvre. Now those guys are very good riders and been there for their country. I mean Gautier for a decade, but still, I am surprised given how Marvin rides at that track, the resources Marvin has with KTM over here. On the other hand, France have a good thing going, and they do things in a way and they have a good comradery, while Marvin is working away at Bakers factory, maybe it doesn’t say team to them, compared to having a camp in France. I do think it was bullshit that the French Federation guy said Marvin lacked motivation. I don’t know the man, but I read on mxlarge his comments, and I hope for his sake they win, but I don’t think they are going to. I mean to say Marvin isn’t motivated, as far as the French go, there is a team aspect they are relying on and if Marvin didn’t fit into that, I can understand the situation, but to say he isn’t motivated, it must have been devastating for him. I hope Paulin and Febvre do well, so they are not second guessing the decision, because I know everyone in America is.
Gautier hasn’t been in the best of form lately.
You know what, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Paulin retire if France win, and if America win, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roger (DeCoster) also retire his duties for Team USA. If everyone thinks it’s a challenge now to get on top and win, I don’t see us any way in hell Team USA winning in Assen. We might have to bring Covington back, because there is no sand like that in America.
Final question is about the Puerto Rico Team. I saw your racerhead and you don’t seem to be a fan of the idea?
Coombs: I am a fan of an American passport holder/rider being involved, because its been done before. What I am not a fan of is a cartoon character, a fictional rodeo clown lining up. I know its fun, and I know people like the sound of a two stroke, but I also know it makes a mockery of what the French had made an important race to them, a race Roger De Coster holds very dearly, what the FIM see as the crown jewel, where Youthstream have invested millions of dollars and to turn this platform over to a cartoon character makes zero sense. If they want to get a third rider, a real rider, they should, and everyone should support that. For anyone thinking its ok to have Ronnie Mac racing, I don’t know if everyone in Europe realizes what a polarizing character he is to the motorcycle industry in America. At first, we all thought it was funny, but it isn’t funny when you start making a mockery out of the things you hold dear and that is the Motocross des Nations.