Davey Coombs is well known in America as the face of not only the leading magazine and website in America, RacerX, but also the face of MXsports—the promotion company that runs the AMA Nationals. He has been around motocross his whole life, and remembers our folklore probably better than anyone I know.
Always up for a bench race or a quick chat we gave DC a call and asked him about Team USA and a bunch of other stuff. This is part one of a two-part interview with the American media mogul.
Obviously the team that is picked, I actually like it more than the team we expected to get and that isn’t because the riders who are not coming are not great riders, but I think Anderson and Osborne are really perfect for MXoN, and I don’t know enough about Cooper, but maybe you can tell me more? This team just seems more flexible to fit into the needs of the race.
It appears to be true, and a team with the Kawasaki guys, and say Zach Osborne, or Jason Anderson would be great, but so is the team we are sending. Everyone is getting behind the team we are sending. On a track like Assen, it is going to take all three scores. I like our chances as good as anyones, but on that track is will be tough whoever we send, apart from maybe the Dutch, depending on how Jeffrey and Glenn feel.
I think that coming over here for two weeks before the event and riding a lot of European sand should be a good thing for Team USA, and it seems that is what they are going to do, and I have spoken to a lot of GP guys who have said they need to do that. I have visions of 1981 Lommel when nobody thought they would win. It would be pretty cool if they could pull it off.
Yes, but I don’t think this would be as big an underdog thing as in 1981. We were way off the pace back then. I know Redbud was a let-down and the guys were not prepared and were not into it, but I don’t anticipate that will happen this year. Going over early, hanging out and riding together that would be cool and I hope it comes off that way and they are healthy. Like you said, they obviously want to be there and Zach (Osborne) has something to prove as does Jason (Anderson), because he never got the chance to back-up his moto win in Maggiora. It is good to see both those guys out there.
I mean speaking about Jason, that performance in Maggiora, beating Herlings with I think a broken foot, and his first Sunday race in the event. It was very impressive; can he do the same type of thing in the sand?
Well, we don’t have much sand to watch those guys ride in the sand. He looked good at Florida, which is the sandiest race I our circuit, but we don’t have anything like Lommel, and riding at Assen for our guys will be like riding on the moon. He is a very talented rider and won a supercross championship, so he is good on hard-pack and the jumps. It is a crapshoot for our guys, but I am 100% behind them, and look forward to being there.
Justin Cooper, we don’t know much about him, we watch the highlights or watch the races live, but can you explain what he is like?
You know Justin grew up and wasn’t one of those minibike proteges. He lives on Long Island, which is New York City, so a very strange place to come from to be a motocross rider with the system, the training camps or whatever, but he has come along in the last couple of years. He is a brilliant starter, and he charges hard and that will be important, but I don’t think he has ever started off a metal grid, apart from in supercross this year and he always seemed to get good starts. He is very driven and on a very good team. That team has turned out some big stars in recent years from Jeremy Martin, Aaron Plessinger, Cooper Webb and now they have Justin Cooper and Dylan Ferrandis. I think Justin will do just fine, but again, I have never seen him ride much in the sand, other than the race in Florida (WW Ranch), which he in fact won. It is a solid team across the board, and we are not going to have any of our champions, but that is the way it goes. I understand and respect why guys would want to pass this year.
Obviously you have been to a lot. From memory your first was Austria in 1993?
Yes, 1993 in Austria.
Ok, so you have seen a lot of des Nations and to me the event is bigger than ever. Since maybe Matterley in 2006, it has just boomed. I think the last four or five have been magnificent. I know your friend Steve Matthes can be rather negative about it, but what is your thought on the event in recent years?
He isn’t negative about it, and he supports the team going, but what he doesn’t support is the shaming and nonsense that goes on when riders pass, they are even getting called out by former riders who themselves didn’t go in some years. One thing, we can say this is like the Olympics of motocross, but the Olympics don’t happen every year. I feel it puts a lot of pressure on the guys year after year, the month of September as everyone else is transitioning to supercross. We spend three fifths of our race time in America racing supercross, compared to zero time in Europe. So, it doesn’t help our guys with their outdoor game so to speak. At the end of the day, the riders are paid, and the teams are there, to compete on the AMA circuit, which is Monster Energy Supercross, AMA Nationals, and Monster Energy Cup, and the Des Nations isn’t on anyones contract. That is why sometimes guys go, and sometimes they don’t. Everyone is giving Eli a hard time, but let’s not forget, Villopoto passed, Dungey passes, Reed passed, Windham passed, Carmichael passed, and it goes McGrath and even further back than that. We always talk about 1981, but that year Bob Hannah, Mark Barnett, Kent Howerton, Broc Glover, the real stars of the day didn’t want to go. They didn’t go in 79 or 80 and it took Roger (DeCoster) and Dick Miller of motocross action magazine and the people at JT Racing and Belray to get the team together. Everyone forgets, this is an annual problem for us in America. 1992 is more of a comparison with what we had now, when Bradshaw, Kiedrowski, Stanton and Roger didn’t even want to go. Roy Jansen was the team manager and he took Emig and Larocco out of the 125cc class and Billy Liles from Europe and that was the most unexpected team to win it for Team USA. It is expensive and time consuming and win or lose, it doesn’t help them, which is for supercross season. Eli has four AMA motocross titles, but he still hasn’t won an AMA supercross title and that is an important title for Monster Energy, Kawasaki and I imagine Alpinestars his clothing company.
Ok, I understand.
One thing Geoff I want to take exception to what you said recently. Do you really think Jeremy Seewer is better than Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin right now?
Davey, I don’t care what anyone says, you have to take the recent des Nations results into account.
Wait, wait, wait. Your ratings are for this week.
No, the last month.
So, what did Seewer do the last month?
He has been on the podium just about every Grand Prix, moved into second place in the MXGP points standings, and riding really well in a very tough MXGP class. I do put five guys from AMA and five guys from FIM. I am not being bias.
You are being bias. Have watched the Unadilla race?
Yes, I did, and the ratings is for the last month and Ken has been up and down in his results.
Yes, he is up and down.
And Seewer has been really consistent.
But he has never won a premier class overall and you have him ahead of Roczen and Musquin.
Just for the last month.
Is he ahead of Tomac?
No, but Prado is ahead of Tomac.
I can’t wait to see Prado by the way. I know what Jeffrey does in the sand, but I am really looking forward to seeing Prado in the sand. Hey, let me put you on the spot again. An 18-year-old Prado or an 18-year-old Herlings?
You know Davey, when Herlings and Roczen came onto the scene, as 15-year olds, I didn’t think I would see riders like them again in my life. I think had Roczen not got injured in America, he would be very different to what he is now and Herlings, he is the best rider I have ever seen ride a bike. I didn’t rate Prado until this year, but my God, I think he will do at Assen what Villopoto did at Budds Creek in 2007. I think Prado only gets beaten by Herlings.
I wouldn’t be surprised.