As most can imagine it’s a huge effort to ship an entire motocross team overseas to race in some of the far corners of the earth, and for the Honda World Motocross team it’s certainly a big challenge logistically to ensure everything is in place for Grand Prix racing at tracks outside of Europe.
This year the first overseas race was in Mexico, followed by Brazil and the two crates that are jam packed with everything a motocross race team needs to operate at Grand Prix competition including two factory CRF 450R bikes per rider, tools, spare engines, wheels and so on amass to a total of one ton in freight.
Following the Fermo round in Italy at the end of April the crates left two days after the race finished, meaning that the team had very little time to prepare the bikes and pack the crates post-race to get them ready for the event in Mexico. The shipping from Italy to Mexico took nine days, and the crates arrived at the Guadalajara track on the Thursday before the Grand Prix.
There are lots of other things to organise too. The team arrived on Wednesday night after the long flight from Europe, then on Thursday they had to re-build the bikes, fit out the paddock box with everything needed for the weekend; water, a compressor, power, drinks, ice and at these hot races the team purchases a pool for riders Evgeny Bobryshev and Rui Gonçalves to cool in after the sessions in the intense heat. The team also has to organise solvents, as it’s not possible to ship things like brake cleaner, cleaning products, oil and so on, from somewhere local, which involves battling with the local traffic as well as navigating the area to get what is needed. Thankfully Dunlop brings the tyres and supplies a top-notch tyre service, so the team doesn’t have to add a selection of race rubber to the already-full crate.
At the track there is a catering service, which the team uses for lunch but there’s little time to stop, as all of the usual appliances are not at the mechanics’ fingertips, making the job that little bit harder. In Mexico the heat was over 30 degrees in really dusty conditions, which made the cleaning of the bikes difficult and the task incredibly tough on the mechanics. Logistically it’s tough too, as many of the team members fly from different countries, so Laura the team logistics coordinator has a big job on her hands.
“It’s really nice to come overseas to visit new countries. It is not easy because we have a lot of logistics including cars, hotels and air tickets from many different places for our team members, so it’s a lot of work to arrange everything. Also the ticket to Brazil from Mexico was really complicated, so it’s a big job for Laura who is our team logistics coordinator,“ said Lorenzo Resta, Honda World Motocross Team Manager
After Mexico the crates left on Sunday night only a couple of hours after the race, but don’t arrive at the Brazil track until Thursday, meaning that any issues and race prep has to be dealt with quickly. It’s certainly hard on the team members after the flying and jet lag as well as the job being tougher than a normal race with a lot of continuous work. The team does have the opportunity to travel together more though, and that’s great for bonding as they all eat at the same place, as well as stay at the same hotel (whereas normally some members would travel and sleep in the trucks). This is a good way to keep morale high by grouping together and working hard. There’s also sometimes the opportunity to try out local cuisine and culture, which makes travelling abroad a lot more worthwhile. For example the team went to visit some pyramids close to Guadalajara on Monday, as well as testing out some traditional Mexican restaurants and market.
The travel scenario is hard on the riders though; lot’s of plane trips, air conditioning, jet lag, no routine for their training and a lot of things like heat and altitude to get acclimatised to – it makes the racing an even bigger challenge but being part of a World Championship even more special.
“There’s so little time for preparation of the bikes, as they are shipped and we can’t bring solvents, so there’s a lot to organize. When we leave Europe it’s difficult to know what to expect so when we get here there’s a lot to find like power, supermarkets and everything we need to make a good job so we have to think on our feet. It’s also a big organisation to get the bikes here but the team love it because it’s something special and it’s great for us all to travel unlike in Europe and it’s a great opportunity for team bonding, ” concluded Resta.
The team is left Mexico this morning and its next outing is this weekend for round five of the MX1 World Championship in Beto Carrero, Brazil.