the racers have to pay in order to get
on a team. Plus, Youthstream takes in
lots of money from the sponsors and
organizers, but they don’t give any of
the money back to the racers.
AS A FORMER WORLD
CHAMPION, IT MUST HURT
YOU TO SEE THE GREED. I’ve
always been on the side of the
racers. What I like about racing in
the U.S. is that the riders are given
prize money. In Europe, only a few
guys really make any money. That’s
sad. I also don’t like how the races
are held all over the world just so
Youthstream can make more money.
The travel is too expensive for teams.
Youthstream should give back to the
riders, not take.
UNDER THE CURRENT GP
SYSTEM, WOULD YOU HAVE
SUCCEEDED? Had things been the
way they are now when I started
racing, I probably wouldn’t have had
a motocross career. My parents didn’t
have any money, so there is no way
that they could have paid 50,000
Euros for me to get on a team. Only
a really talented rider, such as Ken
Roczen, would make it, because he’s
so good that he wouldn’t have to pay
DO YOU REFLECT ON YOUR
YEARS OF RACING IN THE U.S?
I still think about my time spent
racing in the U.S, especially with my
wife. We were young, and that was
a very good time in our lives. We
have fond memories, and the lifestyle
was quite a bit different from France.
In Europe, we don’t have the good
weather and access to lots of tracks.
However, it’s the past. I try not to
think too much about it, because
then it makes me feel old.
DO YOU HAVE BAD FEELINGS
ABOUT HOW YOUR AMERICAN
TELL US ABOUT YOUR
MASSIVE CRASH AT THE 1996
ATLANTA SUPERCROSS. The
first thing that went through my
mind when I jumped off the bike
midair over that triple was that I
was going to lose the championship.
The flagger was on the right side of
the jump, and the downed rider was
on the left side of the landing. Just
as I was about to take off on the
jump, the flagger waved the yellow
flag. On the face of the jump, I saw
the guy on the landing, so I chopped
the throttle. The bike went into a
nosedive, so I jumped off. At that
time I was leading the race and also
the championship. John Dowd was
my main competitor, and he was
really close in points, so I thought
that my title run was over when I
hit the eject button. I was lucky,
because the dirt in Atlanta was
YET YOU STILL WON THE
1996 125 EAST SUPERCROSS
TITLE. I twisted my ankle and
hurt my back, but the next week I
won the first 125 outdoor moto in
Gainesville. Then I came back and
won the 125 East Supercross title.
It’s strange how injuries happen.
I didn’t get hurt from that crash,
but I broke my knee while racing
in Europe and I wasn’t even going
10 miles an hour. That happened
when I was trailing Stefan Everts
by eight points in the 250 World
Championship with three races to
go. I lost the chance to win the title.
That’s racing. ❏
MIckael and his
oldest son, Zach.