Mark was clearly honored by the opportunity; “It's fantastic really, I last took the role on in 2012 for Bulgaria which was a really challenging, yet successful event. I decided to take a break after that one as I was just starting out at a new job, plus my wife was pregnant, so the priorities obviously had to head in that direction. I haven't been to the last four events, so it has been a while, and I have missed it. Glenn Macdonald was doing a fantastic job and now he's decided its time for him to take a break too. If I’m completely honest, I did take a little while to be sure I wanted to put my application in. I had the discussion at home and work, to make sure everything was going to be ok for me to go ahead. After I had the discussions, I was relieved and was waiting in anticipation that I would be successful. Now that I've been confirmed as Team Manager, I’m really looking forward to it.”
MA has received a considerable amount of rider applications for the Australian Team for the World Junior Motocross Championship. Willingham stated the interest was due to Australia’s success; “We have seen a solid amount of riders that have represented Australia at these events over the years receive excellent opportunities both at home and abroad, partly, if not mostly, due to their achievements at the World Junior Motocross Championships. Any rider in a position to be able to attend should be applying, you never know what may happen!”
Willingham is excited by this year’s soon to be announced team; “I feel we’re in a really good place as a team this year, as we are able to have a mixture of riders based here in Australia plus some now based in Europe. It’s definitely important to make sure junior riders from Australia are able to represent their country well, while also learning all they can from the experience. On the flip side, it’s fantastic that we have some European based riders who already have experience with the culture and riders that can be expected at the event, and they will be able to assist the group from their experiences too.”
The Team Manager also went into detail about rider preparation for the Championship; “Essentially for the Australian based riders in particular, we’ll need to get there a few days prior to the event to have a solid practice session to shake out some travel nerves and make sure they’re all happy with the bike set ups. When it comes to any rider preparations between now and then, it’s mostly making sure they are getting themselves ready for the race duration, track conditions and climate. It’s more of a supportive role, we can offer any assistance in getting the best out of what they currently do.”
Keep an eye out for the list of riders for the 2017 FIM World Junior Motocross Championship, which will be announced in the coming days. MA is very enthusiastic about the prospects for this year’s championship and thanks all the riders who have applied.
Photo: Caleb Grothues with Team Manager Mark Willingham after he won the championship in Bulgaria in 2012.