The world motocross championships are unique. Different countries. Different languages. Different cultures. Different tracks. And it’s history – it’s where the sport of supercross & motocross as we know it in the USA came from.
The designation ‘world motocross championship’ was originated by the FIM (Federation Internationale Motocycliste) starting in 1947 with the biggest motocross race in the world – The Motocross of Nations. (The Motocross of Nations is a ‘team’ race, with countries competing against each other. That first ‘Nations’ race was held in Holland, and won by Great Britain.)
Coincidentally, the 2012 World MX GP series starts in the Holland, Easter Weekend, April 8 & 9. (The 2012 World MX GP schedule is here.)
The World Motocross Championships, and the MX of Nations is organized by Youthstream. And the President of Youthstream is Mr. Giuseppe Luongo.
Giuseppe started in the sport just like most of us – with a simple love & passion of motocross. Giuseppe achieved great professional status by organizing the legendary 1986 Motocross of Nations in Italy, won by the USA dream team – David Bailey, Ricky Johnson, & Johnny O’Mara – and managed by Roger De Coster.
The 2012 season has new Grand Prix events in Mexico, and Russia. With that as a backdrop, and the 2012 World MX Championships ready to start, we talked to Mr. Luongo about the World Motocross Championships, and the 2012 season.
Mr. Giuseppe Luongo
What is ‘cool’ about motocross?
Giuseppe: Motocross in its entirety is cool. It’s the ultimate, original extreme sport. And look how it’s grown to what it is today – the competition, the show, the colors, the atmosphere. It is cool, it’s extreme and it’s very thrilling.
With the World Motocross Championships – Youthstream has taken the sport to a new level. Besides being ‘cool’, there is a professionalism and media coverage that is now unprecedented.
Many people, both fans and industry, are not aware of your experience in supercross. You actually have quite a bit of experience in putting onÃ‚Â supercross races as well. Can you tell the fans about all your different experiences with supercross events around the world over the years?
The experience was great and the racing was too. We produced Supercross events in Japan, the USA, France, Italy, Germany, Holland, Monte Carlo (Monaco) among others. They were all very successful, with world wide TV coverage, and a huge number of fans followed these events.
More importantly I would say, was that the majority of American supercross and motocross stars, and the Motocross World Champions participated in these races. When I organized Supercross, practically all the stars of the sport between 1985 to 2000 took part.
How long have you been involved in putting on and promoting motocross races?
2012 will be the 29th year since the first International race I organized in Italy in 1983 at the age of 23.
Is there one race that stands out in your mind if we were to say ‘What is the most memorable race you have ever witnesses and been part of?’
Yes, certainly that would have to be the Motocross of Nations in Maggiora (Italy) in 1986. Many of us with a history of the sport know where this event ranks in history. It’s hard to put into words, but that was a very special event for so many reasons.
That race was fantastic and the American Dream Team (Bailey, Johnson and O’Mara) rode outstandingly.
The very first race you put on and promoted in 1983, how many people were on your staff?
(Laughs). Two. Me and my best friend!
As we get ready to start the 2012 season now, how many people are on your core staff now?
140. Many more outside of the core staff.
In 2012, the FIM MX1 and MX2 World Motocross Championships go to two new venues – Russia, and Mexico. First, tell us how the event came to be in Russia, and what fans in Russia can expect when ‘their’ Grand Prix week happens.
If we want our sport to have success and to have a bright future, we have to follow the economy and growing markets. The Russian, Brazilian, and Asian markets are growing the most at the moment, also you can see that is where large numbers of motorcycles are being sold now. Russia has many fans and sponsors, and now they also have some very good riders.
And how did the Grand Prix of Mexico come about, and what is exciting about that event?
The contact for the MX GP in Mexico was created by two-time World Motocross Champion Sebastien Tortelli. Motocross is developing in Mexico like in all of Latin-America, and it has a good future there.
How long is the process to have a GP in a new country?
It is a process. For both Russia and Mexico, we have working over three year’s for those Grand Prix races.
Right now, we are working on Grand Prix events in Qatar, Thailand, India and Argentina.
Part of the process is our staff visits the venues, and gives advice with regards to the circuit and infrastructures – we work in full partnership. And another important function is communication – we communicate almost daily with the various departments of each.
Additionally, we work together with the FIM, the local federations, the organizers and the local authorities.
Let’s talk about further into the future. 2013 and beyond. What plans do you and Youthstream have for 2013 and beyond?
We all know the economies right now in the USA and Europe. Therefore we currently want to invest in countries with a growing economy – Russia, Brazil, the Middle East, Asia – and develop the World MX Championships there. And that is what is needed to make it truly a global, world sport.
If you could sit down with an average motocross fan, and let them know anything about the World Motocross Championship, you, Youthstream, and your goals, what would you like them to know?
We are very passionate about motocross. The Motocross World Championship exists and is successful because Youthstream loves motocross. We manage our sport with heart and mind.
If the sport is managed only for business objectives then it won’t work long term (we have many study cases in our sport of this). And if it’s managed only with the heart it won’t work either (there are also many case studies of companies running out of money).
The secret is to manage it with both, and find the right balance.
Something that I personally am proud of, and I would like the average fan to know – when I started in MX (1983) up to today, we have created more than 1,000 jobs. In a difficult period like we have faced over the past few years with the economy, and where many people are losing their employment, I am happy that we have helped directly more than 1,000 families who “live” and work with us in this sport of Motocross. I am pleased to be able to help.
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- Results & point standings of the World Motocross Championships will be here
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