Interview: David Vuillemin
First off, I must say “thanks” to everyone. I’m surprised by the number of questions …. thousands of them from all over the globe.
I’ll talk to you a little bit about myself, and I’ll answer some of your questions too.
I love motocross. I am truly enjoying motocross, and it’s lots of fun. I’m living in Corona, California. It’s close to Yamaha, practice areas, and the airport. My parents are here with me too. My original hometown is Berre, France. The area in the United States that is most similar to it is probably New Orleans.
My nickname in racing is “Cobra”. And it came about because of my riding style … I move around a lot on the bike. I was born on October 18, 1977. When I was young, the riders that I looked up to were Broc Glover, Jeff Ward, J-M Bayle, Ricky Johnson, and David Bailey. I got my first motorcycle when I was 3 1/2 years old. I’ve been racing since 1985, and I turned professional in 1996.
One thing I would like all the fans in both Europe and here in the States to know is that I feel very good here in the USA. I like a lot of things here in the USA. I always dreamed of being and racing here. I do miss some of my friends in France though.
Sometimes I do feel a bit lonely in the Yamaha truck at the races. I can’t share some things with a team-mate. I can’t talk about lines and stuff. But the team makes me feel good. My team-mate Jimmy Button was hurt earlier this season. We did get to talk a bit early in the season, as we tested quite a lot together. We talked about a lot of things …. motocross, …. cars, …. girls.
My Dad is my personal trainer, and he gives me advice to help with the bike. I am looking forward to the Nationals. We are testing for it right now. The only problem is that I don’t know the tracks as well. I hope to do very well. It will be hard to learn a new track each week. The tracks here in the US are maybe softer than in Europe.
During a typical week, on Sunday that’s when I come home from the previous race. On Monday I rest. Tuesday and Wednesday I use for riding and testing on the bike. Thursday we fly out to the next race. Friday is practice time at the track, and of course Saturday is the race.When I’m not training on the motorcycle, I mountain bike, road bike, and play tennis.
Now I will try to answer some of your questions ….
Q: What do you think of the increasing number of races during a season? Do you think it will increase the number of injured racers?
DV: I think it depends why people will go to all of the races. I always did some European supercross races just to race and test my bike. Never for money. If you do not concentrate 100%, and go only for money, you can get hurt.
Q: What do you think about the 4-strokes? Have you ever ridden one?
DV: The YZ 426 is a very fun bike to ride outdoors. It has so much traction. But I won’t ride in a supercross with it.
Q: You don’t crash a lot compare to other riders, why?
DV: I’ve always tried to keep a margin of security when I ride.
Q: What was your worst injury since you startedracing?
DV: I jumped a tree once, and landed in a hole, and broke my wrist!
Q: Top 3 riders of all time?
DV: J-M Bayle, Ricky Johnson, and Jeremy McGrath.
Q: We heard you are a big fan of Britney Spears, is it true?
DV: Big time! But only with ear plugs and binoculars!!! ; )
Q: Quel type adversaire penses-tu combattre quand tu cours avec Jeremy McGrath: un mythe ou un concurrent?
DV: Ye le vois comme un conceurent. Si je le voyais comme un mythe je ne l’aurau jamais battu!
Q: What is your favorite Frenchfood?
DV: Too many to say one!
Q: How did you feel when you were in the French military?
DV: I had a great time in the army. It’s a good experience for me. I met a lot of sportsmen there too.
Q: What is the key to your supercross success? It’s certainly different than racing in Europe and GPs.
DV: I have worked hard. I’ve had my own supercross track since I was 10 years old.
Q: Why are so many Frenchmen coming to the US rather than European racers from other countries?
DV: Maybe it’s because the French are not so bad in supercross. I think more Europeans need to practice supercross.
Q: How hard has it been to adapt to living in the U.S.? And also how Europe, and American racing styles are different and also what do they have in common?
DV: I have adapted very well to the American lifestyle. There is not too much in common with Europe. The only thing that is the same is: Riders want to win!
Q: What do you think of American women, and country and western music? Do you prefer American or French women? The hottest woman on the planet is?
DV: Some of the women are very pretty …. some are not, just like everywhere. I like alternative rock music. I have no preference between American or French women. I think Jenny McCarthy is the hottest woman on the planet.
Q: Did you ever race BMX?
DV: Once at age 8. I was too bad for that!
Q: Que manges-tu le matin pour bouffer du ricain le soir?
DV: Des French Toasts!
Q: What handlebar bend do you use? How do you prepare both yourself and the bike due to height difference in relation to other riders?
DV: My handlebar is a CR High, 5mm straighter. That’s all I change on my bike due to my height.
Q: What is your favorite type of track?
DV: My favorite type of track is fast yet technical.
Q: You seem very motivated, and unintimidated …. why?
DV: Because I think that is the best way to win races!
Q: Now that you are in America, have you had a chance to check out the amateur programs at any local races?
DV: I’ve met some very good amateur racers when I practice during the week. The 80cc riders are much faster!
Q: What is it like for a kid in Europe trying to break into the sport of professional motocross?
DV: It can be very difficult! You have to be either rich or good. I wasn’t rich …
Q: What information do you have for kids starting this sport?
DV: Never give up!
Q: If you were the “boss” of motocross and supercross racing, what would you change?
DV: If I were the “boss” of motocross, I would make sure that privateers would make more money.
Q: What do you think about Stefan Everts, and about why he doesn’t come to the U.S.? What about his “Coward” comments during the last USGP?
DV: Stefan is a very good rider. I think he knows he was not able to race supercross properly here, so he decided to win as many world motocross championships as possible. Sometimes he should shut his mouth though ; ) Like the 1999 USGP.
Q: Were you on TV racing a car in The Race of Champions in Spain? Will you drive in The Race of Champions again? Could you consider changing to race cars in a full championship sometime in the future?
DV: I don’t care to race cars in the future, but the Race of Champions was very fun, and I wish I could go again this year.
Q: What do you think about JMB?
DV: He is the best bike rider in the world. He can do everything: supercross, motocross, road-racing, trials, superbikes. He is THE MAN!
Q: Favorite restaurants?
DV: I love Olive Garden!
Q: Do you think coming from another country is an advantage or disadvantage to your results? Are you able to use that as motivation or does it add pressure?
DV: It’s maybe an advantage because I am more focused on racing. I have no pressure, I try to ride 100% every race!
Q: J’aimerais savoir l’effet que sa te fait lorsque tu bats les ricains dans leur stades noirs de monde?
DV: Je ne suis pas la pour baltre les ricains, mais pour gagner un championat.
My family and I will go back to France for a while after the US Nationals. But I wish to finish my career in the USA. And I want to be competitive for a long time. I try to have fun on the track and share my passion with the crowd.
Hope you are all doing well. See you later!
Images of David: Top images by Ed Ellks, bottom image by Frank Hoppen