After spending three years wrenching for Tyla Rattray and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, Vince Bereni is taking his knowledge and experience from one of the best motocross teams to another team, JDR Motorex KTM. After having a great 2010 with PJ Larsen, JDR is sending their fresh, young talent of PJ Larsen, Tye Simmonds, and Ryan Marmont to America in the efforts of becoming a recognizable force in the States. Now, with the help from an experienced mechanic like Vince, the pieces are starting to fall into place. With 14 years experience, Bereni is more than qualified to help this team get to the top, and he's looking forward to the new challenge.
How did the opportunity at JDR arise for you?
It all started to come together at the beginning of the 2010 season. JDR really wanted to bring their team to the United States, so they got my information from Andrew McFarlane. I used to know McFarlane through the Grand Prix, as well as some other people from the Grand Prix, and everything was like a big circle. The next thing I knew, I was talking to JDR to get something going.
Talk a little about the JDR team…
JDR is KTM's factory effort in Australia. We get full support for our motors and our suspension, so we pretty much get the same stuff as Andrew Short and Marvin Musquin. With the team moving over to America, though, we get parts from both KTM USA and KTM in Europe, which is pretty good.
What does JDR stand for?
JDR actually stands for Jay Derek Rynenberg. Jay is the son, and Derek is his father.
Do they own a business in Australia?
Yeah, they used to own a big business in Australia. They made enough money that they were able to operate this race team back in Australia, and now they are going to do it over here in America, too.
Why did they want to come to race in the United States?
Basically, it all comes down to their love to the sport. Jay used to race motocross and he started to become friends with McFarlane. One day, they started to talk about making a race team, and they did it. They started off with Yamahas, and it became a pretty respectable team rather quickly because they were doing so well. Plus, all of the stuff that they had on their bikes were really legit. After a while, KTM approached them and they said that they wanted to join with JDR to become the factory team over in Australia. Now after three years, they are coming over here with PJ Larsen. The owner of the team had the same goal as McFarlane, and that was to be the best in Australia. Now, they want to be the best in the United States. It's been a pretty long process, but after nine months, we finally have everything together. KTM was pretty excited to have another team over here because there were less and less KTM teams in the pits. Plus, KTM USA already knew and trusted JDR and that made things especially easy for us.
Who else is going to be on the team?
Besides PJ, it's going to be Tye Simmonds and Ryan Marmont. Tye is going to race in the lites class, and PJ is going to race the 350. We don't know if PJ is going to race supercross yet, but we will definitely race the lites class in the supercross series.
Is it pretty exciting to be somewhere new after working for Pro Circuit for three years?
For me, I'm excited that I came this far in my career. I mean, I've been wrenching for 14 years. When I was in Europe, I started off at the very bottom and then I became a factory mechanic for KTM for five years. We won the World Championship in 2004, and I felt like I needed a new challenge after that. I had the opportunity to come over here, and I took it. My goal was to get on the best team, and that was Pro Circuit. Once I got onto Pro Circuit, it was like a dream. We had an awesome team, awesome parts, and I had the opportunity to work with Mitch Payton. It was an unforgettable experience. With the experience that I have now, it's another challenge for me that I really look forward to.
What is it like to go from Tyla Rattray, who is experienced and accomplished, versus a new guy like PJ?
The first difference between the two is their age. Tyla is already really mature, and PJ is a young guy. Tyla has just had more experience because he has been at the top of his game, and his lowest because of injuries. He has also been in the championship chase, and he has won. PJ, on the other hand, is different. He left his country to come and race in Australia, and he won the Australian Lites Championship. The both of them have a strong character, though. However, things are kind of hard with PJ because he's such a great rider that it's hard to make him do other things. For instance, when Tyla would be finished with riding, he would be very specific with what he needed done on his bike, and how things were reacting. PJ, however, is still learning. That all comes back around to being experienced, and PJ will get there with time.
Some riders are so fast, but they don't really know what's going on with their bike. Being an experienced mechanic like yourself, are you able to see what needs to be done with a bike just by watching them?
Yes, that's for sure. And for me, it makes my job even more fun to have a challenge like that. That doesn't mean that I wasn't excited to work with Tyla, because I was, but it was a lot different. When I was helping him out with supercross, I had the knowledge and feedback from Mitch and all of the other riders, and I would relay all of that information back to him. That helped him out a lot. I hope that I can do the same with PJ, and I'm really looking forward to the challenge.
On a personal level, is it scary or exciting to leave your country to work somewhere else?
I wouldn't say it's scary. I think it's more of a life choice. You either decide if you're going to do it, or you're not. For me, being a mechanic is something that I have always wanted to do, and I was going to do it no matter what it took. It's definitely not easy, though. If someone in your family is sick, or if someone dies, you can't just leave in the middle of the series. That is the most difficult part about it because you don't feel like you are a part of a normal family. There's a huge distance. Over here, though, everyone is really nice to me, and they make me feel like family. That definitely makes things easier. For some, it's not that easy. Sometimes you come across spectators, racers, and other people that can be mean, and some people will go back home because they can't take it. But as I say, you have nice and mean people everywhere. For me, I've always been an easy person to get along with, I've always been focused on my goal, and I haven't had a difficult time with it.
Well, we're excited to watch the team unfold, and we're stoked to see you at a new capacity with a new team. Thanks for your time, and we'll see you at Anaheim 1!