There are a few logistical hurdles that a team is forced to overcome when competing at the events far from their home base. When competitors that contest the Monster Energy FIM Motocross World Championship come to the United States for two races, they receive help from their American counterparts. The same happens in the few instances when American teams go to Europe for the Motocross of Nations or offseason SX events. But no brands have their system dialed in like Husqvarna and KTM. By signing worldwide contracts with sponsors around the world, the bikes in one country share traits with others on the other side of the world.
So when Jason Anderson was selected to represent Team USA at the 2016 Motocross of Nations, Steve Westfall took on an organizational role and began communication with ICE One, Husqvarna’s European factory team. Thanks to the work of the two teams, Anderson had two bikes identical to his American machines waiting for him in Europe. How did this happen? Westfall took us through the process…
At what point did you know that Jason was racing the Motocross of Nations and how long did it take to coordinate with everyone?
I got a phone call from Jason that said we were going to Italy and I was confused at first. From what I gathered a lot of other people turned it down, which we’re okay with because it was a great opportunity for Jason and our team. We found out right before Unadilla and after that, we started putting pieces together for the bike. The ICE One Husqvarna team in Europe built the bike and we sent over a bunch of our pieces to put on it.
Is that their engine with a few of your parts bolted on, is it one that they built to Jason’s spec, or did you just ship one over?
They built Jason’s spec motor in Austria and then put the covers and all of that stuff on.
How did you ship the parts? And was it a risky process?
We put them on a pallet. It was our wheels, plastics, graphics, clamps, bars, grips, seats, and suspension. It took about a week to get here by airfreight. We sent emails back and forth to make sure that stuff got there, and I finally got an email the Friday before the race saying that everything had made it. That was a relief.
This is the second time that you have worked with ICE One like this. Because you did the same for Christophe Pourcel’s bike when he raced in Lille last November.
They built Christophe’s bike and Daniel (Castloo, Christophe’s mechanic) carried the suspension onto the plane.
All of this goes right in line with the Husqvarna alliance around the world. Doesn’t matter what country the bike is in, they all share a similar setting with parts and sponsors.
Everything is the same. There might be a few pieces that are different because every rider is different. We run Dunlop tires and they use Pirelli, but as a brand, we all work together and communicate as much as possible. Just because they are on the other side of the world doesn’t stop that.
The tire difference is huge, especially at this track because it has some soft dirt on top but a hard base underneath. Dunlop isn’t as big here as they are in America, so you’re without the usual level of support. Did you ship tires?
Brian Fleck at Dunlop shipped tires here for us. He knew what Jason would run because with the rear we’ve stuck with one type all year but we had an option for the front.
KTM and Husqvarna run a similar fuel around the world, a blend by ETS. That had to eliminate a huge hassle for you because there is no real change to your settings.
We were lucky enough that Ian Harrison at KTM, who does all of our mapping, was able to get drums of fuel for us and Antti Pyrhönen (IceOne Team Manager) had some ready for us, too. Jason was able to practice with the fuel and got used to it because it is a little mellower in order to pass some sort of emissions.
Say there was a crash and the bike was twisted up or parts were destroyed. What would you do for spares?
We had two bikes built with everything made the same. Chris Loredo and I treated it like we were in the US and if there was an issue, we were able to do our normal program. The two bike program is standard for the MXGP guys but isn’t for us. In my opinion, it’s easier to work on one bike than it is two.
I can see the benefits to it and if you were able to have two identical bikes that you switched off between races, it would eliminate the time crunch that comes during a one-day National. But that’s an expense no team would want, because you already have one $100,000 motorcycle sitting there.
We’re so accustomed to doing one bike and our schedule is so short that we stick to the routine that we have. The MXGP guys usually have two hours between motos and we have 45-minutes in the United States.
What is the plan with Zach Osborne and the SMX Riders Cup in Germany?
Because the bikes are already done, we just have to change some things over for Zach, like the linkage, handlebars, and grips. That’s pretty much it.
Once the European races are done, what will happen to the parts? Do they get shipped back or do the stay overseas?
We’ll take our suspension and wheels back, but the rest of the stuff will stay here. We’re not concerned about things like the exhaust because maybe they’ll try to test it later.
There is talk that there will be more international races in the next few years, specifically with the Supercross series in 2018. Is going through this process fairly easy? Some racing organizations, like F1, transport entire teams around the world, but this was basically like shipping some parts via UPS.
It’s an international freight thing that KTM and Husqvarna use. If we are going to move forward with the international thing, they need to have containers ready for every team and the promoter needs to be responsible for shipping it off.