Team HRC's Dominique Alleaume
Hometown: Rouen, France
Years Wrenching: 10
Rider: Evgeny Bobryshev
Past Riders: Xavier Boog, Marvin Musquin, Sébastien Pourcel
It would be tough to argue against the fact that Team HRC is one of the highest-rated world-class teams out there, and anytime you're in the presence of their staff you feel surrounded by the professionalism of a true factory race team. Garnering an HRC ride is an honor, and turning wrenches as a factory technician for one of their race pilots is equally impressive on the mechanical side. Enter Dominique Alleaume, whose story is similar to yet much different than many factory race mechanics out there.
"My passion is in motocross," Alleaume says with true enthusiasm in his voice. "I always rode and my kids ride, too. I dreamed of being a professional, but I wasn't fast enough and now I'm a mechanic!" He's the man behind the number-777 machine of Evgeny Bobryshev, and his path to Team HRC began around 10 years ago when he attended an MXGP round with his kids and sparked up a conversation with Bruno Losito, then-team manager of NGS Honda. Mentioning he had mechanical skills and would love to help out, he was given a rare opportunity to fill in at some races and assist when needed. He quickly proved himself and began working for the team full-time until a move to work with Marvin Musquin in 2009 carried the two to their first MXGP victories. Alleaume later forwarded his résumé to Team HRC, and he entered his latest journey as a professional mechanic, working for a team that he had always dreamed of being a part of: "When I was a kid Team HRC was the dream, and finally I'm here. It's really great for me, and I'm living my dream." After seeing Evgeny's race bike, we knew we had to chat with Dominique about some details, and he was happy to fill us in on this beautiful 2017 Honda CRF450R.
Rules Are Few: We have only basic rules for exhaust noise and with fuel type and capacity in MXGP. Beyond this, we have no rules! We can add anything we want with the frame and engine. We can work on and improve anything the team wants to on the bike like adding a carbon-fiber subframe and things like that for example. Last year's bike was very different, and we even ran a different frame than the US bike. This year we haven't had much time to develop the new bike yet because it arrived late due to Honda's troubles in Japan from the earthquake.
Mapping Options: We have two different switches on the control: One switch is for engine-map settings that we can program before a moto, and the other switch is for the electric-start motor. The map is basically up to the rider, but usually we have one that's a little smoother, so if Evgeny starts to get tired at the end of the moto, he can switch it to save energy.
Suspension: Evgeny runs the Showa SFF air fork and the Showa factory BRFC shock. The damping is really nice and really precise. The shock works very well, and he's very specific with fine-tuning his suspension during practice so he feels comfortable in whatever the conditions are.
Controls/Details: Evgeny is very particular with his handlebar and lever position. He may be the only rider who has a different position on his clutch lever than his brake lever, with the clutch lever being set lower. The tires are Dunlop; we've worked with Dunlop for many years now and test many different kinds of tires. We use a factory Honda brake setup, but he's not really hard on the brakes. All of the little titanium custom pieces on the bike like foot pegs or anything else that we might need are made by factory HRC. It's all high-quality stuff!
A Brand-New Model: The 2017 bike is really good, and Evgeny really liked the chassis right away. We found the limit of the old engine, but with the new engine design we'll be able to develop it more and more. When he first tested the bike, normally riders only ride two laps and come in, but Evgeny rode at least six or seven laps and came in smiling, so we knew that was a good sign! Last year's model wasn't bad, but this bike is just so much better.
FMF Exhaust: For exhaust our team has a good relationship with Don Emler and FMF Racing, and they send us many different pipes when we request them. They really work hard on the performance and noise constraints to come up with good setup for our bike. The connection between them and HRC is great, and the exhaust works really well for us.
Horsepower/Delivery: For engine testing we have everything here in-house including a dyno, and we test many different things. We have to discuss what we test with Honda, who ultimately decides what we use and don't use. Evgeny runs the factory hydraulic clutch, which is nice, and I think it's just a feeling thing. I know they used it in America, but the riders later preferred the cable clutch. In Europe both riders preferred the comfort of the hydraulic setup. We use the Rekluse TorqDrive clutch system and it's very durable, although Evgeny is pretty easy on his clutch—he's not a clutch killer!