Motorcycling Australia (MA) is thrilled to announce Michael Byrne as the Australian Team Manager for the upcoming 2018 FIM Motocross of Nations (MXON) held on October 6-7 at Redbud in America.
Byrne brings with him a wealth of experience with multiple Australian Motocross and Supercross championships and a seven-time MXON team member to go along with a successful career in both American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Supercross and Motocross.
The former Australian Motocross and Supercross champion now works as the Assistant Team Manager for the Rock Mountain KTM team in America and MA caught up with the man in charge of the Australian assault on the MXON later this year.
1. First off Congratulations on being named Team Manager of the Australian MXON Team for 2018, what does this mean to you?
"I always loved riding for the green and gold and now to be named team manager for team Australia is just such a privilege and honour."
2. This will be your first MXON as Team Manager. What will change for you this year after being an assistant Team Manager in previous years?
"I don't think that a lot of things will change as far duties go. Gary and myself have been sharing duties pretty well the last couple years and it’s been working out good. Gary will be happy that he doesn’t have to do all the media stuff now though (laughs)."
3. Your experience in America will play a vital role for the team, do you have fond memories of Red Bud? What are some tips you will give the team?
"I definitely have some fond memories from Red Bud, it was the track I had my first US MX 450 podium at in 2008. As far as tips for the team goes. One of the most important ones for this race is that you have to ride as a team and not as an individual, which is really hard because motocross is an individual sport. Also just give them advice on my past experiences."
4. What conditions can the team expect to face at Red Bud in October?
"Condition wise Red Bud is a great track with multiple soil changes. It has a little bit of everything from jumps to hills to sand so I think everyone will enjoy the track. That time of the year it will probably be pretty cool and not blazing hot like when we race there in July which I’m sure everyone will like except the US guys (laughs)."
5. Your management style; are you quite hands on and involved or do you let the guys do their thing and offer support when needed?
"Management style wise I just try keep everyone focused and give them track advice/lines if I see something out there on the track. It’s hard to get to hands on when the guys have been doing their thing a certain way all year and it’s obviously worked because that’s why they are riding for their country! So you don’t want to try change to much stuff up at the most important race of the year."
6. Who will be a part of your management team?
"At this early stages I think it will be just Gary and Myself at the race but obviously the whole crew from Peter, Mark, MA and everyone else working on all the fundraisers etc back home to make this happen for whoever gets selected, none of it could happen without everyone’s support."
7. What can we expect to see from Australia at this year MXON? What are your expectations?
"Expectations are always tough to predict at this stage but I’m just hoping that we have a good group of healthy guys to choose from. Former long-term Australian MXON Team Manager Gary Benn will still be a part of the management team and will assist Byrne and the Australian team throughout the 2018 MXON.
Applications for riders to join the Australian MXON team will open tomorrow (July 4), so keep your eyes peeled for your chance to don the green and gold.
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Images from RacerX and VitalMX