Moto Media

with ... Roger Decoster

Youthstream's Geoff Meyer catches up with Roger De Coster
Thumbnail courtesy of KTM Images. G.Milan photographer.  'Old school' image courtesy of Geoff Meyer.

After his race career, De Coster moved to America where he became the most successful team manager in the sports history, not only leading riders like Ricky Carmichael, Greg Albertyn and Chad Reed to success, but also helping Team USA win the Motocross of Nations.

We caught up with De Coster and asked him about his career and more importantly how he felt about the famous Namur circuit in Belgium.

Q: Roger, what was one of the things you enjoy the most about racing on the FIM World Motocross Championship?

De Coster: I enjoyed racing in front of a lot of people and I felt it gave me more energy, the more people, the more energy. I think very few riders today understand that they can use the crowd to get extra energy. Ken Roczen for such a young kid, he understands that and he is good at it. Also (Antonio) Cairoli does that, but many riders overlook that. I think some get nervous from it. I won’t say I wasn’t nervous at the races, but as soon as the race stopped it was gone.

Obviously Namur was your favorite circuit, you won there on many occasions.

The first time I went to Namur I rode my bicycle from my house in Brussels. It was like 45 miles and I was 13 years old. My parents didn’t know I did that, it was the year Rene Baeten won the World Championship, it was so exciting. I hadn’t travelled much, I didn’t know where the race track was, went by the sound, the guys were practicing and you heard the 4-strokes echoing through the woods and when they shut off, it was like a really unique sound. Also the smell, everyone used Castrol oil and I can still imagine that feeling today, it was some great memories.

And of course you got to win there on many occasions, like seven or something?

Then to race at Namur and to win there, really great memories. After that first visit to Namur, I always dreamt I wanted to race there, and then I got to race there and I always thought it couldn’t happen, it’s too big a thing to achieve to win there. One thing told me I could do it, and another thing told me I couldn’t do it. It all happened and I am very thankful.

Why was Namur special?

Namur, it is kind of like Monte Carlo for Formula 1 or Wimbledon for Tennis, it was the kind of place with all the history. Such a different course to what we were used to. Some riders looked at it as a demanding track, but other riders looked at it as a place where you could make a big difference. If you set-up your bike correctly, that could make all the difference. I loved Namur, the feeling and the ambience.