Few days before the Grand Prix of Finland, we called the GOAT of Enduro Juha SALMINEN (SF). The new Husqvarna Nordic brand manager will help the organizer to build and change the track...
Hello Juha, first of all, let’s talk about your new life...
Juha SALMINEN: “I feel really good! I’m pretty happy with this situation. For me, my racing career is really really far now! I’ve been enjoying it! I think that I still had enough with riding so I’m not really missing races and competitions...”
But do you still ride or you stopped everything?
J.S: “Of course! I’m riding sometimes but not often. Maybe once in a month or twice... It depends if we have some demo rides or some things where I need to go on the bike. But I’m not riding every day or every week like I had to do it when I was competing.”
No regret about your past life, you are a true business man now...
J.S: “Well... I don’t know if I’m a business man but it seems like this! In fact, yes and no! All this business is like my former life. You know, when you are racing, you try to win and be successful. And in my new job, I’m selling the bike, I’m talking with dealers, so when I sell a bike, I’m having success. It’s a different life but with the same goal!”
Let’s talk about SuperEnduro. What was your experience in this sport?
J.S: “My experience? I made many races when they start to organize SuperEnduro in Barcelona. That’s happened before my trip to the US to run the GNCC. But when I came back from there, the Indoor Enduro has changed a lot and you really needed to be 100% focus on it. You couldn’t be focus on Enduro, SuperEnduro and many other things. So in my case, it was better being concentrated for EWC than SuperEnduro...”
... So you think it’s difficult to compete in both, SEWC and EWC?
J.S: “Yes because you need a special training. And honestly, in Finland, we don’t have the chance and the material to train well for SuperEnduro. You know, when it is SuperEnduro time, we have like half meter snow in Finland so we don’t have possibilities to ride. You can go to Spain or warmer countries but I really preferred to put all my concentration in EWC. Of course, when I was younger I was doing many disciplines: SuperEnduro, Motocross and also Enduro. When you are young you can do everything but when you’re older you need to stay focus on one thing only!”
What are your exact functions in this SuperEnduro in Helsinki?
J.S: “I’m sponsoring the event and helping organizers. I’ll also be the tester of the track. When it will be ready, I’ll take my bike and ride it and then we’ll see what’s wrong and what’s good. Then during the week, I can’t really help them, I have my own work.”
What do you think of the track at now; we don’t see any swimming pool?
J.S: “No there is no swimming pool because of the timing to clean the venue so it was better not doing it. When it’s on the paper, it’s difficult to say, th. en when you see the obstacles and you ride the track, you can see what you have to change. But I think the track will have many lines and we’ll see some nice overtaking!”
What about Finnish riders. The country is having a tough time now. Before we had plenty of Finn riders and now there is nobody except SEISTOLA and REMES...
J.S: “I don’t know why! And nobody can know why! We have a lot of riders but the level of riders in compare with the level of the World Championship is quite big. So it’s difficult to say when we’ll have again good riders from Finland. It’s not a miss of motivation or money. It’s a kind of generation. Before everything was clear, you knew why you were 24/24 on the bike training. Now, the young guys are not training enough and they don’t have the necessary talent to be in the first position in the World Championship. In Enduro, you can’t be only good in Motocross or in Trial, you need to be good in everything and our new riders don’t have it. Look in France! You have a lot of motocross riders but only few who are World Champions. Ok, you have Antoine (MEO), Pela (RENET) or also Johnny (AUBERT) but you have also many other former cross riders that are trying to compete in Enduro and not winning. For now, you have the generation that can do that and win. In Finland, we had this kind of generation... but not anymore!”
If you were the Enduro boss in the FIM, what would you change in EWC?
J.S: “First of all, it’s difficult to have one clear format. I think, it’s better to make a more flexible concept then have a look how it works. You know, if you don’t try something, you can’t see how it goes. I would like to see more flexibility in the format and then checking which format to choose... I think we should have traditional Enduro with long special tests but where you can’t find many spectators and then organize other Enduro close to the public totally different from traditional Enduro. Maybe like Sprint Enduro... We can have maybe some kind of compromise. In another hands not many spectators but a perfect track and in the other, loose a bit the control of the track and have a lot of spectators...”