*As seen in the latest issue of MXP Magazine
In the past few years, Kourtney Lloyd has had many different roles in our industry. From being one of the owners of the highly successful Cycle North Motorsports in Prince George, BC to running her own championship winning AX team, Kourtney has done it all. However, this season Kourtney has taken on what is perhaps her biggest task, which is managing Team Canada at the 2016 Motocross of Nations that will take place on September 25th in Italy. Kourtney has always had a knack for bringing people together for one common goal and during the past few months she has had to rely heavily on this talent. With picking the three rider team, organizing the team’s itinerary for their trip to Italy and fund raising, Kourtney has had a full plate. With only a few weeks remaining before Team Canada departs for Italy, we caught up with Kourtney to find out how everything was shaping up.
MXP: Since the first day that you learned that you were going to be the Manager for Team Canada, how has the entire process been?
KL: I think in many ways it’s been less stressful than I thought it would be, especially because I’ve had to deal with different teams and personnel. In years past when I put together my Cycle North Team I’ve only had to deal with Honda. With Team Canada you’re dealing with the KTM, Husqvarna and the Redemption team. They all have different sponsors and different requirements. That has probably been the most challenging part, just trying to make sure everyone has what they need.
One of the riders that has been chosen for Team Canada is Kaven Benoit. How has his boss, JSR, been through all of this?
Actually, JSR has been amazing through all of this and I don’t think I could’ve done this without him. He’s been to this event before as a rider so he knows what the riders do and don’t need to be successful. He’s also travelled over to Europe before so he knows the difficulty that flying overseas entails. When you take on a project like this there are certain people you need to be involved and JSR has been one of those people.
You have received a lot of support over the summer. Has the level of support been more or less than you thought it would be?
To be honest I’m a little disappointed with that part of it. I’m happy with what I’ve received thus far, however there are people that I’ve helped out in the past who haven’t returned the favour. I mean, there have been words of support but not the financial backing Team Canada needs. That’s okay though, now I know not to help these people in the future.
However, on the flip side of that there must be people who have stepped up to help that you didn’t think would
Definitely, there has been a number of people and I’m extremely grateful.
We are sending a very fast team over to Italy in a few weeks, but two of our top riders, Cole Thompson and Colton Facciotti, have opted out. Do you think there would be even more interest if those two riders were part of the team?
No, I don’t think so. Previous managers had the same issues that I’m having and they had those riders on the team. I think it’s just the nature of the event, you either support it or you don’t. It’s no big deal, we’re going over to Italy with a great team and we’re going to give it our best.
From a regional perspective, has each Province supported their rider? For instance, have you received a lot of support from Quebec because Kaven Benoit is going?
For sure, I received donations from people in Quebec that I’ve never even heard of. They just want to support their rider. I kind of thought I’d see a little more support from Saskatchewan as they really love Shawn. Each rider’s home Province definitely wants to see their rider do well in Italy. I, however, just want to see the team do well.
I know it’s a little premature to look ahead when you’re doing something like this but with the MXoN coming back to North America in 2017, is this a two year plan that you have?
In my mind it definitely is. I suppose I have to get through this year and then see if I’m even chosen again. In a perfect world, though, 2016 would be a great learning year and then I’d like to take what I’ve learned and apply it to next year. With this race going to Glen Helen in 2017, the cost of attending will be less and the logistics will be a lot easier. I’ll get through this year and then reassess how everything went.
Okay, so I guess what everyone wants to know is when does everything begin? When is Team Canada travelling to Italy and what will they do once they get there?
I fly on September 15th to get everything organized over there. Adam Robinson will join me and we’ll get the bikes ready for the riders when they arrive. As soon as the riders get there we’ll be testing for a few days so they can get everything dialed in with their bikes. I have a house rented near the track for the team to stay, plus I have also hired a chef who will cook for the team at the house and at the track as well. Once we get the bikes tested and get settled in the house, I’m sure we’ll do a little sightseeing and get ready for the race.
Other than the fund raising, it sounds as though getting all the logistics figured out is the hardest part of a task like this?
I would say that it’s the hardest part, actually, as there are so many things that have to fall into place. Hopefully everyone can get over there without any delays or flight cancellations. Adam Robinson has been a huge help as he’s been my right hand man. He’s looking after all of the bike stuff so the team is in very good hands.
When you think ahead to the actual event, what are you most excited about?
I think I’m just excited to go over to Italy to represent Canada. There are only fourteen of us going over as part of Team Canada, so I’m excited to just go there and build memories that are going to last a lifetime. I think the other thing that I’m excited about is the moment when Team Canada is announced and we take to the track. I’m sure the feeling of pride will be overwhelming for all of us.
That is going to be incredible, for sure. Okay, final question: I know this might be hard to answer but what finish would make you happy as Team Manager?
I’ve actually thought a lot about this and to be honest I think we have a good chance to do well. We have to make the A Final first and then go from there. Once we do that then anything is possible. I think if we finish in the top 15 and have some great motos then I will be happy, for sure. This is a very tough event with some of the best riders in the world, but we have a few of those top riders so we should do well. I feel like I’ve done my part to give the team everything they need, all they have to do is ride like they know how and hopefully have a little good luck along the way.
Well Kourtney, on behalf of everyone in Canada, let me wish you and the team good luck in Italy. We’ll all be cheering for you guys, and it should be an exciting adventure.
Thanks Palms, I can’t wait to get over there and get things started.