#fiatyamahateam Interview Brent Stevens
File under Racing Interviews
Author: Mike Werner
Location: Le Mans, France
As promised, I was going to check out the people you don't get to see on TV, or read about in the magazines, i.e., the people who make the team happen.
Of course, one of the more important persons on a motorcycle race team is the mechanic. Mechanics needs to be 1st class, the best of the best, if not, no need to apply. They need to understand the many facets of a race motorcycle, and on top of that, they need to understand their rider's position, able to communicate with him at 100%.
Let me introduce Brent Stevens. Brent is one of Valentino's 3 motorcycle mechanics.
Q. "What nationality are you?"
A. "New Zealand, a Kiwi. But I live in Australia"
Q. "So you're based in Australia, and travel around?"
A. "Yeah, most of the guys are Australian, and we travel back as often as possible"
Q. "How many hours do you spend in airplanes a year?"
A. "We try to get back to Australia as often as possible. If we have back-to-back races and then a week off, we try to fly home. It's a lot of flying, but the team is pretty good at getting us back to our families. I did the calculation 2 years ago, it's 450 hours, closer to 500 hours now; flying hours, not counting airport time".
(note: many flight crews don't make those kind of hours...)
Q. "So have you conquered jet lag?"
A. "No, no conquered, just making the best of a bad situation. You have to get in the time zone of where you are as quickly as possible."
Q. "How long have you been doing this?"
A. "I started in 95 in the world SuperBikes, so yeah, 15 years now".
Q. "Do you ride a motorcycle yourself?"
A. "I used to. I raced motocross, and raced cars., but I no longer have a road bike. I had a bit of a bad experience a few years ago."
Q." What is your function as mechanic on the team?"
A. "There are three of us, and we all have the same function. We not specialized on a particular field on the bike, we all do the same jobs. Now with these four strokes, we don't do any of the engine maintenance. We're changing engines, gearboxes, and stuff like that, and general maintenance."
Q. "Do you plan to continue doing this, or are there any other avenues after this?"
A. "I think we all have things in the back of our minds what we may do after, but we all hope we can do it for a little bit longer. I guess working for Valentino now, maybe if Valentino stops, we all stop. We've been around for quite a while. I mean, I do really enjoy the job, and I think I could still enjoy it working for someone else, even if they weren't of that caliber. I mean, he is someone very special. "
Q. "How's the relationship with Rossi?".
A. "I don't think you can find a better guy to work for. He gives 100%, we give 100%, he's a nice guy to work for, we work on a very professional level. I mean some people ask 'do you go out partying with him, a socialize with him?', We can't because we're working. And also, not quite sure if that a healthy way to have a relationship. There has to be a boundary. "
Q. "One final question. What do you do when it's not racing season?"
A. "I spend time with my family, I go water-skiing, motocross riding, and to be honest, I do not think about this one little bit. I know that Europeans , they live and breath it, even in the off season,"
Thank you Brent.