Who is this mystery Russia meat guy? Just to add to the drama, Evgeny is out there with an all-white helmet and a Suzuki RMZ450 with no graphics for most of the races. Dreams of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV danced through our heads as we pondered the possibilities of what this guy could be all about. Finally, me being Canadian and therefore the only non-American devil of the bunch, I was elected to go see what Mikhaylov was all about.With the help of JGR’s Coy Gibbs driving me around in his mule (what? You think I’m going to walk all around the privateer pits?) I found the elusive Ruskie.
Seems that with the help of a shop in Florida called TLR Performance (http://www.tlrperformance.com/index.php) Evgeny and his merry band of Russian buddies are having a blast and traveling the series. Mikhaylov’s English wasn’t the greatest so thanks to his buddy Tim for translating for us. (Oh and I see that there is another Russian that raced Washougal named Sergey Astaykin so basically the American motocross series is becoming a little bit like Red Dawn).
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Kraor Meats/TLR Performances Evgeny Mikhaylov!
Racer X: Congrats Evgeny on your best ride last week at Millville! Can you talk about riding in America?
Evgeny Mikhaylov: It’s not that easy, I have to work and get ready for every race. The more riding I do, the better I feel on the weekends. Coming into this, it was all new and I have to get used to the riders and the tracks are also very different for me.
Mikhaylov finished 27th overall at Washougal.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
Can you give us some background on yourself racing in Russia?
I raced over there for a long time, I’m a champion in Russia from the 80 class and then I was champion in the 450’s as well. From 2008 on I won that class and I’ve been riding since I was 6 years old. In Russia I was growing as a rider but then there wasn’t anymore for me to grow there so then I moved to Europe to get better and I was the champion for MX Open class in European championships.
Why did you want to come to America to race?
First of all there are two different champions, there is the world championships and the American championships and America has always seemed to be more interesting to me. I’ve always heard about the tracks over here and the riders and how they are so competitive here. An opportunity opened up for me here and I took it to come here.
With yourself doing well and Evgeny Bobryshev doing so well in the GP’s, the Russians are coming back!
Yes, it’s good to see. I’m getting experience over here and my friends from Russia are growing and getting better in the GP’s. I’m happy for them as well.
Last weekend was your best finish and now this weekend you are in the seeded practice which has to help right?
Well I feel more mentally ready for this and I’m coming into this race more ready than ever before. I have to start getting some points and get better results.
Mikhaylov currently sits 42nd overall in points.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson
What about the top riders, what are your thoughts on them?
They are very fast, I take notice of them and they are high-class riders. Just racing with them gives me experience and helps me get better.
Do you want to stay here?
Yes, very much so. I have to go back to Russia and then return here for the winter and get ready for supercross and then the outdoor season. It’s good training for sure.
And finally, what is Kraor Meats?
(Laughs) It’s a trading company in Orlando, Florida and the president of the company is a gentleman named Mikhail Kholodtsov who has helped me with the finances and the backing for the team and me. He used to race in Russia and got hurt and now wants to help out riders from his home country.
(And a big thanks goes out to Max from FLY Racing USA as he stepped up and got Mikhaylov some gear for the next few races. It seemed to make him happy)