Whether you’ve been before a TV screen, a computer monitor, or alongside a fence, if you’ve been able to cast your eyes upon any of the MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship races this year, you’ve no doubt seen Jeremy Seewer and the #91 Suzuki Factory RM-Z250 running up at the sharp end if the field, the 23-year-old Swiss rider winning five Grands Prix and seven motos in his determined plight to try and win Suzuki its first World Championship in a decade (Belgium’s Steve Ramon won the MXGP title back in 2007).
In his fourth season in MX2, with three rounds remaining in the ’17 title fight the 2016 Vice World Champion is 45 points adrift of championship leader Pauls Jonass. His last year on the 250—Seewer will race a RM-Z450 for Stefan Everts’ Suzuki outfit in 2018—he is hoping to kick big dents into Jonass’ lead beginning this weekend at the Monster Energy MXGP of USA set for WW Motocross Park in Jacksonville, Florida.
A few days after winning the MXGP of Sweden at Uddevalla, Jeremy spoke about coming to America and the beginning of what will be the end of the ’17 MX2 World Championship world tour.
Racer X: Jeremy, the last two Grands Prix have been really good for you. At the MXGP of Switzerland you won the opening moto and then thrilled your home nation crowd with an amazing come-from-behind ride in moto two. Then, a week later in Sweden, you used two second place moto finishes to win the GP overall.
Jeremy Seewer: Yes, it was my home GP in Switzerland and it was amazing. Motocross is small in Switzerland and we barely have any tracks, but it was such a huge event and over 30,000 people showed up and it had a supercross feeling because the track is so big and the spectators can see everything and they just go crazy for it. It was just 20 minutes from where I Iive, so it was just an amazing feeling to race there in front of family, fans, and all those people. It was amazing.
Younger fans may not be aware of it, but back in the 1970s and 1980s the Swiss GP drew massive crowds to world famous natural terrain circuits such as Wohlen, Roggenburg, and Payerne.
Yeah, I remember some of this because my dad was in the business at that time and he explained it to me and showed me pictures and it was awesome. Nowadays, Switzerland is quiet and all those tracks are still there, but it’s not really happening anymore. It is really a wonder that they are arranging a GP now because of all the rules and the green people and stuff like that. It’s nice it’s coming back because now we have me, and Arnaud [Tonus] and Valentin [Guillod] also being strong at the moment in the series.
You and Jorge Prado collided in the first turn of the second moto and you were forced to come from way back. Once you got going you gave it everything you had and mounted a remarkable charge through the pack with the entire crowd on its feet and cheering madly for you. A great 30-minutes plus-two laps for you.
Yeah, it was. It was. I think it was one of the best races in my life, but at the same time, it was one of the most disappointing races because I wanted to win the GP and it didn’t happen. I was riding so awesomely, but I was still disappointed. In a sand track, if you crash at the start, no worries because the gap never gets too big and you can get them back in the end, but on a track like the one in Switzerland then nearly everyone is going the same speed and it wasn’t easy to pass and there were so many ruts and one line. If I think about it now, I don’t even know how I did that. I was half a minute off the lead after a big start crash and to be able to finish in the top five. To be able to close up on the top guys who were fighting for the win like I did was real good for me.
Did the national media of Switzerland take notice of what played out at the Frauenfeld-Gachnang circuit and provide you and the event with any sort of publicity?
Yeah, it was really big in the media. Like Swiss TV, the main, big Swiss TV channel, for the first time ever, they broadcast the whole race live all afternoon. That had never happened before and the sport got promoted so well. And on Sunday night in Switzerland there is a sports show called Sports Panorama that is normally geared to soccer players and ice hockey players and all those main sports from Switzerland and I was part of it all after the GP. The race actually had a huge impact in the Swiss media. That was good to see.
The track definitely had a supercross influence to it. What did you think of some of the supercross and manmade elements present within the circuit?
It was a special track, you know? It was built in a flat area even though we are in Switzerland with all the mountains, but it was the only opportunity the organizers had. But I kind of liked it. Even though it was kind of a strange rhythm down the grandstands, you know, tabletops and doubles and a tabletop jump into another double, but for the spectators, it was a cool track for racing. Of course there are cooler tracks for me, like those natural terrain tracks with uphills and downhills, like Glen Helen in America. At the end, though, it’s the atmosphere that counts for me and it was just amazing there in Switzerland. And, yes, it was supercross, but I don’t like the tracks which are built on the flat, like Assen in Holland. I’m a big fan of old school motocross tracks. But for me, Switzerland was a good mix.
You’ve won five Grands Prix, seven motos, and are second in the 2017 MX2 Word Championship classification. Are you pleased with your racing season up to this point?
Well, I’m sitting in second place knowing there are only three GPs to go and I’m quite far back in the points and Jonass needs to make a big mistake to allow me to turn it around. It’s disappointing because I was second last year, but on the other side of things, it feels awesome to bring some GP wins to Suzuki, which hadn’t happened for a long time. I won five GPs this year and got quite a few podiums. At the end of last year I was vice-World Champion and everyone said, “Yeah, next year we go for the title!” That’s how easy it sounds in the books, but then to do that and to get that much better and then to go out there and fight for a title is a different story. In this kind of thing I’m actually happy where I am, but it’s just frustrating that it doesn’t work out to where I’m completely on the top. And that KTMs are quite strong too.
You placed second in both motos at the last GP. Both you and the Suzuki you were on appeared to be very fast. Were you pleased with your performance in Sweden?
Yes, in Sweden I actually felt good on my bike. Everything felt like we were one. It was just difficult to pass there and my starts were not special. The first one wasn’t that great, but, yeah, I felt good. I was just a little bit disappointed about the small mistake I made in that first race where I lost the moto win and finished second. In the second moto in the last corner I got passed by [Thomas] Covington and that was a bit disappointing, but I have to admit that he was really, really fast those last couple of laps. He pulled me and totally surprised me and I couldn’t get that moto win which was disappointing. As far as the rest of the race, I was happy. It was such a fun weekend and I enjoyed riding my bike so much.
It’s really remarkable to watch you guys go race in so many different nations and on tracks that vary so radically from event to event. It’s like every Grand Prix you guys travel to is like a completely different adventure. As a fan, I love it.
I know what you mean and that’s what I like about the World Championship. Sometimes we have three or four races in a row, and it can start in a place like Loket, which is an older country; then we can go to Lommel and it’ sandy and in it’s in Belgium and it’s a totally different lifestyle there; then we can race in Switzerland, which is, again, different. You have to be an all-around guy, you know? If you are a good sand rider, you are not going to achieve anything. You need to be good all-around at the GPs. Every country is different the culture is different; and the tracks are different. All that keeps it really exciting.
You’ve been with Suzuki for quite a few years now. I wanted to ask you about that and also ask you what it’s like working for that 10-time World Champion who runs the team you race for?
To work with Stefan [Everts] is going really well. He’s like the most honest guy to you after a race. You can win a moto by one minute, but he’s still coming and telling you the negative points. That’s really helpful to get stronger and to keep your feet on the ground and to eliminate mistakes. He’s not one of those guys who shows up and says, “That’s good what you do. Just keep doing it.” Stefan tells you immediately what’s wrong and that’s how you improve and get better. And as far as the whole story with Suzuki, I’ve been on Suzuki’s since I was riding 65s. That’s more than 10 years. I’ve never swapped brands, which is quite unique in this sport and it makes me proud to still be part of the Suzuki family. And I’m really excited to go to the 450 class. Before, I wouldn’t say I was afraid of the class, but I had a lot of respect for it. I’ve had some training on the 450 this year already which was so fun and I enjoy riding that bike so much. I’m really looking forward to finally moving up to the big class and to show some results there. I think I’ll be quite ready to go there and fight with them. I’m really excited to accept that new kind of challenge.
I remember watching you race at the MXGP of USA last year at Glen Helen. I kept a close eye on the entire second moto where you placed third and was really impressed. Are you looking forward to racing in the U.S. this weekend? And have you seen any photos or video of this new track in Florida?
I have not seen so much of it yet, but they tell me it’s a cool kind of track. I’m excited about it. I like to come to America and race. They have different rules than we have, so our bike setup is completely in another direction than the Americans, so they always have a little bit of an advantage. But that doesn’t matter to me. I still go out there and do my best like I did last year at Glen Helen. I really like the competition to see how the Americans are, even if it’s only once a year. It’s interesting to see where their level is against us.
After the USGP, you’ll race at Assen, Holland, and Villars Sous Ecot in France. Do you like the two circuits?
I really like the track in France. I’ve been riding there as a kid many times. It’s not that far from my home in Switzerland. Assen is not my favorite, just because it’s not motocross for me, but by now I’m getting really good in sand. I like to ride sand now and I think I can do well there.
Would you ever want to race in the United States or would you rather concentrate on winning World Championships?
At the moment, and to be honest, I’m really happy how I’m doing here. I kind of love the GPs. I love my background and the people around me. I enjoy racing a lot, so that’s why at the moment I don’t want to change too much. I think at one time I might think different and I’m open actually to show up in America, but we will see and speak about it in one or two years again and then I can tell you more.