Five Minutes – Xavi Galindo
For Xavi Galindo – Team manager of Husaberg’s Extreme Racing Team – 2013 has been successful and challenging in equal measure. Successful due to the near total domination of the Hard Enduro scene by the squad’s #1 rider Graham Jarvis, yet challenging as Galindo moves away from racing and embraces the organisational duties associated with running a team.
Along with Jarvis’ notable victories, Spain’s Alfredo Gomez has asserted himself as a rising star within the sport by earning podium results at the Erzbergrodeo and the Red Bull Romaniacs, further increasing the pressure on Xavi to ensure everything is ‘done right’.
Set to not only support both Jarvis and Gomez at the immanent Red Bull Sea to Sky event in Turkey, Xavi has decided to make a ‘just for fun’ return to competition.
Here’s what Xavi has to say about team management, a hugely successful season to date, and the ever-growing Hard Enduro scene…
Xavi, let’s go back to the start of 2013 – how did the Husaberg Extreme Racing Team come about?
Xavi Galindo: “When I was a full time rider I thought a lot about running a team in Hard Enduro but due to my racing commitments I wasn’t able to fully commit to the idea. During 2012 I decided that it was time to stop racing and become more involved with team management. Immediately Husaberg were keen to support my ideas and pretty soon everything fell into place.”
As a team manager, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
“The paperwork! At first it was strange to deal with so many emails and phone calls on a daily basis but now I am slowly getting used to it. It feels more normal. There are a lot of things to organise everyday. I’m constantly talking with our riders, mechanics, and sponsors about how we can improve every aspect of the team. It’s tough work but enjoyable too.”
With four victories from the first four Hard Enduro races of the season you must be pleased with your progress to date?
“It’s been a dream start for the team. Of course Graham Jarvis is the best Hard Enduro rider in the world so it’s maybe ‘normal’ for him to win. However, it also puts pressure on us to make sure he has everything he needs to win. Alfredo Gomez has also had an incredible season. He’s improved at every race and I feel that his success – more so than Graham’s – proves that we are doing something right.”
The biggest race on the Hard Enduro calendar is the Erzbergrodeo. It’s also a race that Jarvis had yet to win. How nervous were you before the start this year?
“I’ve raced Erzberg many times so I know how tough that race can be but this year was the toughest in a very long time. We had everything from snow to torrential rain thrown at us. When we arrived the conditions were almost perfect, but then it snowed. It never snows in June. And when the snow stopped the rain came. On race day it was like a river under our awning. At that moment I feared the worst about the race.”
Do you think it actually helped Jarvis to start from the second row?
“When I saw his qualification time and that he would have to start from the second row I thought the race was already lost. Nobody wins that race from the second row. But it worked in his favour. He saw everybody get stuck in the water and knew to be careful. By the time he rode past me he was already inside the top ten – I knew then we could win the race.”
What did it feel like to win Erzberg as a team manager?
“It was an incredible moment for all of us watching Graham win. Of course we celebrated the victory but I was more relieved and satisfied to have done my job. I feel that the podium celebration is more for the riders, and what they achieved in the race. My job is just to help get them there.”
With both Jarvis and Gomez finishing first and second at the Red Bull Romaniacs it was another impressive result for Husaberg. What was it like to experience the race as a team manager for the first time?
“I think it’s harder to be the manager! As a rider you only need to think about the race but as a team manager you have to think about everything else. Everyday you plan where all the service checks will be, make sure the riders have everything they need, check that the mechanics are ok and find out where the toughest sections of the race will be. There are so many things happening all of the time. Everyday I was up before sunrise and in bed after midnight. I think I slept only 20 hours that week. It was a tough race – in a different way – but it ended with a perfect result.”
Obviously Graham is an incredible talent but Alfredo is getting stronger all the time. How far can he go in Hard Enduro?
“I think Alfredo is surprising a lot of people. I’ve always believed that he’s got the potential to be one of the best riders in the world. This year he’s racing only Hard Enduro and SuperEnduro and he’s improved a lot as a rider. Finishing on the podium at Erzberg and Romaniacs has boosted his confidence. He really believes in himself now. If he can win a race he will step his riding up another level. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.”
What do you think the future holds for Hard Enduro?
“I think the future is very good. All the time more and more people are arriving in the sport. Jarvis, Gomez, Jonny Walker, Andreas Lettenbichler, Wade Young, and soon David Knight – the level of competition is getting pushed higher and higher. Manufactures like Husaberg can see the exposure the riders and races are getting around the world and want to be part of it.”
Finally, the Red Bull Sea to Sky event takes place in Turkey next week. How much are you looking forward to returning to competition?
“Yes I’m going to do the race – but just for fun. I’ve been too busy to prepare properly for this race so my goal is to just try and finish. I’ve raced it twice now and love it. The terrain is difficult but not too hard, so it’s a good one for me to race.”