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Interview with Pamo Honda’s Ryan Hughes 11/18/99

American Ryan “Ryno” Hughes, a former factory Kawasaki rider in the AMA
Supercross and Motocross series moved to Europe to ride the 250 GP circuit in 1999
aboard a privateer Honda – ultimately finishing fourth. This year, Ryno takes Stefan
Evert’s place on the factory Honda 250 in his renewed bid for the GP championship.

MD

How did you like living in Europe the first year?

Hughes

I thought it was good. I was a little nervous at first, a little scared. You
know it’s kind of – it’s almost like moving to Mars (laughing). You move
into a whole different world. You know, the language is different. The
food is different. The culture is different. Anyone who has been to
Europe knows what I’m talking about. And to take your whole family
and to make the commitment is a big deal. You know, it wasn’t like I
was just going over for a couple of weeks and coming back. I was going
over there for seven months. Taking my whole family, closing up shop
over here. You know, my house and everything. I made a big
commitment, but I had a good time. A real good time.

MD

Did you live out of a motor home most of the time, or did you rent a
place?

Hughes

My team provided me with a house. I bought a motor home before I went
over there, and I shipped it over. Then at the races we went to and in
between the races, we just stayed in [the motor home].

MD

I know you’ve been racing in America for a long time. What are the
riders like in Europe? Did you make some close friends over there? Is
it a different atmosphere from hanging out with the guys over here?

Hughes

Yeah, it’s a little bit different. You know, the guys over there are kinda
to themselves. My customs, being from America, are different. It’s hard
since it’s the first year getting to be real close friends with somebody over
there the riders, I guess. But you know, everybody is real friendly –
almost more friendly than they are here. So that was a plus. Everyone
was real cool to me, treating me with a lot of respect, after I earned their
respect. When I came they didn’t respect me, but after the first couple of
races they were like Okay, he can ride.

MD

Last year you were on a modified production bike, and next year you’re
with the Pamo team with a full works bike. Have you had a chance to
ride your new bike, and what do you think about it.

Hughes

Actually I had rode Bolley’s bike (who won the World Championship).
I rode his bike, and I made some adjustments to it. It was amazing how
much better it was than what I was riding. But I haven’t yet rode the bike
I’m riding for next year. I’m testing out here in another week, so I’m
looking forward to that. Getting it all set up for me.

MD

Who’s your teammate going to be next year on the Pamo team?

Hughes

It will be Bolley (who won the Championship), and then a young kid
named Mark Jones who got, I think, 12th this year in the World
Championship. He’s just coming up, but I think he might be something
for the future. We have a pretty good team for next year.

MD

With Everts going to 500s and Vuillemin coming to the U.S., who’s going
to be your main competition next year for 250 GP?

Hughes

Bolley would be, and Pit Beirer, and probably Pichon. You never know,
there might be some new guy who comes out of the woodwork, [but] you can
generally say that those guys will be the ones you have to contend with.

MD

Do you have any long range plans to race in the U.S. again, or are you
just going to take it year by year.

Hughes

Yeah, I’m going to take next year in Europe, and my goal is to win the
World Championship. Even if I had an offer this year over here, I don’t
know if I would take it, because I don’t want to just go over there and say
I’ve got to ride in the U.S.A., and come back. I want to go over there,
win a championship and finish out my goal – the reason I went over there.
After maybe another year or two, maybe I’ll come back. We’ll see. I
don’t have a contract for 2001, so we’ll see what happens over here.