Stefan:I’m very happy; winning always pays you back for all the efforts put in to obtain the result—both yours and those made by the people who helped you reaching the goal. However, to be honest, I prefer to remember the victories of 2003; that one was undoubtedly my best season. I won the MXGP class, I reached my goal of the 7th World Title win, surpassing Joel Robert’s record [of 6 titles] and, moreover, I won nine GP [races]. I also finished second in the 125cc class world championship and in the GP of France (Ernee) I raced in all three classes (125cc- MXGP and 650 cc) on the same day and I won all three. And in Brazil, I participated at my first Six Days and won [the overall]: that was definitely a good season. This year and another title are parts of another chapter in my history book.DR: After such a wonderful year as 2003, where did you find other incentives for another season in the GP?
Stefan:More than finding incentives, I chose to race very calm, with no pressures. I didn’t have to show anything to anyone. This year I tried to be steadfast in my results, but that was not as easy as it seemed. I raced the first GP of the season in Zolder with some broken ribs, and then I had a thumb injury. Nevertheless, I’ve always tried to be “substantial”. When I finally found my fine mettle again, I already had a good advantage on my competition and I started using it in the best way I could, trying not to make any mistakes.DR: Who impressed you most among your opponents?
Stefan:There were two different phases in the World Championship with two different adversaries. During the first GPs Cédric Melote (his teammate) did really a good job, he was fast and always holeshot the starts, but then at the Neeroeeteren, Belgium GP, he fell and was out of the game. In the second part of the year, Mickael Pichon emerged with good determination, he started riding very well and he was winning quite a lot, but by that time my advantage was such that I could have an easy control over the situation.DR: By the way, Pichon gained 14 pole positions in the 16 GP run and you got none, how could that happen?
Stefan:Those pole positions I didn’t get were not a problem for me. On the contrary, I think that in such a long championship, it may be quite tricky and not worth the effort to look for a good lap time at all costs. What really counts is being the fastest at the end of the race.DR: With your 93 points on Pichon, did you think you could win the title in Ireland?
Stefan:Well, I was almost destined to get it there, since I found many coincidences about that GP. My father Harry (4-time World Champion) won his first title in Ireland 25 years ago, my son’s name—Liam—has an Irish origin, my girlfriend’s name is Kelly and the GP was held at Ballykelly.DR: What effect has becoming a father had on you?
Stefan:It’s simply fantastic, Liam’s birth took me completely and I am really happy.DR: Let’s talk about your future.
Stefan:I’m going to race in 2005, and at the end of the season I’ll make up my mind. If the result is fine, I’ll keep on racing in 2006 and then I’ll stop. Once I’ve hung up my helmet, I’d like to remain in the MX world, maybe following promising young motocrossers, trying to help them using my experience.