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Fullnoise.com.au catches up with up with MACA's Glenn MacDonald

12/12/13



This article was generously provided by Aaryn Minerds from Fullnoise.com.au







Glenn MacDonald is a name that most people who are involved with Motocross racing in Australia are well aware off.

A top national rider at his peak and still a super fast rider on the occasions when he does swing a leg over a bike, MacDonald in the past decade has become more known for his MACA riding schools (Motocross Advanced Coaching Academy) and also as the man behind the KTM Junior and Women's racing teams with GMR (Glenn MacDonald Racing).

Things are changing for MacDonald though, with the 2013 Junior Australian Motocross Championship the last time for the foreseeable future that the GMR team will be in action in its current form, but is likely to resurface in a modified light in the future, as both KTM and MacDonald himself take different paths going forward.

As for MACA and McDonald's commitment to helping bring through the next wave of junior Australian talent that is one thing that will not change at all and with the closure of GMR, the Victorian based coach will be putting even more emphasis in his MACA schools and the growth of future talent.

Read below as we catch up with Glenn MacDonald to find out about his future plans and what he has accomplished over many years at the helm of both MACA and GMR.





Fullnoise: First up Glenn I have just heard that there will be a few big changes for you for 2014, from what I have heard you will no longer be looking after the KTM junior and Women’s team and the Glenn MacDonald Racing (GMR) portion of your business will be disbanded and you will put more Focus on your MACA coaching schools, it this correct?

MacDonald: Yeah there will be some big changes for us, I won’t be Team Manager of the Motorex KTM Junior and Women’s racing team and finished up on the last day of the junior nationals at Horsham.

We were committed personally to assist Kristy Gillespie at her Women’s Nationals later this month however that event has just been cancelled – so we are all done! It’s been a huge part of our past seven years so to not be involved any-more is bitter sweet but I have wanted a change for a few years now and it gives me a chance to focus on MACA Coaching and other opportunities.

At this stage, GMR has not been disbanded, this is a company that I remain the Director of and we have some really exciting ideas in the pipe line as to what GMR could look like in the future. So at the moment its full steam ahead for MACA and looking at some options for GMR.

Fullnoise: Why the decision to move away from the race team, was it something that you had been planning to do or was it something you did not have a great deal of say in.

MacDonald: KTM has been making changes internally to meet their in-house strategy with teams and product which is a great for them, so the shift away from GMR was on the cards. We had hoped we would still be involved with KTM’s racing program in a different role so that aspect is a little disappointing.

But like I said, I have wanted a change for a while and feel I have more to give in other areas of the sport. If I look back, I think ever since being involved with the Motorex KTM Senior SX team in 2009-2010 and at the junior world motocross events over the past five years, it really did show what I am capable of so when we heard officially that our contract would not be renewed, we felt a bit of relief as it might give us a chance to work in different areas.





Fullnoise: Your MACA schools will continue as they were and you will continue to guide up and coming riders through the junior ranks through your schools. Will there be any difference on that front going forward.

MacDonald: Coaching will be as strong as ever, if not more so in coming seasons. Stepping away from the junior team gives us a chance to put more focus on it, run a few more schools and get out to some new venues and work with even more riders, junior and senior.

At the end of the day, I have a full-time job at an engineering business and the racing and coaching are part-time gigs, so not working on the race team frees up a bit more time for my family and the coaching. We also have a couple of really innovative ideas in the works to compliment what we do and hopefully we can move into these new areas too.

Fullnoise: You have been running the GMR team as part of the KTM junior program for quite awhile now, what are some of your biggest highlights and proudest moments throughout the course of running the team.





MacDonald: Well, in amongst the 54 number one plates with KTM there have been many highlights! Not all the highlights have been about those results themselves but more about the story that led to the results and being a part of the development to that point.

Jarryd McNeill’s win in the 250F class at the 2007 junior nationals was incredible as a KTM dealer team rider against the force that is Tye Simmonds, and then to be appointed the factory gig for 2008 was a huge accomplishment.

I will also never forget being asked about Jay Wilson, ‘where did you find him?’ and cheekily replied ‘the phone book!’. So to be a part of Jay’s development and world title in NZ in 2009 was very memorable.

Dylan Long’s performance there as well for 3rd was special for us too – we nearly went 1-2 but Longy got taken out by a lapper and we have the photo to prove it ha ha! Longy was a hot favourite so we felt all the emotions, his disappointment, we felt pride and having known and worked with him in various ways since he was on an RM65 we also knew that it was a defining moment for him in his career.

In 2009 we also saw Kristy Gillespie score her first Australian Women’s Title, she had a rough time in the lead up with her mum’s ill health and missed the title previously with mechanical issues so this one was really rewarding and very emotional. Her 2011 title was also an incredible feat, she dug deep and won on her home track – it was pretty special and her mum got to see that one with us.

Hunter Lawrence at the world’s this year was amazing, to see him fight through the pack and then take a moto win that was another tear-jerker of a moment. We have also seen a GMR representative in every squad that has been selected for the MA team which is also a very proud memory we will hold, as was Wayde Carter’s win in the 250F at the junior nationals this year – a memorable way to finish our role with the team on the last race of the event.

There are so many great riders and results that it’s hard to pick a few highlights but I think most importantly it was the development of riders and their stories to achieve these results which we think of most. But we give credit where credit is due, it’s the riders on the bike out there on the track and it’s the family unit supporting them – we played just one part in their success and we are grateful for that experience.

Fullnoise: 2013 was another successful year for your team, how did you see the 2013 season and what were some of the highlights.

MacDonald: Yes it was a strong year for the team. There were seven number one plates and runner-up at the FIM World 85cc Championship.

Wayde Carter’s 250F win at the junior nationals is very special, not many people know how tough the road was for Wayde this year and in that last race he raced to win the title, not the race. His throttle hand was cut and bloodied from an earlier 125cc race and he did what had to be done with a huge level of maturity.

Also, his ride at Hattah this year was nothing short of phenomenal. His qualifying time would have seen him in the top five outright against the seniors and left me speechless with what he can do on a bike. Hopefully we get to see Wayde continue to progress and score a good ride in the next couple of years.

Hunter Lawrence’s last moto win at the worlds, although that was just the pinnacle. His whole performance over the event was solid and the way he rode through the pack and past some of the fastest 85 riders in the world was amazing. Again, hopefully he can keep progressing and secure a good ride when he turns senior.

Another highlight was to see Mitchell Evans come back from an arm injury just days prior to the QLD titles for him to claim the 85cc class. It was tough physically and emotionally, but he really dug deep for that one. Kristy Gillespie also scored her 8th consecutive VIC Women’s title and after a bike failure in round one of the VICs, Callum Norton’s come back for a podium in the state titles was a great achievement.

But aside from the results, we clicked over 5000 likes on Facebook for the race team and believe that we have finished up with the KTM team on a positive note.

Fullnoise: What other plans do you have going forward, obviously MACA will continue to grow, but do you have anything else you are working on?

MacDonald: In the short term, we are looking at finalising some sponsors for MACA going forward. KTM have continued to offer support nationally which is great but we do need to see if it’s a mutual fit. Just because we aren’t managing the racing team doesn’t mean we won’t be on a bike or running our schools!

MACA Coaching is our own entity and we will keep running our schools and striving to improve. We have some other sponsors in the works as well as a few new concepts on both the coaching and GMR front too so it’s definitely an exciting time for us.

I hope to continue being involved in racing, whether ultimately its running a senior race team or leading teams overseas, I am keeping that door open and see where it leads!







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