Members of the FIM Medical Commission have concluded three days of presentations and meetings with AMA Supercross riders to discuss anti-doping efforts in the sport. Through cooperation with Feld Entertainment, Supercross racers had the opportunity to learn about the FIM Anti-Doping Code before the start of the 2019 AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship begins on January 5. Riders were educated on the dangers of doping, received instruction on resources available to them as athletes, and also had the opportunity to sit down with FIM Medical Commission Director Dr. David McManus and FIM Medical and Anti-Doping Coordinator Evelyne Magnin, who were available to answer any questions from riders and team members.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity to meet with the riders from Supercross, to inform them about our anti-doping program and increase their awareness and knowledge of anti-doping issues and in particular, to inform them about our Say NO! To Doping campaign,” said FIM Medical Director Dr. David McManus. “It has also been a great opportunity to receive their feedback and hear their concerns and the issues that they have in regard to anti-doping issues. Normally we would meet riders at races, but riders are focusing on the competition and preparing for the race. So this has been a good opportunity from Feld to meet riders on a one-to-one basis in small groups, to meet their teams and talk directly to them outside a race setting.”
Factory teams and riders from both 450 and 250 divisions were present for the meetings throughout the week, including Factory Yamaha team members and riders Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger. Red Bull Honda Factory riders Ken Roczen and Cole Seely were happy to join the FIM Say NO! To Doping campaign and sign the poster. The Geico Honda/Factory Connection team members Christian Craig, RJ Hampshire and Chase Sexton were also in attendance along with Troy Lee Designs KTM team riders Sean Cantrell, Mitchell Falk and Jordon Smith. Star Racing Yamaha’s roster, including Dylan Ferrandis, Mitchell Oldenburg, Colt Nichols and Justin Cooper were in attendance, as were Pro Circuit Kawasaki riders Joey Savatgy, Marvin Davalos and star rookie rider Garrett Marchbanks.
“I think it’s awesome that they kind of get us away from the track where we’re not so distracted in the racing stuff and before the season starts,” said HEP Motorsports Suzuki’s Kyle Chisholm. “It was nice to be face to face and have time to address questions and go over some of that stuff, just get more information.”
AMA Supercross Manager Mike Pelletier also felt it was beneficial to address riders in a neutral non-race setting. “It was a good opportunity to educate them all in one group in one setting. To do it now without the pressure of the race around I think is really important.”
“It’s pretty cool to see the FIM stepping up and trying to educate us more. I think all us riders can be educated more on it and know what we’re putting in our body,” said Geico Honda’s Christian Craig. “That’s the biggest thing. You see riders every now and then get caught and some crazy things, not even knowing what’s going in their bodies. I’m learning and that’s all we can do right now is try to learn, and it’s awesome what FIM’s doing with WADA. I’m all for the drug testing. I think it evens the playing fields. I don’t think there needs to be drugs in our sport anyway. We’re not like a cycling sport where it’s all body. It’s a lot more than that. Either way it’s going to level our playing field, so I’m all for it.”
“I think it was really good,” said Yamalube Star Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis. “I think it’s really important to do more—more prevention, more testing. Because for me, I’ve been professional now more than six years and I had doping tests maybe three times in my life, which is maybe not enough. We should have more doping tests, I think, personally. It was really good this morning to get more information and the people were really interested about the implications for the rider and the sport, so it was good. I was very interested.”
The Supercross meetings were also an ideal opportunity for FIM representatives to answer questions and address concerns from riders and teams, some of which stem from a number of positive tests in recent years.
“From an FIM perspective, we’re aware of a number of high-profile doping cases in recent times, and this understandably increases anxiety and concern,” said Dr. McManus. “We have had the opportunity to hear those concerns and communicate with riders and with their teams. We are also aware that there is a perception that anti-doping program is about finding positive tests and about applying sanctions to riders. And in fact, it is not. This program is about integrity in the sport, honesty in the sport, fairness for all and importantly to protect the riders from the adverse effects—some of which are very serious—of substances that are used to enhance performance. We accept that not all are used deliberately. Some are used accidentally, and so the important thing here is to increase the awareness of riders about what our program is about, what the risks of doping are and the steps they can take to avoid taking prohibited substances. It’s also about how we can reach out to our younger riders who look up to these athletes and see them supporting the campaign and striving for a clean, fair sport.”
Riders and teams not only received information on the dangers of doping, but also received instruction on utilising online resources designed to help identify prohibited substances that could be in everyday products such as nutritional supplements and over-the-counter medications. During one-on-one and small group meetings, Dr. McManus and Evelyne Magnin walked riders through the software programs using examples of medications and supplements, showing riders how to navigate the Global Drug Reference Online website (GlobalDRO.com).
“We’re all in this together,” Dr. McManus concluded. “We’re all on the same side and we can help each other to stamp out doping in our sport. As we find in other disciplines, this week in Supercross we have been very positively received and riders are happy to be tested. They want to demonstrate that they’re competing fairly and cleanly. This week was another example of that positive interaction.”
Jean Tuner/FIM Communications