With the COVID-19 virus still dominating proceedings around the world, different countries have approached the matter in different ways and as such, due to the global nature of the MXGPs, all the racers have been affected differently. For Alvin Ostlund, based in in Västerås, a town one hour west of Stockholm, Sweden, the lockdown hasn’t been enforced and as a result, the Team Assomotor Honda rider’s life isn’t too different than before the pandemic hit. We caught up with him to discuss what he thinks of the situation and how 2020 has gone so far…
What is it like being in Sweden and not really being lockdown?
To be honest, it is like living normally. I can do everything like I usually do. We can go out and eat in the restaurant if we want and riding motocross isn’t a problem either. I think I am very lucky.
Is it weird that life for you hasn’t changed, and yet you’re obviously seeing all the other riders and people on social media who are having to adapt quite a lot?
Yes, it is a little bit weird because I see everyone posting with the hashtags #stayhome on social media and for me, I can just live like normal. It is strange but I am trying to use the time wisely and take advantage of the circumstances and try to improve myself. My life is the same and I can ride motocross so I am doing that and hoping it will help me. I am making sure to see this as a positive.
How is the news being reported there? Do you think that it is the right decision or the wrong decision, what Sweden is doing?
I’m not into it very much, I don’t follow too closely. The only thing they really closed down were the ski mountains, there are usually a lot of people at this time and they closed it for this year. I think that was a good idea because it stopped a lot of tourists coming here. I think it is not good that so many jobs are shut around the world because the economy will be very bad and a lot of people will suffer. At the same time though, we have many cases here in Sweden with lots of sick people so it is very hard to say. No one really knows the right way to do things.
The team you ride for, Team Assomotor Honda are based in Italy, who are under severe lockdown, have you had any problems of needing parts or anything?
I was very lucky actually because I had planned to stay in Sweden during the season and train here. So when we went to Matterley Basin, we came from Italy and I took everything I needed for a whole summer of training on the bike. So I have spare parts, tyres, two Honda CR250Rs and everything else. I was very lucky because at the moment I don’t need anything from the team. I keep in touch with them regularly though and speak to them just to let them know how I’m progressing.
At the moment no one truly knows when the season is going to start, is it hard to train properly?
Yes, it is tough because it has changed a lot in the past few weeks. Now, I’ve tried to get myself a plan for each week and each day and stick to that. You also need to think about the fact that it could be a long season also, and that we could run until the end of November so you have to be fit and motivated for a long time. So, I have this in the back of my mind and this is why, even though I can, I am choosing to only ride one or two times a week. I am focusing more on the physical training.
I am making sure that I should be okay to ride until the end of November, because with this break we are having now, I think riding a couple of months later in the year shouldn’t be a problem. Now if it keeps getting later and we are having to ride in December, it will be different because it will affect next season but November should be okay.
This is your last year in the MX2 class? Is this a worry for you, with regards to the transition to the 450?
Yes, this is my last year in MX2 and I am worried a little bit. Of course, I want to start back racing again as quickly as possible because I want to show my potential and show some good results because the first two races didn’t go as planned. It is on my mind a little bit but I try to stay focused on the upcoming races and try to do my best in those.
Obviously the longer this break goes on for, do you start to think more and more about having to move up to the MXGP class and having to ride a 450?
Yes, it is something I do think about. Right now, I do some riding on the 450 because it is good training and also to prepare a bit, but of course the main focus is to finish the MX2 season with the best results possible and to get a ride for next year.
Talk about how your season had been going up to this point.
In Matterley Basin, it started out very muddy and we didn’t have as much track time as usual so I was a little bit nervous and a little bit stiff. I finished 17th in the first moto and then in the second race, I felt better but I came together with another rider in the first lap. I tried to push back and come through the field but I had a problem with my goggles and had to change them which lost a lot of time and I couldn’t finish very high.
Then in Valkenswaard it was also really muddy, which normally I like there in the sand. On Saturday I was riding really well, I was eighth in the qualifying race. Then on Sunday I crashed on the first lap, and was last. It was difficult to come back and I didn’t ride very well. Then in the second race I crashed in the start and was behind right from the beginning, however I rode a lot better and managed to come back to 14th. I wasn’t so lucky really in these two races.
The first couple of rounds are always a little bit crazy because everyone is coming off the winter break with a point to prove. Do you think you’d have settled in, once those early races were out of the way?
Yes, of course. I really want to make progress during the season, both with the riding and the results. When we get going again, it will probably feel like the start of the season again but I think things will go much better. I am very lucky that I am able to continue riding right now, whenever I want. I don’t know how much others will be able to ride before the restart and if things will be rushed or not.
With this break, you sometimes wonder if you would have done things differently but I think I had prepared as well as possible, I just needed to be a bit luckier and stay out of trouble and stay on two wheels.