Interview: Danny Lailvaux
4 March 2014
Published with Permission
by Katherine Otty.
With the high level of MX riding in South Africa, it is no
surprise that local stars like Tyla Rattray, Marcus
Phelps, Calvin Vlaanderen and Gareth Swanepoel
are out on the world stage making us look good. One such progeny
is Gauteng rider Danny Lailvaux who is currently being
coached at the prestigious Millsaps Training Facility in Georgia
Danny, who started on a 65 Kawasaki with a few lessons went
on to be mostly self-taught. Until Laren van de Westhuizen
started coaching him from 125's onwards.
Laren made a huge positive change to his riding,
Dannys mother, Michelle, told MX SA He
is an amazing coach. John Wakefield from Pelotrain worked
out Dan's training program and ensured he was in the best
All this and natural talent contributed to Dannys South
African Motocross achievements which include a MX2B Northern
Regional Championship and a runner up 125 Championship in
2011. He also achieve a 9th place in the highly competitive
MX2 Nationals in 2013.
But has always been Dannys dream to ride in America
and Millsaps is a great place to start. The facility was opened
by nine time Loretta Lynns amateur champion Davi Millsapss
trainer/mother in 2003 and is currently working with many
of the top young talents including Enrico Narbonese
and Hannah Hodges (AMA amateur Female Rider of the Year for
MXSA recently caught up with Danny about his experience at
MTF so far.
MXSA: When did you first hear about MTF and decide to
DL: I first heard of it in 2010 when I found out Enrico
was planning on going there in 2011, and basically wanted
to go there ever since.
MXSA: What are the facilities like?
DL: The facilities are really good. They have multiple
bunks and cabins, a kitchen, entertainment room and gym along
with the workshop. All of them are world class.
MXSA: How are you getting on with the people?
DL: Really good. The people here are awesome and really
helpful; if you ever need anything from help with a hard rhythm
section to just going to the corner store to get petrol.
MXSA: Are your fellow riders predominantly American?
DL: Not at all, half the people are non-American. There
are people from Australia, New Zealand, England, Brazil and
Mexico to name a few.
MXSA: How do you find the general skill level of riders
who started with you at MTF?
DL: Not bad, there were a couple fast guys from the
7 week camp but I'm the fastest out of the new full time riders.
MXSA: Do you feel your riding has been improving?
DL: Yeah definitely, the riding training here is insane.
The coaches are really amazing and really know what they're
MXSA: Can you name one thing they have taught you that
has made a big difference to your riding.
DL: There are so many things but I'd have to say riding
on the balls of your feet around the corners is a big one.
MXSA: Tell us a bit about your first race, how did you
DL: I did okay. I mean it wasn't bad but it wasn't
what I wanted either. The track was different and the races
are so short and intense. It's just completely different to
anything in South Africa. 11th in 250 open and 13th in 250B
MXSA: How long will you be training there?
DL: As of now I'm here till August but we'll see what
happens when we get there...
MXSA: Whats next when you finish at MTF?
DL: I'm not sure but I'm hoping to be able to have
my pro license and try qualify for supercross and outdoors.
See Danny in action on his 2012 Suzuki RMZ250 on the Millsaps
facebook group where they regularly post updates and clips
of the riders at their facility.
You can also take a tour
of MTF itself via its YouTube channel.
Or take a ride around the Lailvaux familys home track:
MX Park in Tarlton, Gauteng.
The Lailvaux family are extremely proud of Danny as he pursues
his dream in the US and say that he is working hard to achieve
his goals. MXSA wishes him the best of luck here forward.
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