Off track and on the record: Javi Espinosa

09 Aug 2022

eSkootr Championship rider Javi Espinosa lights up the paddock with his huge smile and sense of fun. An entrepreneur and scooter mechanic from Madrid, the SICK! Racing rider has been combining his university studies with working hard to develop a vibrant freestyle scooter scene in Madrid to match that of Barcelona. We get him on the record about eSC, his journey to the grid and his approach to racing.

What drew you to eSC?
Electric scooters have come a long way in a short time. And I’ve wanted to be a professional athlete for a long time so it’s good to be part of this first championship and help others to discover this new mobility solution and also promote eSC’s goals, like sustainability and inclusivity. So eSC has helped me discover what I want to do with my life! This was a chance to finally become a professional athlete because I didn’t have the opportunity until now. eSC is the perfect combination for me: I’ve always loved speed andtrying something new and eSC is both of those things.

How did you join the championship?
For me, getting selected for eSC is my greatest achievement because I'm not famous: I'm not a professional freestyle scooter rider like Matis (Neyroud) or Roomet (Salik). I’ve been a fan of Kota Schuetz for years. He’s the pioneer of freestyle scooter riding and I started riding after watching his videos. One day, I saw him testing the eSkootr on Instagram and I wanted to try it because it looks fun, so I visited the eSC website and signed up.

How did you get here? Tell us about your background…
I organise freestyle scooter competitions here in Spain that were open to anyone to come and try. We’d talked to sponsors and persuaded them to give us decks, wheels, bars – anything that we could put up as prizes and then we put together these competitions around Madrid and in Vigo and A Coruña in the north of Spain.

Barcelona has a very strong scooter scene but what’s it like in Madrid?
The best riders in Spain are from Barcelona and the best spots are there. It's not the same in Madrid but we’re trying hard to build it up. For years, the top riders didn't even come to Madrid to ride and shoot videos but we’ve made a lot of friends in Barcelona and now they’ve started visiting. We’ve found some great new spots and are filming videos with lots of people to promote the city. It's the same in the north but because we’re friends with the biggest stars and they trust us to find cool places to ride and film, they’re happy to come.

Is there a similar spirit among the eSC riders?
Everyone is friends and I have a good relationship with all the riders but there’s a special bond with the riders from a freestyle background, like Matis, Kota and my teammate Alexis (Letellier). In the freestyle scooter world, everyone is friendly and we help each other to improve our riding and it’s the same in eSC. When we’re on track, it’s full-on racing but it’s not only about competition, outside of the track, we can be friends and help each other to do our best.

What was it like getting to grips with the S1-X eSkootr? Did it take a while to adjust?
Bradley Smith (ex-MotoGP rider and eSC’s mentor and rider coach) helped me so much on the first test, in fact, on every test. He said he believes I have the potential to race fast and do well. He did so much to help me to get here. He was great.

What’s it like to be part of Team SICK!?
I really like my team. I get on well with Alexis and Jake (Jake 100, aka Jake O’Neil). Both of them come from freestyle backgrounds, Jake from bikes and Alexis from scooters and we’re similar kinds of people, we have similar mindsets. They’re good people, and so are the team management, my team principal and my mechanics. They are always trying to help us.

Was it easy to fit in with them?
I crashed in both rounds unfortunately, but the team were very good to me. They told me “OK, chill. Don't think about it. Relax and focus on what you did well before you think about where you need to improve.” We work well as a team and I think we’re quite different from other teams in eSC. We work hard, but we also like to have fun.

How do you feel the championship is going? Are you happy with your progress?
In Sion I was lapping as one of the top five fastest riders but I crashed in the first heat. I had a bad start but I overtook Jake and got past Kota, but I overtook him in the wrong place. I need to work on my mental preparation to eliminate those mistakes.

Who was your hero growing up?
I always say Kota because it’s thanks to him that I started riding freestyle scooters. He was my hero when I was a kid. But now I’ve got to know him as a friend.

Tell us about your other interests. What’s your favourite food?
That's a problem because I love food! Especially Italian food, like pizza and pasta. When I go on holiday, I don’t spend money on travelling, I spend it on going to good places to eat.

Is there  a TV show that you like to binge on?
Game of Thrones is cool. And Drive to Survive. I started watching Formula 1 after watching that show and I now support the Spanish drivers Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso.

What’s the best song to blast in the gym or relax to before a race?
First of all, I love music. I play piano, guitar and the drums. But when I'm racing, I tend not to listen to music. I prefer to stay in the moment and talk to people and just chill. That gives me more inner peace.

What sports do you like?
I love MotoGP. There are a lot of Spanish riders but my favourite is the French rider Fabio Quartararo. He's one of the youngest in the series and he had a lot of problems when he first arrived in MotoGP. He had to work hard to find the right mindset and approach to racing, but he did it and last year he became the world champion. He's a good reference for me because I have to work on the same thing when it comes to my racing. When I line up on the start ramp, I get very nervous but as soon as I start racing, I’m one of the fastest. So my problem isn’t speed, it's finding the right mindset. Maybe I’ll start listening to music before I race!!!