Aymard Vernay: Off track and on the record

28 Oct 2022

A year ago, Frenchman Aymard Vernay was working as a security guard and riding escooters in his spare time. Now he’s a pro athlete, a full-time influencer and riding high in second place in the inaugural eSkootr Championship (eSC). He describes his remarkable journey to the top…

Riding electric scooters has been life-changing for you…
Yes, before I joined eSC, I was a freestyle scooter rider in my free time. Then I started creating content featuring me riding an escooter and those videos caught on very quickly. Soon, I was attracting sponsorship from escooter shops and even brands.

How long did it take for the videos to take off?
Four months.

That’s very fast …
Of course! Because I have a great cameraman! He knew what he wanted to do and his filming and editing are really good, so we were producing very strong material from the start.

eSC riders Aymard Vernay, Marc Luna and event winner Sara Cabrini with their trophies on the podium.
Aymard Vernay on the podium in Switzerland with Marc Luna and event winner Sara Cabrini.

It’s not all about film-making, though. What sets you apart from other freestyle riders?
I love sports and I love the adrenaline rush you get from doing sport, and I like to innovate. It’s my job! I think my riding style is unique. I combine freestyle scooter riding with motorcycling and other skills. Some of the riding I do in my videos, like hill bombing, can be a little dangerous but I think the fans enjoy it.

How long did it take to learn to ride electric scooters?
After I’d been riding for about two months, my friends and I started taking our electric scooters to race tracks to learn how to ride at high speeds. We’d set lap times and then try to beat them. With each lap, I’d fine tune my riding style so I’d be faster and more skilful. But when I started, I had one of the slowest scooters, so I got to work on it with a friend and we retuned the engine to make it much faster.

'I can’t wait for eSC to race in France. It’s gonna be great: there’s a huge fanbase so there’ll be a lot of pressure on me. Bring it on!'

Was it a difficult choice to give up a steady job as a security guard and become an influencer?
No, I’ve dreamed about doing this all my life. When you’re sure something is going to work, it’s no longer a question of courage because you’re so confident it’s the right thing to do. You just go straight ahead.

Was it always with scooters or are you interested in other sports…
I’ve always enjoyed sports. I did martial arts when I was young, then mountain biking and, after that, I took up freestyle scooter riding and 14 years later, I’m still doing it.

Electric scooter racer Aymard Vernay on the starting ramp in Sion, Switzerland.
Start line: Aymard Vernay on the starting ramp in Sion, Switzerland.

And if you've got if you're to say to a young fan who wants to do the same, what would you advise them?
You’ve got to believe in yourself and work hard to make good things happen. I’d also say it’s never too late to make your dreams a reality.

What attracted you to eSC?
It’s a logical step for me because it combines riding freestyle scooters with my new hobby of riding electric scooters.

What’s the level of competition in eSC?
It’s so much tougher. I used to race with my friends and although we’re competitive, it’s not that serious. But now if you don't do your best, if you don't concentrate, you lose.

A group of eSC riders in motorbike leathers carry another rider on their shoulders.
Aymard and the other riders celebrate Alexis Letellier's birthday.

Did you think you know you'd be competing in front of fans and getting so much attention?
Not at all. When we were racing, I didn’t expect to see so many people coming out to cheer us on. eSC draws a lot of people and I’ve never had this much exposure.

How are Racing Citizens coming together as a team? You seem like three very different people. Ami Houde is really extrovert and Lena Kemmer seems quite quiet, how do you fit together?
We work very well together and try to push one another to do better. We performed very well as a team in Switzerland and we’re going to keep working together. I think it looks good for the future.

As a team, is there anything you do that that's different to the other teams?
Apart from how we motivate and support one another, I don’t think so. We haven’t had the opportunity to compete in the same races so, for example, we haven’t needed to come up with a strategy to get two of us into the next round.

The eSC team Racing Citizens celebrate in the paddock in Sion, Switzerland..
Aymard with the Racing Citizens team in the eSC paddock.

Do you have any music that you listen to when you want to get pumped up for a race?
There’s no special song but actually I prefer relaxing music. There’s a lot of pressure before a race so I like to listen to music that’s going to calm me down and help me to focus.

What's the best thing you'd like to eat?
I’m from Senegal so it’s got to be the classic chicken maafe (a spicy stew made with chicken, vegetables and peanut butter). I don’t know what you call it in English but it’s really good.

What's the escooter scene like in France?
They’ve been very popular for a few years and there’s more and more good reasons to get an electric scooter, whether it’s for commuting or for a pleasure ride or for sport. My biggest sponsor is based in Paris and there are scooters everywhere. I can’t wait for eSC to race in France. It’s gonna be great: there’s a huge fanbase so there’ll be a lot of pressure on me. Bring it on!

You can watch the final rounds of this year's eScooter Championship here on hub.esc.live.net