10 times motocross world champion, Stefan Everts, believes the legendary brand can rise back to the top of the world
Motocross legend Stefan Everts retired from competition in 2006, having secured a record tenth World Championship title. Since then the Belgian has served as race manager for KTM’s factory team and managed Suzuki’s motocross factory team. After Suzuki’s withdrawal from the MXGP series at the end of the 2017 season, Everts shifted his focus to coaching his son Liam. At 14, Liam is one of the most promising young motocross riders in Europe, and will be debuting in the 125cc European Championship series this season.
Jan Berthels, Everts’ close friend and suspension mechanic during his championship years, currently serves as CEO of Yoko Europe and Everts has thus been able to follow Yoko’s return into the sport’s spotlight. Everts’ interest eventually manifested itself in becoming a shareholder in both Yoko Europe and its parent company Yoko Sports.
“I remember seeing Yoko’s legendary Y logo on the gear of top riders like David Thorpe, Andre Malherbe, and Håkan Carlqvist as a child, and it brings back great memories. Yoko spent a lot of time away from the sport but it’s still a brand that everyone remembers and its rich history still makes an impression. I’m very excited to be able to become a part of Yoko,” enthuses Everts.
In addition to the shares acquired, Everts will play a role in Yoko’s product development and marketing, and serve as talent scout and race strategist for the Yoko Team Pilot program. Known as an extremely technical rider, Everts has been testing Yoko’s racing gear alongside his son Liam since the late summer. The appearance, lightness, and durability of the new range has made an impression on the legend of the sport:
“The new range looks very fresh, but the selection of materials has made the greatest impression on me. I think that Yoko’s experience in manufacturing apparel for other sports and the weather conditions tied to them gives us an advantage in terms of product development outside of motorcycle wear as well. I believe that we have every opportunity to once again become one of the world’s leading riding apparel brands,” Everts says.
Jani Gustafsson, CEO of Yoko Sports, is also pleased by the addition of the ten-time World Champion to Yoko’s operations:
”Naturally, Everts becoming a shareholder gives us a competitive advantage in many fields. Our product development will benefit greatly from his experience with riding gear and the process of testing them. His reputation and extensive network are priceless in both marketing and establishing new partnerships. We strongly believe in Yoko’s growth in Finland as well as abroad. We currently offer a great selection for motocross, enduro, and street motorcycling, as well as snowmobile and team wear. We just launched our brand new webshop at yoko-europe.com where people can see and purchase Yoko products” notes Gustafsson.
Juha Tirinen and Kaija Gustafsson established Yoko in 1977. Their first product was a Finnish baseball mitt, after which the company began to produce motocross gear as well. The motocross gear was a success and several World and American Championships were won wearing Yoko. In 1983, Yoko successfully transitioned into cross-country skiing as well. Yoko was the first brand to use Gore-Tex materials in its motorcycle suits in 1987. By 1994, its primary focus had become skiing apparel and in 2013 expanded into manufacturing skis, poles, and ski boots. In 2016 all of Yoko’s product ranges were reunited under the same banner when Yoko Sports reacquired its motorcycle wear manufacturing license. Yoko’s current product selection features goods for off-road and street motorcycling, ski suits, poles and boots, skis, as well as cycling, snowmobile, and team wear. Additional information: yoko-europe.com.