Behind Pit Lane Wall: A Sit-Down With Arai's Marcel Ruiter

by Kristi Emmons


When thinking about MotoGP, we think of the glitz, the glam, the speed, and the sport. All these

wonderful things coming together as part of the circus that we so dearly love and enjoy every

season. We continue to be able to enjoy the sport of motorcycle racing, thanks to safety, and

that wouldn’t be possible without one of the most important essentials in safety gear; helmets.


Cycle Vision Network was lucky enough to have a chance to sit down with Marcel Ruiter from

Arai, during the ultimate Aragon MotoGP round, in the 2022 MotoGP season. Worn by many

legends and riders throughout the years, Arai offers the highest level of quality and protection,

with each helmet meticulously crafted by hand.


CVN: We have Marcel Ruiter with us, from Arai. Can you tell us a little bit of background about

yourself and where you’re from?


MR: I’m from Holland and I’ve been working with the company now for 21 years. I started in the

warehouse, working from the warehouse, and after that, I began working the technical

department, because there was a job there for me, and I wanted to make the switch inside the

company. It was possible, so I started to give dealer trainings and importer trainings, and

preparing helmets for Arai, and after that position, came there to go to races, so I started

working in World Superbike, and that’s where I’m right now.


CVN: Okay, so I guess you can say you climbed the ladder within Arai.


MR: Yup


CVN: A long time.


MR: Yeah, really a long time, but I’m happy with, because it’s not like the job you find in every

corner; you need to grow into it. So I was lucky.


CVN: That’s amazing, because a lot of people dream of working in motorcycles, but it’s kind of

hard to get a job and make money doing it- it’s not always the most money, but people have a

passion for motorcycles.

Is this your first job within the motorcyle industry?


MR: For me, yes. I worked before that, but a lot of different kind of companies, and Arai in

Europe is based in Holland, and it’s about 15 minutes on the bicycle for me to get to work, so it’s

really, really nice for me, and now I can do something I really like. I like motorcycles and I’m

working with riders, so I have one of the better jobs, I guess.


CVN: Yes, I would definitely say! And that’s insane that you’re basically in Arai’s backyard for

their European headquarters. What made you go for them specifically?


MR: Well, back then, like I said, 20 years ago, I rode a motorcycle and I knew about Arai. I had

an Arai before I worked with Arai, and I worked for such a long time before that in warehouses,

and they were looking for somebody to work in the warehouse, and I thought like, okay, I can

mix work with something that I like, and then I grew up starting to get more into racing, and

that’s how I got into it.


CVN: Wow, that’s a really great transition, because you’re in the warehouse, but you like

motorcycles. That’s really cool. And then, what’s your official job title at Arai?


MR: I’m working for the racing services department, with a team of another two colleagues, we

have one colleague that’s working in MotoGP, one in Formula 1, and then you have the World

Superbike Series, and then next to that, because I’m on the tracks, I have cross contact with the

riders. We try to, you know, if I see a new rider or potential Arai rider, and we start talking and

see if we can get a deal with him for racing.


CVN: So, it’s kind of like sales, you bring new people in; making that kind of connection inside

the paddock.


MR: Yes, because it’s just more easier, and of course there are more things to the whole thing

before you have to contact rider, but yes, it’s something I do as well. I have to take of like, all the

things, because with all the things, I go to every race. I need to take care, and I need to tell

Japan, or Arai Europe, if I need things, I need to order it. If I speak with riders and they need a

new helmet, because they crash, and they destroyed one, I’m taking care of that the new helmet

will go to the painter in time, and all the things like that. So, it’s quite a lot going on, instead of

just putting tearoffs on.


CVN: Yes, that’s a ton of responsibility.


MR: Yeah, because it’s just me, so I go to the next race, I need to make sure that everything is

read, and that everything is sorted, and the riders are there. So, yeah. That’s basically what I do.


CVN: Okay, and are you always at the circuits just by yourself?


MR: Yeah. Of course, we have the people at the office, you know, if we have some sort of

meetings or things like that, or small things I can order directly from Japan. So, it’s basically how

it works.


CVN: That’s interesting. It’s a huge responsibility, but I’m sure it’s very rewarding to be around

this atmosphere; this environment, being around the best of the best when it comes to a sport

that you really enjoy.


MR: Yeah, it’s nice to be part of it. You know, it’s just sometimes I forget about it, but we’re all a

small piece of the puzzle that makes in the end, the rider go really to the top. I’m happy that I

can be a small part of it.


CVN: That’s incredible, and you ride, yourself, as you were telling me when we were talking

before. What kind of riding do you like to do?


MR: Just for pleasure, that’s it. I’ve been building a bike before, together with a good friend of

mine. Now, if I have the time for it, I can ride the bike, it’s just a hobby, I guess.


CVN: That’s awesome. I know whenever I’m here at the races, I can’t wait to hop back on my

bike. It’s follow the sport and also ride, as well.

Now, another question I have: What’s it like traveling all over the world, since that’s a big part of

your job?


MR: It’s hard. Sometimes, you know, you get sometimes crazy times. Now, with Corona and

everything, things were pretty tough. We had to do a lot of tests and everything…to get to the

airport. It’s not your regular job from 9-5, so the traveling, I found it almost the hardest part.

In superbike, I drive to all the tracks. So, I go back to Holland, and then prepare everything and

prepare everything for the next round. Then, get back again, drive to another round. Most of the

time, it’s like 1,500 [kilometers] or something like that, and then do my thing, and then go back.


CVN: That sounds exhausting. It can go either way: some people love the traveling aspect.

Other people, they don’t like it. It’s really hard on them. Some people, it’s a hot cold type of

thing, but like you said, that’s definitely not like your average 9-5 job.


MR: No. You have to be patient about what you do, and then you take those extra things; you

just do them. It’s just nice waking up in the morning, in the paddock, and the bikes start going

again, and the riders go out, and then, ah yeah, this is nice.


CVN: That’s great. And then, you were working in the World Superbike series for quite some

time, but you’re in MotoGP right now. Can you tell us a little bit about that?


MR: That was because my colleague; he’s gotten ill, and I’m replacing him for the time being,

that he’s not going to be able to work, and somebody else, another colleague of mine, is doing

now, the World Superbike.


CVN: Well, hopefully they recover soon. Now, can you tell me, what’s the difference between

working in the MotoGP paddock and the World Superbike paddock? What are some

comparisons you might have?


MR: I don’t really think there’s a difference in the job here and the job in the World [Superbike]

series. It’s just, for me, personally, I found my own place in the World [Superbike] series, and I

just, don’t know how to say: it’s a part of me and my job, you know…but I like it here, as well. I’m

doing this for a couple of months now, and nice. It’s a nice paddock, and it’s a nice atmosphere,

so, it’s good.


CVN: Interesting. Well, thank you. Then finally, what do you like most about Arai?


MK: Uff..I like working with a really great company. It’s a nice company, an ultra safe helmet,

and it’s nice to work with a brand that is so high level.


CVN: I agree. That’s definitely something to be very proud of. Well, thank you very much for

your time.


MK: You’re welcome.