Isabelle Larivière’s plunge into the unknown


Isabelle Larivière is the communication department manager at the FIM and she is the only person in the world to have this very special job!


Isabelle Larivière’s plunge into the unknown

Isabelle Larivière was an independent nurse when her sister, Héléne, asked her to join her communications agency to work in the world of Grand Prix motorbike racing. Eighteen years later she manages the communication department of the FIM (International Motorcycle Federation).


“I had a pretty busy absorbing professional life. There were times when I thought of trying to evolve, but not of quitting the medical milieu, which was my whole life, and then I found myself in South Africa alongside triple world champion, Kenny Roberts!”


In December 2000 Isabelle decided to make this unlikely career change. “It fell at just the right moment as when I was a kid I was sure that something crazy would happen to me in the year 2000! I didn’t really know what to expect, but eighteen years later I can say to myself that I made the right decision when I accepted.” In fact, the motorbike was one of Isabelle’s passions when she was a young girl. “I loved Enduro above all else. I had an orange Suzuki 125 and I was part of a motorbike club and I went to the Touquet Enduro with my mates. Then I dropped the motorbike completely as being a nurse I was too busy with my patients.”




Isabelle Larivière’s plunge into the unknown

She learned her new “metier” on the job in the thick of the action. “I had an operational job; I had to go to the circuits. I began studying English again as I hadn’t spoken it since my schooldays. The agency’s biggest budget was that of Philip Morris and I immediately found myself in there with the big boys, with the stars in the 500 cc Grand Prix category. I didn’t even know who Kenny Roberts was so I wasn’t over-awed. I don’t beat around the bush and some people found my attitude a bit disconcerting. In fact, it was a big help to me.”


When Michelin became one of the agency’s clients Isabelle was given the job of handling the account. “Working for a tyre manufacturer is a unique stroke of luck as the tyre plays a major role in success in bike racing.” She gave some journalists the opportunity of following courses in Michelin’s tyre school, and despite the confidential aspects of the firm’s manufacturing secrets the doors finally opened and the media fallout followed.




Isabelle Larivière’s plunge into the unknown

She was offered the opportunity to join the FIM at the end of 2008 when Michelin quit the MotoGP scene. “I arrived as the media coordinator and after two years I became their press officer for all branches of the sport. “Today, I’m in charge of the communication department and I activate commercial partnerships hence my relationship with Motul. Once the agreements have been signed with the partners I look after the guests, the communications, the press, the president’s schedule when he travels to events, and the social networks. It’s very exciting. The best moment of the year is when we set off back to the circuits with the “maison bleue”, the FIM reception venue.


Isabelle is still a dyed-in-the-wool biker fan and she loves riding on the small Swiss roads on her Mash Five Hundred. “It’s a vintage bike for a vintage lady!” Her favourite branches of the sport? “The Ice Speedway Gladiators as you see races in a stadium; it’s like a show. The Enduro because of the variety of terrains and routes depending on the countries. And the MotoGP as the bikes travel at 360 km/h with a surface equivalent to two credit cards in contact with the track!” A dream? That it will go on forever!”




Isabelle Larivière’s plunge into the unknown

© Isabelle Larivière



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