Words Robert Lynn, photos Jonty Edmunds
Firstly Jonny congratulations a great performance at the Polish round of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship, you must be thrilled with your overall runner-up result?
Jonny. ‘I’m super happy that I’ve managed to get my first podium at a SuperEnduro event. It’s been a great event and I’ve had a great night, but the most important thing is that I’ve had consistent results in all of the three finals. The first race went really well – I got a good start and managed to follow Taddy. I couldn’t quite get close enough to challenge him but second was great. The second final was tough to start with. The start order was reversed and someone fell in front of me in the first turn so I had to ride over their bike. I was fine until I hit his spinning rear wheel, which kind of sent me off line a bit. I think I was fifth after the first lap and managed to come through pretty well. Then the final race went well, so I couldn’t have asked for a better night really.’
How much harder did the reversing of the start order make the second final?
Jonny: ‘It made it a lot harder. The gate I wanted to start behind was already taken and basically there was five or six local Polish riders starting directly in front of the fastest five or six riders. It was a bit crazy really. Riding over someone in the first corner is never a good thing, but being in fifth at the start of the second lap wasn’t too bad. It was just a case of getting my head down after that.’
The opening laps of the second final were arguably the most important of the night. Like all riders you needed to get to the front as soon as possible. Did you have any game plan going into the race?
Jonny: ‘No, not really. I don’t think you can. You just have to see how things are after the start and not try and get too wound up if things don’t go exactly how you want them to. With the faster riders, I was following them for a lap to see where they were fast and where I could get close. Then I just tried to pass them one at a time. The second race went well.’
Going into the final race you knew that you were looking good for second overall, did you feel any pressure knowing that a first SuperEnduro podium result would be determined by your performance in that race?
Jonny: ‘No, not really. I got a good jump out of the gate but Taddy pushed me wide in the first turn and then I messed the rocks up and dropped to fourth. I followed Joakim Ljunggren for bout eight laps, which did my head in, as I couldn’t get past him anywhere. But I got third, which was good enough for second overall.’
Were there any specific reason you couldn’t pass Ljunggren, you seemed able to pass riders in the first and second finals without problems?
Jonny: ‘The racing was pretty intense all night so I guess I was feeling it a bit. He’d make a small mistake and I’d get onto the back of him, then I’d make a small mistake and he’d pull away again. Then we started to get in with the lapped riders, which didn’t help me as I got caught behind a few. And there was one log on the track that no matter what I tried I always seemed to mess it up.’
There was a big difference between your results and general performances in Poland compared to your results in Genoa, what changed between the two events?
Jonny: ‘The difference was my starts. I was rubbish in Genoa and last every time. I still managed to get some good results but when you get a bad start the leaders get away and you spend the whole race playing catch up. Here I got good starts and after my good result in the first race I felt a lot more confident. I guess I realised that I can run with the top guys if I get out of the gate.’
Taddy was the only rider that was really faster than you, do you think you’ll be able to push him harder, maybe even beat him, at the final round in Barcelona?
Jonny: ‘That’s my goal but he’s riding so well. There were five of us on the same second after qualifying in Poland, so I think there are a few riders that can certainly challenge him. Anything can happen and maybe he’ll not get a great start in one of the races, but even then he’s so fast through traffic. I’ll certainly be trying hard to beat him. I think I’ll head to Spain a week or two before Barcelona to ride some extreme tracks in better weather than we’ll have at home.’
So how does it feel to have become Cumbria’s fastest enduro rider?
Jonny: ‘It’s ace. To be the fastest person from Cumbria, it’s made my night!’
All joking aside Jonny, 2011 has been a great year, especially the last six months. What was the turning point of the season for you?
Jonny: ‘Things started to come good around the time of Erzberg. Getting on the podium there was really good for my confidence. Competing in the British Sprint Enduro Championship really helped me a lot this year, too. At the start of the season I was about 23rd overall at the first big enduro event but by the end of the season I was winning some tests and getting better and better. I think the sprints are helping a lot of riders. My goal is to be able to ride full time next year, if I can do that I think I can get faster. Julian Stevens has also been a big part of my success this season. He’s given me a great bike at all races and has helped me with all aspects of my racing. It’s been a great year and I’m really excited about 2012.’