You’ve put in a strong ride this weekend – second at round five and then third at round six to finish as the overall runner up. You must be pleased with that?
Yeah, I’m delighted with how my results have turned out this weekend. I’m beginning to find confidence again in my speed but there are still some things I need to work on. At round five I started off fast and held the lead early on but when everyone seemed to up their pace on the second lap by about eight seconds I struggled to match them. I lost my rhythm for a couple of laps and then had to play catch up. I got back on pace towards the end of the day and was gaining a little on Jordan (Rose) but on the second last lap I made a big mistake on the logs. That cost me about 12 seconds and a shot at the win.
It was a good battle between Jordan and yourself for victory up until that point.
We we’re pushing hard all day. He’d gain a little and I would make it back up, but to fair to Jordan he rode strong. He didn’t make any major mistakes that I could capitalise on and in the end I just had to settle for second.
Again at round six you started off very fast but were unable to keep that pace and fight for the win. What happened?
I got off to a great start and set the fastest time on the first special test but during the second lap I made a big mistake. I hit a rock with my front wheel in one of the wooded sections and crashed hard. It dented my confidence a little and I found it hard to hang it out after that. They gained about five seconds on me in every test. Over the day that built up and I finished third. But this weekend has been a good step forward and I’m keen to improve at the next rounds.
On the Gas: Daryl's beginning to feel the love for his KTM 350 EXC ©Llel Pavey
I think you surprised everyone with your pace in Saints Well, did you expect to do so well?
To be honest I was actually looking forward to this round. Two years ago I managed to beat David Knight here in two of the tests and stop him getting the perfect season so I was hopeful of doing well again.
You’re beginning to come on strong as the series passes the halfway point – second overall in Saints Well and also fifth at the previous rounds in Llangrove. You must be pleased with that momentum?
Definitely, though it’s taken me a while to get up to the speed. Before the first two rounds of the championship in Aldershot I’d only just ridden the bike a couple of times and wasn’t ready. At Llangrove I felt more in tune with it and finished fifth both rounds. Everything went well there and I felt I had stepped my riding up. Finishing fifth behind Taddy Blazusiak and Ricky Dietrich was a strong result and my pace wasn’t too far off a podium.
After spending so many years riding the smaller 250f how are you finding the KTM 350 EXC?
The bike’s been awesome but it’s only now that I feel like I’m becoming more confident on it. In the beginning I lacked fitness and stamina to hold on to it for the whole day – it almost felt like a 450 to me at times. We worked a lot on suspension and gearing setup and now it’s coming good. I also upped my training and improved my fitness but it’s taken until now to see the results as I’m not a full time rider anymore – I’ve got to fit all this around my family life and work!
With only four rounds of the championship left your results to date leaves you as one of the title contenders. How to do you view the rest of the season?
I think this is anybody’s championship now and I feel like I’m right in the hunt for it. Above all else it going to come down to consistency – who can put in solid results. With everybody’s times so close right now I think the most important thing will be limiting your mistakes – that’s going to be the key. It’ll be a tight fight to the end, that’s for sure.