As many won’t know too much about me here’s a quick overview of who I am – I’m 21, and I race for the Gas Gas factory team in the Enduro Junior World Championship. I’m a Manxman, born and bred, and I grew up watching David Knight doing his thing in enduro. I suppose it was inevitable that I’d follow suit and get into enduro too.
About four years ago I crashed when racing youth motocross and ruptured my liver and my kidney. That accident forced me to retire from racing but about six months later I started riding for fun on a borrowed Gas Gas 300. David then convinced me to try out enduro instead of motocross so I went to the 2010 British Sprint Enduro Championship and I almost won my class. Pretty soon I was hooked on racing again, but this time in enduro.
In about the space of three years I’ve managed to come a long way. This year I finished third overall in the 2012 Enduro Junior World Championship as a factory backed rider. Even now when I think about it I can’t believe how quickly everything has worked out, but I suppose it all happens for a reason.
Next year my goal is to try and become the Enduro Junior World Champion. I know it’s going to be a tough road but I’ve already begun working so I’m ready for the season ahead.
During 2012 I’ve realised that my weak point were the extreme tests. I’ve never had a problem riding the tests but find it hard to properly attack them and push my limits. With that in mind I competed in the first round of the SuperEnduro World Championship in Poland, to try and improve my rocks and logs riding.
I hadn’t raced endurocross before so I had no idea of what to expect in Poland, but based on what I’d seen from last year’s events they looked really good. In the past they seemed to be more like trials than indoor enduros, but now the courses are faster and more enjoyable and you can race them.
Racing in Poland was a bit of a last minute decision, but thankfully I was able to spend a couple of days with David at his track to get a feel for things. Then I went with Gas Gas to Jordi Figueras’ home in Spain for some more training. Arriving in Poland I was feeling happy with how I was riding and knew if I could stay out of trouble then a decent result was possible.
Practice and qualifying went better than I hoped and I qualified second fastest. But in hindsight I probably should have finished last because the start order was reversed for the first final, which meant I had to start on the second row. I knew it would be impossible to holeshot from there and then when the guy I lined up behind hadn’t even started his bike when the 15-second board was raised I knew I was screwed. But if I learned to do one thing from that race was how to overtake. However, the other thing I learned was to watch out for the unexpected…
After avoiding all the carnage that was happening in the first couple of laps I ended up leading the race with about two laps to go. But as I turned to ride up the wooden jump I met a lapped rider surfing his bike back down it! I had no chance to react and ended up surfing back down the ramp with him. When we managed to untangle the bikes I eventually finished fifth but bounced back to win the second final to end the night in second overall.
I was a bit annoyed to miss out on winning because I know that I was fast enough but I feel now that I have the speed to win indoors. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I can race the final round of the series. The last round is just one week before the EWC begins so it might be difficult to do both and the EWC is my main priority for the coming season. Like I’ve said, I want to win that title.
But based on my experiences in Poland, I’m completely sold on endurocross racing. That was the first time I ever competed in a stadium and the atmosphere was incredible. To simply experience the noise from the fans definitely made the trip worthwhile.
Have a great Christmas everyone, here’s looking forward to a successful 2013…