After racing much of 2018 with Gas Gas and some one-off rides at the SuperEnduro World Championship, David Knight sprang his own team for last weekend’s WOR Events Tough 100.
The new team came as a surprise for some, after what looked like a good deal with Gas Gas, but with help from personal sponsors to buy his own bikes, and a deal with Suzuki for the Weston Beach Race, Knight has more freedom to race events and do his training schools. With private sponsors backing his own one man team, doors are opening for four-time World Enduro Champion, David Knight.
“Honestly it simply makes life easier for me, gives me the bikes and opportunities to race where I want and gives me family time – I need that after so many years racing.” Says knight ahead of this week’s classic enduro the Welsh 2 Day.
Photo Credit: Future7Media
“I have people behind me who want to help me keep doing what I’m doing. My brother (Juan) is a Beta and Gas Gas dealer so it was easy to put the deal together and buy two bikes – one for practicing and one to keep good and ready to go for races.”
Alongside events like the Tough 100 (which he won) and the Welsh 2 Day this week on the Beta, Knight has also signed with SR75 Suzuki Team for the 2018 Weston Beach Race
“The deal with Geoff Walker’s team and Suzuki is great because it gives me a good shot at Weston again. It was great there last year and with Geoff I know he runs a good team so it will be a good chance again.
“I also get a bike from Suzuki to train on and do a few things for them. Having my own team and sponsors means I can do those different things and enjoy the riding but still do it properly.”
Answering critics (“keyboard warriors”) wondering why he has jumped to yet another manufacturer in a career full of bold decisions, Knight says it was no reflection on “how good the Gas Gas EC300 has been.
“The Suzuki was a good example of how I’m not just a paid rider jumping from one deal and bike to another.
“I told Geoff I wasn’t going to do it if I didn’t like the bike but I borrowed one from a mate and honestly it shocked me how good it felt from the start. It’s another bike to go training on too, a bike I can change the filter and oil on and just go ride.
“Trying to do a beach race, an extreme, a normal enduro and anything else on one bike from Gas Gas, it wasn’t enough.”
Photo Credit: Garry Barnes
The move away from Gas Gas was partly about needing a better deal – a personal deal allows David to run his sponsor’s logos on the bikes not the manufacturer’s – but also about distancing himself from the Spanish factory.
“I used to race for teams but now I race for myself and there are obviously pros and cons with both sides but the deal with Gas Gas wasn’t helping with certain things right now.
“It’s no reflection on Gas Gas or on Shirty (Gas Gas UK importer, John Shirt). He’s a great bloke, an old friend and the bike was great all year with no problems. I was happy on it. I finished every race and it has been good riding the EC300. This is not to close the door on Shirty or Gas Gas, not at all, it just wasn’t working out this year.
“But that was part of the problem it was just one bike and I want to do different events and that means constantly changing one bike to suit events, being up till 3am the night before catching the boat to get across and race wasn’t good.
“The deal was always with Shirty for a bike and not with Gas Gas factory – people thought I was a Gas Gas factory rider but I wasn’t. I thought I was going to be racing the WESS series right up until the week or so before the first round in Portugal but it didn’t happen."
Photo Credit: Garry Barnes
“The thing is I can’t race for free." Adds Knight. "Riding bikes is a drug to me, I love it but if it's your job it has to pay the bills. I’ve thought about it enough times to get a job and go to work, come home at normal time like everyone else and then just go racing at the weekends for fun. It would be a lot easier!”
Knighter’s year is still a full one: Welsh 2-Day enduro this week, Bosnia Extreme race next week, Rhayader 2 Day Enduro, training schools in Japan and Brazil and then Canada’s classic event, the Corduroy Enduro later in the year.
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.firstname.lastname@example.org