Although just seven rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship have been and gone, Conrad Mewse has already experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows. There was a lot to discuss when we finally tracked him down in Latvia, with that in mind, especially seeing as he was fresh off of a career-best finish in the second moto.
MX Vice: It was a good weekend for you, but then the second moto made it awesome. You came out of nowhere, but made a pass happen on [Jorge] Prado and got a career-best finish.
Conrad Mewse: Yeah, obviously I’m over the moon to have this result. It is my career-best so far. I’ve been struggling with the starts this year. Before this round we actually changed a few things after the qualifying race, then it showed massively in the two races we had today. I had two really good starts and, to be honest, it helped loads. It is so much easier being at the front than it is battling your way through the pack.
My speed was there all weekend and it has been a great weekend for me. It was a shame about the first race – on the first couple of laps I did not really hold my position. I felt that I kind of regained myself after the first few laps and pulled back through. I was happy with that. Then the second moto obviously again was great. I held my position a little bit better on the first few laps, then I fought my way up to third and finished third. I’m over the moon with that. Hopefully we can improve again at the next round.
I was a bit surprised to see at the end how close the top five were. You really were not that far off the leader. So, do you feel like with good starts you could maybe battle for a win? Is that maybe something that could happen at this stage?
Yeah, definitely. I think I am more than capable to run with the first two guys. I finished eight seconds behind the leader in that one, so it is not a lot at all. It is all very close and there is not one rider that completely stands out from the rest. We’re all fighting really hard and we all want the same thing. It just comes down to who is the best on the day!
I guess you have always been kind of looked at as a sand rider, so a lot of people will think that is why you did good here, but it is not really sand, is it? It has got a hard base. Does that have anything to do with it at all?
Yeah, it is not completely sand. It is not like Valkenswaard or Lommel or things like that. It is more hard, like you said. The track was very gnarly and technical actually in the last race. You saw in the last MXGP race that a lot of guys injured and hurt themselves. It was very technical, which I like, and there were some fast parts. I think the track overall on the weekend suited me well, but it is not going to happen that I have just had one good result at this track. Hopefully we can continue it and get more and more good results throughout the season.
I guess the biggest thing for you, to continue improving, is just get more good starts, so that you can learn that pace up front and get used to running up there from the start. Then you can build on that in the future.
Yeah, definitely. Obviously a start makes it so much easier for everyone. No matter how fast you are, this group is so intense. Everyone is around the same speed and it is so hard to come through. If we can just continue with these starts, keep getting in the top five at the starts, hold my position on the first few laps and then work my way up towards the end, then I feel like I’m one of the strongest. I’m really happy about that and also in the second moto today it showed that my strength was good towards the end. We know that for future reference and we can just carry on and keep building from here.
I guess starts kind of come down to confidence, which apparently was your downfall at the start of the year. So, from your perspective, just talk us through what happened at the first three rounds.
The first three rounds were obviously very difficult for me. We were a long way from home. It was my first full season of GPs and it was my first flyaway. I had done everything I had to do, but just the preparation was a little bit off. The riding in the week was good. I was doing my motos, but it was not at an intense speed. It was not very, very hard. We struggled a lot. I had the first three GPs, which did not get any better. They basically got worse and then we decided to miss Mexico.
I took some time out, went home, regrouped, got some real fast riding done and some hard training. Then we come back in Italy and showed a massive improvement. It has been a great turnaround for us. Obviously the first three rounds kind of ruined the championship for us, but we are going to keep fighting and just see where we end up at the end of the year.
Was the confidence issue that was referenced by a few people a result of your preparation being a bit off then? Was that something separate or was confidence not really a problem at all?
No, at the first few rounds the speed was not there. I knew it and everyone around me knew it. It was a struggle. Obviously the confidence was low from that, because before I even set off the line I knew the speed was not there. But, like I said, we went back to England and got some hard riding done. I saw my family and spent some time at home. We have come out; I believe in my speed and strength and this is where it is getting us.
I’m guessing you saw the interview that Jacky Martins did. A few people were shocked that went out, but do you appreciate the fact that you have got a team manager that can be so honest? I guess you would rather that than someone who just lies?
Yeah, definitely. A lot of people look at it in different ways. He is a great team manager. I couldn’t ask for anything better. He has stuck behind me this whole time, so I cannot complain. The whole team is great. The bike is great. Everyone around me is great. I can’t thank them all enough for all the hard work and effort that they are putting into me.
In that it was said that you were riding scared. Was that the right way to put it or was that maybe just a bit of the language barrier coming through? Is there a better word to describe what was going on?
It was a bit of a difficult situation. Obviously no one likes to be in the middle of a pack, where everyone is jumping across each other and things like that. I was a little bit tensed up and a little bit tight and wary, like I should not really be. When you get the start and get out there, then there is no reason why you should be scared. There is no one around you and you just go for it.
Seeing as you are so young and starting your career, did you pay attention to everything that was being said on social media? I saw a lot of people were asking questions about you and all of that. Did that hurt your confidence more or were you able to block that out a bit?
It is difficult. Obviously it all gets to you and you do read every comment, but I try my best to block out the negative ones and just get on with it. Like I said, I cannot thank all the fans out there enough who are supporting me and leaving the positive comments. It is a case of blocking it out and focusing on yourself, believing in yourself and getting on with the job and what you are here to do.
That is all in the past now then? You do not think it is going to happen again? Obviously we have got one more flyaway, America. That is not going to be a problem, is it?
No, definitely not. The problem was never the flyaway races. It was never that I was far away from home and things like that. It was just the preparation going into the round and the speed. I knew it was not there. Definitely America won’t be a problem. I’m looking forward to getting out there. I’m looking forward to racing the American boys.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX