Thomas Kjer Olsen took to a starting line for the first time this year at Hawkstone Park, but things did not exactly get off to a great start. A brief trip to hospital was required the day before the race and, unsurprisingly, it was not great preparation. Olsen discusses that in this exclusive interview, as well as his results and expectations for the fast-approaching season.
MX Vice: Pretty solid day for you and obviously the second MX2 race was even better. Considering where you were last night, I guess you must be stoked just to even be riding. Just explain everything that has kind of happened to you this weekend.
Thomas Kjer Olsen: We were on the plane ride here and like twenty minutes before we were going to land I felt some stomach pains. I thought it was just normal stomach pains. I had those a lot of times, so I thought it was just that, but when I got off the plane I could not even walk. We did not quite know what was going on. I never had that before. When I could not even walk, then we had to go to hospital.
They checked me out and stuff. After a while, I think it was because I had a piss a couple of times. I’m not really sure what I actually had, but it just went away all of a sudden and I felt normal again. We got here late last night, woke up and went to the track. I saw it was pretty wet, but it actually looked like last year also when we were training and stuff. I was not so worried.
How did you feel about your races today? You got close to Pauls in the second one and then the Superfinal was also great for you. I guess your progress for Argentina is all coming along nicely?
Yeah. In the first moto I did not feel so good. I actually was struggling a little bit with the track and stuff, but second moto was a lot better and I felt more at home and more relaxed on the bike. In the Superfinal I had a little bit of an issue with my goggles, already from the first lap, so that was kind of annoying. I went off the track one time, but all in all I felt like my riding was good and my speed is good. My fitness is looking really good also. It is a long day here. I felt pretty good all day. It’s looking good!
Are you where you expected to be at this point in the year? Going up against Pauls today was a great test and you really got to see where you are at heading into Argentina. So, are you right where you expected to be? Are you happy?
Yeah, I am pretty happy with today. Actually I just want to keep it up until Argentina. Not only until Argentina. It is a long season. I just want to keep it going like this. I am happy where I’m at right now. Now the challenge is to stay fit all year, motivated and ready for the races.
You were top three in the championship last year, so the only place for you to go now is the title. Is that your goal? Are you trying to not run before you can walk and keep things in perspective? Finishing in the top three again would be great. Is it just in your mind you want a title and that is that?
If anything top three again would be great, obviously. It is the world championship. The goal is to win the world championship. I think it’s possible. I’m in great shape and I’m riding good. If I can keep progressing throughout the year, then I think it is possible for sure. I’m going for the world championship title.
What do you think about coming to a track like this? Obviously it is quite old-school and tight in places. It’s not really a GP track. Is it still good preparation for you? It looked like the backmarkers were pretty sketchy today.
Yeah, there was a lot of back markers. It is a little bit one-lined, the track. I would not say it is like a GP track, like a sand race or something like that actually. The berms here are so soft and you go in the bottom of it, like sliding around almost, but it is good racing. You get here and you compete. You get used to it a little bit. Even though it is the first race of the year, I feel good. I do not feel like I need some races before Argentina actually. I feel like I carried a little bit over from last year.
The Superfinal must be a great test too as there is more competition and going up against the 450s is a real challenge. Do you like that? The risk is obviously higher, because the 450s are going to be using different lines and carrying more speed, so is the goal to come out of it healthy? Are you always a bit nervous going into that one?
It’s a little bit different, but I wouldn't say I was nervous or anything. I train a lot with the 450s over the winter and stuff like that, so it’s not really a problem for me. We are not off the pace, I think, with the 450F riders. It is just great racing and it is actually fun to do something different.
What are your plans in the weeks before Argentina? I guess you are doing LaCapelle next week?
Yeah, I’m doing LaCapelle and then that is basically it. It is the same as I did last year, so I’m sure I’ll be ready for Argentina. I feel ready already now. I think most of the guys do. There is not much you can do from now on actually.
Do you still have much work to do with the new bike? Obviously, I guess you have been testing a lot over the winter.
Yeah, we have been testing a lot and we made some great improvements on the engine, suspension and just the whole set-up of the bike to make me feel more comfortable and more relaxed on the bike. Right now I am not doing a lot of testing. I’m pretty happy with my set-up. I am that guy where once I find a set-up, I don’t really want to touch it too much. Now it’s just get some riding done. Like I said, the hard work is already done and we are ready for Argentina.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX