The third round of the Maxxis British Championship was a turbulent affair for Tommy Searle. The Bike It DRT Kawasaki rider looked much more like his old self and felt like it too, but then a freak issue ruled him out of the second moto and robbed him of some valuable bike time. All of that is discussed in the exclusive MX Vice interview below, which was originally posted as a podcast, as well as his upcoming return to MXGP.
MX Vice: Pretty solid day. It looked like it was going to be anyway, but obviously that second moto came to an end early. Just talk us through it.
Tommy Searle: I am feeling better anyway, in myself and riding. I went to Belgium this week, did three days and slowly I am getting better. I was a little bit more confident coming into this one than Canada Heights. The first race I was about sixth here in the first turn and then I came through to second. Jake [Nicholls] was a little bit in front. I managed to close up a little bit. I think I got it down to three seconds, then I made quite a big mistake and hurt my shoulder a little bit. Jake was riding really well. Then I decided just to ease off and try and do better in the second one.
It is tricky on this track as well, so we made some changes to the bike just to try and soften it up. I think with everything set-up really hard, then when I come and race these tighter tracks… I just struggled a little bit with that. Then the second race I did not get the best of starts anyway, but the chain came off and smashed the wheel to pieces. I think it is because… Yeah, I do not know why, but it should not be happening anyway.
It is just an error. Not of the bike, but just one of those things that should not happen at my level. It has happened before when I practiced and I know it happens. There is a way to avoid it happening, but it happened again. Just not really happy about that. It should not happen at these races. I think we should treat them a bit more seriously when we come here and race, but I am happy in myself. I am riding a little bit better than I was two weeks ago. Now hopefully we can go to Latvia next week.
That mistake in the first moto was massive. I cannot believe you saved it. Did it kind of spook you a little bit? I guess you hurt your shoulder trying to straighten it up?
I do not know. It did not feel like it was that big. Everyone says it was massive. There was a lapper there and it was a little bit dusty. I did not really see what happened. I just sort of got sideways and landed on the bank, got a little bit more sideways. I think I just tried to straighten it out a little bit. I must have tweaked my shoulder. It was not that bad, but it was just like, ugh, for a lap. Jake was riding really, really well anyway. I was pushing a little bit and I did not feel that comfortable, so I thought, "I am happy to just bring it home in second."
At Canada Heights, you said your set-up did not feel normal because you were not going the speed that you usually do. Did it feel normal today? Do you feel like you are at least close to your best level?
Yeah, I feel better. I feel we have a good set-up with the bike, but it was a little bit stiff I think for this track. We made some changes between the races, but I did not really get to feel them out because we had a problem on the first lap. So that was a shame. I think I just need to ride a little bit more. I have been back on the bike three weeks. I am getting better. My shoulder is getting stronger, so things are moving in the right direction. I think I just need a little bit more race time now.
Obviously you have to be here for sponsors and whatnot, but do you think there comes a point when the risk is not worth the reward? Like you said at Canada Heights, it was kind of a bit dangerous coming through the pack, then that mistake there was a lapper in the way or whatever. The level drops off ridiculously quickly. Do you think that maybe it is not worth it for MXGP guys?
I do not think that it is not worth it, because I really think it is a good championship. You have a lot of good riders racing it with Bobby, Jake, Elliott, myself and Graeme. I think it is a strong field. It is a nice championship to win. It means quite a lot as a British rider to race here. You get to see the British crowd and represent your sponsors that are from the UK and show it off to the UK motocross market.
I feel that it is a little bit risky, especially because we race so much anyway or should be. There are always ifs and buts. I think if I was going for a world championship, then there was no way I would race the British Championship. But, at this moment in time, I am not. So I think I need to be here, getting bike time and race time.
Obviously that DNF in the second race kind of proper screwed you in the championship. There was still a chance, but now it is a bit far. How do you feel about that? Does that kind of make it tougher to get motivation to come here? Are race wins enough for you?
No. I was way out of it anyway. There is a chance if I was winning every race, but I would have had to really start winning at Canada Heights and I did not. Jake again beat me in the first race anyway, he pulled more points. I feel like later on in the rounds I can start winning or at least be up there and fight for the wins every week. I do not lose motivation, because I enjoy coming to these races. To get a win anywhere is nice, whether you are at a GP or British. Obviously it is better at a GP, but to be here racing and a day like today with the fans here… I do not think I lose motivation. I want to do it for Kawasaki UK anyway. I quite enjoy racing the British Championship.
Finally, Latvia next week. Obviously it is going to be a building process and you just want to get a solid result. Do you have a plan in your mind? A result you would like to get in Latvia, then Germany and then Matterley? Do you have a plan?
No, no plan. I think I am a little bit off still, because in that first race my shoulders got quite tired. I am hanging on and riding a little bit different, so I think for Latvia I just need to be smooth and be smart. I just need to learn again. Just being back around the races and the speed and everything. I would like to have a good weekend there, but it is important to have a solid weekend, get through the whole weekend and finish every session. Then obviously it is Germany and England, so it would be nice to be in good form for England and put in a solid result.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: MPS Images