Max Anstie has had a difficult start to the season, with a handful of knocks and bumps, but got back onto the right track at the previous round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. A podium finish gave him a much-needed boost and chance to reflect on all that has gone on over the last four months. Many different topics are tackled in this exclusive MX Vice interview.
MX Vice: You are back, I guess! A week really does make a big difference. From France to here is night and day. You are back on the podium, so I guess you are stoked.
Max Anstie: Yeah, exactly. Man, it was nice to turn the page on things. It has been a very tough start to the season, or first half of the year, considering the expectations that we had at the end of the last year and even the beginning of this year. With the warm-up races I was on it, but then things just kept getting worse with crashes and knocking myself out. Then I kept trying to come back and crashing in the week. It was like a whole spiral effect or whatever you want to call it. It was like, geez. It has been a nightmare. What a week can make.
This week I did not do a lot. I went and played golf actually with Shaun [Simpson] and I was miserable. Things can be so good in this game and then it can quite easily turn around. It is the way you look at things. It is the way that you think about it. It is your environment. If you let your environment control how you feel and the people around you control how you feel, it can be great when things are going well, but then when it is not it can make it even worse. I really just tried to focus on keeping my thoughts good and happy and trying to be myself and be who I wanted to be.
It was nice to get on the box here. I am sure we are going to have a lot of tough races to go. Hopefully now we can just start racing with the guys. I do not expect to be up there all the time, but I just like racing. It was so nice to just be in a battle with guys and actually seeing on the pit board that I was in a decent position.
I know we have talked about it before, but people forget about the head and everything. In a way, do you do that? Things can spiral out of control so quickly, especially when we have back-to-back races. All of these poor finishes and the struggles have been kind of linked to that.
Yeah, for sure, but it is tough when you are racing because as soon as you are on the starting line you have got to be one hundred percent and it is not always about that. It is a business, the teams. We have to be on it and then playing catch-up is bloody hard. When you are behind the wave as it is trying to swim your way and then another wave comes along and, bang, it is another weekend and you are at the bottom again. I do not forget about those things. I think it is all linked to that and crashes; I would knock myself out, come back, crash in the week and then try to ride or train so much in the week to catch back up. Then I would go to the weekends and I am tired.
Things just have not been going well. It was nice to put myself in a good position this weekend and have a good race. For sure the conditions with the heat and things did help me out and I was able to just ride my own race and do my thing. It was good. I am looking forward to the next few. I have got some good tracks this last half of the year. I am just hoping that I can get back to solid positions where I was at the end of last year and feeling good battling with the guys.
Did you expect this to be the turning point? It seemed like in yourself, you were excited to get underway this weekend. I guess with everything that happened last year and the conditions here, you knew that this was going to be as good a shot as any to turn things around?
Yeah. Honestly, this week I did the complete opposite. I did not do any training and did not do any riding. I just really sat down and moped around for probably a couple of days until about Wednesday and was all miserable and like, "Am I ever going to do any good?" I managed to just turn a page. I thought, "Okay, right, I am going to try and control this weekend what I want to think about and how I want to be and not let people around me and even the results of things…"
Even like time training was not ideal. But I thought, "Okay, I can change up a few lines." Just trying to bring back a little bit of that self-confidence that I had before and that obviously seemed to work. But it is a tough game. Definitely when you are trying to play catch up, it is not ideal.
Starts seemed to help a ton as well. Did you do anything in particular to change that or was it just self-confidence that helped you get out of the gate?
I think a little bit. I changed a little bit my routine before the races, which did seem to give me a little bit more security or just being a bit surer where the clutch is. I have the new clutches and this and that. We changed a couple of little things, but nothing major. I did have three good starts actually this weekend, which was good. I do not know what happened in the second one around the first few turns. I thought I went in quite well. I slid out or I hit someone. I thought I was going in like top three or something, then around the first lap I came out in like tenth. Still managed to get my way forward and that is that.
Looking back on your races, I do not think anything really went wrong. One thing that stood out to me that kind of pissed me off a little bit was that [Clement] Desalle came into pit lane to get repairs and everything, then went back out a lap down and just could not care less really. I could visibly see he slowed you up a few times. It pissed me off, so I guess that you were fuming.
I was behind someone at the time. I knew he [Clement Desalle] was battling and riding really well in the first race. I knew he was probably a little bit pissed off with how his race had gone, but he came out and I was not getting tired… You are in the rhythm. He was in front of me roosting me, when I did not need that roost. I did not have to pass him, so I just did not want to pass him.
It would have been easier if he would have pulled out the way. I can understand and, at the end of the day, it did not make too much difference to the end result. At the end of the day, he rode really well in the first race and he rode really well through the beginning of the year. That is the way it goes.
Is it full steam ahead from this point on then? You do not anticipate more struggles, or at least to the degree you have had? Do you feel like you can get back to normal now?
That is a tough question. There is always going to be tough races and I am hoping that, yeah, I can be. I know how I want to be and how I want to think and things. We are getting there. I do feel like moving forward, Indonesia is going to be fun. I am just going to try and continue on this way that I am trying to be myself and make the best out of every situation, make the best out of it with everything from the team side of things to myself to my training and trying to be in control of my thoughts and how I feel.
Silly season is kind of in full flow. Anything going on for you? Anything you can tell us? Is it just a waiting game at the moment?
Yeah. I am really lucky and thankful to have Jamie Dobb in my corner and he is working for me. It is amazing how things can be so great. At the end of last year, I was the boy. It was like, "Yeah, sign me up!" When you have a terrible first half of the year, then it is quite easily… Everyone is saying, "What is the problem? What is this? What is that?" It does your head in trying to talk to everyone about everything. At the moment, no, next year I do not know. Obviously, I am going to try and make the best of it with everyone who is around me at the moment. My team has done a great job this year.
They have sort of told me that I think at the end of the year we are going to be parting ways. It is tough to deal with all those sorts of things. When you trust everyone around you and you feel so good with people, but it is business. I can respect their decision and what they are doing. Their plan is different from mine. So, at the moment, I am pleased I got on the bloody podium, because at least I have got something going for me at the moment. When you add that pressure to the mix, it gets more tough. When things are going well, it is easy to get good results. It is what it is.
At the end of the day, I have got to just focus on my thing and myself and what happens, happens. I want to be back up there battling for podiums and try and put myself in a position where I can feel really good and on it like I did at the end of last year. At the moment I am just focused on the rest of this year and doing that.
Like I said, I am lucky the Jamie Dobb is able to take care of a lot of that for me. These are times when I need him a lot, because I do not want to be dealing with all that stuff and talking to teams and figuring things out. It takes my focus away from what I need to do. So, no, I am lucky in that respect and thankful to him. I am just here to go and work; week in, week out. Hopefully go and get some more good results.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Husqvarna/J.P Acevedo