Kristian Whatley had one heck of a season last year but after a winter celebration his focus has turned to 2014 and it begins tomorrow night with round one of the Garmin Arenacross championship.
Whatley is an unknown when it comes to indoor racing but his talent level suggests that once he figures the new style of racing out, he should be challenging for the top spots.
We spoke to Kristian at press day to see what his expectations for not only arenacross but also on defending his Maxxis British motocross crown later in the year.
MX Vice: Just looking back over your season last year, has it sunk in what you achieved?
Whatley: Yeah definitely I had a few beers that’s for sure! It was celebrating time but now it’s race time.
I’m quite looking forward to this, I didn’t think I would be but I am! I am looking to get some good starts – that will be 90% of the race and the event I think. I just want to keep smooth and see how we go.
MX Vice: Arenacross is new to you, you are known as an outdoor guy how are you expecting to adapt to it?
Whatley: I haven’t done it before but I have been testing down at Wheeldon farm and a few other bits and pieces. I feel quite comfortable at the moment and with the way I am riding so I feel good.
MX Vice: The new bike, Justin Brayton is making it look good in supercross how are you finding it?
Whatley: Yeah I think he has found his pace now. It’s a bit of a shame I think he could have won it last week if he had a bit more balls to him! But yeah the bike is looking good.
MX Vice: Do you notice much difference from last year’s Yamaha?
Whatley: Yeah it turns a lot better. Because I am new to this (arencross), I have went to what everyone says is a bit harder suspension for the whoops and the jumps. It’s all a bit of a learning curve for me so maybe this first round is going to be finding my feet, see where I am and go from there.
MX Vice: Are you going for the title or just get experience?
Whatley: No I am going for the title. I go for the title in whatever I do – there is no point in doing it otherwise! I just want some good starts. It’s going to be really hard with the guys that are here, they are good riders. Everyone that gets into the final is going to be good.
MX Vice: Passing usually involves a bit of bumping, are you prepared to do that?
Whatley: I am not normally that type of rider but I’ve got to do it this weekend!
MX Vice: Looking forward to the outdoors, you have Simpson and Nicholls moving in to challenge you, are you excited to race them?
Whatley: Yeah they are good guys, they are GP guys but I do think I can run with them. I think us three boys are going to be gone from the rest this year, but we will see how it goes.
Words: Jonathan McCready
Image: Paul McCready