Tommy Searle has shown plenty of potential since he returned from injury from May, so most are beginning to wonder what heights he will be able to reach before the end of the current campaign. It seemed that Loket would be a highlight of his season, following a strong Saturday, but a handful of issues restricted him in the main motos. All of that is explained in this exclusive MX Vice interview from the Czech Republic.
MX Vice: Another positive weekend if you look at it as a whole. It ended on a sour note, but there were definitely good things that you can take from this moving forward.
Tommy Searle: Yeah. Yesterday was really, really good. Probably my best Saturday that I have had all year. I was third in the first practice, fifth in the second practice and seventh in the race. I felt really good. It is coming a lot easier for me now riding the bike instead of the lap times. I expected to come in and them tell me I was not that fast, then I was third. The beginning of the season I was expecting to come in and them tell me I was on pole position, then they were telling me I was in eighteenth. That side of things is a lot better. I am a lot more comfortable.
I had a really good Saturday. Sunday has just been bad, really. In warm up I was fifth this morning, but I have struggled since Monday with a cold. It was sort of coming and I was sort of fighting it. I thought it was going to stay away, then it hit me Friday. I struggled with that. Then I really felt it in the first race the last ten minutes. I actually got passed by like four people in the last three laps, which is not like me at all. I just had no energy left. I used up way too much at the beginning of the race with a bad start.
I was trying everything to pass people, but I was actually just using a lot of energy and not actually passing anyone. I wore myself out. I was, I think, eleventh in that or twelfth in that up to the last three laps and then I got passed. In the second race I had a little bit better start. I was running tenth in the second race and I thought I could have passed a couple of guys in front of me, but with about ten minutes to go I came up the hill before the pits and just tried to make a pass and the back wheel slid in the rocks.
I was just in an awkward position to get going. The clutch lever had snapped, so then I had to stop because I did not want to risk it feeling out of sorts and then riding this track when I was already way out of the points. Overall, today is disappointing. It could have been a really good day, but I am leaving healthy and there were a lot of positives from yesterday.
The first time that you got up there in the free practice this year was Matterley Basin and everyone was going crazy, thinking that you were back. That is kind of normal now though. We should accept the fact that you have top-five speed or even top-three speed. Now it’s the fact of putting the rest of the pieces of the puzzle together, right?
Yeah. I have got speed. That has never been a problem. I think this weekend the races would have been solid honestly, but with the cold I had that affected me more. I actually thought I felt better today than I did yesterday, but then in the race after twenty minutes it just hit me. I just had nothing left to give, really. I think I just exerted myself a lot too much too early in that. I was just trying to pass people, but actually not passing them and going outside to inside and then you are just using so much energy to try and line up a pass. I just tired myself out.
Did someone tell me that you ran into [Evgeny] Bobryshev in one of the races or you cleaned him out? Something like that?
Yeah, I did. I hit him hard and I felt really bad actually. I did not expect to come in… I knew that place he was going wide and I knew I could square up and go fast. For like three laps I was saying, “That is where I’m going to get him.” I sort of had passed him and I was drifting to the bank expecting him to just follow the line to the bank, but he squared up as well and he sort of turned out just as I was drifting further. We hit so hard. I watched it back and I messaged him and went over there to say sorry. I do not want to do that sort of thing. It is bad enough. I know he is already carrying an injury and to do that battling for thirteenth position is not the thing to be doing out there.
Obviously, there are six rounds left now. We have seen you have got speed and all that. I have been trying to figure out what we should expect from you and what you could potentially do. Do you kind of have a goal in mind? I do not really think a podium is out of the question. I do genuinely think it could happen.
I was fifth overall at the last GP and then this weekend I think I was top five in pretty much every session until we got to the ones that counted. I am right there. Lommel might be a little bit tougher for me, but I have been there this week. I am going to go there straight from here and ride there this next week, then I will be back the following week before the race. I actually expect a good result from myself there and then we have some races coming up that will suit me quite well.
It would be amazing to get a podium, but if I can just get myself back in the top five and just have solid weekends and build from there then I will be happy. I missed a lot of races this year for an injury after the first round and I feel now finally back to where I was feeling, like it is coming easy to me again on the bike. I just need to put myself in good positions and get it done.
I guess it is time to start asking questions about next year. Are you talking to people? I guess you have got a one-year deal with this team?
Yeah, I am only on a one-year deal with Steve here and DRT Kawasaki. I spoke with Kawasaki a little bit. I hope to stay here, but it is difficult at the moment. There is a lot of riders with not a lot of teams, so we will see. There is nothing solid yet, but hopefully I can stay with Kawasaki as I know they have got the new bike coming out in 2019. I think it is going to be one of the best bikes on the track.
I am really looking forward to getting on that. Hopefully I might even race it towards the end of this year, but it is such a big change to some of the… I know the shock is different, so we cannot put my suspension straight in that. That is sort of holding us up a little bit. I think that bike is going to be really good though, so if I could stay and race that next year then that would be great.
Another question that I guess I need to ask, but I do not really want to. ‘Nations talk is happening. I was stupid enough to put up a poll for people to choose their team thinking everyone could kind of just have a nice discussion about it, but I guess people cannot really do that when it comes to ‘Nations, can they?
No, there are no nice discussions when it comes to ‘Nations. It is what it is. The whole opinion thing happens every year now, even more so. I do not think it happened when I first went up, because social media was not around. I think that is just what happens with social media, the British public especially. Some of them do not even watch the races and they are choosing riders who have not even raced all season.
It shows how much they actually know. They know nothing but have a big opinion, so ‘Nations is what it is. If I do good from here on out, then I think it would be great to be in the team. I think I am a solid pick, but it is what it is. There are a few other riders that think the same about themselves. It is what it is. I think it is nice that Great Britain have riders who I think whatever team gets sent they will do a great job. If I am in it, brilliant. If I am not, then good luck to the team that goes.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Ray Archer