Young Lewis Tombs has made steady progress through the ranks at the British Championship since turning pro at seventeen. 2012 was his best season to date with a ninth place overall in the Maxxis including a fine fourth in the first moto at the final round at Littler Silver.
It was there that Tombs showed that he has the potential to run up front, and it has given him a huge surge of confidence going into the off season.
More good news came at the Motorcycle show when it was announced that Lewis would be part of the up and coming JAR Honda team ran by WSB Honda rider Jonathan Rea.
Staying on Honda means Tombs hasn’t had to change much in the off season and has been able to concentrate on his physical preparation. He is just back from a three week stay in Spain where, along with teammate Wayne Garrett, he has been pounding out the laps getting ready the fast approaching 2013 season.
With all the right pieces in place the 22 year old from Bury St Edmonds is ready to take the next level in his career.
How did you get into racing?
I started racing when I was about seven, before that my dad had bought me a PW 50. I eventually progressed to a 60 and got more and more into it. I started club racing and worked my way up through. My dad had and interest and I had an interest and we ended up doing all the youth British Championships but we carried on with my schooling with GCSE’s and A levels.
Then we decided to give it a crack in the Adults with the Red Bulls and the Maxxis championships and it has went from there.
When did you realise you were good enough to race motocross full time?
I won a BYMX 125 championship in 2007, then I went to do the Maxxis but if I had my way again I think I would have stayed another year in the Youth and then went to the British. I think I jumped a bit too soon going from a 125 straight into the adults. It was a quite a big step.
Last season you were ninth in the British Championship and got a fourth place in the first moto at Little Silver -was that the best year of your career?
Yeah, the Maxxis went pretty good, I started off steady then got some good results in the middle of the year. I had a sixth at Lyng, it was my home track so that went well and then the last round was easily my best one, I qualified fourth and got a fourth in the first race. It was good to show what I could do and it was the best race I ever had.
Did that give you a lot of confidence going into the off season?
Yeah definitely, especially being the last race of the year it sent me away happy. Not a lot of things are changing this year either I am staying with Honda and Multitek engines but this year I will be under the JAR Honda team so it is all good.
How did the JAR Honda deal come about?
It was towards the end of last year, I was looking for something and I spoke to a few people, then Gary Price mentioned to me that Jonny was looking an MX2 rider and Kev Harris at STR was talking to Jonny as well and he put some feelers out there to see what could happen. Jonny was keen and he rang us up and it just went from there really.
We have been out in Spain and he came out for a week and he is a top guy. He knows the road racing and he knows motocross, so he is a good guy to have in your corner. He is a rider himself so he know what is going on, if you have a down day or an injury or whatever he knows what it’s like. I am looking forward to working with him and all of the rest of the guys on the team.
You are just get back from Spain, was that good to get everything sorted with the bike fitness and testing before the season?
It was good to get out there and meet all guys like Kenny, (Wayne’s mechanic) Wayne was there and Jonny came out as well.
The first week we just tried to get back into it by doing some motos and stuff then we did a bit of testing with ignitions and tyres in the second week.
The third week we did a training school with Brian Jorgenson and that was really good. I learnt quite a lot and now I know what to work on at home.
His whole mentality about riding is completely different to how I have been riding. We also did races with them so we could see where we were at. I have definitely come back with good riding time – its back to the slop and getting used to the mud again now!
What was the difference in mentality?
Just a few different things, he was all about being smooth and carrying your speed through the corner and riding a lot over the front with your shoulders up. His whole style is completely different to how I ride. If I can put to use a few things I’ve picked up on this trip it will really help me. Brian rode too and he was ripping so it taught me some good things.
So, who was the quickest between you and Wayne?
I was really surprised with Wayne because he had a bad injury last year and hasn’t really ridden since, but he is riding really well. Some days he would be a little quicker than me or we would be the same speed so he is definitely riding good and it is good to have a teammate pushing me every day.
What are your goals for 2013?
I have set myself some realistic goals. In the Red Bull I definitely want to be pushing for podiums and be consistent top five. In the Maxxis I know it is going to b a lot harder this year people going and guys like Swordy and Martin Barr coming back into it, so I am not really sure but as long as I go out and have fun I’m sure I wont be too far away from my goals.
Last year you rode the British GP and scored a point, how was that whole experience riding infront of a big home crowd?
Yea that was probably the best experience I have ever had. On Saturday I wasn’t where I wanted to be but on the Sunday I felt like I rode really well and was unlucky not to score points in the first race. The last race I rode well again and got a point. I was really happy, It was an awesome experience to have the home crowd cheer for you, it was really cool.
How big a jump was it from the British to the World Championship?
It is completely different. It is so hard. The British Championship is only 20 minutes but I tried to do a few 35 minutes motos before the GP. The intensity is completely different, it was tough but it was definitely worth doing and it brings you own racing with best in the world.
Are you looking at concentrating in Britain in the future or would you like to do GPs full time?
Well we might do a few this year. Jonny said we would see what my speed in like. So hopefully we will get a few GPs!
I just want to say thanks to my mum and dad, my girlfriend and everyone that supported my last year and hopefully this season will be a successful year!
Article by Jonathan McCready