Stuart Edmonds had a solid season in 2012, he finished a fine eighth overall in the British MX2 championship with couple of top five overalls and even scored a podium in the Red Bull series on 450. Following on from that success, he helped team Ireland to 13th overall at the Motocross Des Nations in Lommel.
Things were looking good for Edmonds and he was on a high, then, all of a sudden, the unpredictability of motocross reared its head. Edmonds’ TAS Suzuki race team decided to stop their British motocross effort shortly after the MXDN, leaving the popular Edmonds without a ride and, for a few worrying weeks, he was unsure of his future.
However, things took a turn for the better recently when Rob Hooper signed Edmonds to ride a 450 for his Maxxis Apico Suzuki team in 2013. This is a perfect fit for Edmonds, he is comfortable on the yellow machinery and he knows Rob and the team, having already ridden for Rob in a couple of supercross races last winter. It is the best case scenario for Stuart, he is already familiar with the bike and the team, and this limited adjustment should really benefit him as moves up to the ultra competitive MX1 division.
We caught up with the friendly Dubliner to talk about his new deal and what he expects to achieve in 2013, as well as the Mikey Neale video of Edmonds that is sweeping across the internet.
TAS Suzuki decided to stop motocross at the end of the year and it left you without a ride, how much of a worry was that and when did you sign for Rob Hooper?
It was a bit of a bummer when TAS stopped motocross to concentrate on the BSB side of things. They gave me good notice and have been so good to me all year. I was struggling there for a couple of weeks to try and sort a deal out, I didn’t think I was going to be riding next year then Rob came to me with a good opportunity and a good package, he passed by Suzuki, and it was all good.
I’m pretty happy with what we have got sorted out, it will mean I will be based back in England again which is good. It is nice to be at home, but at the same time I think it is better to be in England, there is a lot more variations of tracks and it is nice to get out with a lot of people you are friends with and race against as well.
Me and Rob, we worked together in the supercross last year, I found Rob brilliant to work with, I was happy to work with him and always said to him I was open to options whenever he was looking, he came to me and was able to offer me a good deal for next year.
Rob he has a lot of knowledge working with GP riders like Brian Jorgenson, are you looking forward to working with Rob on a more long term level next season?
I only did a couple of rounds of the supercross, so I didn’t really get to know Rob that well, but when we did work together we worked really well. It was brilliant, the information that he gave me and, how he helps the riders, was really good. It will be interesting for me to see how it works in the motocross season. I am so excited for that because he has many, many years behind from racing himself and he has ran teams for years so it is nice to be able to have that confidence in someone you are riding for.
Obviously you are staying with Suzuki and you had podium on the 450 at the Red Bull and rode it at the Motocross des Nations, having that continuity should help you next year?
Yes definitely. When I moved up to the 450 in Culham it was a last minute decision, something I wanted to do. Steven (Lenoir) was left without a ride, so he was able to ride the MX2 bike and I was able to ride the MX1 bike. I surprised myself with the results I was able to get and then in the Nations… I rode ok at the nations, I felt I could ride a lot better but with a little bit more tweaking with myself and the bike I reckon I could have done a lot better, but taking all that into account and bringing it forward into next year has given me a big boost to know what I’m capable of. I know I am capable of doing really well, maybe a top three or top five finish, but there are a lot of people coming in next year and they will be looking at getting the same results.
All I’m going to do is get my head down and train harder than I ever have before. These last two or three years I have been training really hard and I have a lot more information, a better mindset, I know what I want and how hard I need to work for it. The 450 Suzuki was a brilliant bike when I first moved up onto it and riding the new 2013 bike a few weeks back at the Suzuki launch, it was a major difference, so straight away I am looking forward to riding next years’ bike.
Mikey Neale has just put that video of you up from the Suzuki launch, it is all over the internet (including mxvice) and even on the Racer X site in the USA, was that good doing that with him?
Yea I was pleased to see it in the USA sites too. Mikey is a brilliant film editor, he is a nice guy and I get on well with him. He surprised me actually, he put it on twitter, I looked at it straight away and it was a brilliant video. It gives you goose bumps when you are looking at it, and to see it on a big massive American website is cool. It is nice to get that exposure.
There are some top GP riders like Ramon and Barragan joining the British Championship next year -is it good for you to have guys of that calibre to race against and learn from?
Yea, I have raced against them before and without doubt they are brilliant riders, world class riders. I raced them in the World Championship in the 450 class a couple of time but, nobody is going to intimidate me, intimidation doesn’t come into it with me. I like to go into championships with a good mindset that I’m going to do well.
To be honest I reckon they are going to find it hard over here because we all know the tracks and stuff like that. It is not going to be easy for anybody, so it will be exciting to see who comes out on top. It will be interesting and exciting to race with them all.
You have lived in England before, will that experience help you settle in quicker and make it easier moving back next year?
O yes, the first year I moved over I was really nervous. It was the first time moving away fully on my own. I had been away for a couple of weeks before that, I had been living all over Ireland and travelling a lot with different people but to move away and live in your own house and have to do everything, it was a big thing for me and I think it did have an effect on my riding for a couple of months. When I came round to the next season, it was ten times better. I knew what I was doing and I knew what I was expecting.
With this being the third year now I know what to expect and a friend of mine is hopefully going to help me out and if not we will look at getting a room or a house sorted. Living in England on my own is going to be challenging but it is for the best and it is what I need to do to get where I want to get.
Looking back at this season, you had a lot of speed but the starts held you back a bit, so the 450 will probably suit you better in 2013?
Yea, I loved my bike this year, the team weren’t holding me back with the starts, just because I am a big lump of a lad it’s kind of hard riding a 250 against kids that are around ten or eleven stone, it is hard to get out of the gate with them! To be honest, if you ask anyone to try and get out of the gate with my weight, it’s very challenging.
I got a few good starts at Desertmartin and in couple of other races as well. When I was there and I did get the starts, it showed I can run with the top guys. It’s just a lot of people didn’t notice me when I wasn’t getting the starts because I was coming from twentieth position up to seventh or eighth, so it didn’t really looking appealing until I started getting good starts.
At Desertmartin I got the good starts, and was challenging for third in a couple of races and finished fourth overall.
Moving up to the big bike, the major thing I am going to be working on is starts, I am a slow reactor but yea it should make things a lot easier on the 450. Instead of going from the back to the front I should start at the front.
My fitness is there, a lot of people maybe think because I am a big lad that I don’t work, but I know myself that I work really hard. Phil Loughlin helps me a lot, he spends a lot of time with me and shows me the difference between the training I thought I was doing and what I can do.
Knowing your own body better now and having that experience probably helps as well?
Exactly, I would do an hour run, then I would go to Phil and he would make me cycle half an hour to get there then run for an hour and a half, then I’d cycle half an hour home. So it shows how much more I can push myself. Everyone needs someone like that behind them, to give them that little kick up the arse. When you think you’re going well in a run, then they push you and the next minute you are going further. So it is nice to have someone like that behind you.
What are your goals for next season?
I try to set them realistic. A lot of people are going to laugh at me when I say I want to win the British Championship, but no rider isn’t going to say he doesn’t want to win. If you are going in thinking you are not going to win – there is no aspect of that though process where you are going to do well.
I would like to win but I want to try and finish top five in the Maxxis and definitely top three in the Red Bulls. I set realistic goals, so far I have achieved my goals and bettered myself every year and I want show people what my real speed is.
I want to just say thanks to Rob and Maxxis Apico Suzuki for giving me the opportunity to ride the British Championship and the Red Bulls next year, and hopefully I can bring them good results!
Interview by Jonathan McCready
Photo by Nigel McKinstry