For the first time in a long time Gordon Crockard was not on the track at British Championship round at Desertmartin. After almost cutting off his thumb with a saw the week before, Crockard was standing like the rest of us in the wet and rain wishing he was out there.
It turned out to be the first time there had been Northern Irish moto winners since Crockard did it himself in the early 2000s. MX Vice thought it would be a good idea to speak to the former three time British Champion at the end of the day to get his thoughts on the racing, competing in front of your home crowd and to get an insight his new job with the 150cc Honda project at the GPs.
How is it being a spectator for the first time?
Well, I spectated last year because I got so pissed off with the situation with the start! (last year Crockard had last gate pick after being penalized for stopping on the track during qualifying). Personally I don’t enjoy it. You just want to ride you know? I’m standing there and I can see all of the mistakes people are making and you sort standing there like a know it all saying, ‘they should do that, why are they going there? I’d probably win!’.So, I don’t like it, I just stand there and get wound up that I am not actually racing myself.
What are your thoughts on today’s races and Graeme and Martin winning motos?
The start is really important here in these conditions. I was watching the whoops section out the back in that last MX1 race and it was a massive part of the race. Guys would make up so much time if they got through it well and went it three, two and then did the table top – they made two or three seconds. It was one of those races where it was a case of being fast but not making mistakes. I saw Martin’s race and he was calculated, he was fast and he was steady. The other guys either fell off, made mistakes and lost time. So he did brilliant.
It’s hard for them (locals) to come here, they want to win. But just because you want to win doesn’t mean your bikes going to be any faster, your suspension is going to be any better or you’re going to have learnt more skill overnight when your sleeping, so it’s tough. They take it really seriously and it is good to see them there and getting it done.
Just regarding your work with Honda and the 150 series, are you still at that and how is it going?
The first race is at the Lausitztring in Germany at the end of July. It is working very similar to the format of the Red Bull rookies in road racing. Basically the federations are contacted and offered to put forward who they think is their best riders. we then have a two selection prior to the Grand Prix where 30 riders will be picked for the series. The races are all on standard 150 four strokes.
In terms of what I do at the races I will be coaching, track advising, helping with bike set up and race approach. Just all of the knowledge that I have learnt over the years I am there to pass on to all of the riders taking part in the series.
It is a three year contract. Next year it will be a six round series the year after it will be eight or ten and the winner of the series gets a full sponsored ride on the Gariboldi Honda team emx250 the following year. So it is a great opportunity for kids to get into Grand Prix racing without spending money. At the minute the kids predominately ride a two stroke 85 and then after that is a 250f and it is a massive step. So Honda’s aim is to get people to realise that it is a good bike, it is competitive and you can go racing with it and have success.
Are you just going to be at the GPs or are you involved in other aspects?
I will be at every GP and of course heavily involved in the selection process. In the winter time we are looking at putting together a race series down in Spain where I do my training camps. Honda have given us 30 bikes and we will use them for coaching, training and the race series in Spain.
It’s a program that Honda wanted to put together, they did a deal with Youthstream. This is already being done in World Superbikes, there is a class there called the European junior cup and they ride Honda 500s and it has been going for three years now. Previously they used Kawasakis and KTMs but this year they are using Honda and that is where the idea came from for motocross.
There are lots of things they have been talking about. Originally they wanted me to go racing this year as well and ride the GPs that the 150 series are at. That hasn’t been squashed that idea, they are still looking into that. But I don’t think i will do it this year just with my injury.
And are you contracted for the three years?
Yeah and it will be good. It is a direction for me to go, it is very hard for me to make a living racing at the moment and it is hard to enjoy it when you are not getting the best opportunities in terms of teams and bikes. It’s a new direction for me and I can get into that.
What is your take on Grand Prix motocross now?
I was there during an era when it was completely different. They rode two strokes, tracks weren’t controlled, now they have a team of track builders and everything is uniform so it is just different. I have something to compare it too and I prefer it the way it used to be but it will never go back to that, it is what it is now with four strokes and the way the money is.
As far as the European series, is that a different way of getting there without maybe having to pay as much to race GPs?
Yeah the steps are there. The European series is a way of getting more riders coming into it. And they have to do that because they can see that riders are going to leave if they can’t make a living riding GP motocross. To get new riders to come into it they need to make steps to allow them to do it. The European championship is one of those steps and the 150 series again is one of those steps to get thew new riders to come through.
Interview by Jonathan McCready
Picture by Nigel McKinstry