How does it feel to be back in your place – that is, on the top step of the stage?
I am very happy with the win. The last couple of years have been really crazy – I’ve always been injured. From one hand, to a cracked wrist, to another, to a broken wrist. In fact, I did the entire top – left arm, left wrist, right arm and right wrist. Of course, the worst thing was the right wrist, but it was a long two years with some injuries all the time. So I am very happy that the speed is still there and it has shown that it can still win. Of course, indoor enduro is my discipline in which I feel the best. I am very happy, me and the team, we continue to push.
You show that PESEL is not important. Still not feeling material fatigue?
Before this year’s SuperEnduro round in Hungary, I remember Hacker complaining about his age, as did Webb, and showing that the more springs you have in your neck, the more freshness doesn’t depend on the year, but on the make.
It depends on smart and good training. And this is especially important when there are more years on the back of the neck. Age alone, or the fact that Webb is 35 and I’m 39 doesn’t make that much of a difference. The training you use makes the difference. You need to know what you can and can’t do. It is a very difficult art because you need to know yourself well and have a lot of knowledge about the practice. By intelligent training, you can extend your life to a few good seasons, which I will try to show.
From GP Riesa SuperEnduro 2020 you didn’t stand on the top step of the podium and it was clear that you missed your place at every start since then. How to start in USA? Did you miss it too?
Few things become more appreciated with age and career progression. In the past, I had to really run between the World Cup and the US Championships or the Hard Enduro, so I didn’t have time to enjoy the simple things. Now I’m going back to America, I’m in Carlsbad, I’m sipping a cup of coffee in a pub overlooking the ocean on a break from hard training, which I really appreciate. Of course I miss America. I’m glad we’re back here and I can be more competitive. Of course winning is the norm, but the stakes in endurocross are strong as hell this year. I will try to stay ahead all the time and fight for the championship till the end. Because this is the most important thing – not to lose a lot of points.
The stakes in the history of endurocross are very strong, but in addition to the names already known around the world, there are more and more young Americans focusing on indoor enduro. How do you rate the development of the discipline that has made a significant contribution to its promotion in America and done well?
You can see the young players improving, some focusing on endurocross and others additionally focusing on hard enduro. It’s great that we’ve created something like this that works so well.
The first round didn’t sell out because the date was changed at the last minute, and we lost some viewers, but I think it was a good match. The level of play was very high and everyone was in practice except for Billy who was still recovering from injury.
I’ve always associated endurocross with big jumps and spectacular obstacles, and in Salt Lake City we had a very tight, technical course.
As far as I know, the organizer wants to make endurocross accessible to more people by encouraging riders on two-stroke bikes. When the jumps were so big, most people were afraid to enter this path and didn’t even think about starting. Now, safer lanes are expected to attract more riders. I don’t know if this is a good direction and it will only change after the current season ends. For the first time in years, there were two strokes on stage, so I think the plan is going well. So far, for 15 years, there has always been one person building the routes, and this year there is a new builder. They want to change direction a little bit, they want to open up a little bit. For me, all the songs are good. I want to jump, but the most important thing is to have a lot of players and full stands.
What do you want? Spectacular endurocross or technical superenduro?
I won’t choose because I like both types. Personally, I find that I do a little better on faster and more bouncy tracks, but the technology works for me too. What’s the point, I’m going – the most important thing is to have joint starts from the machine and 3×10 minutes races.
The format and scoring in the SuperEnduro World Championship and AMA Endurocross differ because in the US you get points for the entire circuit, and in the World Championship each race is scored individually. Which rules suit you best?
In SuperEnduro you have to be very careful in every race, which makes the season a bit more interesting because you lose a lot, but every format has its charm. I love how different these series are from each other despite having a similar idea.
During our last conversation before the start of AMA Endurocross, you still don’t know what bike you’re going to start with. Did the choice fall on a new or already proven motorcycle?
We always ride the 2022 motorcycle – the motorcycle I started with in the SuperEnduro season, and I will stay on it next winter, because after Endurocross there are only 2 weeks until the start in Krakow. Then it’s Christmas and the whole world stops, and then we’re racing to March. We’ll be in it until the end of the SuperEnduro 2023 season, which suits me personally. We already have a great setup and although the new engine has great potential, I don’t want to replace my bike mid-season. It always takes months to find the middle ground.
How about racing, racing, and testing a motorcycle? Your mechanic Lucas doesn’t fly to America, you only work with an American team. How are you working with them and what are the preparations for the next matches?
It’s a shame Lucas had to stay home, but the GasGas USA team is doing great. We found the set-up of the bike very quickly during practice and adjusted it for the race so I could fight for the win from the start. The center has two practice tracks, so if any changes to the suspension or engine are required, tests are carried out very quickly and efficiently. Now we are ready for the second round in Redmond, and when we come back, we immediately start testing the engine in Denver, which is very high. We try to prepare the engine to lose as little power as possible.
If so, we’re already crossing our fingers for the next launches!
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