Nestled away down in green, hilly Devon lies the UK’s only indoor moto facility – Wheeldon Off-Road. Wheeldon is also home to rising AX star Joe Clayton.
Joe has been improving his riding year on year, and after focusing his efforts on indoor racing and competing in supercross races in Europe, the no. 14 will be a serious title challenger in the Pro Lites Class for this years Arenacross UK series.
We headed down to the old dairy farm to check out the newly re-vamped SX set-up, hear about Joe’s recent travels and see how his 2018 AX race prep on the new bike is going…
DBR: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today – how’s it going?
JC: “It’s going really good thank you.”
DBR: We hear went to the USA fairly recently. Tell us a bit about your trip and what you got up to Stateside…
JC: “It was awesome! I flew out to Vegas first to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen in ages then we hung out and I stayed with him for a few days up until the Monster Energy Cup. At Monster Cup I met up with some of the guys from Team Green UK and California Motocross Holidays to watch the event. It was insane to see Musquin win the million bucks.
“After that event we drove down to California where we stayed in the Temecula area at the CMH house. I stayed there for about two weeks which was wicked as we went riding most days at all the well-known tracks and got some good training in.
“On the days we had off we went and visited the Monster HQ, Thor, Kawasaki, Venice beach and hung out in LA. It was an amazing experience and I would like to thank California Motocross Holidays for the hospitality.”
DBR: Congratulations on your new deal with Team Green Monster Energy Kawasaki. How does it feel to be on one of the best teams in the business? How did the deal come about?
JC: “I was actually thinking of doing my own thing for the AX but then I had some great teams approach me with Team Green being one of those. After testing the bike I couldn’t say no.”
DBR: What are your first impressions of the Kawi?
JC: “I love it! I really like how the bike handles and it has a good strong motor from standard as well.”
DBR: Let’s talk Arenacross. You finished the 2017 Lites class in third place overall with some super consistent results. How did you feel the season went for you? What’s your game plan for the 2018 season?
JC: “I wasn’t too happy at the end of last season really. I don’t think I came into the series with the best preparation from my part and then in my racing I would make little mistakes which didn’t help.
“My game plan is to come in and win the races and the Championship, but I’m sure others are thinking the same. I’m feeling really good on the new bike and I feel I have done some great preparation so far so I don’t see why that would be a problem.”
DBR: You’ve been competing more and more in the European Supercross races over the last couple of years. How have your results been on the continent and how do these races compare to the Arenacross series?
JC: “I have spent a lot of time this summer racing and training in Italy for their International Supercross series which was great fun but I did have a little injury which made me miss some of the races. On the whole I had some podiums on both the 450 and 250 which I was happy with. The series is great but it’s a very chilled out atmosphere – like most things on the continent – and the event wasn’t focussed on bringing in big crowds like the Arenacross series does so it didn’t have all the lights and atmosphere that Arenacross has.”
DBR: You’ve just had both the outdoor and indoor AX tracks here at Wheeldon Farm revamped. How’s the new set-up riding?
JC: “The set-up for me at home right now is amazing, I really couldn’t ask for anything more. My new outdoor track is very good and technical which makes you think a lot about getting every line and rhythm perfect. Shape and Scape did an amazing job on that and also the newly revamped indoor track too. It’s great for riders like me and my brother who are racing the AX but still good for the beginners we have up for the training as well so they did a great job making it challenging for all levels of ability.”
DBR: How often are you out here practising?
JC: “I will try and get out as much as possible. When it’s dry I will try get out on the outdoor SX track all the time but now we are coming into winter I will ride as much as I can on the indoor track – so probably five or six days a week. When I’m racing it is harder to do that with travelling in-between and everything.”
DBR: What do you get up to when you’re not riding?
JC: “I hang out with some friends and my girlfriend but most of the time I am riding.”
DBR: Can you see yourself focusing purely on Arenacross and Supercross as opposed to outdoor racing from now on?
JC: “Yes definitely. Personally I much prefer it and I think Arenacross and Supercross brings in more crowds which then helps the riders with sponsorships.”
DBR: What are you goals for the future? AMA Supercross one day?
JC: “Yeah, I hope that one day I’ll be racing the AMA Supercross series in America.”
DBR: Any shout outs?
JC: “I would like thank my parents, Wheeldon Off-road Centre for the great home and tracks, Mark from CBF, Team Green Kawasaki UK, Paul from DH Racing, Apico factory Racing, Decade-Europe, Shape and Scape.”