The biggest meeting outside of the annual extravaganza that is the Motocross of Nations will crank into life this week as the second ever MXGP Festival – AKA British Grand Prix – again forms up at the spectacular Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester, England.
11 categories and hundreds of racers will be matched by a bumper attendance over the Bank Holiday weekend for what will be the penultimate fixture in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
All eyes will be on the UK’s top dog Tommy Searle. The CLS Monster Energy Kawasaki Pro Circuit rider is currently wading through an exciting first season in the premier MX1 category but memories of his thrilling success against Jeffrey Herlings in the MX2 class at Matterley last year will not be quickly forgotten. We checked-in with #100 with only a few days to go until British MX fans can gather for the event-of-the-year on home soil…
Adam: Matterley Basin 2012. That must be a career highlight so far and what are your thoughts ahead of MX1 in front of the British public this week?
Tommy: Without a doubt it was the highlight of my career. I think the event is the best Grand Prix of the year and I think everyone who was there in 2012 will agree it shouldn’t be missed. Maybe I am biased… But winning last summer was the cherry on top. I think it will be a great weekend whether I win or lose but it does give me a lot of motivation to go out and repeat the result.
Adam: How did you celebrate last year?
Tommy: I don’t think we did anything actually… Just drove home to Derby! But if I win it this year I’ll be going mental.
The track there normally draws positive reactions… If you talk to any rider I think they enjoy Matterley. The organisers usually do a nice job with the track and so far we have always had quite good weather for it as well. Obviously the sun makes it.
Adam: The infamous duel with Jeffrey Herlings for the 2012 MX2 title got a bit intense at times. Do you think the support the British fans showed for you and the atmosphere they built against Herlings – allegedly even throwing a sandwich at him in practice – is indicative of the passion they have for it all?
Tommy: I don’t know! I’m not sure if it is great that they are throwing ham sandwiches at him. I don’t even know if he likes ham sandwiches. The atmosphere is mint though and I just love the British crowd. There are a couple of turns where I’d head close to the public and I’d get goosebumps every lap. I think it is the best crowd of any GP. I love it.
Adam: Can you really feed off all that attention?
Tommy: Yeah! Last year they did that parade lap of every rider in all categories. I think there were 300 bikes on the track or something like that. I got to the front and was waving my way around. When I got back in I was like f*ck, I feel like I’ve already won the GP! On the sighting lap I just get out there and wave. Love it.