With the off-season at an end and races about to come thick and fast, we thought it would be a great time to catch up with HM Plant KTM’s Mel Pocock. So at Hawkstone Park we lured Mel into a quiet corner with the promise of some cookie dough and asked him to reflect on his past year’s racing, the year ahead and what it’s like to finally kick-start the race season.
DBR: What are your aims for this year?
MP: Well I am doing the British Championships and the World Championships and there aren’t many outside races. With the World Championships I want to be a consistent top ten 10 GP rider and hitting in the top six if I can. So I’ve set myself a pretty high target for the GPs. For the British Championships, of course I want to win it. I lost out on it pretty close to the end of the season two years ago so I want to come back and try again.
DBR: How have you been prepping yourself during the off-season?
MP: Off-season started for me in November. I went down to the South of Spain with Scott Probert at Innovation Fitness. I did a full month there cycling the mountains and it was always quite long days on our push bikes and doing some base training. In December, I did a month with Tommy Searle in Derby and we trained together. When January came, that’s when we started riding the bikes but it has been tricky trying to dodge the weather.
DBR: Have you been working on anything in particular ready for this year?
MP: I have worked mainly on my legs. Last year I was continuing to get fatigue in my legs which made me sit down a lot so I’ve been doing a lot of leg work because for me that was a big thing I had to sort out.
DBR: What went well last season?
MP: I had really good races in the British GP and Brazil GP; top six overall in both those GPs so I was happy with that. I mainly got good starts which helped me get up there in good positions with the other top riders so that was the upside of that year. I have a good team and a mechanic that backs me 100 percent so you’ve got to give them guy’s credit, they’re a mint team!
DBR: What do you think you and your team have that other teams may lack?
MP: A bunch of good people that are always there backing all of us riders up. We have Mark at Revo that has an amazing amount of experience with race cars and making things go quick so he has a good idea of how to tune an engine and develop it further. We work with Mark at Revo and a few others along the way to make a fast KTM engine.
DBR: You managed to make it to Superfinal at Hawkstone, were you happy with your overall race performance throughout the day?
MP: Only just made it! I felt like I was riding really strong but we had to deal with a few mechanical failures. I had a failure in the first race with the back end of the bike and the back wheel was locked up so I couldn’t finish that race. The second race was good for me, I came second and managed to get into the Superfinal. In the Superfinal, I sat there in second as an MX2 rider so it was cool and was there comfortably as well. Then my left hand grip came loose which I became aware of, then I came into a technical section and the grip fully came off in my hand. I then went over the handlebars, jumped up and still had the grip in my hand so [I stuck] it back on and carried on kind of thing.
DBR: Finally, what was your opinion on Hawkstone Park?
MP: It’s a great, classic track. Everyone has so many memories here and I feel that the organisers had a good day with the weather on their side. They pulled it off when a lot of people were doubting this place so definitely top trumps to them and well done for making it a good show. I enjoyed it!