Everyone loves an underdog, and in European motocross there’s no more of an underdog than GL12 KTM.
The small, independent team from Gloucester is the love child of owner Bob Buchanan, the very passionate 2-stroke advocate spends his own money to keep the team alive.
Usually you find GL12’s bike at the front of the EMX300 races where they finished second and third this year with Mike Kras and James Dunn, both riders taking race wins.
The team decided to enter Dunn in the last EMX250 race, just to see how they got on against the 4-strokes with a view to racing the Dutch championships next year.
“The little team that can” made history when Dunn took overall victory with 2-3 finishes, the first time a 2-stroke had won the EMX250 class.
We sat down with James Dunn and Bob Buchanan afterwards to find out that it wasn’t all good news!
DBR: James, you’re the first man to win the EMX250 class on a 2-stroke, the smile on your face tells me it’s a good feeling.
JD: Yeah, it’s amazing. We came into the weekend hoping for a top ten, I would have been happy with that so obviously to get second yesterday and ride a good race today and get third then get the overall was amazing.
DBR: In the first race you caught up to within 2 seconds of Charboneau in first then dropped back near the end, what happened?
JD: The track was really difficult with the rain and very rutted. I had a good rhythm going and was catching him, then I was trying so hard to catch him and make a pass that I just made a mistake; those last laps were just bad laps really, it was just unfortunate.
DBR: In the second race, you almost managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, left on the line. What went wrong?
JD: (laughing) I thought I had time because they normally do a sighting lap before the race but no-one decided to do it so they went straight to the line so we were rushing a bit to go to the line, get the tire covers off and doing my goggles and we forgot to turn the fuel on which is a bit of a rookie error. But with the conditions today, oh and I managed to crash in the first turn on my own, it was great to get back up to third.
DBR: You made a lot of passes in the first couple of laps, helped by some pile ups on the hill and were solid in fourth, did you know you have the overall at that stage? Did the team tell you?
JD: No, I didn’t think about it really. Ade, my mechanic, was putting my position then at the end my lap times. I was just concentrating on my riding not my position or the overall, you know sometimes as a rider when you start thinking about the overall it puts things in your head. I knew I was fourth, I didn’t know I got third on the last lap (Morgan Lesardio’s bike stopped) until I came over the line and these guys were going crazy.
I really want to thank Bob for this, it’s not a flashy team but everything is well done. TVG do us great engines, Ade my mechanic always spends hours preparing my bike and Bob brings it all together and gets me to the races
DBR: Thanks James. Turning to Bob now, you knew what was on the cards, history being made. What does this mean to you personally and to the team?
BB: We didn’t tell him he could win it purposely because of what he’s just said, as long as he kept going we knew he’d won. For me personally it’s a vindication of everything I’ve promoted throughout my career, not to keep the 2-stroke alive but to demonstrate to people that they are a viable alternative, and for the grass roots riders that we desperately need it shows them that you don’t need to spend a fortune on a 4-stroke engine.
In fact, in those conditions it’s the 4-strokes that overheat; the 2-stroke in those conditions didn’t have any problems. We had no steam coming out but the 4-strokes were making tea.
That for me is vindication. I’ve pestered and pestered James for 2 or 3 years to ride my bike because he’s a 2-stroke rider; his lines are 2-stroke and basically, we just have fun, get out there and I think it’s paid off.
We’ve shown a lot of people that you don’t need a big expensive set-up to be competitive at European level. Yes, if you’re doing GP’s it’s a different ball game and well out of my league, but for Europeans you can do it on a 2-stroke, its affordable and you can win.
DBR: You’ve won races with Brad Anderson, Mike Kras and James before but this must be extra special because today you’ve made history winning the EMX250 on a 2-stroke?
BB: Exactly! As you know I’m not afraid to shoot my mouth off and I’ve been screaming at the FIM, it’s my lobbying that’s helped change these capacity rules cos there’s no way you can race against a modern 250f on a 125, and you can’t compete on a 250 2-stroke against a 450f. Those rules were made when 4-stroke technology wasn’t what it is now and my lobbying has changed that. For me to demonstrate to people in possibly my last race as a team owner, that I’m right is fantastic.
DBR: When we spoke yesterday you told me you don’t have any manufacturer support for bikes next year, do you think today’s result will change that?
BB: It hasn’t changed a thing! I’ve just spoken to Diego Clemens who does the deals for KTM and he said there’s still no bikes for me next year even after this.
DBR: I don’t really know what to say to that.
BB: Neither did I and seldom am I lost for words!