Twenty-four-year-old Josh Spinks has been part of the British motocross scene for years but has never ventured abroad before. As the domestic season had finished and Josh decided to try his luck in the EMX250 class at the final race in France.
It was almost a fairy tale as at one point in the second race he was the overall leader, until the treacherous track slapped a reality check onto the Team M.Smith KTM man.
DBR: Josh, a mixed weekend for you with a great start yesterday and then some bad luck in the mud today.
JS: Yeah, we came here not really knowing where I would place as it’s my first EMX250 race. In qualifying my first lap put me in third place, I saw it on my pit board and was quite surprised but I went for a second lap and was P1. I couldn’t believe it. I held that for the whole session and was pipped by one of the Yamaha guys by a couple of tenths. After that I was really happy and positive about the first race.
I got a good start, dropped a few positions because I opted out of the sighting lap which possibly wasn’t the best decision. I dropped to ninth but picked a few off and finished fourth, so super happy with that.
Going into today I was pushing for a podium, I definitely thought I could achieve that. I positioned myself differently on the start, held a tight line and came out good and made some passes into second. I was losing places and making them back, and 1 of my best places was the back hill but that was what caught me out on lap 6. I had to take a different line because of a lapped rider and that finished it for me. The bike was in it’s side and it took me a long time to get up. When I got up, the wheels weren’t moving and it was impossible to finish. So a DNF in that one but overall a super positive weekend. I’m looking at doing a couple next year and getting on that podium.
DBR: The comment I most often hear from riders in their first event in EMX or MX2 is about the intensity and the depth of talent. Was that noticeable to you, perhaps more so in the drier sessions?
JS: Yeah, definitely in the first race because I didn’t do the sighting lap, I was a bit cautious and there were people blasting past me, even in the second race there were people coming past like I was stood still. But they were ending up in a big ball in the next corner, its like they take their brain out. I was riding quite conservatively, but when the track was dry I nearly went P1 in qualifying so it shows the speed was there.
DBR: When we spoke after qualifying you said you’re not really known as a flying lap type of guy. What was it that clicked do you think?
JS: That’s true, the team normally rip me for it cos I’m so bad at qualifying sometimes. Since Foxhill three weeks ago I’ve not worked as much and been out on the bike three times a week, and trained a bit harder than I’m usually able to in the season because I knew this was a big race. I think it’s made a big difference, I usually struggle with arm pump but getting the bike time in I felt more prepared, and when I walked the track I couldn’t believe how good it was. Sometimes the excitement and not knowing who you’re racing against is good. I think the excitement and being prepared.
DBR: I heard that you’ve had a couple of clutches this weekend, was that just riding a bit harder than usual?
JS: It was the conditions really. I can usually get 30 hours out of a clutch, but I’ve have to train myself to use it more on the 250 cos I usually ride a 450. The clutch came out and was OK but we had the option to put a new one in so we did, but the oil was the same colour so even with the conditions I was probably still using the clutch less than most others on the track.
DBR: Your result in race 1 plus the fact you were leading the overall when you got stuck in race 2 must have given you the buzz to come back next year.
JS: Absolutely. I was told as soon as I came off and that was not what I wanted to hear really, that I was leading at that point. I can’t kick myself too much for the mistake, it was a bit of a lottery and it happened but I definitely want to come back next year and get on that podium like I should’ve done today.
DBR: Will you be staying with your team next year?
JS: Its looking like I’ll be staying with the same guys which I’m really happy about. The atmosphere is great, we have a laugh but its serious when it needs to be. I am looking for some private sponsorship, just because I work in the week and if we could find some more budget for van fuel and things like that I could prepare much better.
DBR: Good luck Josh.