Max Anstie firmly carved his name into British motocross folklore on October 1, 2017 when he won both races at the MXoN held at Matterley Basin. We caught up with Max to re-live that day as we travel to Matterley for the British round of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship.
Dirt Bike Rider: Max, rewinding to the best day of your life and one of the greatest days in British motocross, what happened that day to make everything click?
Max Anstie: It’s so tough in this world championship, you can do all the training and all the work, but you get to the weekend and things just don’t go to plan, but that day things just went my way.
It had been building, I’d had a few podiums and at my last podium in France I felt like I actually had a bit more to give but I really wanted to get on the podium. I was either gonna crash or I was getting a safe podium, I felt good and wanted to go a little bit more but thought ‘no’ I don’t want to crash.
At Matterley I went down in the second moto, I was behind Febvre and I knew Herlings was right behind and I thought ‘right, that’s it, I’m putting everything in, I don’t care if I crash I’m going for it!’ and I just went as hard and as fast as I could.
It’s so tough to have everything go right, and it was amazing to do it there in front of everyone, my family, the crowd, it was amazing. I watched the nations there in 2006 on the hill where Bubba got passed by Everts, stood up going round the outside, and I was stood right there. I remember thinking on that day I’ll never be as good as these guys, and then I’ve gone and won that race. I just felt like I was in the zone but it just felt like work.
Afterwards I was happy and felt accomplished, everything went perfectly apart from falling off, but it’s so hard to do.
DBR: The atmosphere was incredible that day, despite the grotty weather. I could tell where you were on track just by the air horns following you. Do you hear all that noise and support on the bike?
MA: Definitely! I remember going over the quad where you’re in the air for ages and looking around thinking this is cool, but I had to focus on hitting the ruts and flowing in the turns. When I fell off I’d just heard the announcer say something like ‘all eyes are on Anstie’ and then the next turn I’m on the ground.
The rest of the time I had to use all my mental training to focus on the job. I remember Billy McKenzie getting the holeshot in ’06 and when I got it I was thinking I’m like Billy! It was so cool that I got to do that at my home nations.
DBR: One thing I love about you is that you really enjoy the moment when you’re on the podium, even talking about it now you’re smiling. That day you were jumping about and really celebrating with the crowd, what did that feel like to be up there with thousands of fans in front of you?
MA: It felt like…’YEAH! I just did that!’ It was something you dream about, I’ve dreamt it a million times before. I want to win GPs, I want to win championships, that’s what we do it for. It just felt like everything I’ve been through, everything we’ve done is worth it. I know its only one race but it’s great.
The nations is something you only get one shot at, and to do it at home with all those fans there was something special.
DBR: We’re going back there this week, and people talk about it being a home track for you because you were born in the area but does that give you an advantage?
MA: No, people talk about different tracks, but we ride a Lommel all the time but when we go there for the GP it’s completely different, it feels like a different place.
But I’m excited to be going back, going home and seeing everyone. I’m hoping I’m back on the recovery train (after the concussion in Red Sand). Hopefully by Matterley I can be back to where I belong, fully fit and my race craft back. I feel like it’s come at a good time to give me a boost. It’s going to be good going back but I need to focus on my work and get the job done, it’s easy to get carried away but I know it’ll be a great feeling being there.