Tommy Searle was dealt a blow in Valkenswaard, breaking his collarbone in a freak crash that put him out of action for a couple of months. He’s now back at the races and looking more like his old self.
In Saint Jean d’Angely, France I sat down with Tommy – who turns 29-years-old this week – to talk about his season so far, silly season moves and the MXoN.
Dirt Bike Rider: Just looking back at Matterley last weekend, the biggest race of the year for the British riders. You looked much more like your old self, much more confident on the bike so can you tell us about the weekend?
Tommy Searle: Starting from the beginning of the season because I haven’t done much, I had a really good off-season and felt really good with the team. I raced the MXoN with a broken ankle so I had eight weeks off after that, then had a good off-season and worked hard.
We went to Argentina and I had a ninth and 11th, and everything was going well – I felt confident on the bike and felt like I was riding the 450 the best I had ever ridden it, technically, smooth and fast.
I felt good in myself and then I had a freak crash in Valkenswaard, not my fault just another rider getting out of shape and I clipped the back wheel. I was in a lot of pain, probably the most I’ve been in after a crash and it was tough to take because I’d worked so hard, and a massive setback for me in an important season.
I’ve worked hard to come back from that, I’ve been more structured than I ever have and I think it’s starting to show now. The British GP last weekend came at the right time for me, my confidence is coming back and I feel good in myself. I was revved up and wanted to do well and from the moment I put wheels on the track I gave it everything – from first practice to the last lap of the second race and enjoyed every minute of it.
DBR: You certainly looked a lot more like yourself and a lot more confident than in Germany a couple of weeks before.
TS: In Germany I was very nervous on the bike, I really had no confidence and just rode around the track but after doing that it gave me some confidence, just being back at the races, doing the starts. I think you have to have a race like that just to get back into the swing of things. I got that one out the way and Matterley felt good.
I need to work on my starts a bit but other than that I felt like I had good pace all weekend, I worked hard and felt more like myself – I could switch my lines up, take different lines and I wasn’t scared to do that. Sometimes they were faster, sometimes not but you need to have the confidence to do that and it was great to be back and able to do that.
DBR: You were battling with Max Anstie and Shaun Simpson last week and all three of you have had to deal with injuries this year. Which is the most difficult part to deal with, your fitness, being off the bike or just the fact that everyone else has done another four or five GPs?
TS: It’s tougher and tougher and tougher to come back especially as you get older. I think when you’re young you just put everything out of your mind and go for it but when you get older you think more. It really is just a confidence thing.
In Germany I had zero confidence riding around the track but in Matterley just a couple of weeks later I’d worked hard, I had two good weeks riding and it really is a confidence thing.
We all work hard when I’m not on the bike, training two or three times a day and with physio in between you’re non-stop – it’s all I do in my life, train to race motorbikes and to do good.
When I’m not racing I’m 100 per cent into that but still having time off the bike, with how technical the tracks are – you just can’t replace it.
DBR: I’ve got some memories of you battling with Herlings here at Saint Jean back in your 250 days so is it a track that you look forward to racing on?
TS: It’s a good track for me, I’ve won here twice – I think in 2007 or 2008 I won and got the red plate with a 1-1. It’s a good track that I like riding, I just seem to go well here. It’s a very technical track especially when it gets rutted like today [Saturday]. I felt good in both practices and went fifth each time, and in the race I messed up the start a bit but came from P20 to 10th so I have a good feeling.
DBR: It’s still early but already there’s a lot of talk about silly season. Is there anything you can tell us about your plans?
TS: I have nothing to say at the moment. I have nothing in the works, I’m happy here and I’ve been with Kawasaki for a long time, I like being here and I feel like I’m part of the brand, it’s always my first choice and it’s a good fit for me.
DBR: The other big topic of conversation is the MXoN. You were on the GB team, on the podium at Matterley, has anything been said about this year’s team yet?
TS: It’s not on my mind at the moment – it’s a long way away. If I’m honest I really don’t like the whole build up to the nations – last year I was having a tough time anyway with injuries and all the negative comments make it hard to go to that race. I hope this year that the British public support whoever gets chosen and not be so negative towards the whole event.
Last year was great for us – Max [Anstie] rode amazing.
It wasn’t the best race for me but under the circumstances, I don’t think anyone could have done much better in the 250 class.
I gave it everything I could – I had a problem in race one but that happens in motocross. In other years I’ve won my class and in nine out of 10 times I’ve done it I’ve performed very well and we’ve never been on the podium – it just happens to be the one race that I was struggling that we got on the podium.
It was still great when we were stood up there on the podium and at the event the fans were great, it’s just the build-up that’s tough.
DBR: Great to see you back Tommy, good luck for the rest of the season.
Tommy Searle Career Highlights
First MX2 moto win: 2007 Uddevalla (SWE)
First GP win: 2007 Donnington (GBR)
Best MX2 championship season: 2nd 2007, 2008, 2012
Best MXGP championship season: 6th 2013
Best MX2 British championship season: 2nd 2006
Best MX1 British championship season: 1st 2016
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