Tommy Searle may not have stood atop the podium at Hawkstone Park on Sunday, but the results do not tell the full story. Searle was on top form all day and charged from dead last to third in moto one, then followed that up with a dominant ride in moto two that included some very impressive lap times. Searle discusses all of that in the exclusive interview below.
MX Vice: Second overall on the day, with a third and a first. I think everyone here, including Jake [Nicholls], would admit that you were the best rider and really should have won it.
Tommy Searle: Yeah, I qualified fastest by three and a half seconds I think. I felt really good from the beginning of the day, but in the first race… I did not get a bad start. I was fourth coming into the second turn. Bobby was just in front of me in third and he tucked his front end, because they had fixed the start area and it was real soft sand. He tucked the front end and then his bike flipped over and pushed me into the fence, so we both got stuck. He was down. I was stuck in the fence and crashed, so I set away dead last. On this track it is very difficult, especially in the conditions, to come through because it all filters through to one line.
Every corner you get a face full of sand, but I managed to work my way back up to third position. I was really happy with that. I want to be out front obviously, but in those conditions the top two boys were way, way gone. In the second moto I changed where I started on the gate, because the first time I was way outside and I thought I would go more middle where the holeshot came from, so I managed to get the holeshot.
It is really tricky here actually. The start is concrete, but it is a really, really slippery concrete. It can be really hit or miss. I managed to get a good start and then I just put the hammer down the first few laps and managed to get a gap, then I just maintained that. Happy with the day.
Were you surprised at how easy it came to you at the start of that second race? I think on the third lap you were four seconds faster than anyone, so it was quite clear that you had it in you and probably could have maintained that pace the whole time and built a minute lead or whatever.
I just wanted to go fast and show that I was the fastest guy. I know here from racing the international that a start makes so much difference. The first couple of turns, I just had to maintain that. I kept that lead straightaway and I just put down fast laps. I felt very good out there. I just kept pushing and then I actually saw Jake over on about lap four. I thought he had crashed and I thought, "Jake’s gone down. Who is behind me now?" Then the mechanic put on my board plus fifteen, so I do not know. I was happy with that and I just maintained that gap. I think it came out to about twenty seconds and then I caught with a few lappers on the last lap, but overall it was a good race.
Obviously, there are a lot of different riders here of different levels. Coming through in the first moto, were there any sketchy moments or any moments that made you think twice a little bit?
A lot of sketchy moments. It is just that you have to, especially on the first few laps, make a lot of passes, because if you wait too long the gap comes up. I had to take a lot of risks also on the first lap, because Bobby got up quicker than me. I thought, "Right, get past Bobby quickly," because I did not want to settle into the rhythm behind him and then when he passed someone, I passed someone. I wanted to get in front of him, because I knew he would also be going fast whilst coming through.
I just tried to make moves really quick. I think I came around the first lap already in twenty-second. After about five laps I was still in eleventh I think and then I was a bit like, "Oh no." I thought I passed a lot of riders and maybe I was third, but that was not good when I saw eleventh. I just kept pushing. I think when I got into fourth position I was fifteen seconds behind Elliott [Banks-Browne] and I managed to close that down and I got to third position, which I was happy with in the conditions.
I’ll tell you what… That speed in the second race, I feel like that is the type of thing we need on the ‘Nations team. It looked pretty good. Have we heard anything? Is it still quiet?
No, it is still quiet. I actually did a little supercross race for [Mark] Chamberlain yesterday. I think there are a lot of good riders. Jake’s obviously riding well. He won the overall today and then you have got Max [Anstie], Shaun [Simpson] and Ben [Watson] really. I think it is between those five riders or six. Luckily Graeme [Irwin] is Irish, so you do not have to worry about him getting picked. I think you have got good riders, so whoever goes it will be a good team. I would love to race it, but I think everyone in Britain really wants to represent the nation. Whoever goes I am sure will do well.
With all of the silly season stuff and everything, everyone has been freaking out because some guys are not going to get deals for next year. You cannot tell us anything official or anything, but it sounds like things are moving in the right direction for you now? There is no risk of you watching next year or anything like that?
I do not know at the minute. It is up in the air still at the moment. I want to stay with Kawasaki and that is my priority. I have been with them for a lot of my career. I know they are bringing out the 2019 bike. That is a massive, massive step up from what we have now. That is where I want to be, then we are just trying to work out where we can go.
There a lot of riders and not so many teams, like I said, so we will see. Hopefully something comes together in the next couple of weeks, but as of now I have not signed anything. The priority is to try and stay with Kawasaki, because that new bike has got a much better base than where we are at now. I think we can have a really good bike.
For a few weeks now, I have been kind of looking forward to seeing what you can do around Switzerland. That is obviously going to be a good track for you. This should be a nice little run for you coming up.
Yeah. I am really excited for the next three races. Three good tracks for me. Switzerland I really like. I have had a poor last couple of GPs. I had a couple good ones before that. A little bit up and down, but it was not turning into results, so I just need to put it all together and have a solid three GPs coming up. I think that is completely possible to do that. I will see this weekend. A top five would be nice in Switzerland and just getting the ball rolling again.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: MPS Images