Great Britain has a special place in the history of Grand Prix motocross. The team of Nicholson, Rist and Ray won the premier Motocross des Nations when they defeated the Belgians at Wassenaar, Holland in 1947. British riders have also won six 500cc World Championships. Interestingly, though, Great Britain has only won one 250cc World Championship (Neil Hudson in 1981) and one 125cc Word Championship (James Dobb in 2001). FIM World Championship Gold Medals have been few and far between for the United Kingdom as of late, but that could all very well change with the ascent of Tommy Searle. On the powerful KTM factory team and graced with the talent and desire to get it all done, Searle, as he did at Valkenswaard last week, has shown flashes of speed worthy of a champion. Despite experiencing crashes and bad luck at the opening Grand Prix in Holland, Searle, as he is about to explain, is keen to bounce back next Sunday in Spain.
Racer X: Tommy, a week after the season-opening Valkenswaard GP, what are you up to?
Tommy Searle: I had a big crash in the second race, so I was pretty sore on Monday. So I just took it easy. On Tuesday, I got back in the gym with my trainer, Kirk. Then, on Wednesday, I put in some motos.
I felt real good going there. I had been training a lot in the sand with Stefan Everts and doing a lot of 40-minute motos, so I knew I would be fit for the race and had nothing to worry about.
How did you feel about your first GP of 2007? You appeared to have a lot of speed in the sand at Valkenswaard…
Yeah, I felt really good and strong out there during the first race. I crashed on the start and way behind and came through the pack to ninth. I had another crash at the mid-race mark and ended up 10th in the moto. Then, in the second race, I was in second until I had a crash with Cristophe Pourcel with just 10 minutes to go.
Can you tell us a little more about your first moto at Valkenswaard?
Sure. I crashed on the start and then again on the first lap, so I was way behind. I was in last place and there was a lot of space between me and the rest of the field. I had to put in some good laps to get my rhythm before I caught up to everyone. When I did, I just kept flowing and passing guys all the way through the race. I rode hard until the end and felt strong the whole way.
How did you feel between motos and what did you do to prepare for moto two?
I just went back to the camper and rested, I took a shower and chilled-out with the KTM while watching the MX1 race.
How about the second moto? You experienced a couple of crashes, correct?
The second moto was all going good. I got a good start and was third on the first lap and then moved into second. I was there until I got cross-rutted on the face of a step-up jump, went across the track, and then Pourcel landed on top of me and we both went down. Unfortunately, I got the worst of it and was pretty beaten-up.
How did you prepare for the 2007 MX2 World Championship during the off-season?
I spent some time in America riding in the sun. From there, I went to Spain with Stefan Everts for two weeks and we rode a lot down there.
Does Stefan Everts work with you a lot? If so, how does he help you?
For five straight weeks, every week before the first Grand Prix I would ride with Stefan two times a week in the sand. We would just do more and more motos. Stefan helps me out quite a bit. But just riding with the entire KTM team while practicing — with Tyla and all the guys — makes me push a lot more. That helps a lot, too.
Last year was my first year in the Grand Prixs. I had two podium finishes and placed eighth overall in the points, so I guess KTM wanted me on the team this year and I thought it would be good for me so I signed up with them. That’s it, really. I’m really happy with them.
Where do you currently live in Europe?
I live in England. I prefer to live here, rather than live in Belgium with a many of the other guys. I can work closely with my trainer here in England and have a good facility to ride at, so it is perfect for me.
What do you like and dislike about living in Europe?
I like to live in England, but not in Belgium with the rest of the team. The tracks are pretty good in Belgium, but they don’t open until 1 P.M., so you have nothing to do all morning and the day just drags on. In England, I can ride and then go straight to the gym to see my trainer. From there I can be home by 2 P.M. and chilling out. I prefer things this way.
What will be you approach to the 2007 MX2 season?
Just to try and stay consistent. I need to make the most of every race now. I now need to get back up in the points.
Do you like the Bellpuig circuit you’ll soon be racing the Spanish Grand Prix on?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to that race. I know I can get good starts and be out front there. So now I just want to get to Spain and race the GP.
What are your goals for the 2007 Grand Prix season?
To get some race wins and a lot of podiums.
Whether it be 2007, or in the years to come, can you win the World Title?
Yeah, I could do it. I just need to keep working hard and get in some good results.
What riders will you have to be the most concerned with and why?
Tyla Rattray, Antonio Cairoli and Christophe Pourcel. They are the three guys and they will always be up front and on it.
I get along with most of the riders. I don’t really dislike any of them.
Would you like to race in America one day?
Yeah, I want to come out to America and race pretty soon.
Have you been to a supercross in the U.S.A?
Yeah, I have been out to America the last few years and watched the first few supercross races.
What do you think of the American motocross and supercross scene?
I think they both look very good. I like the look of the outdoor tracks and how they get rough and rutted. The tracks all look to have many lines. Supercross looks cool in many ways.
Do you know any of the American riders?
When I was out there last January, I spent some time with Zach Osborne. He was cool to hang out with. I know a few others, but not too many.
How is the sport of motocross doing in the United Kingdom?
Yeah, it’s getting pretty big now that the Grand Prix is here (in Donington) and it is always one of the best of the series. And the Motocross des Nations was massive over here last year. The sport here is definitely getting bigger.
In the United Kingdom, is there a lot of interest about you and your travels on the GP circuit?
Yeah, there is actually quite a bit of interest!
Just chill-out with my friends and family now and then. Now that the weather is getting better, it is a lot more fun over here and you can do a lot more. I also like to ride my mini bike a lot.
Who are your heroes in motocross?
Ricky Carmichael. I don’t really have one, as I never really used to read about the sport and the riders. I used to just go out and ride. Now, when I look at what people have done in their careers, I’d have to say that Stefan and Ricky would be my heroes.
There has not been a British World Champion in a long time. How cool would it be for you to be a champion?
Yeah, it would be really cool. I think everyone would be so happy here and that it would make motocross even bigger. Hopefully, I can do it some time soon.