Gareth Swanepoel has been one of the fastest MX2 riders this year, although inconsistent results in Spain (six points) and Germany (six points) have cost him valuable points. At the moment he is sixth in the MX2 points table with 201 points, but has a long way to go if he wants to move into the top five. Fifth placed rider Tommy Searle of the KTM factory team has 244 points and Pascal Leuret has 245. To make the top five Swannie has to pull back those points in the coming months, but like we have seen in the past, you can never count out a tough South African.
Riding with the typical determination of so many South African riders, Swannie is coming to grips with the speed of the lead riders and at the Grand Prix of Bulgaria last weekend he battled with fellow South African Tyla Rattray on several occasions. We sat down with the Molson Kawasaki rider and asked him about Bulgaria, the past few weeks, and of course the 2007 Motocross of Nations, which will be held in Budds Creek in America in September.
Gareth Swanepoel: I am struggling a little to run up front with the guys. Up until Japan I had been up and down, the last few weeks haven't been the best results, but I was happy with Bulgaria. In the qualification race I ran with Tyla for the whole race. In the first moto I had problems with the front brakes and had trouble with that. In the second moto I was able to run up front with the guys. Sixth wasn't the best result, but I am running more with the front guys. Tommy made that step in class in Japan, he ran with the front guys and I think I made that step today, so now I hope to run with the top guys more often.
Bulgaria saw a return of form; you really pushed Tyla a few times and scored good points.
I’m pretty happy with my pace in Bulgaria. That was one of my goals coming into this GP. I have been losing touch with the leaders in previous GPs and in Bulgaria I proved that I could keep closer to them. I finished off both motos with my fastest lap times at the end of the 35-minute moto and felt strong, so I feel confident for the next GP in Sweden.
What about Cairoli, he is really on it this year. What do you think, can you guys get him?
Cairoli is one step above everyone. I couldn't run with the other guys, but now I feel I can and there are four or five guys who are running the same pace. Cairoli is ahead, but even the gap to Cairoli is coming down a little.
I don't know if I will do Glen Helen, but I don't know what our schedule is. I think we have a round of the British Championships. If we didn't have that I would have liked to have gone. If I get chosen for the Motocross of Nations I prefer to ride MX2 and Tyla MX1, but that is up to Greg Albertyn, he decides who rides what.
What about next year, do you have any plans for America, or you staying in Europe?
I have a one year contract with Molson which ends at the end of this year, so I am talking at the moment. There is a little interest from America, but this is my first GP season without injury, so I would like to give it a good run at the GPs in 2008 and then maybe give it a run in America. I am pretty happy here now.