For the first time in a long time, Tommy Searle is coming into a season fully fit with a full winter’s training behind him – and it’s showing.
After a poor start in race one at Hawkstone, Searle brought it home for seventh, but once he got away with the leaders in races two and three, Searle showed he had the stuff to run with them and proved that with a proper pre-season he can still run with the best riders in the world.
We caught up with the always honest Searle after the race to get his thoughts on the day, and hopes for the season.
Tommy, a pretty good ride today, especially in the last two motos when you stayed with the leaders for a lot of race. What are your thoughts on the first race of the year?
Really happy. I knew coming in I felt good, I had a good winter and put a few weeks together, I’ve just not been injured so I have been able to work hard on my training. We have been to Spain for three weeks, I have just been working hard basically and been putting in the effort and I think it’s showing. It’s only my first race, but the moto I was seventh and came from a long way back and just rode my own race, weren’t really fast. Also this track, it was difficult, it was one-lined, it was heavy, if you get a bad start it was difficult to pass, so I just brought it home really in seventh.
I focussed more on the start, put a bit more sand on my gate for the second two. I was just behind the leaders and ran with the leaders for the first 15 minutes of the race, it was no trouble for me really, I just got caught with a couple of lappers, made a mistake and all of a sudden I was out of touch with them but all in all really happy. I just need to keep working and keep putting in the effort really and hopefully I can step by step have a good couple of GPs and week by week, get back towards the front in the GPs.
You must be happy just to be able to get a full pre-season under your belt it seems a long time since you could do that…
A very long time, it’s really nice. I feel good in myself, really happy with the team, they have been putting a lot of effort in. All in all it’s just going well, it’s not like I was setting the world alight today but I was a solid guy and I feel my fitness was there in every single race. I just feel I am in a good place.
Have you any goals results-wise?
Obviously I want to race at the front and get on the podium but there are 15-20 guys all saying the same thing! For me I need to take it week by week and not do anything stupid in the first half of the year and keep working hard and I think the results will come. I think I am more than capable and with the team we seem to have got the bike a bit more figured out. I just want to have a solid year, be happy with myself and be happy with my riding. Like today, I feel happy, the team say I am riding well, people are commenting that I look safe on the bike, comfortable and fast, so I just need to keep that up.
You seem to have the mentality and the ability that when you see the pace at the front to click into that pace? Were you pleased you could do that today?
Yeah that’s nice. I came in after the first race and my dad said the top four were so much faster. And I said, ‘yeah but they got out of the start.’ When you are back there and not in that rhythm it’s impossible. You saw Max in the Superfinal, he is very capabale of racing up the front and winning the races but when you are buried in the pack and in the sand it’s impossible to come through and catch those guys but when you see their pace and able to follow it – it’s only one or two things you pick up on. Even when Jonass passed me in the last race, I had a couple of bad laps, I saw two lines of his and it was like two seconds and it made my life so much easier at the same time. Then I was able to regroup and was able to put in my best laps at the end, I think I almost set my fastest lap of the race with two laps to go. So my fitness is there I just need to keep plugging away.
And the British championship, are you doing the full championship?
Yeah I’m doing the full British championship, it’s a very long season for us doing the British championship and world championships, I almost think it’s way to much for a rider to ask them to do both champonships. No-one else really does that with the amount of travelling we do with going to different countries.
But I do really like racing the British championship, I enjoy it with the fans and the kids and we have really nice tracks in the British championship. It’s a really good championship, it’s just a lot alongside the GPs but I am looking forward to it nevertheless and I hope to win that championship.
Interview: Jonathan McCready
Pics: Scott Dunne