Last year young South Africian talent, Camden Mc Lellan made the decision to leave South Africa to base himself in Germany, leaving home at such a young age can be tough but at the same time it can make you a better and stronger person.
For Mc Lellan, the sacrifice has paid off because in Loket he won the EMX85 Championship which is a huge achievement and has firmly put himself on the Motocross map after winning the championship.
The future looks to be very bright for the South African and with Calvin Vlaanderen also having a great season it’s nice to see some South African talents back in the GP paddock.
We caught up with Camden Mc Lellan after he clinched the EMX85 title.
Gatedrop: Camden, a brilliant weekend in Loket winning the EMX85 series, can you talk me through your weekend?
Camden Mc Lellan: Yeah, it was a good day today. I got off to a pretty good start in the second moto, better than the first one. From there I just said to myself that I had to race smart. I knew that if Liam (Everts) wasn’t in front of me it was pretty much mine. As soon as I got into second, I saw Kay and the gap was big. I said to myself to not push and race smart – not to crash. That was all we needed so we got the job done.
Gatedrop: Obviously you’ve won titles in South Africa before but how did it feel to win such a big title in the EMX85 Championship? Some guys go on to win World Championships!
Camden Mc Lellan: It’s crazy. I mean the hype is crazy and especially the amount of work everyone has put in to get me here. It’s all paid off for now pretty much, it’s crazy and feels really good.
Gatedrop: Coming into this weekend what were your expectations? Where they to win or did you surprise yourself a little?
Camden Mc Lellan: I knew I could win, I knew I had the speed. I’ve raced all the people who were here before so I knew I had the speed and their speed. I came in knowing I could win but in the first heat I surprised myself quite a bit because I pretty much walked that race in a way.
Gatedrop: Just on the race this weekend, your races aren’t usually in the GP paddock, what’s it like racing on the same weekend as the best riders in the world?
Camden Mc Lellan: It feels so cool. You know you come around on the sighting lap and see the KTM Red Bull KTM, HRC Honda team and people watching you. I was thinking this is really good and especially when you win. People standing at the exit and saying well done, it really does feel good.
Gatedrop: I know you’re mum is here this weekend and she lives in South Africa and doesn’t get over too much to see you race over here! It must be great to win in front of her?
Camden Mc Lellan: It really does. I mean just winning was even really good. To do it in front of the whole family was great. It’s good they can support me, I heard them every time I went through one section so it’s nice.
Gatedrop: What age were you when you moved to Germany and how are you finding it? It’s quite a bit different to South Africa!
Camden Mc Lellan: It was actually last year – I was thirteen. Germany was definitely a smart choice by my family. My trainer, Christophe has done us really good, my suspension, my mechanic and the team especially. They’ve given us a lot and I wouldn’t be here without them so thanks to them.
Gatedrop: On the other hand is it tough being away from your friends and family or you more than happy to make that sacrifice?
Camden Mc Lellan: Yeah, it sucks pretty much leaving all your friends behind for a pretty long time to come and live here. It’s not easy but it’s a sacrifice I have to make to be World Champion and that’s what I want to be.
Gatedrop: How would you describe the racing over here compared to South Africa?
Camden Mc Lellan: The racing here is definitely more competitive. It’s a bigger sport here than in South Africa, hopefully South Africa will be the same but in the near future I doubt it will be. It’s much better to come over here and race to get better than race in South Africa and not get as good.
Gatedrop: You’ve won the EMX85 Championship and you’re quite tall – will we see you on the 125cc next year?
Camden Mc Lellan: Next year I turn 15 so I could still have another year on the 85cc but we are chosing to move up earlier than some people to the 125cc to gain experience and get better on the bike. I will take it from there on the 125cc.
Gatedrop: What will your goals be for the EMX125 Championship next year or will you just take it as a learning year with no pressure?
Camden Mc Lellan: Next year I’m not going to take it too seriously, it’s definitely going to be a learning year. The year after that we will take seriously and try to go for some titles.
Gatedrop: You will be racing the Junior World Championships in Australia later in the year, you must be excited for that?
Camden Mc Lellan: I can’t wait. The track looks really good, I’ve seen videos on youtube. Not much people are going I think so less guys than here. I know I can win.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Niek Kamper