Interview: Christopher Mills
With Conrad Mewse moving out of the EMX125 class, Britain’s hopes in the EMX125 class for the 2016 season was the talented Christopher Mills. There is no doubt Christopher has talent and is one of the best up and coming British riders. In 2014 when he was fourteen he made a big sacrifice as his entire family moved to Holland so he could focus on motocross career. Living in Holland means he loves the sand it has certainly helped with his sand riding.
The EMX125 season is now over for the 2016 season. There were some up and downs for Mills but the rookie year is never easy, even Conrad Mewse didn’t have the best rookie year in the class.
Mills also switched between the Yamaha and Husqvarna mid-season so he had to adapt to a new bike. However, he was riding the Yamaha at the last two rounds again as the bike suits his style.
Now that he has his rookie year behind him don’t be too surprised to see a much faster, stronger rider in Mills next year.
We decided to catch up with the talented Brit to talk about his rookie season in the extremely fast EMX125 class.
Gatedrop: Chris, your rookie year in the EMX125 class is now over, are you happy with how the season went for you?
Christopher Mills: It was my rookie year and I feel I have learnt a lot this year. In relation to am I happy with how the year went, I can honestly say it had some highlights but plenty of trials and tribulations along the way. There is an old saying that if you can turn back time would you change anything? The answer would be everything! But like I said it certainly was a learning year, sometimes you learn the easy way and other times you learn the hard way, for me this was a hard way, but it makes me stronger and hungrier for next year.
Gatedrop: You switched bikes a few times starting with a Yamaha then to a Husqvarna and now back on the Yamaha. Can you explain the reasons for the switches and are you happy on the Yamaha now?
Christopher Mills: I absolutely love the Yamaha, however circumstances beyond our control, gave us no further option than to make the switch very early on in the season. I would rather not focus on the negative impact this made to the season, however Carl Heaton from Manchester MC offered me the Husqvarna to ride which enabled me to continue the season. Without the Husqvarna I would not have been able to continue as there were no Yamahas available at that time. For lommel we were able to get back on Yamaha, this suits my riding style better but I will always be eternally grateful to Carl for stepping in when he did.
Gatedrop: I was at Lommel and you were much better, can you talk me through that weekend and you must have been happy with how it went?
Christopher Mills: I was so happy to be back on Yamaha, I also love riding sand so it was the perfect weekend for me. I know I can run with the front runners, I qualified in 8th in my group and felt good all weekend. I only got the bike on the Tuesday so it was all systems go to make it as competitive as it could be considering the time restraints. In the second moto I was running 7th for a while and catching the front runners but then had a little crash, however it gave me a lot of confidence as I knew I could run with the front guys!
Gatedrop: You made the step up from an 85 to the 125 this year, how have you adapted to the 125 bike?
Christopher Mills: I needed to move up as I am very tall, I have just turned 15 so I needed to make the jump. I adapted to the bike well, early season racing in Italy I got a third place at one of the championship rounds, which gave me confidence.
Gatedrop: As you said you are quite tall; do you feel that the 125 suits your style?
Christopher Mills: I am 6ft tall now and hope not to grow much more, the bike suits my style of riding.
Gatedrop: What is the level like in the 125 class?
Christopher Mills: The level in the EMX125 is extremely high, but in all fairness all the other classes are as equally tough. It’s been a very tough year, qualifying has been extremely tough, as riding is so close. Everyone battles for positions and any mistakes which are made, it is hard to pull back the time. There are some seriously talented riders in this group and I wish them well in the next season ahead.
Gatedrop: What are your plans for the 2017 season?
Christopher Mills: I am currently looking at options in relation to either being a privateer or being part of a professional team. Either way I will do my best to be the best I can be. I am open to negotiations but I will stay on a Yamaha for next year.
Gatedrop: The Junior World Champs takes place in Russia this weekend, is that an event you would have took part in if it wasn’t in Russia? What’s your thoughts on it being there?
Christopher Mills: There’s not many riders making the journey out of the EMX125 class to the worlds. Logistically for many reasons it makes it difficult travelling from Switzerland to Russia in one week, especially with bikes. It’s a shame really that it could not have been more central for everyone. I have heard there are around 30 Russians competing and only a handful of other countries which is a shame. But I wish them all well. I would love to compete in another world championship I came 7th last year (in the 85 class).
Gatedrop: Now that your rookie year is behind you what are your goals for 2017?
Christopher Mills: For next year I will have high expectations and I will be prepared to win as I know there is no reason why I can’t! I will be doing a lot of riding in Spain in the winter so I am looking forward to getting some good testing done and improve my hard pack skills.
Gatedrop: Anyone you would like to thank?
Christopher Mills: I would like to thank my mum and dad for all their hard work, Manchester MC, EHR tuning for the incredible engines, Gibson tyres for the awesome grip, Herman at Haes Racing, Progrip for the perfect vision and gear, Eat my dirt for the best quality graphics, POD for the best knee protection, Pepp underwear for the best comfort when riding, DT1 filters, HGS exhaust systems, Decade Europe, Duck smart for the best cleaning product, DD film and design, Apico, Gaerne, Nelissen training for all his hard work and fitness preparation, Gary Linge at lta training for all his help mentally and on the bike and last but not least i’d also like to say a big thanks to all my supporters.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry