Interview: Conrad Mewse discusses his 426 Motorsports team
What a big year this is for Conrad Mewse as it’s his final year contesting the MX2 World Championship before he ages out. The young Brit has also made a big decision to start up his own privateer race team – 426 Motorsports for the 2022 season.
His 426 Motorsports debut couldn’t have gone any better as he won the MX2 overall at Hawkstone International and Mewse will look to bring that speed, form and confidence into the GP season.
We caught up with Mewse to discuss his new team and more.
GateDrop: Conrad, the first race of the year for you at Hawkstone International and it couldn’t have gone much better as you got the win, can you talk me through your day?
Mewse: It was a great day. The first race was going really well, I caught onto the back of Tom Vialle for the lead and went to make the pass but made a little crash. I ran out of roll offs so was struggling to see a little bit, I tried to force the issue a little bit and the track bit me – it was really technical. In the second moto, I got the holeshot and led every lap. It was such a great feeling; we had a fantastic day and I couldn’t have felt any better out there. It was a great steppingstone towards Matterley Basin.
GateDrop: Getting that win – that should give you a big mental boost going into Matterley?
Mewse: Definitely. The top contenders were here today that will be going for the title. I’ve raced the best today and came out on top. For sure the warmup races are a little bit different compared to the GP’s but we are in the right ballpark and I can’t wait for Matterley now.
GateDrop: The off-season I imagine was quite strange for you. You’ve started up your own race team, can you tell me a bit about that – was everything a bit rushed?
Mewse: Sure, it was last minute. It all kind of happened late in the off-season but we’ve had some fantastic people come onboard, I really can’t thank them enough. They’ve helped me get here to this first race and I didn’t think I’d be here so it’s thanks to them that I am here. I give them something back today to get started off on but hopefully I can give them more great results throughout the season. We had a solid off-season, I’ve been working with my dad, trainer (Justin Morris), my fitness trainer and the bike has been unbelievable, it didn’t miss a beat all day. I just can’t thank everyone enough in my team at the moment, I’ve got some great people around me and I’m just a happy boy.
GateDrop: A lot of riders don’t like starting up there own teams and would rather have a top team behind them but I feel like it might be a positive for you. You can do anything you want now whether it be it bike settings or anything else?
Mewse: For sure it is very difficult to start up your own team, I’m not on anywhere near the level that Shaun Simpson was on and people like that. It is very difficult to get to that point. We’ve done what we could, we haven’t got millions and millions of pounds so we are working with what we’ve got and like I said I’ve got some fantastic people help me out which has been so nice. The main thing is that I know and the people around me now know what works for me and we are all gelling together.
GateDrop: Obviously running your own team isn’t easy, will do you the fly away GP’s as well as the European rounds?
Mewse: Yeah, I am doing every single MX2 World Championship round and I’m going to do all the British Championships as well. I am fully committed this season – it’s either sink or swim for me so I’m all in and the team are all in behind me. It’s a great feeling.
GateDrop: You are back working with Justin Morris again and you were an unreal youth talent when you were working with him – what’s it been like to have him back?
Mewse: He is a fantastic Motocross coach. For me, he’s so technical and he knows me so well, we’ve been together for so long that he picks up on the little bits that I’m doing and not doing. He even picked up bits that I wasn’t doing in that second race and it’s just things like that. He knows me inside out and it’s great to have him back, the atmosphere is great and it’s nice to have him boss me about and tell me what to do again.
GateDrop: Going into the season what’s your expectations? Sometimes I get frustrated with you because at a British Championship you ride unreal and sometimes I think no one could get near you, is the next step to bring that speed to the GP’s and try to get a podium at least?
Mewse: The starts are key. I’ve proved here today that against the factory guys that I can get great starts so I’m hoping that’s it for me this year. We work all winter and we don’t work all winter, put all this money into it, sponsors to back us like this to finish second or third. I know it’s big because I’ve not been up there but if we believe it I think it can happen but at the same time I’m not putting too much pressure on myself.
I’m just going to go out there and do what I did here at Hawkstone – relax, ride like I know I can and if I am world champion at the end of it, amazing. If I’m not, we will go back to the drawing board and we will see what we need to work on. But for sure we don’t put all this work in for a second or a third.
GateDrop: I think you’ve certainly got the talent to contest for a World Championship so if you don’t put yourself in that position, you might have regrets when you look back on your career…
Mewse: Exactly. I want to go in all year this year and have no regrets so at least I can say that I put 110% effort in and that’s all I had so that’s exactly what we are going to do.
GateDrop: Obviously setting up your own team this year – could this be a long-term and an option for MXGP or I’m guessing ideally the idea would be to put yourself into the shop window for a factory ride for 2023!
Mewse: If we win the lottery next week then for sure it’s a long-term thing (laughs) but we certainly haven’t got the budget to go for many many years. Obviously, we’ve got backing from amazing sponsors at the moment but who knows? You never know, we could pick up some more sponsors and more help but at the moment this is how I want to work, these are the people I want around me and this is how we’re going to do it.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pics: Nigel McKinstry