Interview: David Thorpe – Buildbase Honda 2020

The Buildbase Honda team has recently announced their rider line up for the 2020 season and it’s strong.

Tommy Searle steps away from the MXGP World Championship to join Jake Nicholls and Steven Clarke under the Buildbase Honda team – a strong team to take on the domestic British series.

There’s no doubt about it, the Buildbase Honda team runs a very professional setup and have a very good bike.

We caught up with team boss, David Thorpe to discuss the 2020 season and much more.

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Gatedrop: David, it’s finally official, Tommy Searle has signed for Buildbase Honda for 2020. Just how did the deal come about and was it a difficult one to get done when it comes to budgets etc?

David Thorpe: I’ve spoken with Tommy for the last few years, it’s just like when Jake became available. Both lost interest in the GP’s so it was great for us.  As we are a UK Team it takes a lot of budget with 3 riders of this calibre.
I’m happy to say Honda are keen to push and promote the CRF and our team partners have been amazing.

Gatedrop: I’d heard earlier in the year you were interested in Alvin Ostlund too..

David Thorpe: Yes, we had discussions with Alvin but it was clear his heart was still in the GP’s.

Gatedrop: Obviously you’ve been talking and working with Tommy whilst getting this deal done, how’s he been to work with?

David Thorpe: To be fair it’s been straightforward, he knows what Honda and the Team expect, he knows what he wants from the Team.

Gatedrop: It seems like when it comes to bike setup he’ll tell you exactly what he wants!

David Thorpe: So far we have only been to Fatcats once, he rode a standard bike with an Akropovic and Eastwood suspension. He jelled immediately with the CRF450.

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Gatedrop: He made it clear next year he wants a good bike before an MXGP ride..

David Thorpe: We feel that with Ryan/Willy/Rob who work tirelessly for the team our package is one of the best, alongside of that we have amazing partners who support the Team to really give us an edge in the UK.

Gatedrop: What do you expect from Tommy in 2020 – I expect you want that MX1 British title but he’s going to have strong competition from the likes of Anstie and Simpson..

David Thorpe: Jake and Tommy are two really focused individuals who are really motivated to win the MX1 class. Of course Max, Shaun, Bobby are going to be equally determined, so it should make for an amazing series.

Gatedrop: Tommy previously stated he will race MXGP wildcards and maybe even an AMA National or two in 2020..

David Thorpe: Tommy wants to do the British GP and has suggested possibly doing a AMA event as Jake did in 2018, for us as long as the schedule allows it then it’s possible.

Gatedrop: At the moment do you have any idea how many and what rounds of MXGP he’ll do as the calendar has just been released?

David Thorpe: Only the British at present.

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Tommy Searle’s setup for 2020. Pic: Adam Duckworth

Gatedrop: Jake Nicholls has missed a lot of racing due to injuries, it’s a big shame for him but since getting back on the bike how’s he been looking?

David Thorpe: This will be our 3rd season with Jake, for the team and myself he always amazes us with his focus and determination. In spite of his setbacks this season he is really focused on winning the title he narrowly missed out on in 2018.

Gatedrop: From Jake are you just hoping he can stay injury free and get plenty of top five results or what do you expect from him?

David Thorpe: I don’t think about will he or won’t he be injury free, I know when we begin testing in Spain in December he will be 100% ready.

Gatedrop: Steven Clarke is back racing in the MX2 British Championship next year, how did the deal with Clarke all come about?

David Thorpe: To be fair our discussions come very late, I was of the opinion that if we couldn’t have a podium rider to showcase the CRF250R then we would just focus on MX1. Fortunately for us Steven is very focused to achieve that.

Gatedrop: Josh Gilbert will leave the team for 2020, was that a difficult decision to make and how was it to work with Josh?

David Thorpe: When Josh told us he would be leaving to do the GP’s, the whole Team were disappointed, he is a very nice guy, always gives you 100%, fitted really well in our Honda family. We wish him well in his GP program.

Gatedrop: In terms of Buildbase Honda, will you ever considering running a World Championship team or are you happy focusing on the British series?

David Thorpe: We are supported by Honda UK, who expect us to promote the CRF range in the UK. Honda Europe and HRC support Team’s on the World stage.
Also, Buildbase are a British based company who have an amazing following in the UK Mx paddock, most of our partners are UK based, so it wouldn’t make commercial sense to promote the brands abroad.
We are a small group of people who work in the Race Team, DTHORC and Honda Adventure all of which promote Honda UK at every race and Offroad event alongside any other show’s Honda UK want us at. So, in a nutshell we don’t have time or staff to do an extra 20 events.

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