Interview: Dylan Walsh on Hawkstone and working with Gareth Swanepoel

Dylan Walsh got his season off to a good start at Hawkstone International as he ended up winning a moto in the MX2 class. When you consider he’s never rode at the track before as well that’s pretty impressive. 

Not only is the British born rider made the switch to Revo Husqvarna for 2019 but he’s also started working with a new manager and trainer. Ex GP rider, Gareth Swanepoel who’s now in America working with some of the best riders over there is also helping out Walsh for 2019. 

We caught up with the Revo Husqvarna rider after he showed impressive speed at Hawkstone International. 

Gatedrop: Dylan, speed wise it’s been a good day for you at Hawkstone but a few mistakes cost you. Overall though you must be pleased with how your day went?

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Dylan Walsh: Yeah, pretty good in the end. It started off tough because I’ve never been here before and they didn’t give us a free practice. Qualifying was tough. The first moto was good, I had a top ten start and ended up in fourth, I was trying to get around the two guys in front of me but then they red flagged the race at ten minutes.  We had the re-start and unfortunately I got clipped at the first turn and went down. I started last and they made the moto fifteen minutes so I didn’t really have the time to come through.

I was able to put that aside and in the second moto I got a good jump and stayed in second the whole time. On the last lap I got into the lead and I brought it home, overall it was pretty good. It was good to dust the cobwebs off and to get ready for Argentina. 

Gatedrop: Like you said you haven’t even been here before but you won a moto. Did you expect to win today considering a lot of the GP riders on show?

Dylan Walsh: I’ve had a really good off-season, it’s gone perfect. I’ve been training hard so I knew the speed was going to be there so I’m happy with that. It’s good to just get the first one out of the way, we’ll head to Lacapelle this weekend now. 

Gatedrop: You said you had a good off-season, did you change anything and if so what? 

Dylan Walsh: I get along really well with my new team and I’ve also brought in Gareth Swanepoel as my trainer. He’s got me working hard. I’ve also changed to WP Suspension and we’ve had a few tests. All the boys there have been really helping me out. I’ve got a good setup and I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt. 

Gatedrop: You’re working with Gareth Swanepoel, how does that work with him being in America? 

Dylan Walsh: Yeah, we talk every day but he schedules out my week for me and I just stick to it. He’s been in Europe so he knows exactly what it’s like. Now he’s in America working with the top boys there so he knows what I need to do. It’s paying off so far. 

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Gatedrop: How did the opportunity come about to work with him? 

Dylan Walsh:  Actually I’ve recently got a new manager this year too, Glen Dempsey. He’s South African so he obviously knows Swanepoel quite well. He passed me on over to him but it was a good move. 

Gatedrop: You’ve got Lacapelle this weekend, it will be good to get some hard pack prep as well as the sand heading into the season! 

Dylan Walsh: Yeah, definitely. I’m definitely more of a hard pack rider so to go well in the sand today was a big improvement. Next weekend we will have a grid start which is a lot more fair because there was a lot of sh*t going on with the start today but it will be better this weekend. 

Gatedrop: It’s going to be your rookie season in the MX2 World Championship this year but you done a few wildcards this year so you know what to expect. What are your expectations for your rookie season? 

Dylan Walsh: Yeah, it’s my rookie season but I’m 21 so I’m not expecting to have any rookie mistakes. I’ve put in the work, I’m going to Argentina and I want good results. I want the first one out of the way and then I want to fight for those podiums. 

Gatedrop: You’ve never been at Argentina before so you might be at a disadvantage there but you’ve been to the likes of Matterley Basin and Valkenswaard so you should improve after the first round! 

Dylan Walsh: I think I will be fine at Argentina, it’s more of a track for me and we have a lot of riding before the moto’s. It’s not like here were we got thrown into qualifying without even knowing the track. I’m really looking forward to Argentina, it should be good. 

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Gatedrop: You will be racing the British Championship this year, is there any pressure from the team to win that title and what’s your expectations for it? Guys like Mewse, Vaessen and Ostlund will be racing it! 

Dylan Walsh: Yeah, there’s not so much pressure but they know and I know that I’m there to win it. My main focus is obviously the GP’s but every weekend I will be going there to try and battle for the wins most weekends. 

Interview: Andy McKinstry 

Pic: Scott Dunne