Interview: Eddie Wade talks Arenacross UK, Stark Varg and taking a break from the sport
Eddie Wade has plenty of talent there is no denying that but injuries haven’t been kind to him to say the very least. The young Brit decided to step away from the sport at the end of the 2022 season and he’s exclusively told us the reason why.
Wade broke his back and after a misdiagnosis raced the following weekend hurting it again. Fortunately after an operation he was okay but got lucky it wasn’t more serious.
After his impressive podium at round three of the Arenacross UK series in Belfast, we caught up with the chatty Stark Varg rider.
You can watch or read below:
GateDrop: Eddie, you are all new to this Arenacross malarkey, this is only your third round and you have got on the podium already. Would you have expected to be on the box already?
Wade: Not a chance. Not even at the start of today to be fair. I feel a bit sore and have a sore throat and that. Going into the main the goal was to be top five or be close to the top five. I got a good start being third straight away more or less. I kept pushing but at the same time not wanting to make any mistakes. It paid off.
GateDrop: Just to rewind, at the end of 2022, you sort of decided to step away from racing at a high level but here you are racing Arenacross with Stark. Just how did the opportunity for this come about?
Wade: Definitely, at the end of 2022, I decided that Motocross especially that I would have a rest. I might not have been quitting bit I just wanted a rest with so many injuries. Around August or September time, I spoke with Stark and they wanted me to try the bike.
I went and tried the bike at a full blown Supercross track, I’ve never ridden any Supercross before. On the second day I started doing triples and that and they were pretty happy with me. From there, I did the Bolesworth festival and although I crashed, I had potential and a bit of speed. Ever since then I have been out in Spain riding the bike getting better every weekend.
GateDrop: Just to go back to the end of 2022, I mean that was the year you were just figuring it out, I was at Maggiora and I remember thinking you were really really good. What were the reasons for stepping away and is there a chance we could see you race that level again?
Wade: I mean, maybe. I had some offers to race EMX again. I was getting back into it, I had a big crash the year before and I was getting back into it. I was starting to top fives and near the top three in some races. On the second or third last round I broke my back but I didn’t know. I raced again the following weekend with a broken back, raced the whole weekend and think I got seventh overall in EMX250 with a broken back.
I did well there and then the week after, I think it was the last round, I had a tip over and hurt the same place in my back again. They did an X-ray and basically found out I broke my back and that was a real near miss. Luckily I am still walking so I literally had a year off and went back studying and starting working having a normal life. Here I am again!
GateDrop: Just on the Stark, how did it feel when you first got on the bike and how’s it feel to a normal bike, did it take a while to get used to?
Wade: It definitely did because I never did Supercross before and I started to learn doing Supercross. It might have been a good thing, to learn a new sport on a new bike and not having any old habits. I’m not really heavy on the clutch and stuff, specially not having gears, it is a lot easier than having to go up and down gears all the time over the rhythms and stuff. For me it was quite easy to pick up and quite easy to get used to it.
GateDrop: The starts, the Stark’s are so good out of the gate, if you don’t get the holeshot you are usually second or third….
Wade: I know, as you saw tonight. The first jump is about the same but as soon as you get that back wheel on the dirt, it goes. Both of us, me, Jack and Justin to be fair, I think we were top three in the first two turns. It shows just how fast they are.
GateDrop: Having Jack and Justin as team mates, what has that been like? Being at Spain riding with them at the headquarters, I am sure that has been good?
Wade: I have been over in Spain riding and testing with them. Especially Justin, he has a lot of experience in Supercross racing in America quite a lot so he has helping me with the technique and race craft. Just bits and bobs that help a lot. Both are really good team mates, Jack is a mature guy and been in the sport a long time and knows Arenacross. Both are helping me out and it is paying off.
GateDrop: Having Seb Tortelli involved too, my word what a rider he was back in his day!
Wade: I remember him, he still rips around the Motocross track. He is still fast out there and a good team manager to have. He has a lot of knowledge behind him.
GateDrop: The goals on the rest of the Arenacross tour, this podium coming sooner than you expected, does this change your goals or will you just take it race by race?
Wade: I think it progresses my goals quite a lot faster. My goal tonight was to qualify without going into the head to head. I wanted to be near the top five, I have done that but even better. Next weekend I want to start the weekend a bit better because it’s been taking me a bit of time to get into it. I want to get into it a bit faster and that is my goal.
GateDrop: It won’t be that long until this series is over, the third weekend in February I think, have you any plans for after the Arenacross Tour yet?
Wade: It is over quite soon to be fair. I am not sure, I think Justin will be racing the French Supercross championship so I might be doing a few rounds of that. It all depends how the progression goes because the French Supercross is a bit harder than this. The whoops, track and rhythms are bigger. We’ll just build into it and see how the progression goes.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Images: Nigel McKinstry