Interview: Enzo Lopes – SX2 podium after a dislocated shoulder
It was his WSX debut and things didn’t start well for Enzo Lopes after dislocating his shoulder only after a few laps of the warm up. However, the Brazilian was able to turn things around and managed to secure a podium at the opening round of the SX2 series – promising under the circumstances and certainly a championship contender.
We caught up with Lopes after his WSX debut to discuss his day, the series and more.
GateDrop: Enzo, you never got the chance to race the WSX event last year. First of all, what was your thoughts on the WSX series as an event and racing outside America?
Lopes: I mean it is a bit different. I was meant to race last year but I had an injury, well not quite an injury but I decided to get my arm fixed because I was having issues with my arm. But it is a bit different and even with the race format going back to back to back racing. You need three good starts and to be easy on the clutch but overall a good day. I started of with a dislocated shoulder but ended up on the box so a good day.
GateDrop: Just on the crash this morning, it was a weird one, what actually happened? For you to end up on the podium after that happening, you certainly can’t complain…
Lopes: Well, to be honest, I don’t really know what happened (laughs). I just did a 360 on the turn, a normal crash. The track was slippery and then I dislocated the shoulder which was super weird. To be on the box at the end of the day was good, to be honest I just wanted to end it healthy and move onto the next round in like ten weeks from now. To be on the podium fighting for points to be in the championship is massive.
GateDrop: Where you in any pain or discomfort at all while riding?
Lopes: When I was riding, it was actually quite okay, a bit weak but it was fine because of the adrenaline. Now it is starting to hurt so I will need to painkillers. For sure, I will be sore in the morning.
GateDrop: This format of racing, starts are important and I actually don’t think yours were great so you showed your speed to come through and even catch the leaders – just a shame about the crash at the end of the third heat!
Lopes: Yeah, the starts, they weren’t too bad but then for the last one we swapped the clutch. I don’t know what happened but I was dead last and I came through the pack, I was fifth or something when we had the red flag. Once I was with the guys I showed that I had the speed. The speed was never a problem for me and especially after the Supercross in America. It’s just the starts, I have to work on it and I feel if I have them then I can be up there with them.
GateDrop: Was it nice battling with McElrath in that last moto? You made some nice moves on him but it looked like he had wingmirrors as he read the moves quite well…
Lopes: I had him once after the whoops but then I tried to brake check him a little bit but he made a 2-3 while I did a 2-2 in that section so he passed me back. To be honest I didn’t have anything to lose because I knew I’d be third overall either way so I was good in the points. I was just going to go for it and then Max made a mistake and I passed him, I went to pass Shane and got him but he passed me back. I just didn’t want to settle, it’s easy to get caught up in a situation and decide to go easy and then make a mistake. I went for it, still made a mistake but I tried.
GateDrop: First time racing in the UK, how did you find racing in the UK – the crowd and the track here at Villa Park?
Lopes: Yes, it’s my first time racing in the UK although I have been to Europe. It was sick being here, the crowd was lovely, I got to see some Brazilian fans which was nice here in Birmingham. The track was really slippery and more hard pack than I thought it was going to be. When they brought the dirt in it looked sticky and soft but it turned out a great day of racing. The track was really hard and cooked out whoops. It was a good day of racing here.
GateDrop: You’ve been a good consistent SX guy but I think this year you’ve stepped things up – even going fastest at the opening round at A1! Did you work on anything specific over the winter to improve?
Lopes: 2022 was already really good for me, I knew I had the speed but after the season was done, I didn’t do this championship to get my arm fixed because I was struggling really bad with it. I got it fixed, came back to train and it was working so the confidence goes up. I started the season at A1 and from there got better and better. Coming in here I know I have the speed so I’ll just do what I can, you know.
GateDrop: Coming from Brazil, you must be pretty proud doing what you’ve done making a career racing Supercross, are you hoping it can help improve the sport over there?
Lopes: That’s the goal. Everything I am doing right now is actually the dream. To be the first one to be doing this, other riders from Brazil can see that it is possible. It is my childhood dream to be here today.
Interview: Andy McKinstry