Interview: Erki Kahro on his return to racing!
He might be from Estionia but Erki Kahro has spent a lot of time all over the world the past couple of seasons competing all over Europe and in America too.
At the weekend, Kahro only got the call a day before the first round of the Maxxis British Championship that his entry was accepted for the event. After the call he headed straight to Culham to line up at the first round of the series and had a solid day considering it was his first race in six months.
Kahro admits he has no plans set in stone at the moment as he’s a privateer but after a solid first round of the series he’s hoping to get some support to do the full series.
We caught up with Kahro after round one of the British series at Culham.
Gatedrop: Erki, you’ve just competed at the first round of the Maxxis British Championship. Can you talk me through your day?
Erki Kahro: It didn’t start off very well. I haven’t raced in like six months and the first race jitters came into a play a little in the qualification. I was a bit tight and couldn’t put a good lap in. The eighteenth gate pick wasn’t an ideal start to the day.
I got two pretty bad starts and both races I had to work really hard to come through the pack. I definitely made a lot of passes on a track that wasn’t an easy one to pass on so that was a positive thing. Second race I was charging and started to close in on top ten but then I had a little tip over and had to settle for 13th.
Gatedrop: I believe you only got the call to compete at the race on Saturday so it must have been panic stations just to make it to the race?
Erki Kahro: Yeah, it definitely was a challenge to get there so quick. Luckily we were in Belgium so it wasn’t that far of a drive. But we got there late Saturday night and were pretty tired, I felt it a little on race day as well.
Gatedrop: You didn’t even have your race bike at Culham, what was the reason for that and what was it like racing with your practice bike?
Erki Kahro: We haven’t got the race bike built yet. At first I was not planning to start racing so early but after only couple weeks back on a bike the feeling was pretty good and then I decided that if I could get into the entry list, I would like to go racing.
Gatedrop: How has your winter preparation been going? I believe you’ve only been back on the bike around three weeks after an injury?
Erki Kahro: I was off the bike since the beginning of last September and then I went riding in November just for fun to an inside arena in Estonia and suffered an arm injury. It took forever to heal as the doctors didn’t put a plate in, it ended up moving too much in a cast and was not healing well.
I got the green light only at the end of February and then in March I practiced on a bike two weeks in Sardinia and then I’ve had another week and a half in Belgium. Not much riding under my belt but the feeling has come back rather quick, few more weeks of training and I should be good.
Gatedrop: Do you know what your plans are for the season ahead or are you just playing it race by race?
Erki Kahro: Right now it’s more race by race. I’m looking for some good championship to ride in. We have only 4 rounds of Estonian championship and that’s not enough.
Gatedrop: It would be nice to see you contest the full British Championship but I believe it’s still up in the air?
Erki Kahro: Don’t really know yet to be honest. I would really like to do it and a top ten overall is not a bad way to start a championship. If I could find some support or someone to ride for I would definitely go for it. Doing it as a privateer for all the rounds and travelling with a motorhome from Estonia would be a bit much though I think.
Gatedrop: Coming from Estonia, what is it about the British series you like so much and how’s it compare to the racing in Estonia?
Erki Kahro: I really like the atmosphere and the tracks in the British series. The level of riders is a lot stronger than in Estonia and overall I think it’s a good championship to ride.
Gatedrop: You’ve moved up to the 450cc only a year or so again. Do you feel it suits your style more than the 250cc?
Erki Kahro: I think everyone is saying that when they move up but I really believe it does, I normally ride the bike a gear higher and where the power is so it works with the 450 better. I am not a big revver and with the 250 you really have to do that to get the power out of it. Sometimes when I get nervous or forget myself I still rev a bit too much on a 450 but most of the time I am good and I really enjoy riding 450’s
Gatedrop: You’ve been in the American paddock before. How was your time competing in the AMA National races and where you happy with your results?
Erki Kahro: The results could always be better but with the way I went there on my own and considering I rode on a used rental bike the results were not too bad. For sure I had a good time. It was always something that I wanted to do and to go there and score some national points and get to ride these historic tracks that I always watched on a DVD when I was young, was really cool experience.
Gatedrop: Have you any plans to go back there soon or contest any MXGP races in the future?
Erki Kahro: It depends on my speed really. If I have good speed then for sure I will do some rounds of either MXGP or AMA. These races are on a high level and you really need to be in a good form to be competitive racing with the best in the world. To go to these races is expensive and if I don’t see myself racing at least for points in top 20 then there’s no point in doing that but if the speed is there then of course.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Erki Kahro: I would like to thank Mark Chamberlain from MVR-D for helping me to enter for the race. I told him only few days before the event that I would like to come and he was there to help and sorted everything out for me. Also my sponsor SJT Rakennus for giving me an opportunity to race dirt bikes and do what I like to do the most.
Pic: Scott Dunne