Interview: Gert Krestinov
With Jake Nicholls sadly picking up an injury it has left the MX1 Maxxis British Championship title race pretty wide open. Steven Lenoir currently has the red plates but only nine points separate the top three riders so anything can still happen.
At the last round of the series at Canada Heights it was Gert Krestinov who stole the headlines and grabbed the overall win. Krestinov has been in the UK paddock for many years now and that was his first overall win!
We decided to catch up with Gert to discuss his win at round three. Round four of the series heads to Hawkstone Park this weekend where he will hope to come out on top again.
Gatedrop: Gert, you got your first overall win at Canada Heights, it’s been a long time coming but it must feel awesome! Can you talk me through how the day went for you?
Gert Krestinov: Definitely, it felt really good, Ive been thinking about it for a long time that I need to get a win. Day started pretty good, posted 3rd fastest lap time and I enjoyed my riding and track. First race I didn’t get such a good start but managed to quickly pull through and before the race got red flagged I was on the tail of the leader and it felt easy to ride that pace, I didn’t feel like I had to take risks or ride on the edge. Second race was a bit tougher, as I got into the lead, somehow I got arm-pump and felt pressured by Steven Lenoir, last few laps weren’t good as I started thinking about the win. In the end it felt so good, a big accomplishment for myself, family and my team Phoenix Tools Honda.
Gatedrop: After Canada Heights, you took part at the Sainte Austreberthe International, how did that go for you?
Gert Krestinov: It’s a really fun race, I’ve done it for 6 years in a row now. It went good, I showed good speed and in the last race had a good battle with Tixier and Simpson, overall they were a bit faster but for a few laps I could go with them. I ended up 3rd overall.
Gatedrop: You have been in the UK paddock for a number of years now, is England starting to feel like home now?
Gert Krestinov: I do call it a second home now. I enjoy being home in Estonia but I also really like racing in the UK and I always look forward travelling over when the racing weekend starts.
Gatedrop: With injuries hitting the British series, is your goal now to win the Championship?
Gert Krestinov: Yes, the championship is open now and I want to go for it, the better guy wins.
Gatedrop: What’s the level like in the MX1 series this year compared to other years?
Gert Krestinov: I think the level is pretty good. We have UK’s MXoN guys missing but all the the other guys are still there going for it.
Gatedrop: Who do you see as being your biggest contender for the title?
Gert Krestinov: There are still five rounds to go and a lot can happen but for the moment I think Lenoir and Irwin.
Gatedrop: Looking back at your career what would you say is your biggest achievement so far? I would say winning a round of the MX2 World Championship would be right up there!
Gert Krestinov: I think winning the MX2 class in Lommel 2008, that’s when people started to know about me. Then I would say the MX3 GP win in Valkenswaard and closely after that I would put my UK round win in Canada Heights.
Gatedrop: You’re with the Phoenix Tools Honda, do you guys work with the Buildbase Honda team to help improve the bike or are both teams totally separate?
Gert Krestinov: The teams are separate but Ryan Thorpe builds my engines and we share information, Dave Thorpe and Honda help us out a lot too.
Gatedrop: You competed at Valkenswaard GP, how did that go for you?
Gert Krestinov: It was a decent weekend, I’ve done better in the past but at the moment the level is high and you need everything 100%, I took the positives and moved on like they say.
Gatedrop: Will you take part at anymore MXGP races this year – if so, which ones?
Gert Krestinov: If everything goes to plan and I get financial support then I plan to do Ottobiano and Lommel.
Pics: Nigel McKinstry