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Interview: Harri Kullas

Interview: Harri Kullas
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It has been a tough few seasons for Harri Kullas, at the start of the 2013 season he got a chance in a good team, Gariboldi Honda but things didn’t work out and it meant he had to ride the rest of the season and the 2014 season for Sakhar KTM. Things could have went a lot better for Harri and he was left without a GP ride for the 2015 season.

He started this season riding the British Championship for Heads ‘N’ Threads Suzuki but got a chance to ride for Jacky Martens Husqvarna team and that’s a chance he couldn’t refuse! Latvia was the first GP on–board the Factory Husqvarna for Harri and what a GP it was for him – his first overall MX2 podium, he looked great on the bike.

We sat down with Harri to get his thoughts on the Husqvarna, his first overall GP podium and his plans for the future!

Gatedrop: First of all, how did the deal with Husqvarna come about?

Harri Kullas: I was practicing in Belgium and my plan was to start to with my camper to Latvian GP as I was supposed to race MXGP class.  Same days before I was leaving I got call from the Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing and they asked if I could replace. After few calls and considering a moment I decided that I will give a try.

Gatedrop: You seemed to up your game from Saturday to Sunday, what changes did you make?

Harri Kullas: Yes it was pretty crazy. I was very nervous to go to the GP and I knew I need to make straight some good results and Saturday wasn’t going well at all. But mainly I struggled with the front end of the bike. But we made some changes for Sunday and I knew it will be good. Also after Saturday I felt much better and I was just focusing on Sunday and my own 100% riding!

Gatedrop: You have rode for Factory Suzuki before, how’s Factory Husqvarna compare to that team?

Harri Kullas: Every team is different. They work different so it’s hard to compare like this. I was very happy with yellow the half year I rode with them (injury) and they were nice people. Here in Husqvarna it’s very nice too, people took me really well and they did straight everything to feel comfortable and after each session people really care how I feel and try to make me feel better and better! The way they work is so professional and everything is in place which gives me a good feeling being under the Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing tent!

Gatedrop: Gajser was pressuring you for the entire second moto, did you get nervous because you knew it was for an overall podium?

Harri Kullas: The first 10 minutes were okay because everyone is going fast and pushing. I knew that Seewer was behind me but as soon as Gajser passed Seewer I saw my mechanic showed me that I have little gap to Gajser and I was faster at that time so I focused each lap to hold the gap with Gajser like that. It was the longest race ever but I kept saying myself that I need to push and really want this podium and we all made it happen!

Gatedrop: What’s it feel like to get your first overall podium in the MX2 class?

Harri Kullas: It was unreal! I’ve dreamed a lot of this but it wasn’t that easy to make. It’s big surprise to make it like this, to change the team and straight away but I felt so good on my Husqvarna and that it made it easier to do it! Of course I’m really happy to make it podium because we have worked hard for this with my family, girlfriend, friends and sponsors!!

Gatedrop: You were fast in Latvia at the nations last year, are you surprised you were able to podium at the weekend?

Harri Kullas: Yes I like the track in Latvia and I used to race there a lot when I was young. Last year I was fast on Saturday so I knew that when I got the start I can go fast but I didn’t expect podium, maybe because past 2 years have been bit difficult for me.

Gatedop: You failed to secure a GP ride at the start of this season, did you miss being away from MX2 this season?

Harri Kullas: As soon as I did Valkenswaard GP with my old English team I felt that I wanted to come back and this is the real series where I should belong at!

Gatedrop: You started the season in the British Championship, what’s your thoughts on the championship and did you enjoy the series?

Harri Kullas: I was happy to do it, I don’t regret anything. It was a nice experience and I met some new friends over there. The British is tough series as the races are shorter and local boys are going fast! Also for me that was very difficult were the concrete starts. The National series in UK was going actually really good and I’m still one point behind first place.

Gatedrop: Next year you will be too old for the MX2 class, are you motivated to put some good results in before the end of the season to get an MXGP ride?

Harri Kullas: Yes, of course I give my best and try to show some speed and results. Of course, it would be really cool to race MXGP as the big bike has suited me always well, but I know it is very tough class!

Gatedrop: If you fail to get an MXGP ride next year do you know what national championship you would like to contest?

Harri Kullas: I will see where it takes me, I’m not thinking that much yet. For sure I would like to race in MXGP for the next years. I’ve also started to follow Australia too. If things don’t work out here I would like to race there one or two seasons in future.

Gatedrop: Out of all the tracks left this year, what are your preferred tracks left?

Harri Kullas: I mean we need to race each weekend and give it all despite the track. However, there’s coming some really nice tracks such as Lommel, Mantova, Glen Helen. They said Assen will be sandy too so I’m looking forward to that too.

Gatedrop: Have you set yourself a mini goal that you would like to achieve before the end of the season? 

Harri Kullas: When I got this Factory ride I had flash thought that I could maybe do podium which would be so awesome for me and the team. But it was just fast thought and I made it already so it was really cool. I don’t have a goal just to enjoy the riding, every race and I will give 100% all the time so we will see where it brings me!

Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: MXGP

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