Interview: Joel Rizzi – raising his game for 2019

2018 was a rookie year for Joel Rizzi in the EMX125 and he learnt a lot racing with some of the best young talents. This year the young British talent has made the switch to KTM and will have higher expectations for the season.

If the Hawkstone International event is anything to go by then Rizzi will turn plenty of heads in the EMX125 championship this year. Rizzi battled with de Wolf and just missed out on the wins going 2-2 but he’ll be happy with his speed.

We caught up with Rizzi to discuss his weekend and more.

Gatedrop: Joel, it was a good day for you here at Hawkstone International going 2-2. Can you talk me through your moto’s? 

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Joel Rizzi: The first race was good, I was second out of the gate and went straight into first position. About half way through the race I got passed by missing the jump into the bomb hole. I was chasing first but just couldn’t make the pass.  I was pretty happy with the riding in that first one.

In the second race, I was third out of the gate and got into second quick. I caught the leader (Kay de Wolf) up a bit but I just couldn’t get the pass done. The race was shortened due to the red flag. I was pretty happy with the day to be fair, I was bummed I didn’t win but it was a good all round weekend.

Gatedrop: You knew before the event that Kay de Wolf was going to be racing. Even though you didn’t manage to beat him was it nice to battle with such a big talent? Also, you were both miles ahead of third place so that should give you confidence heading into the season?

Joel Rizzi: Yeah, I was super hyped about that. We had really good battles all weekend really. Even in a ten minute race me and him were fifty seconds ahead of third so that was really good. Hopefully we can have a lot more battles in the European races. It would be even better if it was for the win again.

Gatedrop: Last year was your first year racing the EMX125 Championship, how did you find it and I’m sure you learnt a lot that should help you this year?

Joel Rizzi: Yeah, I learnt a lot and got lots of experience, fitness and riding lots of different tracks. I can’t wait for the season to start, my off season has been really good at RedSands, I’ve been training hard. Hopefully I can have a good strong season and then we will get on the 250cc next year.

Gatedrop: Did you change anything this winter, I know you spent a lot of your winter in Redsands last year, was it more of the same this winter?

Joel Rizzi:  It was more of the same really but I feel like I have better people around me this year. I’m also on the KTM which for me is a really good change. I’m loving the bike, the set up and just everything. I hope for a really good strong year and we’ll be off on a good one.

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Gatedrop: Just on the EMX125 championship for this year, what are your expectations? Do you think top fives or top ten results are within your reach?

Joel Rizzi: I will just take each race as it comes. It would be good to get top fives. Last year I had aimed to get some points and I got a couple which I was happy with. Last year my mental game was bad so hopefully this year we will be mentally strong and ride like I know I can ride, we’ll be alright.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pic: Scott Dunne