Interview: John Meara
John Meara has started the 2019 season in good form on the Watt Kawasaki and impressed at Desertmartin with his speed in the sand.
After a number of injuries last year, the eldest Meara is starting to get his form back and with three days of racing in a row he certainly has the base fitness he needs for the rest of the season as his favoured hard pack conditions await!
We caught up with John at Desertmartin to get his thoughts on a busy Easter weekend.
Gatedrop: John, we’ve just had round two of the Ulster series here at Desertmartin, apart from the crash in the final moto I feel it was a great day for you, are you happy with how it went?
John Meara: If you told me that I would be this close to the boys at the start of the season in a sand race, I’d have been delighted and told you that you’re telling lies. I am looking forward to getting onto hard pack, today was very tough, I’m just exhausted and spent. Overall, the sand riding has improved unbelievable over the winter. In the last race I just got a wee hop coming down the hill and it took the front down at the bottom, I couldn’t get stopped. It took all my momentum away and then it was just survival after that (laughs).
Gatedrop: You’ve done three days racing in a row with doing the two days at the MX Nationals at Hawkstone and then here at Desertmartin. I haven’t saw Desertmartin get as rough in a few years, not the easiest track after two days riding!
John Meara: Exactly, Hawkstone was a nightmare too, I had a really bad weekend over there with the heat, crashes, wee mistakes. I wanted to rebound today, the track was rough as and I can’t remember the last time I rode it as rough. It was really tough on the body but I’m glad to make it out in one piece and as I said, roll on hard pack.
Gatedrop: This track last year really wasn’t good with you with two massive crashes over the mobil so you must be happy to put that behind you and show the speed you had this weekend?
John Meara: Big time. The main plan was for this season is to make June time and then really start to motor on then. I haven’t made June time injury free in quite a few seasons but with age comes maturity they say.
Gatedrop: As you mentioned you’re looking forward to hard pack but of course you already rode at Tandragee, I think the starts let you down that day because in the final moto there you got the holeshot and no one could stay with you..
John Meara: Yeah, as I say, the pace all year has been there. In hard pack I think I’ll be hard to beat and especially if I can get a start. Tandragee that last race was unreal, I got the holeshot and checked out. It really came easy that win.
Gatedrop: As you mentioned the last few years you’ve been picking up injuries, just how hard mentally is it to come back from all those injuries?
John Meara: Big time, it kind of takes over your life. It’s more mentally challenging than physically challenging to try and get back. This year, so far, so good and touch wood it just keeps on going in this direction to keep on building.
Gatedrop: I never thought I’d hear John Meara say Motocross kind of takes over your life! I remember the days you were winning then hitting a nightclub the same night. I guess you realise you want it more than ever now?
John Meara: Yeah, I’ve dropped down to a four-day week in work which means I can go riding on Wednesdays. I have started to take it a lot more seriously, I probably should have done back then too but I wasn’t working and didn’t have the funding to fund myself to do it. Luckily enough now I get a decent wage in for four days which allows me to go riding the other day, it seems to be working so far.
Gatedrop: Just on the MX National series, what’s your goals for it and how would it compare to racing back home?
John Meara: It’s a very tough series. This year there’s a lot more competition over here too so it’s helped me upped my game for over there as well. Over there, there’s more guys maybe twelve or fifteen guys all running the same pace. If you make one mistake you can nearly drop out of the points. At home, you maybe have seven or ten guys and last year there was maybe only three. The competition has definitely improved both here and across the water so it’s helping myself and everyone else up their game.
Gatedrop: I know last year you were planning on contesting the entire British Championship but then you got injured and it never happened. Do you plan on doing any this year, I know the local fans would love to see you racing the British at Desertmartin?
John Meara: I will 100% be doing Desertmartin. It’s just financially difficult to compete full time over in England. I do plan on jumping in and out at one or two and as I say, I will definitely race Desertmartin.
Gatedrop: I wouldn’t like to be Philip McCullough this year picking the Des Nations team, is that something you’ve thought about as it’s a dream for any rider to represent their country?
John Meara: Obviously representing Ireland is a goal for every rider, you’d think. What will be, will be. I’m sure that Philip will make the right decision and all the riders will just have to respect that regardless of who gets picked.