Interview: Lewis Spratt talks about his experience racing the Dutch Masters and his future

Image: Nigel McKinstry | Interview: Andy McKinstry

Lewis Spratt has decided to do selected races in the Netherlands this year and he contested the 125cc Dutch Masters of Motocross series. The young Irish rider suffered bike problems at the opening round but got better and even scored points at the third and final round.

Spratt is still going to be in the Netherlands this year racing despite the Dutch Masters series coming to a close as he’ll contest some Dutch Nationals, the EMX125 championship at Arnhem and also the Junior World Championship.

We caught up with Spratt to discuss his Dutch adventure and more which you can read, listen or watch below…

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GateDrop: Lewis, this year you made the decision to go to the Netherlands and race the Dutch Masters for your first experience racing outside the UK. First of all, how did you find it all? I’m sure it’s quite a bit different to just racing in the UK…

Spratt: Yes, so much different even from racing the British Championship. The riders are so much faster, and I did find it tough but I did find that it will bring me on for the season coming.

GateDrop: How did you find the tracks? Obviously Dutch, it’s all very sandy, all very rough… Growing up here you only had Desertmartin growing up and maybe Donemana… But how much rougher and how much more difficult are the tracks over there?

Spratt: It’s a completely different roughness to what I’m used to. Like, it’s just rides so much different. It’s just really bad (laughs).

GateDrop: Obviously the Dutch guys, they were all born on those tracks, so they all ride them well. What was the intensity like?

Spratt: You knew that they knew the tracks like a qualifying. It just took me a few laps to get on to it. Some of the tracks I just didn’t really gel with. But yeah, it was alright.

GateDrop: Every race you did, you got better… The first round it was a bit of a disaster because I think you had bike problems… But every round, obviously only three rounds, but every round you got better and better and you got points at the last round… That shows progress that it’s making you a better rider…

Spratt: Yeah, I didn’t really have the best run as we hope for. The first round we had bike problems in qualifying, which meant I didn’t qualify and then I was put on the reserve list. Then at the second round I was suffering with bad sickness. The third round was probably a bit better, and I scored points and then I had more bike problems.

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GateDrop: The Dutch Masters is over now, but I believe your experience racing abroad is going to continue. I think the plan are to do a few Dutch Nationals, which is just a little bit below a Dutch Masters and maybe even the EMX125 round in the Netherlands. So, you must be excited for that, to continue to learn and improve because riding those tracks, I think will do that…

Spratt: Yeah, well we’re planning on doing some of the Dutch Nationals and then I think we’re definitely doing Arnhem for the EMX125 series. We’re also going to do the Junior World Championship (at Heerde) as well.

GateDrop: What are your feelings before the EMX125 round? I’m sure you watch it on TV every week. It’ll probably be a wee bit strange for you racing with the best, some of the best in the world really and the best in Europe…

Spratt: I don’t really know what to expect and there’s no real pressure on me, but it’s such a different world.

GateDrop: How did you find being in the Dutch paddock? Obviously, it’s all very normal for the Dutchies over there, but for you coming outside… Did you talk to any of the riders and maybe make a few friends out of it and get to know a few riders?

Spratt: Yeah, I was sort of chatting a bit to Freddie Bartlett, me and him sort of get along well. He lives in Sweden as well. Yeah, it’s good to know some people out there.

GateDrop: Obviously Cole McCullough is a good friend of yours. Did you spend much time with him, and have you been able to put any bike time in with him and learn from him? What do you make of him in the EMX?

Spratt: He’s obviously very, very fast, but maybe hasn’t got the results yet to show it. Yeah, Cole is going well. Me and him run about a lot together at the races and I just think it’s good for us to be together at the racing.

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GateDrop: This is your first-year racing in Europe. What’s the plans for next year and beyond? Maybe get even more races out there under your belt?

Spratt: Yeah, hopefully. This is just for sure a learning year and then next year we’ll hopefully take a bigger stab at it, but we’ll just see whenever that time comes.

GateDrop: Looking ahead to the EMX125 series at Arnhem, that’ll obviously be your EMX125 debut. Are you going to have any expectations there? Or is it all just go there and learn?

Spratt: Just sort of go there and I’ll just give it my best shot and if I qualify, I qualify and if I don’t, I don’t. But we’ll just keep working.

GateDrop: You are racing in England as well; how did you find that and how is your season going in England?

Spratt: I enjoy racing in England. I feel comfortable over in England now and I’ve definitely got the speed to maybe finish a few podium positions in England. Just last time I got a sixth in the first race and then bike problems in the second race again. It’s just bike problems, bike problems, bike problems at the minute. But I think we’ve got it sorted now.

GateDrop: In the Netherlands, it’s all sand. A lot of the British tracks are sand as well. You’re at the Ulster Championship today doing some hard pack. I think it’s important to do hard pack too because if you start to do a few EMX, you’ll quickly realise the guys don’t hang about in hard pack. Do you like the hard pack conditions as well?

Spratt: I do like hard pack. I would say I’m faster on hard pack so that should be good for me. But yeah, hard pack is good.

GateDrop: You are racing a 125cc at the minute and probably on a 125cc next year again or is it still all up in the air?

Spratt: Yeah, definitely on a 125cc again next year.

GateDrop: Looking ahead, probably a few years down the line you’ll be on a 250cc. Is that something you’re looking forward to? And hopefully you’ll maybe race outside the UK then as well…

Spratt: Yeah, well my plan is to keep racing in the UK and maybe venture out to Europe again on the 250cc, but we’ll just see what we’re going to do when we get on the 250cc.