One rider in the British paddock that’s really stepped it up for the 2018 season is definitely Liam Knight.
Knight is back on KTM machinery – albeit as a privateer after spending the 2017 season on a Kawasaki but the move back to the KTM seems to be bringing out the best in him.
After three rounds of the MX2 Maxxis British Championship, Knight sits an impressive fourth in the series and even won a moto at Blaxhall which is a great achievement.
We decided to catch up with the Brit to discuss his season to date.
Gatedrop: Liam, you had a great weekend in Blaxhall, can you just talk me through your day?
Liam Knight: Yeah it was another good day, qualifying didn’t get off to a great start, but I got a late lap in which was good enough for 8th. In race 1 I got the holeshot and just focused. I was under pressure the whole time from Josh (Gilbert), Mel (Pocock) and Conrad (Mewse) but I found my flow, and I managed to get my first win so that was great!
In race 2 things didn’t go so well I got a good start but made a few mistakes and I had a little tip over, I then followed it up with a big crash. I held on to 8th, which meant I was on the same points as Conrad for 3rd but didn’t make the podium. It was a good day but my aim was to finish on the podium.
Gatedrop: Obviously that’s your first moto win in the Maxxis British Championship and you had company right behind you. Did you get nervous towards the end and how did you stay cool?
Liam Knight: It wasn’t easy, there was a lot of pressure and I think one mistake could of put me from 1st to 4th the second half of the race as Josh, Mel and Conrad where all right there. I just tried to focus on doing what I needed to do.
Gatedrop: Last year you were on a Kawasaki but you’re back on a KTM this year, how do the two bikes compare and do you prefer the KTM machine?
Liam Knight: I definitely prefer the KTM, I’ve always ridden one and for me it suits. The Kawasaki was good but it just wasn’t fast enough and I struggled with it being smaller. I’m 6,2 and 82 kilos so for MX2 I’m pretty heavy. I need as much power as I can get and that’s why I’m back on a KTM. I know Matt and Nigel at evotech did a great job on my engines from when Dyer and Butler were a KTM team. I wanted to have another good go at MX2 and show everyone what I can do and I knew I wanted to ride a KTM to do just that.
Gatedrop: You’ve seemed to step up your speed this year, what would you put that down too?
Liam Knight: I’m riding and training as hard as I always have. Last year I struggled, but also learnt a lot with my riding. I had to try new things and I think putting what I learnt onto a bike I enjoy riding and feel comfortable on, has made me a better rider.
Gatedrop: You rode the MX1 machine at Hawkstone International, how did that event go for you and do you like the bigger bike? Which bike do you think suits your style better?
Liam Knight: Hawkstone is one of my favourite tracks, and I enjoyed the International. I ride a 350 all the time, to practice on and race other than the British, this is mainly to save my 250 engines and money! I feel really comfortable on-board my 350, and that is due to the number of hours I spend riding one. To be honest with you I surprised myself at HIMX, all the riders who finished ahead of me were GP riders, meaning I managed to beat some of the top British MX1 riders, which was great for my confidence!
Gatedrop: The team you were with last year aren’t in the paddock anymore. As that’s the case were you a little last minute getting everything sorted out this season?
Liam Knight: Yeah, Paul and the rest of the guys at HR decided they weren’t going to go racing this year which is a shame for everyone really as it’s another team gone from the paddock. Me and my dad decided we would race MX2 on a KTM as a privateer, I managed to get some great help from sponsors very last minute so I’m grateful to everyone for there help.
Gatedrop: What’s the level like in the MX2 British Championship like this year compared to last year?
Liam Knight: I’d say it’s tougher but I think that’s because of where I’m finishing. I’m 4th in the championship at the moment and last year I finished 13th. It’s tough this year as the points are pretty close from 2nd to 5th.
Gatedrop: What were your goals coming into the season and have they changed any after your good start to the season?
Liam Knight: In 2016 I finished 5th in the British championship and last year I wanted to improve on that, but it didn’t happen. So that was the goal for this year, I wanted to be in the battle and I want to finish on the podium. I felt like last year a lot of people had maybe lost belief in what I could do and I wanted to prove them wrong and be at the front. I’m trying to look at each race individually and just do my best each time. A win at blaxhall was so great it’s what everyone works so hard for. But no, my goals haven’t changed I know where I should be.
Gatedrop: You just beat Martin Barr in a moto who has the EMX250 red plate. You did the first round of that series but needed to qualify through the LCQ. What is it about that class where we’ve never really seen the best of you?
Liam Knight: I wasn’t really prepared riding wise for Redsands, I hadn’t rode much in the weeks leading up to it. I think being in the LCQ was probably the best thing for me at Redsands to get used to it all a bit more.
Gatedrop: Will you contest anymore rounds of the EMX250 Championship this year?
Liam Knight: Yeah, I’m racing Matterly Basin for sure, and then see what’s local and what tracks I want to do. It’s a lot of added expense doing the EMX250 rounds so it will just be a select few.
Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?
Liam Knight: Yeah, just a massive thank you to all the sponsors helping this year; Trevor Pope Motorcycles, Matt and Nigel at Evotech, CI Sport, Pro Carbon, Talon, Apico Factory Racing, LR Designs, Race FX, Acerbis, Simon @ TWS, Tim Yates, Mito UK, my Parents and my girlfriend for everything they do for me too.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Scott Dunne