Interview: Natalie Kane
Natalie Kane has been a top name in Woman’s motocross scene for a long time now but the last few years haven’t quite gone to plan! Kane burst onto the scene at an early age, it’s hard to believe that it’s seven years ago that she finished third in the World Championship on her MVRD Suzuki back in 2009.
Since then she has improved her result in the world championship finishing a fantastic second in 2012 whilst riding for Roger Magee KTM team. We shouldn’t be surprised by her success as this is a girl that Harry Everts once tipped to be a future Women’s World Champion!
However, the last few years haven’t gone to plan but after she faced an uncertain future she has signed a two year deal with the Honda Sweden team. It’s brilliant news that we will see her race the World Championship for at least another two years. Hopefully with a good winter behind her we can see her at the front again and race to her potential. There is no doubt she has the capabilities of podiums and even race wins.
We decided to catch up with Kane to talk about her new deal for the 2017 season as well as a difficult season.
Gatedrop: Natalie, you have just signed a deal with the Swedish Honda team for the next two years, how did the deal come about and you must be happy to be sorted for next year?
Natalie Kane: Yes, I did just sign a deal with Honda Sweden which to be honest I did not expect at all but I am very happy with this and feel good that they believe in me, it was them who suggested the two year contract. It came around only because I was very unsure what I was going to do in 2017 – if even racing big events at all! It was all down to what deal I could find myself so I decided to ask just to see what they had to say. I wasn’t expecting this deal or the answer that I got, that’s for sure.
Gatedrop: We had got used to seeing you at the front of the WMX series but the last few years haven’t been great for you for different reasons, how frustrating has that been for you?
Natalie Kane: It has been very frustrating for me for sure and quite hard mentally to keep going when everything feels like it is just going wrong no matter what you do. It has not been easy but I never stopped believing in myself and now with this contract from Honda Sweden it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Gatedrop: How hard was it going from a team with decent support to riding as a privateer for a Swedish KTM team?
Natalie Kane: I would not say it was so much harder in a bad way because the swedish team BRT Racing were very good to me. They worked hard so we could do the best we can but it was definitely harder with sponsoring and things like that. We had a few problems this year but no one is to blame, these things just happen
Gatedrop: With better support for the next two years do you think you can be at the front again?
Natalie Kane: Well, yes that is the goal for sure. I know it will not be easy but I think I can be back on top speed with a good winter training and staying 100% fit.
Gatedrop: You will be team mates with Frida Ostlund who is a good friend of yours, do you think working with her can push yous both on and also bring the fun factor back for you?
Natalie Kane: Yes, I think it will help both of us because we get to train against each other and not only at the races, it’s always good to gauge from someone you race with. It will bring the fun back for me to have someone pushing me but also to be able to have a laugh with and just enjoy it.
Gatedrop: Where will you be based for the 2016 season?
Natalie Kane: During 2017 I will be based between Holland and Sweden mostly, that suits best with the championships I will ride but I also hope like always to get back home (Ireland) to ride sometimes.
Gatedrop: You didn’t race a few GP’s this year, what was the reason for that?
Natalie Kane: I had some bike problems in different races and yes 2 DNS’s in the GP’s so like you said I was not where I wanted to be. All the small set backs were starting to effect me mentally so I decided that it was best to miss the last rounds and not risk to hurt myself. Also, of course budget wise I can’t afford to pay for a GP trip and not be focused 100% on riding my best.
Gatedrop: Obviously Courtney Duncan is now racing the WMX series; have you been surprised by her speed this year?
Natalie Kane: I wasn’t really surprised by her speed because I heard a lot about her for years and she lives with Josh coppins so it was obvious she was going to be good – she was very good! However, every year you never know who will turn up but the oldies our still keeping up for sure when the champ this was Livia Lancelot (laughs).
Gatedrop: Do you think that the level in the series is higher now compared to what it used to be or not?
Natalie Kane: I think there are a lot of good talented young riders and some who have just got better so the overall level is higher and better. I think that front runners are always taking the level higher but again like I said, the veterans of the WMX Lancelot, Laier, Papenmeier, they are all still able to do well and win.
Gatedrop: What are your goals for the 2017 season?
Natalie Kane: My goals for 2017 are to stay healthy mostly. I want to try and win the Swedish championship again as well as getting myself back on the podium in the GP’s.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Pic: Nigel McKinstry