Reigning Arenacross UK champion Thomas Ramette (SR75 World Team Suzuki) accomplished his first goal for the season by getting a win under his belt last weekend in Birmingham The fast Frenchie had a terrible night at the second round of the series but clawed himself back into contention and he is now trailing leader Cédric Soubeyras by six points. We spoke Thomas before heading to Belfast for the hugely important double-header at the SSE Arena this weekend.
It must have been a great relief to bounce back in Birmingham like you did?
Thomas Ramette: “Absolutely, I was unlucky In Newcastle when the plastic cover of a tuff block got tangled up in my rear wheel. I was leading the final at that moment but it caused me to crash and in the end I finished last. Also, I captured the title last year but I didn’t win a main so it feels great to get that off my back! I knew the speed was there although I made too many mistakes in the semis before. In Birmingham everything clicked, because I also won Superpole.”
I presume you needed to get used to the different kind of track that’s typical for Arenacross UK after the French SX season?
Ramette: “It’s not so much the layout alone because we don’t always race on bigger tracks like Paris or Genève. The biggest difference is in the dirt. In the UK the dirt tends to be a bit softer. So we get ruts in many places. In Manchester the whoops became more like waves because of the softer soil. That plays in to the hands of guys with less supercross skills. But for example in Birmingham we had a great track with good soil.”
How is the level of racing in the UK now, because the entry list has never looked stronger!
Ramette: “A lof of guys go fast that’s for sure. I think the French riders have some advantages because they’ve been riding supercross from June to December. In France some tracks like Lyon or Amnéville are in small arenas too so that’s very similar to the UK. For a guy like Dan Reardon who’s been racing on bigger tracks in the US or Australia it’s quite a change. Obviously he’s very fast but he’s making too many mistakes and his starts haven’t been on-point. But in general the lap times are super close so each mistake you make you pay cash!”
It’s a fine line to reach where the agression to be upfront early on is balanced by enough patience to avoid errors.
Ramette: “Exactly! You really need to manage your races, it’s not only about speed. Even if you’re second or third you feel the pressure of the riders behind you and it’s always better to put yourself in a position where it’s easier to stay out of trouble. Like the Americans say: the start is the key to the race. After that you have to find a good rhythm. If you get that holeshot your chances for the night definitely look a lot brighter!”
Indoor motocross can be almost as much a contact sport as it’s about racing. Do you have any arch rivals in the series?
Ramette: “Not anymore. I have to admit that in 2016 things got a bit out of hand with Soubeyras. We had heated battles all season long and it ended bad. However since that time we often raced together and our relationship is better now. We raced each other clean since then and all is going well for now.”
It’s an interesting combination to have two French riders in a British team with you and Cyrille Coulon.
Ramette: “Yes, it’s a special setup alltogether. I’ve been riding for SR75 World Team Suzuki for 4 years, and the last 3 years I’ve raced for them in France as well. Things are going really well and the team takes care of everything during race weekends so we can focus on training and racing. The bikes work brilliant and Geoff (ed. Walker), the team owner and manager is always pushing to improve. Fortunately I get along great with Cyrille. He helps me to find a good suspension settings or to find new lines on the track. You could say that Cyrille is a bit my older brother! Frankly, we make an awesome squad.”
Few riders focus only on supercross like you guys do because your complete racing calendar consists only of indoor events. That must be an advantage?
Ramette: “In some ways it is but it’s not like some American guys who want to do SX-only to have less races. We actually do more, because we’re racing eleven months out of twelve! But in practice I ride quite a lot of motocross. Especially now because the weather doesn’t allow to race SX in good conditions. I actually like to ride MX too, because if you only do supercross you tend to lose the speed in the corners or ruts.”
Speaking of motocross, who’s your favourite for the Le Touquet Enduropale this weekend?
Ramette: “Good question… I think Nathan Watson will be the guy to beat. Watson really showed what he’s capable of in the races of the French beach race series he competed in. I can say Yentel Martens in the mix too. My podium would be Watson, Martens and Richard Fura.”
Good luck in Belfast!
Ramette: “Thanks, I’ll give it my best shot.”
Interview: Tom Jacobs
Pics: AX UK