Interview: Ray Rowson discusses his Motocross career

When it comes to talent, Ray Rowson had bags full of it being one of the fastest youth riders in Britain when he raced the youth. Rowson was tipped to go on and have a big future in the sport but whilst he had a good British Championship career with some good results we never saw him race a full in the GP’s.

Unfortunately, Rowson was hit with a number of injuries during his entire career which meant we never really got to see him at his full potential but he still had a good career for himself.

Rowson still loves the sport and rides in the AMCA and IMBA Championships which he enjoys. We caught up with him to discuss his career and much more.

Gatedrop: Roy, when did you first get on a bike and when did it occur to you that you could make a career out of the sport?

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Rowson: I’m not sure exactly what age I was but was very young on a PW50.

Gatedrop: What do you remember from racing the British Youth Championships – you were obviously a front runner as you secured a ride with Molson Kawasaki when you moved up to the adults!

Rowson: The school boy days were great. Just getting in the van and heading off for the weekend to meet up with everyone, and the old tracks were great too!

Gatedrop: How did it feel when Molson Kawasaki came calling – a great opportunity for you and how was your time with the team?

Rowson: The Molson ride followed from riding Team Green in the school boys – they carried me into the adults as a stepping stone. I had two offers from them, the first was to pay for a ride and get a mechanic and do GP’s etc. The second offer was to have some help with budget and to do our own bikes. The second option was what we went with as I’ve never paid for a ride and never would.

Gatedrop: You won the British U21 Championship in 2007 which was a great championship back then – what’s your memories from that series and how did it feel to win the title?

Rowson: It’s so long ago now that I can’t really remember, I must have been chuffed! I know the line ups back then were good with lots of talent, it wasn’t just a case of how deep your pockets were.

Gatedrop: In 2009, you signed with CCM to move up to the 450cc and race GP’s as well – quite an early decision to move up to the MX1 class, what was the reason behind that?

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Rowson:  I rode for PAR on the 450 the year before, I was meant to be MX2 but we had trouble waiting on the bikes so jumped on the 450 and loved it so stayed on that. Yeah, I went to CCM but wish I had stayed with Paul Rowlands at PAR Homes. CCM ticked all the boxes at the time with a great mechanic and the chance to work with Dave Thorpe but it just didn’t work with injuries and other things.

Gatedrop: What was your time like with the CCM team working with Dave Thorpe and what was the bike like to ride?

Rowson: It was great on paper but it’s just a shame it didn’t work out in the end. The bike was definitely “different” and the team lads were a good laugh – Ryan Thorpe was spannering for me and we got on really well.

Gatedrop: You signed with Samsung Yamaha for the 2011 season to concentrate mainly on the MX2 British Championship which had Tonus, Osborne and Nicholls to name a few racing. How was the level that year and what was your time like with the Samsung Yamaha team?

Rowson: Samsung Yamaha was great! The team was awesome and Roy Emberson was great to work with as he has a proper passion for the sport. Everything worked well and I loved it there. Kristian Whatley was MX1 and I had Rich Addy on the spanners but again injury put an end to my season.

Pic: Scott Dunne

Gatedrop: Injuries weren’t kind to you throughout your career, mentally and physically how tough was that to deal with?

Rowson: I definitely regret rushing back from each injury, there’s a very small window to make a living at MX and I missed mine. My career has been riddled with injuries but I have rushed back each time to try and prove that I had the speed but just ended up riding injured and not being 100%.

Gatedrop: When you look back at your career what races stand out the most and why?

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Rowson: My first ever GP and scoring points. I spent the first few laps reading the names on everyone’s shirts. I think Paul Irwin at RFX was helping me at the time with a kit deal – Sinisalo sent me the next years kit that hadn’t been released so that felt pretty special too.

Gatedrop: When you reflect on the career you had – are you happy with what you achieved in the sport?

Rowson: I probably should be as I have achieved a lot, but never did what I really wanted to do so I would say no.

Gatedrop: We didn’t see you ride an awful lot of GP’s during your career, do you wish you’d have raced more during your career?

Rowson: I never had a full year GP deal – CCM was meant to be but I injured my knee before the season started so that put an end to that.

Gatedrop: You had a lot of fast team mates during your career, who would you say you learnt the most from and why?

Rowson: I don’t really know – I had more help from mechanics really. The year with Samsung I rode a fair bit with Kristian – he was so smooth and made it look effortless.

Gatedrop: You are still racing AMCA and IMBA Championships I believe, you still clearly love the sport – how has that been going for you?

Rowson: Yeah, the AMCA is good. I really enjoy it and have some great help. I have met some people that I wish I had met years ago – everyone that helps me out now just love the sport and we go racing to enjoy it. I’d love to have another proper go at it but with getting older, having a family, and not having much time to get out on the bike it’s fair to say it looks doubtful.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Pics: Scott Dunne